with the onset of the new year, you can’t help but be inundated with media headlines like ‘new year, new you,’ ‘your best year yet,’ or ‘the year of self love.’ these may all be catchy headlines but what does it actually all mean? and how do we accomplish this for ourselves?
the idea of self-love is often expressed as words of encouragement for the time stressed babe who battles with finding moments for themselves and puts others first. the remedies often include a hot bath (with amazing body care products… ‘ahem’ insert self-plug here), a long walk, time with friends or some self-guided mediation. i am supportive of all of those but I find when it comes to my own form of self-love, it often begins with the voice in my head. the voice of confidence and (sometimes) resiliency to keep going, the voice that finds compliments for myself instead of detractors, the voice that actually says (albeit internally) “i don’t care what other people think, and i’m not seeking your approval or permission.”
finding this voice though can take some time and can feel like a foreign language where google is not translating. for me, this confidence came partially with age and the idea of truly believing in my own self-worth and value. this is not an easy lesson to teach for anyone and unfortunately is one of those things that takes time and experience, but i promise it does come.
it comes when you allow yourself to actually become vulnerable with, yes, your own self. when you can take the time to look internally and identify what you are really proud of, what your values are and what you won’t stand for.
my own ‘self-love’ journey started with an innocent motivation of trying to please everyone and resulted in stretching myself and my values too thin, disappointing more people than i was helping and ultimately disappointing myself. to fix this i had to have a conversation with myself about why i felt the need to please and why, i didn’t value myself or my own time?
this can be a unnerving conversation to have with yourself but if you experience the same challenge, i encourage you to push through and start a conversation with you! start with a dialogue in your head, then i recommend quickly graduating to a journal (or computer) where you can begin to see the words in black and white. from there, say it out loud, not as sheepish words beneath your breath but actually out loud in an auditable voice so someone (you) can actually hear what is being said. Do this again and again until you really hear yourself.
what it comes down to for me is the idea of self-love is actually about starting with yourself and understanding what you are really about. From there, yes embrace the moments of care and the intimacy of personal time but once you have the conversation with yourself you may realize that you don’t need a ‘new you’ but instead you might realize the current you is pretty fucking great.