Before beginning the journey of loving oneself, we should first start with the concept of the “self”, including self-compassion, self- care, self- intimacy, and of course, self-love. Focusing on these aspects of self will depict a full picture of the importance of how we view ourselves, feel about ourselves, and treat ourselves.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why is it so easy for us to beat ourselves up for being human and having feelings? Self-compassion is the way you respond to yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, feel insecure, etc. Most of us unconsciously disappointed in ourselves because we think we're supposed to have everything together all of the time. This is not true, nor is it fair.
It is amazing how much easier it is to show compassion and be concerned about other people. We are more emphatic to others than we are to ourselves. Crazy, right?
The idea of “self-compassion” made a major impact on my life within the last few months. With everything that is happening around us, as well as me grieving the loss of a loved one, there was one particular morning when I literally did not feel like showing up. I did not want to get out of my bed. I did not want to share myself with anyone else. I literally just felt myself falling into the hole that I had been fighting so hard to stay out of.
Do you know what happened? I actually got upset with myself. And I mean I actually was angry with myself for feeling low. Wow! Like losing a parent is not reason enough to feel sad and maybe want to be alone for the moment. I punished and questioned my feelings because unconsciously, I felt that I should have been back to "normal". I believed I should not be sulking in my feelings and unfortunately, a lot of us do this to ourselves. We do not give ourselves the right to feel whatever it is that we are feeling and that is not fair. I knew it was time for me to confront and outgrow this damaging and unhealthy mindset.
Self-compassion is showing up for yourself when you need it the most. If this is something you struggle with, I hope you begin to grow out of mentally self-harming yourself by not checking in with yourself and taking your own feelings into consideration. I hope you stop punishing yourself for feeling how you feel. Try speaking to yourself differently. Practice these affirmations:
"I'm having a hard time right now."
"I'm not okay & that's okay."
"May I be kind to myself."
"May I give myself the love & compassion that I know I need."
Normally when you hear the word "intimacy", it is usually referring to something that is shared between you & another person. But have you ever considered or been concerned about being intimate with yourself? Self-intimacy focuses more on being aware of your own feelings and meeting the related needs of those feelings. If you are not in touch with your own feelings & not able to share them, then you will most likely have trouble addressing and sharing these said feelings.
How can someone love themselves much when they don't know themselves much? Self-awareness is an important piece of this. If you begin to notice & acknowledge, you will begin to heal. Increasing the awareness, the love, and intimacy of the self improves relationships with everything & everyone around you, including yourself. All of your relationships are a reflection of you & who you really are.
Mindfulness is another important factor because it includes us being present in who we are, what we are doing & what we are feeling. A good way to access mindfulness can be through a self-care tactic -- meditation. The goal of meditating is to bring you into a state of relaxation and awareness.
Remember: Real intimacy starts with you.
If you do not know what is needed for yourself, then you will not be able to articulate it to the people around you. This alone can backfire & may cause someone to feel unworthy of being loved. How can someone love you when you're not aware of what is needed to love or not even aware of how to love yourself?
Do we love ourselves conditionally or unconditionally? I think we have our moments where we allow ourselves to only show love when we are happy, or as a reward, or when it is "needed" most. In reality, we deserve to love ourselves every single day -- no matter what mood we are in, no matter what mistake we made, no matter the circumstances. We deserve unconditional love, from ourselves first.
Self-love is one of the purest types of love. Loving yourself is one of the first steps to learning how to create your own happiness. Loving yourself is significant to your mental health and well-being. Loving yourself means you having an overall positive outlook of yourself, but at the same time, loving yourself even when shit gets tough.
We have to first love ourselves before we can receive love from others. In order to have self-compassion, self-intimacy, and provide self-care, there must be even a little love behind all of it.
We are our safe havens. We are our temples. We must treat ourselves with an overflow of love, support, and reassurance that we give to and seek from others. I think that we expect compassion from others & that is it.
Learn from yourself a little differently today. Become more present to your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Pay attention to the way you feel within your surroundings, your reactions to certain things/people, your triggers. With the same intentions, pay more attention to the things that make you smile/laugh, the things that you genuinely enjoy, and bring a little more joy to your day and life. These are all important when learning more about yourself and being able to acknowledge who you are, which leads to you loving yourself a little bit more each day.
Self-love is one of the purest types of love. Whatever works best for you. Think about it. Consider it. You know yourself better than anyone else. Love yourself a little extra today, tomorrow, and every day after that! You deserve it.