Self-Love

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I do love Lucy...

She may have made some less-than-wise choices on her show (i.e., Lucy stuffing chocolates down her dress and boozing up on Vitameatavegamin), but Lucille Ball nailed it, here. 

Love yourself first.

Recognizing your own worth, seeing what a treasure you are to the world, and learning to fully appreciate & respect yourself is key. That is when your confidence shines through and demands the same appreciation and respect from others. That is when you allow yourself the right to be truly happy. That is when you find yourself surrounded by those who lift you up and help you soar. And that is when you find the strength to step away from those who try to drag you down. 

But how do we get there? How do we recognize our worth and learn to love ourselves? How do we get to the point of being able to forge ahead with full confidence and full ability to feel utter happiness, bliss, joy, and appreciation of our own value?

You’ve heard me say this before…but like everything else that is worthwhile…it takes time. And practice. And is a goal that really never ends. But, like you, it is well worth the effort and care and time. To live a life that is filled with self-love, you first must engage in the other two “self” practices: self-exploration and self-understanding. Together, these three “self” practices are sort of like a Celtic knot in that they intertwine and work together and never end. Still, it is self-exploration and self-understanding and ultimately lead to the end goal of self-love.

 

What is self-love? 

I love this article by Tiny Buddha, which details the bits & pieces of what self-love is and looks like. However, for this sake of this post, I will give you the cliff-notes version as defined by Psychology Today: Self-love is “finding peace within ourselves.” It is the ability to love yourself unconditionally through the good and the bad. To acknowledge your own needs and to appreciate yourself enough to attend to these needs. Self-love is crucial for a fulfilling and joyful life, and is strengthened through continuous self-exploration and self-understanding.

 

What is self-exploration? 

According to Dr. Ryan Howes, self-exploration involves “taking a look at your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors and motivations and asking why.” By understanding ourselves on a deeper level, we can better appreciate who we are, what we stand for, and every fabulous feature and flaw that makes us so utterly amazing! We open ourselves up to self-discovery in a way that we never have before. That can lead to an unwavering confidence in knowing that “this is who I am and I have no reason to hide it, to trick others into thinking I am anything else, or to trick myself into being something that I am not”. That confidence is heightened by the ceasing of any confusion that you may have previously had. Because, let’s face it, we all have struggled with identity and trying to figure out exactly who we are and where we belong. Once you make it a routine habit to practice self-exploration and you consistently discover new layers of your being, those confusions and frustrations melt away!

 

What is self-understanding? 

Once you start digging deep and exploring your history, thoughts, values, purpose, things that bring you joy, etc., you will begin to reach the next point in the path to self-love: self-understanding. Self-understanding is simply knowing the rhyme and reason behind your thoughts, emotions, actions, behaviors, and individual nuances, and accepting them without judgement. This level of understanding allows us to feel self-compassion, to accept ourselves, and to boost our emotional intelligence. Some ways to gain self-understanding include: 

 

What Next?

Once you have the flow of your own path towards self-love, you will begin to see the value and impact behind it. The way in which we express and meet our needs in self-love are uniquely our own. Some may prefer to pamper with spa days, picking up a new outfit or a latte on the way home, or allowing themselves 30 minutes of quiet reading time at night. Some may prefer to get busy by joining a club, meeting friends for cocktails, or taking an adventurous trip. Some may boost themselves with small dailies like learning to say “no” or smiling more often. The way in which you choose to practice self-love is totally up to you. As long as your choices align with caring for your mind, your body, and your soul, whatever you choose to do is the right choice. 

So, rather than loafing on your couch, watching reruns of I Love Lucy and binging on bonbons & Vitameatavegamin tonic, take Lucy’s words and run with them. Love yourself. Let things fall into place and let yourself be happy. You deserve it and you are worth it. 

Let us know how you live a life filled with self-love! Share in the comments below. 

 

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KJM Counseling

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