I Love Me: The Power of Self-Love
It’s the smallest things. Coffee spilling out of my travel mug, my two-year-old throwing an epic meltdown in Target, an email I forgot to send. In my head, I know these are minor things, but in my heart, I always take the blame; I believe that it must be my fault when things go wrong. Call it perfectionism, call it anxiety, call it #momguilt, but the fact remains—in these moments, I’m not loving myself.
During a recent quiet time, I reflected on Mark 12:31 when Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How can I love others if I’m not loving myself? We are wives, mothers, business owners, influencers, leaders, philanthropists, and more; but underneath it all, we are women who deserve to take care of ourselves—physically, mentally, spiritually. We are women who deserve to love ourselves!
According to the Mayo Clinic, when you have both a positive view of yourself and a healthy self-esteem, you will feel secure, worthwhile, confident, and more open to feedback and learning new things. Also, you will generally have positive relationships with others and be able to get through stressful situations easier.
This journey to self-love can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Start with your mind—your most powerful tool. Whenever you have a self-hating thought, stop it in its tracks. “I look ugly in this dress,” turns into “I love the way this blue dress makes my eyes sparkle.” “The baby has been crying all night…. What am I doing wrong?” turns into “The baby has been up all night because that’s. just. what. babies. do.” This can be a tiring exercise, but it’s important; you’ll start to realize how many times a day negative thoughts pop into your head. With repetition, thinking about yourself in a more upbeat way will become easier.
Other helpful exercises are reading, journaling, and reflecting. Read the Bible or read a favorite book. I’m Fine and Neither Are You by Camille Pagán is a great novel, as it covers friendship, marriage, motherhood, and the lies women tell in order to appear perfect. Or, use a journal to write about the things that you love about yourself or that you are grateful for. Need a little help? Try Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary. This is a 365-day book that features daily actions to help you gain self-confidence, break habits of self-criticism, and focus on your well-being.
Finally, take yourself on a date. (It’s what you would do with a person you love!) Go to the movies, buy yourself dinner, or ask off work and spend the morning at a salon. Do something for yourself that makes you happy—it’s amazing how you’ll feel afterward.
If you are having trouble loving and accepting yourself the way you are, don’t feel ashamed. Talk to your general health practitioner or therapist about the way you feel, and they can come up with a treatment plan to help.
Like they would say on The Bachelorette, I’m starting to fall in love with me. And I am so excited to see where this journey goes!