Exercise Your Right to Empower through the Discovery of Self-Love
“The awkward matter of this idea is that you have to make room in your heart for yourself first before you even attempt to make room for another human being.” Taking care of one’s self first often seems selfish, no matter what expectations others may have of you. Operating in self-love can not only influence your personal outlook, but it can also recharge your love life, giving you a new reason to smile every day. We’re challenging you to indulge in this idea as it may lead to better relationships this year. But don’t be surprised at the unconventional instructions we may share. It’s only out of love.
Quality Time Like any other relationship you cherish, you’ve got to spend quality time getting to know the other person in order to make the experience worthwhile. Spending quality time is how you learn the personalities, hobbies and dislikes of a person. Realistically, you’re simply trying to figure out whether you want to spend more time with a person or not. Sounds pretty logical, right?
The awkward matter of this idea is that you have to make room in your heart for yourself first before you even attempt to make room for another human being. When you initiate this quality time, you have to allow room for mistakes, awkward silences and even discomfort. These moments can happen frequently when you are getting to know a person for the first time. But the truest question here is how well do you know yourself?
Do you know yourself well enough to discern which personalities you will get along with best or not? The idea of exploring quality time with yourself renders a period of self-discovery that prepares you for the first conversation you might have with a person on a date in the future.
According to The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, the essence of quality time lies in your ability to give undivided attention. While the book articulates how to apply principles to achieve a balanced relationship with another person, it still holds true to the concept of exercising self-love.
Although Gary Chapman easily shows you how it’s done with one step (setting some alone time on the calendar like you do for your other commitments), learning the love language of quality time towards yourself still takes practice. Quality time requires regular dates with yourself and not allowing distractions to clog your focus. Quiet time is healthy (meditation or prayer counts as time quality time alone), but you can still fill your time with fun-filled activities in the realm of self-love.
Exploration & Getting Uncomfortable
The second step to awkwardness in self-love lies in self-discovery. Spending time alone often ushers you into an uncomfortable state. But you can learn to appreciate these weird moments when you recognize how getting to know yourself prepares you to be a pretty awesome date down the line. Just think how important it was to realize that by going to watch a foreign film by yourself, you discovered admiration for a new language? Ever gone to a coffee shop with your favorite book, without making plans to meet anyone there? How about booking a bed-and-breakfast for the weekend and working on that memoir you always talked about writing? The outcomes of spending the weekend with yourself are more rewarding than you can imagine.
Things that don’t count as quality time with yourself & why you should avoid them:
Going shopping: While this may seem like an act of spoiling yourself, it is not a strong act of self-love because it doesn’t force you to dig deep into who you really are. Shopping is about acquiring material things to enhance the persona that you want to portray. It’s not focused on learning something new about yourself. Oftentimes, shopping is truly a distraction from personal problems. If you want an excuse to get a new dress or pair of shoes, search for an outfit and still commit to take yourself out to eat alone in that new slim fit.
Watching TV or a movie at home: Television is also a distraction. It keeps you from dedicating quiet time to your personal growth. This may not be as effective for two reasons. First, you are already too comfortable in your own home. Secondly, TV programs often don’t provide ways to practically apply new experiences in your personal life. The challenge of getting to know yourself is about being in a new environment and discovering how to be happy in your own skin. By watching TV, you are actually giving more attention to people outside of your own life. You must instead spend time being introspective. Turn on some music and pull out a favorite hobby or home project that gives you greater joy than the HD programming.
Here’s a list of other avenues to enjoy time alone: ● Take an art class for an evening - Check out Canvas & Cabernet venues in your city ● Visit the library to explore a new topic ● Hit the gym or take a hike ● Write a letter to the future you, congratulating yourself for achieving self-love ● Visit a museum ● Take yourself out to eat at a diner or café, and write out your goals for the next month Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes
The final stage of awkwardness in self-love deals with healing from past experiences. If you’ve ever held yourself accountable for the mistakes in your past, congratulations. You have now achieved becoming an emotionally responsible human being and you’re ready to graduate to the stage of honoring yourself through forgiveness. Forgiving yourself can be more enjoyable than you think. Don’t sabotage your potential love future by beating yourself up about what went wrong in the last relationship. Instead, seek understanding on where you were personally when it comes to loving and forgiving yourself. When is the last time you hugged yourself? When is the last time you bought yourself some flowers or took care of your body simply because it felt good? Are you waiting on someone else to do it? Ironically, loving yourself comes in the compassionate act of self-forgiveness and reclaiming those rough experiences of the past with new self-loving ones.
Overall, we’ve got to be honest with ourselves about where we are in self-love if we expect new love to come into our lives. You can’t let fear of being alone keep you from being happy and in love. Learning more and loving more of yourself requires just as much patience, diligence and forgiveness as a romantic relationship. You can’t give up on loving yourself and expect someone else to come around to do it for you.