Thoughts & Inspirations

The Art of Loving Yourself

I just watched a report this morning on the news about how there is now over 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety, a number that has doubled over the past 8 years. I have my opinions on why this has happened, but one thing I know to be true is that we spend an awful lot of time concentrating on our external selves (our image, expressions, clothing, others’ opinions, etc.) and not nearly enough time focusing on our internal selves.

The power self love is one of the most overwhelming and joyous emotional states you can experience. It is one of those simple concepts that everyone knows they “should be doing” but can always find an excuse why it can’t be done. So when do you draw the line on the excuses? For a lot people, there is a moment or an event, often a negative one, that awakens the yearning deep within to be something better and something truer to yourself.

The self is made up of the physical body and the spiritual being. We all know taking care of the physical body is important for sustaining life. But truly without internal spiritual care, the physical body is only a shell. I say spiritual, not because I want to push religion, but because, regardless of HOW you choose to do it –> understanding and caring for your mental state (your spirit) will control and guide you towards what is right for you.

That moment when…

I am 26 years old, and up until this year of my life I had never even thought I needed more self love. Honestly, I felt selfish wanting self love. To ALLOW myself “me” time as a mom or to say no to a family function when I knew there would be drama that would negatively affect me was very difficult…and I often felt guilty for doing it. But the more I did it, the more I took care of my own soul, in just a short period of time has allowed me to open up and GIVE more then I ever thought I could. My moment came when I found myself sitting at our kitchen table, crying, as our son screamed for some reason I couldn’t figure out and I prayed. I literally had not prayed since I asked God to get rid of my acne in high school…and He didn’t…so I gave up on praying, obviously not understanding the concept at the time. But during that moment I felt I had nothing more to give; no more patience, no more kindness, no more love. I was empty. And let me tell you…emptiness is like the feeling that makes depression seem like sunshine and rainbows. Seriously, it’s terrifying. My point is that as everyone has their own journey, everyone has their own moment. Realizing that moment is like opening the wardrobe and discovering Narnia IS real. It’s a whole new world.

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To LOVE fully, you have to BE fully…

For as materialistic and self medicating as humans can be, we spend an awful lot of time worrying about other people’s feelings. Is this necessarily a bad thing? NO. It is good to be aware of your impact on others. However, your own actions are guided by you, and ONLY you!!! If you do not love and understand yourself, how can you truly love and understand the needs and feelings of others? Classically, we see this in relationships where one person relies on the other completely for emotional support and guidance or even creates a false sense of security in an otherwise outwardly unhealthy relationship. You SHOULD love yourself first, there is nothing selfish about that. You should take care of yourself first, as you cannot take care of others if you are not well. And you should put yourself first, as treating yourself to such love and care will allow room for so much more giving you will not know what to do with it all!

Revamp your perspective…

Our world has grown to be a place of technological abundance with almost anything available instantly at our fingertips. This is convenient but it is also toxic to our psyche! Self care takes practice, patience, and TIME. It’s not a once and done ordeal. It is an integrated part of you daily life that may take months or years to fine tune. Something I have found that helps, its putting myself in perspective with the universe around me. I personally choose to reference the universe, rather then just Earth, because we can go almost anywhere on Earth and we can scientifically understand most processes. The universe, on the other hand, is boundless and vastly incomprehensible. I remind myself that no matter how much time it takes to provide myself the self love I need, that time is there and it is infinite. I cannot and should not expect immediate results, but instead enjoy the learning experience and enjoy growing into something more beautiful…from the inside out.IMG_0030

Put it to practice…

Still not sure where to start? Here is a little exercise I recommend…Have a piece of paper with you all day. Draw a line down the middle of said paper. When you think or speak positively of yourself, write it down on one side…when you think or speak negatively, write it down on the other side. At the end of the day see where you are. Do you put yourself down more then you realized? Or, do you encourage yourself even in light of a potentially negative situation. Essentially, this is a paper and pen version of mindfulness (Which I will save my thoughts on for another post) that can give you a starting point on how to improve your mental self care practices!

For me what works best is yogic practices along with crystals, meditation, and mindfulness. I would be lying if I said it was easy, because half the time I only get 5 minutes into a yoga flow before I have to chase my 1 year old down! Writing is also very therapeutic for me, that is why I blog (see this post to learn more about my story). Do not limit yourself, there is so many options out there!

My final message…

Listen to your body…it never lies. It knows what you need, all you have to do it give in. Give in to its needs of care physically and mentally and you will discover a balance within yourself that can only be described as blissful. Do not let anyone tell you it is selfish, do not tell your self you don’t have time…because there is literally all the time in the universe, we might as well use it 🙂

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Picture credits to my beautiful mother, Clara Cleary.

One thought on “The Art of Loving Yourself

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