TAKE IT FROM THE BIEBS
Oh, if we could all love ourselves the way Justin Bieber suggests his ex-girlfriend does. But alas, it’s a lesson many people don’t learn as early as is probably healthy. Before we can find that true, to the moon and back type love, with the person whose soul touches yours in a way no one else can, we’ve got to have that kind of love with ourselves first.
BUT WAIT, I THOUGHT IT WAS SOMEONE ELSE’S JOB TO LOVE ME?
Um, no. Yes, finding the person who wants to make it part of their lifelong job to love you is a heck of a bonus. But we can’t expect someone else to love us if we don’t love us first! As a person who, for the longest time, wanted so badly for someone to love me the way I knew I was capable of loving someone, it was only when I stopped searching for someone else to love me and instead used that power of love on myself, did my forever wonderful lover show up for me. So I know what it’s like to yearn, I know what it’s like to self-sabotage, and I know what it’s like to channel that self-love and be your own lover.
OKAY, SO HOW DO I LOVE MYSELF? I MEAN, I’VE GOT ALL THESE FLAWS…
You mean you’re human? Welcome to the club! No. One. Is. Perfect. We’ve all got flaws! When it comes to self-love, it’s about being honest with your strengths, your weaknesses, who you are, and who you aren’t.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
As it relates to strengths and weaknesses, it’s not about taking all your weaknesses and trying to make them strengths. Focus on your strengths and what you bring to any relationship – romantic, familial, friendship, etc. Know them, have confidence in them, use them! Show them! Research shows that focusing on your strengths is a far more productive and beneficial use of energy and also has more positive impact and results.
When it comes to your weaknesses or flaws, do an honesty check with yourself. Do they hurt others? Do they interfere with your ability to build or maintain any type of relationship? If so, there may be some work to do to tweak a couple things in order to help you rid that particular flaw not from existence, but change it from hurting others or yourself. In most cases, you won’t really have many of those, if any at all. But for the rest of your ‘flaws,’ accept them! There is always time to work on them to continue to grow and be a better person, but self-love is accepting them and not shaming yourself for having them.
Let’s keep it real with some Darling D personal examples. I have accepted the fact that sometimes I burp like a 400-pound man. I can’t change it, I don’t hate myself because of it, and I have accepted it as a part of the beautiful, amazing package that is Darling D. My S.O. knows it now too and loves me just the same! Plus, it’s damn funny sometimes and makes us laugh.
You know what else? I’ve always had a belly. Not a huge one, and most people describe me as small, but I wasn’t blessed with a flat stomach. There’s always been a little bulge, even at my healthiest. Non-self-loving-me hated it, shamed myself for it, and allowed it to be a reason to treat myself in a way I’d never treat another human. Self-loving-me accepts that that’s how I am. I eat healthy because I want to, I exercise because I want to, and that little pouch will still be there with me. It may not be what I always wanted, but I accept myself for it. And bonus, the man of my dreams loves me for every curve, every morsel of my skin, every inch he gets to kiss and touch and be with. Including that “flaw.”
WHO YOU ARE AND WHO YOU AREN’T
Outside of strengths and weaknesses, another huge way to practice self-love is by identifying who are you, who you’re not, and loving yourself for all those things. In today’s society, with all the filters, Pinterest parties and everyone showcasing the highlight reels of their life, it’s easy to trick yourself into believing you are or you aren’t a certain way or a type of person because you’re influenced thanks to all the media feeds infiltrating our brains on an hourly basis. If you see all these people traveling to exotic places but you are a homebody, don’t try to turn yourself into a world traveler! If you see all these people joining MLM companies but you hate the idea of using social media to post about your life and gig every day, don’t join one!
Don’t try to be who you’re not to get someone’s approval. Don’t try to hide who you are in order to play on someone else’s level. All of those things are not acts of love toward yourself and ultimately stop you from being your true, authentic self which prevents love with another person from flourishing as strongly as it can.
A simple practice to ease into this idea to practice self-love is to make a list! Write down five things you are and five things you’re not. Once your list is written, look it over and say out loud “I accept myself for these things.” The power of writing things down and saying things out loud has been shown to shift thoughts and behaviors far more than keeping thoughts inside your head. Do you really want to love yourself? Write it – say it – (eventually) believe it!
Real talk again, Darling D style. I am not a crafty person. I do not enjoy crafts, I do not have patience for crafts, I do not have the vision for crafts. So I have accepted that I am not, and will not be, a Pinterest person. I pin things all day long, but I pin what I love…food. Will my future kids have Pinterest perfect parties? Nope, sorry kiddos. Here’s a part of who I am: I’m an affectionate person. I hug, I touch, I kiss, I feel. Of course, I scale back and adjust my behavior appropriately depending on the appropriateness and the company, but I cannot pretend not to care, not to show love through touch, and that just is what it is. I’ve accepted that about myself and while some may not, I love myself for it!
So, who are you? Who aren’t you? Your whole package is something to love and if you do, someone else will too!
I’M IN. I WANT TO LOVE ME! TELL ME HOW ELSE
Here are some simple, practical ways to show and practice self-love:
Thank you, gracias, grazie, merci
- When someone gives you a compliment, do nothing else but say “thank you.” I bet that sounds easier than it is! Think about how many times people tell you something and you negate or downplay it. No more! From now on when you receive compliments, simply say thank you without any other explanation. And then internalize what the person has said and believe it yourself.
- One of my favorite self-love practices is carving out some me-time. With overbooked social and work calendars it’s something that’s easy to ignore but when you prioritize yourself the way you prioritize others, you learn to appreciate yourself and truly practice that self-love. Whether it’s an hour of time to read, take a bath, cook, drink tea, or just lay on the floor in silence and rest, making time for yourself is one of the greatest forms of self-love there is.
What do you like, what do you want, what do you need
- Sometimes we’re so wrapped up in other people and relationships that we haven’t really paid attention to the things just listed. Identify them! What do you like these days? What are your goals these days? What do you need these days? Take some quiet time to figure those things out, and then tell the people closest to you. Bringing them into the fold will help them love you better, while you’re practicing loving yourself better. Win-win!
YOU SHOULD LET YOU LOVE YOU
It took some time to get good at, but once I truly loved myself for my strengths, my weaknesses, who I am and who I’m not, things began to shift and there was so much more love in my life on the daily. It’s only through my self-love that I was ready and prepared to allow another person to love me the fiercest, truest way possible. I wish that for you!