Authentic self-love is generated with the abundance of self-awareness and self-care. If you haven’t read The Journey to Self-Love Part 1: Self-Awareness here it is! The previous post of the The Journey to Self-Love series was dedicated to understanding yourself and discovering who you really are. This piece is focused on taking care of that beautiful soul you just discovered. There are a million ways to practice self-care and I am going to touch on a few of my favorites that have worked for me.
Self-care is showing yourself the love and attention you deserve. We often search for that in other people, expecting our families, friends and lovers to give us what we need. Expecting others to fill that void is a surefire way to end up empty and lost. Once you start depending on others for the love you need, you’re emotional and spiritual survival is in their hands. You are a half waiting for someone to make you whole. When you start giving yourself the care you need and deserve, you are on your way to becoming an unwavering pinnacle of happiness. No one will be able to shake your inner peace because you provide it for yourself. You will be able to understand and handle your emotions. You will develop healthy relationships with others with no dependencies or unhealthy attachments. Have you ever had a break-up that shattered your world? Or lost a close family member and thought you couldn’t go on? Or had a best friend move away and you spiraled into a state of depression? Finding self-love and being whole on your own will prevent your world from being turned upside down in situations like this. You will be able to handle these experiences and find your inner peace again. I’m not saying you won’t be affected by painful events, but you won’t feel like your life is over because you know that your survival depends on you and you alone. You have to put in the time and effort to know yourself and care for yourself. After all, you’re the only “you” you’ve got.
- Set healthy boundaries
This is an act of self-care that I struggled with most. I’m someone who typically chooses to see the good in others and as a result I was very reckless in my personal relationships. I also didn’t have the authentic self-love to sustain myself so in order to keep the peace, I would let people I cared about cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed. I would give a lot of myself away and then wonder why I felt so empty. A lack of boundaries gives people the opportunity to disrupt your inner peace. It gives others the power over your emotional (and sometimes physical) well-being. At the same time, too many restricting boundaries limits your ability to love and be loved. That’s the “numb” or “heartless” way of living that seems to unfortunately be in style right now. Too many boundaries means you are missing the self-love to sustain yourself through any situation and as a result you try to block yourself off from anything that might shake your world. Once you find authentic self-love that fear will disappear. You will be able to give love and care to others without the fear of being taking advantage of. You will also start to attract others who have found self-love and those who intend to harm you will no longer be drawn to you. The truth is this world is unfortunately filled with hurt people who tend to inflict their pain onto others, most of the times unknowingly. Even the people you love and care for can cause harm to you unintentionally. As a result you have to have certain boundaries set in place to prevent people from violating your emotional well-being, while still being open to receiving positive energy and love from others. To do this, the best way I found was to write out all of your limits. What won’t you tolerate from others and why? Have you allowed your friends, families, and lovers to cross those lines? Sometimes you don’t even realize when you have been emotionally or psychologically violated because you had no concept of your boundaries. Think of times when you felt drained by a certain situation or person. When your energy is taken from you this is a sign that a boundary was crossed. Understand why and realize that this is a limit for you. Once you understand what you will allow and what you won’t allow, stand up for it. Say no. Be direct. And if someone is not OK with the boundaries you have set, then they are not respecting your being and as tough as it is you must remove yourself from the situation. Take relationships, both romantic and platonic, slowly. Don’t expect them to fill any voids. Respect others’ boundaries and respect your own.
- Practice gratitude
Gratitude is a very powerful tool that can be used to improve your mindset and your life. It allows you to appreciate the life you have built around you. Understand that everything in your life and every person in your life has been brought to you by you! The law of attraction is an amazing thing. Your thoughts and actions have built the world around you. Thank yourself for creating such a beautiful life. Thank the Universe, God, Allah or whatever higher power you believe in for giving you the tools to succeed. Write down the things you are grateful for in your life. Write down the things about yourself that you are grateful for. Keep a list of your accomplishments and be proud of every single one of them. Do this everyday if you can. Never take yourself or your life for granted. Show compassion towards yourself. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and your faults. Be grateful for the good and bad experiences, for each one was a lesson. Check out my piece on gratitude and explore the various ways to use this practice to enhance your well-being.
- Take care of your body
The body and the mind are two coexisting entities. If one is unhealthy, the other feels it. Have you ever noticed that when you are eating healthy and exercising regularly your mood and mental clarity are better than ever? That’s because the body and mind work closely with one another. If your body has no energy, it takes it from your mind leaving you unmotivated and depressed. Vice versa, if your mind or soul needs energy it will take it from your body which can result in fatigue and illness. You must give both your mind and your body the sources of energy they each need. Respect and cherish your body for it is the vessel of your soul. Think of yourself as a garden. Your body is the soil and your soul is the collection of plants. You need to tend to the soil before you can grow healthy plants. Unhealthy soil means the plants’ growth will be limited. At the same time, you can have healthy soil but if you don’t take care of and tend to the plants then they will not grow. Take care of your body by providing it with the nutrients it needs. Cut out the processed and manufactured food (or at least cut down). Try to get in some exercise everyday. I wrote a post on some ways to exercise other than going to the gym. Check out my body page that has some helpful tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle!
- Do things you enjoy
This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised how often we don’t actually take the time to do the things we enjoy. We have so many responsibilities in life that we lose sight of the simple things that make us smile. Take a day off from work and pamper yourself. Go to a spa. Get a massage. Get your hair done. Take a trip to the beach. Buy yourself a new outfit. Turn off your phone. Listen to music all day. Catch up with an old friend. Read a book. Take a nap. Or do absolutely nothing all day. Just enjoy your life and fill it with activities that bring you happiness. Take the time to reward yourself for all the work you put in everyday because life is hard! What are the things that nourish your soul? What gives you energy? Find your creative outlet. This is one of the best ways to practice self-care. Any creative endeavor is a way for you to express yourself. Sadly, when we become adults this is not something that is embraced enough in our everyday life. Most of our jobs limit our ability to simply create. That’s why it’s so important that you make the time for it. Dancing, painting, writing, singing, and cooking are just some ways to let your inner child out and speak your soul’s language. Imagination and creativity are valuable assets that each of us have and tend to neglect. Take a break from your list of to-do’s and do something just for you.
This is just a few of the million ways to practice self-care. This article on Tiny Buddha has tons of other simple ways to show some TLC to your body, mind and soul.
Each human being holds the power to create their own happiness and fill their world with it. Life has it’s ups and downs but at the core of all our problems are the problems we have with ourselves. Self-love should be number one on your priorities. Find it and keep it. I promise, once you do your life will never be the same. Joy and positive energy will become attracted to you. You will vibrate on a higher frequency. Your inner peace will be unshakable. You will wonder why you ever doubted the beautiful being that you are. I’ve met people from all walks of life and the one thing I can say about them all is that they each had something beautiful to offer the world in their own unique way. They might not have seen it, but I sure did. It’s time for you to look past the distractions of the material world and realize what an amazing person you truly are. You are not defined by the job you have, the clothes you wear, or the place you came from. You are defined by the unique soul within you. We are constantly evolving and that’s the beauty of life. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. So enjoy it and love yourself through every step. Make mistakes and learn from them. Show yourself compassion. Be kind and forgiving. Never stop growing and never stop loving.