“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” -Lucille Ball
Self-care and wellness trends are all the rage in today's culture. CBD bubble baths, adaptogenic coffee drinks, sound healing sessions, and meditation workshops have become "essentials", just as much as brushing your teeth and taking daily showers. It's terribly easy to get caught up in the glamour and ambition of it all. I, for one, am not afraid to admit to being enamored by the wide range of ways to care and self-heal these days. However, it is my belief that self-love must stand as the pinnacle of any worthwhile self-care routine. Healing crystals and MCT matcha lattes aside, it is essential we remember why we practice self-care in the first place.
While self-care indeed entails the benevolent acts of tending to one's physical, mental, and spiritual needs, all of those methods are little else but ineffective habits without practicing self-love.
Self-love is caring madly and deeply for oneself. It's about creating a level of intimacy with one's desires and inner truths and honoring them. It's the commitment to show up, regardless of the situation at hand.
Loving myself might be one of the hardest lessons I've ever learned. From growing up in a society that prioritizes external accomplishments to navigating relationships that were way more give than take, I don't believe I really knew what love meant at all. It took traveling some very long roads and learning incredibly difficult lessons to be able to look myself in the mirror and gaze warmly back at the face in front of me. To finally be able to accept myself, flaws and all—and, furthermore, to have cultivated the capacity to care for myself was the love I realized I had been missing all along.
A Few Ways to Practice Self-Love
Romanticize Your Life
Throw on the rose-colored glasses and keep them on. Choose to look at your life with wonder and excitement. Create rituals, find beauty in the mundane, and practice gratitude for all that you have.
Identify and Respect your Needs
Self-love involves taking the time to listen to yourself. We all desire to be heard, and it's funny how often we are, in fact, the ones ignoring ourselves. Carve out a moment to journal, take a drive, or walk solo in nature. Respect what your soul is telling you by acting on any truths that arise.
Show Up for Yourself
Abandoning ourselves is one of the worst cycles to be caught up in. Changing habits or accomplishing goals can seem impossible when you don't show up to do the work. Progress requires us to take action on our desires. Sometimes this means pushing yourself, and sometimes this means holding your own hand. By showing up for ourselves, regardless of the challenge, we are practicing self-love.
Practice Acceptance and Compassion
Adopting a mindset of acceptance and compassion is a must. The goal is to accept that your best will and should look different each day and to recognize that each version is just as worthy of being loved.
Enjoy the pleasures of being alive. Lavish yourself in the ways most meaningful to you. Take an extra long shower in the morning or devote a weekend to curling up with a good book. Try and look at your life from a perspective of abundance and embrace its many natural gifts.
I believe that by embracing self-love as the foundation of our self-care routines we will benefit greatly, resulting in a much more connected and happy self. Practicing self-love is no easy feat, especially when negative habits are already ingrained into our routines, but with practice and commitment, it will undoubtedly amplify our lives.
Exploring Self-Love with Journal Prompts
What are my beliefs surrounding the concept of self-love?
What acts of self-love currently show up in my life?
Which acts of self-love would I like to add and make habits around?