The February Love Series – Self Love
The month of love is here once again, and anticipation for Valentine’s Day is already building up. We have survived the chaotic year that was 2020, and although the pandemic is still on the rampage and our lives are not quite back too normal, there is collective hope that this year will be better. We are open to love and new experiences whichever way they may come.
That is why this month, I will be sharing a series articles that aim to explore the topic of love from the inside out. I kick-start the series with a deep dive into self-love, why it is so important, and how to achieve it. Then we will move to romantic love and how to better cultivate healthy relationships with other people. The third article talks about loving what you do and finding fulfillment in your work. Finally, we will close the series with a bigger love for our communities and surroundings.
My hope is that by the end of this series, you will have a clearer and deeper understanding of what true love is. I want to dispel the myth that love is a feeling that we experience passionately for a time because the truth is love is more profound than that. Some might say love is the most transformational force in the world!
Buckle up, now, and let’s begin this exciting journey in and towards love!
Today we will explore what it really means to love yourself. If you have been on a spiritual and/or self-improvement journey for a while, chances are you have read your fair share of bland self-love articles that seem intent on giving you a kick of dopamine instead of giving you any substantive knowledge. I would like to believe that this dry take on self-love stems from the confusion that surrounds it, and so I will start off by defining what self-love is.
What is self-love – A commitment to your evolution to walk in your power. Your power to love all aspect of you, honoring yourself, happiness and well-being making yourself a priority; and living fully in your potential, continuously growing and learning to evolve into the best version of yourself, giving the best of you to you, so you can give to others.
Self-love is not just about having a high regard for yourself. It goes beyond merely accepting your flaws and weaknesses. Our culture is becoming increasingly narcissistic and selfish in the name of self-love and self-care when in fact, true self-love frees you to give more of yourself without reservations.
Self-love is a way of life. It allows you to see yourself through a clear lens, without inflating your own importance nor downplaying your worth. You do not rely on rewards such as shopping sprees or eating out to feel like you love yourself. Instead, you are in a constant state of gratitude and contentment while also seeking to enhance your life and grow.
Why is it important?
For the longest time, women – particularly women of color – have been expected to give of themselves continuously without ever taking time for themselves. We have had to take care of the home, look after the family, and give 100% at the office every day while disregarding our own needs. Nothing is wrong with these things; in fact, that is what makes women so great! However, when you constantly pour out your heart it will eventually run dry and these responsibilities will end up feeling like burdens.
Therefore, self-love is so important. When you love yourself, you treat yourself like someone you love (obvious, right?). You would not let someone you love to drive themselves to exhaustion, would you? Nor would you let someone you care about go unnoticed and uncared for. True self-love frees women to do all the awesome things they already do, and treat themselves with care, respect and tenderness, just like all the other people they love.
The path to self-love
Just as in your relationships with other people, loving yourself takes great work. It is even more so when you have been conditioned to put others above yourself all your life. However, it is doable, and I would even argue that this should be your starting point towards a fulfilling life.
So how do you achieve self-love?
In my study of myself, education and credentials, and coaching people, I have determined that these four elements self-awareness, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth are interconnected and impact outlook of how we feel and think about ourselves. Having a good understanding of yourself, a healthy self-esteem and confidence about yourself, and knowing your worth are the elements that lead to the road to loving thyself.
Self-love – It is one thing to accept yourself totally, but another ball game to love yourself. We accept a lot of things in life without necessarily loving them. That is why we have the word tolerance. Stopping at self-acceptance can feel like you are merely tolerating yourself, which can erase all the progress you’ve made towards living a fulfilling life. When you accept yourself fully, the next step becomes actively choosing to love yourself. This does not mean you gush over yourself with hugs and pampering (although that is important from time to time). It means at any given moment, you choose to do what is best for you, pleasant or unpleasant (in the moment). For example, you will love yourself enough to be tough on yourself in the pursuit of your goals, and you also love yourself enough to indulge in your favorite things (chocolate, wine, sleeping in). You start treating yourself with respect, actively making time for self-care, and you become less afraid to tell yourself “yes”. You cater to your needs, just as you would those of someone you love.
Self-love runs deeper than just having a warm, fuzzy feeling about yourself. There is a saying that you teach others how you would want to be treated. So, if you would like people to treat you with love and respect this February, start by cultivating self-love and it will undoubtedly reflect to the world.
If you need to work on the four elements that lead to the road of loving you, I encourage you to get my book Everybody Needs a Little TLC 90 Days of Self-Awareness, Self- Esteem, Self-Confidence, and Self-Worth. You can order directly from us by Clicking Here or Barnes & Nobles.
Here is to your success!