Groucho Marx once quipped: “I refuse to join any club that would have me for a member.” Humor sure has a way of getting at the most basic truths. Case in point: Without a little self-love, you’ll never be able to fully accept the love of others. This is how we end up hurting the ones we love — and ourselves — and why practicing self-love is so darn important. Knowing how to love ourselves a little is the kindest thing we can do for everyone.
What is self-love?
Let’s start with what self-love is not, because you hear a lot of things and read a lot of memes. First, self-love is not the norm. Make no mistake, you are not alone in your deep-seated self-loathing — everyone is struggling and suffering. It’s the human condition. Self-love is also not a destination. You will not wake up one day having suddenly arrived at self-love. It’s a life-long practice that takes hard work — and the path is never smooth. And finally, self-love is not an all or nothing proposition. You don’t have to love every part of you all the time — or even ever — and you don’t have to limit your range of acceptable emotions. It’s just about the balance tipping toward love, not loathing, more often than not.
OK . . . so, what is self love?
Self love is *simply* accepting and holding on to this one truth: you are in fact worthy of love. We all are — just by virtue of being alive.
Why is self-love so hard?
Simple answer: The odds are stacked high against us from the get go. Our parents are flawed. Our society is flawed. We’re flawed. Heck, everyone we know is flawed. Not to sound pessimistic, but it’s the truth. The sooner we can see it for what it is, the sooner we can get on with the hard work that needs to be done.
How can I practice self-love?
1/ Accept the things you cannot change. 2/ Change the things you cannot accept. 3/ Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.
AND . . . practice, practice, practice the ABCs of Self-Care:
Ask for help.
Be proactive about your health.
Change bad habits.
Define success for yourself (and know exactly what you’re willing to sacrifice for it).
Exercise and move your body.
Find your people.
Get into nature as much as possible.
Help out a cause.
Invest in yourself.
Just believe you are worthy of love.
Know that this too shall pass.
Laugh at yourself and life in general.
Make something with your hands.
Nourish your body.
Open your heart.
Practice, practice, practice.
Quiet your mind.
Rest and recharge.
Set clear boundaries.
Take time for yourself.
Work on relationships.
X out your to do list.
Yell into the wind.
Zip the lip of your critical inner voice.
Ready for a healthy New Year?
It takes a lot of steps to keep things purely simple. Experience the difference.