I am so excited by my next guest post, and could write a long introduction on how much I agree with everything she says (I do, so much!) but instead i'm just going to hand you over to my lovely friend Mel.
Infinite and un-ending, love is unlike anything else; it amazes me that our capacity for love is so great. There’s not a point you reach where you’ve used it all up. There’s not a certain quota, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. When you give love, it grows, it swells within, filling you up.
Then why is one of the hardest aspects of love, learning to love yourself?
How can we teach our children about self-love if we do not look after ourselves properly.
I see evidence of it daily, people just don’t seem to know how to love, or even like themselves sometimes. Self-love has nothing to do with boosting your own ego, being arrogant, or narcissistic, the term ‘self-love’ is widely used to mean valuing your own happiness and well-being - two very important things. Even lots of friends (myself included), all in their 30s and 40s are still struggling with this. Surely by this age we ought to be better at doing this basic human thing.
Since becoming a mother I have discovered a new dimension of love. It’s a raw and honest love, like nothing else, and my daughter helps me feel its presence every day. Children come ready with the ability to love boundlessly, and as a parent I want to be able to match that, set a great example for my daughter, and love others, and myself without fear.
When I think of my daughter and all that I want for her future, and happiness, I am unwavering in my support for her. I wonder why it’s not so easy to love ourselves with the same unconditional love.
Fundamentally, the value that she places in her own happiness and well-being will be learnt right here at home by observing how we interact with her, with others, and how kind we are to ourselves. It is therefore vital that we lead by example and try to have a healthy approach to self-love.
I am definitely still learning the art of self love, but here are my top 8 things to focus on…
- Treat yourself with kindness. It’s quite simple to do, but lots of us still aren’t very good at it. We put un-realistic pressures on ourselves, and expect too much of what we can give and do. We even forget the basic things like eating, and sleeping well.
- Give yourself a break once in a while, and learn how to forgive yourself; we beat ourselves up for feeling guilty about things; we should have, could have, been better, done more, worked harder, not forgotten….
- Surround yourself with healthy relationships, your friends and loved ones should only want good things for you, and should champion you all the way. If you have a friend that likes to see you fail, they are not really a friend at all, and you don’t need them in your life.
- Practice ‘Gratitude’; feeling grateful for something every day will help develop that positive and loving place within you. It will also remind you that you are worthy of good things.
- Learn how to be comfortable spending time on your own; you’re awesome and unique and you should want to hang out with yourself.
- Embrace your imperfections. Having flaws is normal, it’s what makes us human, and there is no escaping how messy life can be. It’s best to climb on board the uncontrollable train and enjoy the ride, anyway isn’t that what makes life interesting?
- Drop all the comparisons and stop judging yourself. What’s the point in comparing anyway; you don’t know what someone’s past was like, you don’t really know what their present is (online highlights don’t count), and you have no idea what is in their future.
- Finally, be mindful and live with intention. The more mindful you become, the more aware you are of what you need on a deeper level. It is okay to say ‘no’ to things, and the more you practice mindfulness, the easier you will find it to set healthy boundaries. Also living with a clear intention and focus will help steer you in the right direction, allowing you to let go of situations, and opportunities that do not align with what is best for you. As you find yourself making headway, and reaching your goals (no matter how small) this sense of achievement will boost that feeling of self-love.
Remember that being completely loved just for you (faults and all) is a wonderful feeling; like returning home. You do not need to wait for anybody else to bing that recognition of love into your life, you have the power to love yourself, and are worthy of good things. Knowing there is a true place to belong, that you are enough, brings a sense of peace that can not be matched by anything else. Cultivate that feeling when ever you can. It’s what we all deserve.
Thank you so so much Melanie! For those that do not know about it Melanie (@geoffreyandgrace) and Danielle (@hippieindisguise) are collaborating on a #slowliving_ project over on Instagram. Each month, they pick a different aspect of slow living to focus on, ask others to join in, and then share their favourite pictures from the gallery at the end of the month on their blogs.
The theme for February is ‘love’ and there is still time to join in. Anyone can take part, all you have to do is tag one of your photos that incapsulates slow and wholehearted living with hashtag #slowliving_love and tag @geoffreyandgrace and @hippieindisguise too. You can read more about the project over on their blogs.