February 2017 – Self Love & Self Care

Since I began teaching my courses to women in 2003, I’ve both talked & written about (many times!) the power of & the need for, self love. While the term ‘self love’ today often gets misused & at times associated with narcissism, ‘self love’ as I discuss it here, solely refers to the desirable characteristic to have regard for one’s own well being & happiness! 

So then how, exactly, do we embody this healthy definition of self love?

Well, we start embodying self love by taking care of ourselves. Unfortunately, self care/taking care of oneself often gets confused with being selfish. However, there’s nothing selfish about taking care of oneself. If you don’t care for yourself, who will? How can you then stay healthy, happy & whole? How can you then successfully give your time, share your talents or other, with those around you too? It’s this precise confusion that leads so many women to neglect themselves. As women, we’ve been culturally conditioned to believe too, that we must care for others first & only…& then at some point, magically, we’ll be taken care of too. Sadly, this is just not how it goes.

So for this month of February, where love’s often found to be the primary focus, how can we either a) kick our own self love up a notch or b) get started with finally showing ourselves some consistent & daily self love?

Well, here are a few ideas to get you going on either front!

  1. Think About All Aspects of Self Love First. A good start (whether you’re already a self care expert or just getting started!) is to first ponder all the ways we can care for ourselves. There’s mental self care; doing things that keep your mind calm, positive and/or focused. (like deep breathing, meditation or visualization). Next, there’s physical self care; making sure you get into bed early enough so you get a full night’s rest, eat foods that truly fuel you & allow your body to run optimally. Moving your body daily so you use your muscles to maintain strength & flexibility. There’s also spiritual self care (doing things that align with your authentic self & spending time with those who truly ‘get you’ ) & also emotional self care; allowing yourself to feel what you feel, process your feelings as they arise & focus on feelings that allow you to feel good! In truth, there are many other types of self care as well as additional ways we can implement them all. I’ve only scratched the surface here! Still, to begin thinking about all the many ways we can take care of ourselves is a great, first step! So at the top of this new month, list out for yourself all the different aspects of self love YOU can think of that feel like great self care to YOU! Perhaps starting to handle your finances more responsibly? Or moving forward, having close relationships with only those equally good & kind to you? Or maybe it’s now time for you to start spending your free time only on things you feel most passionately about? Truly, there are so many aspects of self love! So list out whatever comes to mind for you…& have some while fun doing so!
  1. Circle 1 or 2 Aspects of Self Love That You Think You Most Need Right Now. Now that you’ve given some thought to all the many ways you can care for yourself, circle 1 or 2 things from your list that you feel you’re most in need of implementing in your life right now…so you can be a better you! When we’re clear about exactly what we need to thrive, we can then start making that happen for ourselves. We’re also then setting ourselves up too, to eventually better be there for others; those we most love & care about! In time then, we can start bringing our best selves to all that we do! Therefore & next, circle what YOU most need for yourself right now.
  1. Schedule In 1, Simple Task To Do Daily; To Take Better Care of You! Now that you’ve made your list & circled the 1 or 2 things you most need at this stage of your life to better thrive, open your daily calendar & schedule in 1, simple thing you can begin to do daily, to make this happen for yourself. Is it simply changing your breakfast for starters? Or hitting the gym on your way home from work 3 nights a week? Maybe it’s saying yes to social plans only with those equally good to you moving forward? Or balancing your check book nightly, right before you go to sleep! Whatever it is, start small…so you can succeed in doing it daily. Then, you can always build on that success once it’s become a breeze for you! Remember, less is more. Otherwise, you may not be able to keep it up & with time, build momentum.

A Few, Last Things To Remember…

Self care is self love…& self love, self care; not selfishness or self involvement. Selfishness & self involvement only happen when we care for & ONLY about ourselves. No one else! If we start (or continue) caring for ourselves though, we’ll not only be better for ourselves…we’ll be better for all those around us too!

Also, self love involves caring for ourselves even when it’s really hard. You know…when we’ve made a terrible mistake, are having trouble forgiving ourselves, can’t seem to get our acts together or whatever else it might be! Simply put though, self love is not conditional. It’s behaving like a best friend to ourselves…all the time! Not just when it’s easy or convenient. Does this mean we do it perfectly? Not at all! We can only aim to do our best each & every day; to be kind to ourselves, caring to our ourselves & no matter what the circumstances are, doing our very best to be there for ourselves. Always!

May you take from here large or small, whatever’s helpful to you…& where needed, share this message with those you love! Happy February. I wish you a beautiful month ahead…filled with lots & lots of self love!