I was tagged in a Facebook post the other day. One of the women who participated in The Well-Nourished Goddess telesummit wanted me to answer a question posed in one of her other groups about what self-love is and how you go about actually doing it.
I love this question for a number of reasons:
- Self-love is something that many of us struggle with (enter feelings of not enoughness and our inner critic in whatever form she's decided to show up in at this moment).
- I love that more and more women are talking about this topic and being vulnerable about their own struggles – I think when we are vulnerable in places and with people that we feel safe, we give others permission to do the same.
- My definition of self-love keeps changing, evolving, deepening – and that Facebook post challenged me to examine my own definition of self-love and my self-loving actions lately.
When I first started my own journey back to self-love, I had just gotten divorced, turned 40, broken my heel for the second time in a year, and admitted I'd had an eating disorder for two decades. Can anyone say “uphill battle?” 🙂
A friend of mine had given me Christine Arylo's book Madly in Love with Me a few years prior and I used the definition of self-love Christine gave in her book as my anchor as I slowly started to climb my way back to self-love. While I still think it was a great place for me to start my journey and helped me immensely, at some point along the way, I realized that I needed my own definition of self-love. Rather than using someone’s “prescription” for getting back to self-love, I needed to create my own path. So I started to play with that definition of self-love and what it truly meant for me.
“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti”
I realized over the years that, rather than trying to come up with a textbook-sounding definition, for me, self-love needed to be more about my actions (how I spoke to and about myself, how I treated myself and allowed others to treat me) than about the way I tried to describe self-love and what it meant. So instead of a definition, I offer you this: a manifesto on what it means for me to be a self-loving woman (and yes, if you ask me again in a year, things may have changed slightly and that's okay).
A self-loving woman (in no particular order):
- Listens to her body and gives it what it needs
- Speaks kindly to herself and about herself
- Puts her own health/sanity/self-care at the top of her priority list because she realizes that she can’t be of service if she’s depleted
- Finds her own best harmony/balance in time spent in work, her various roles and obligations, play, relaxation, fun, and self-care
- Is grateful for what she has
- Is joyful because she makes being joy-full a priority
- Walks her own unique path of purpose – she lives on purpose, speaks on purpose, and makes decisions on purpose that feel in alignment with her Soul
- Is mindful of how she treats herself and others
- Asks for help and support when she needs it and allows herself to receive it
- Goes for her dreams because she knows that: 1) they matter and 2) we need her unique gifts in the world and we need her to show up and be herself
- Takes exquisite care of herself and makes sure her needs are getting met consistently
- Is truly grateful for all of the unique experiences her life brings her, even the ones that are challenging because she knows that with challenge comes growth
- Stands in her power and speaks her truth with gracious, but firm conviction
- Makes sure she feels grounded and rooted in her life and knows how to get back to that place when she gets knocked off course by life’s little mishaps
- Is able to find stillness and calmness at her center no matter what is going on outside because she has learned to be her own pillar of strength
- Is happy with who she is
- Shows up for herself because she knows she is absolutely worth it!
- Respects herself, her judgement and her values, and expects that same respect from those she is in relationship with or she removes herself from those disrespectful or toxic relationships/ situations
- Accepts that she will make mistakes, but doesn’t beat herself up over them
- Loves and accepts herself, even when she feels like she’s made a “mis-take” because she’s learned the art of self-forgiveness and knows that with each of life’s little lessons, she learns
- Shows herself the same love and compassion that she would show her best friend/child/loved one because she’s realized that, like everyone else, she is only human – perfectly imperfect just the way she is
Am I “perfect” at the things on this list? Of course not (see “Accepts that she will make mistakes, but doesn’t beat herself up over them” – sometimes the reality is that is more of a “try really hard not to beat myself up over them” – I’m only human!). But this gives me something to strive for and reminds me that I am worth taking exquisite care of because I am worthy of my own love as much as anyone else is. It also reminds me that it’s ultimately up to me to make sure I am getting my needs met.
What does being a self-loving woman mean to you? I’d love to find out! Let me know in the comments below.
If you are not sure where to begin and need a little help returning to a place of self-love as you figure out what self-love means to you, feel free to check out my ecourse Learn to Love Yourself Again. You can do this. You are so worth it!