Last post titled "Failure to Launch Or..." discussed why some adults are having a hard time moving on and getting to the next stage, be it emotional, psychological, relationship or career choices. The way to move forward and onward is by looking inside to see what is needed. Usually there is an unmet need, and when responded to, can help shift the inner workings of ones thoughts, subsequent choices and essentially create change.
One of the foundational necessities for moving forward with life goals is having a strong basis of self love and well developed sense of self. A clarity, an inner ease and a confidence that comes along with that. A vital ingredient to becoming that kind of person is Self-Love.
Self-love is a term that we all hear getting thrown around today. "Fall in love with yourself", "Why don't you know how to love yourself?" "How do you expect someone to love you if you don't know how to love yourself". These are all well meaning suggestions to guiding you towards a life that feels better.
The way we experience ourselves and view ourselves affects all areas of our lives; who we allow in our friendship circle, who we attract in our love life and what kind of job environment we choose to work in. It also affects the way we parent our children and informs our attachments and connections that we develop. It most definitely affects the way we show up to the world.
"What is a simple definition of self love?", you may ask:
Self love is not simply a state of feeling good. "Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth."
Many are on a search for acquiring more self love by reading lots of "self-care books", getting involved in a love relationship that will provide love, or by buying something they've been eyeing for a while, thinking "that will make me feel loved and cared for". Although all of those are wonderful ideas and surely will provide some insight and some "feel-good" experiences, those aren't the ways to fill that inner thirst for self-love, self-connection or self-nurturance.
The funny thing about self-love is that it is dynamic. It is something that grows by actions and choices that mature us. When we engage in behaviors and choose choices that expand self-love in us, we begin to embrace our strengths, flow more compassion to our struggles and feel less of an urge to excuse or explain our limitations.
We begin accepting the humanity that we posses. We begin embracing that there is a very real existent struggle of searching for meaning, a desire to find fulfillment through our efforts, create a life with meaning and purpose and defined values and ethics.
So, here I'll be sharing Ten Tips to Nourishing yourself:
Practice Living Mindfully: "Mindfulness is the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience" Or as Jon Kabat-Zinn defines it as "Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally." When you are mindful you can make wholesome choices that fit with what it is that you are needing right now. Your choices can come from an inner knowing and don't get distracted by others' needs or wants or by your own lack of clarity or by impulse.
Get Clear on Needs Vs. Wants: We sometimes jumble our needs up with our wants. Staying clear, grounded and focused will help you say "no" to something that pulls you away from your goal and "yes" to the choices, decisions and thoughts that lead you to where you need to go.
Make Self Care a Priority: Nourish yourself daily through healthy activities; balanced diet, adequate sleep, movement and exercise in your day and a healthy balance of social and emotional interactions with friends and loved ones.
Boundaries. You'll be so proud of yourself when you set limits clearly and say no to others, work, activities or relationships that exhaust you or harm you emotionally, physically spiritually or energetically. Being able to say “no” with confidence boosts your self love exponentially, as you're sending a message to yourself that you are taking good care of yourself and are fiercely protecting necessary limits for self care.
Protect yourself. Yes, protect yourself. No, you don't need to learn Krav Maga (although It’s something I love and would encourage you to learn), I mean protect yourself by choosing to bring only the right kind of people in your life. Make sure those people are hand picked and carefully selected; set yourself high standards and choose others who respect others. Let go of friends who use you, are mean or thoughtless, or don't have space for a two-sided relationship. Choose to hang out with people who you would choose for your child to spend time with. Yes, set the bar high.
Practice Forgiving Yourself. At you learn and practice more and more about self love and caring for your needs, you may notice times where you're caught off guard or where you doubt yourself and make a "less-than-ideal" choice. It’s Okay. What's not ok is if you keep beating yourself up inside about it. Flow forgiveness.
Set Your Intentions. If you've ever spoken to anyone who has built a house, a business or completed a difficult project successfully, you'll always hear that they've set a clear intention and took steps that followed the path. With intention you know where you need to go, how to get there and a trust in knowing that you will get through the ups and downs when it gets bumpy. Get clear on your intention. What do you want to see in your life? Get a few magazines and cut out pictures that feel right. Hang them on your wall. Do whatever it takes to get the vision of where you are heading. If your intention is clear, you will make decisions to support this intention and feel good about yourself when you succeed.
Laugh. We spend so much of our time thinking, worrying, analyzing and flipping thoughts in our heads like pancakes. Sometimes we find something funny that we laugh about and our minds feel lighter, for just a bit. So, choose something funny to read, hang out with a silly part of yourself, get into a jiggle dance with your family or friends or watch a funny clip. Your brain will thank you. Our brain releases endorphins and dopamine (feel good hormones) when we laugh. Get some giggles in.
Notice your Strengths. We all have strengths. Some of us have a harder time finding or identifying them and some of us know what we're good at. Maybe you're kind, patient, or forgiving. You may be a very consistent person, always on time. See the ways in which you do things right.
Practice Gratitude. Yes, even on a tough day. Find something silly to write down. You are breathing. You have a roof on your head. Maybe someone smiled at you or maybe you made someone smile. Or, maybe you had a great day, filled with laughter, love and joyous moments. Take a moment to give them some space in your head. Write them down. Noticing these things strengthen the healthy brain inside and flow love within you.
Start today. Even if you chose just one or two of these self-love tips, you will be creating new neural pathways, new ways of thinking and feeling about yourself. Practicing these exercises will help you increase your level of self acceptance and enhance compassion and self nurturing.
The thing is; no one can love you more than you love yourself. It's true. I know we sometimes wish someone can butter us in love and make us feel better. It's a normal feeling, we all want someone else to do the work for us at times. The thing about investment is when you invest in yourself, you own what you've built.
And, the good news is that you've got the power. Yes, one tiny step, one little thought and a shift inside- those all create new ways of interacting with yourself. Some days it'll be harder to practice these than other days. That's normal. We all have those days. If you can push yourself to do something fun, go for that run, blast you favorite music, think a nice though about yourself, set a new boundary and fiercely protect you needs, you will definitely be nurturing your core. Prepare yourself for living the life you want. The life you are choosing to create with each and every choice and action. And hey, the great news is that when we are feeling good inside, we attract others who feel that way too, and then you're surrounded by wholesome, supportive people. And isn't that what we all want?
I trust you will practice these for yourself. You can do it.
Take good care of YOU!