Two simple words that nudge us toward the idea of embracing all that we are and of putting ourselves first. However, with the busy schedules and chaotic lives that we throw ourselves into, it is often anything but simple to make time for ourselves. If we are to live the best versions of who we are, it must start with taking care of the body responsible for getting us through this life.
To love is to live and to live is to love yourself. This requires respect just as much as it requires patience. It is when times are the hardest that is can be most beneficial to try to recognize and find those places where we are able to soften. The messages on our screens are full of fear and hatred and it is more important than ever to be courageous in love. There is so much violence and pain that having love and a nonjudgemental eye for what surrounds us starts with loving ourselves.
So right now, stop everything you are doing and take a moment to hug yourself and say “I love you. I am enough just as I am.” I don’t care if it feels silly or looks stupid. Do it anyway because you really are enough. We need a little more of these small but impactful self-love moments in our life.
Here are a few other changes we can make in our day to not only lift us up, but to also lift up those around us.
- Talk to yourself
Have you ever taken time to really pay attention to the inner voice in your head? What kinds of things are you saying to yourself? What kinds of words are you speaking? Are they kind, gentle, loving? We often find we have the most cruel and unforgiving things to say to ourselves. Our inner monologues can really have a transformative effect on the way that we feel and act on the outside. Practice self-kindness little-by-little and shift the way in which you speak to the yourself. Let the first thing you say to yourself in the morning be “I love you”. Close your eyes and bring to mind an image of your nine year-old self: braces, embarrassing glasses, awkwardness and all. What would you tell them? How would you assure them?
- Be still
It’s hard to make time in the day to just sit and be still. However, even in our busiest days, there is still quiet to be found. Wake up a little earlier before the rest of the world starts its day. Find somewhere beautiful to go take a walk. Go to a park and just sit there, observing what is right in front of you. Meditate and set an intention for how you want the day to go. Meditate and reflect on what happened in the day. Just breathe. Making time for stillness and unplugging from our screens regularly will allow you to become more in-tune with yourself.
- Create rituals
Planning something to look forward to or create small traditions for yourself or with others who can help you get through the most mundane parts of your week. Treat yourself with coffee every Monday as a way of starting the week. Attend the farmer’s market on the weekend and cook a meal with your fresh produce. Gather your closest friends and try to meet up once a week to watch the sunset. There’s love to be given and received in the smallest, yet most profound moments throughout our days.
- Share the love
As you fill yourself up with love and self-acceptance, you become a wellspring of kindness. You may find yourself smiling at strangers, holding open doors, having more patience to really listen to the words others long to speak. Full of appreciation for all that is within, you start to appreciate all that is without. Start to feel the joy that sharing a compliment can bring. Tell someone you like their smile, you dig their pants, you enjoy the way their laughter fills the room. They will feel good hearing it, and you will feel good sharing it.
Share the goodness that you hold inside. Acknowledge that it’s within you. That is what the world needs right now, that is what the world is aching for. Kindness is small but lasting. Kindness toward yourself is where it begins and ultimately it’s the only way we can be kind to others. When did it become uncool to be kind? When did we stop hugging each other and start folding our arms? Open up, share some warmth. People need tenderness, so be that tenderness. Start with yourself and become overflowing.