Self Love: a Minute by Minute Practice

  PHOTO BY JULIA MOROZOVA

 

PHOTO BY JULIA MOROZOVA

We’ve all heard the term self love a million times.  So many times that if you’re on this path, you are probably like “Self-love, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  Old news.  Check.  I got the pedicure and the massage.  I’m eating leafy greens.  I’m good right?”

 

Yes but no.  Self-love in practice is a minute-by-minute operation.  The amount of times in one day that we have a chance to ding ourselves is exponential. 

 

Which means that the amount of times in one day that we have the opportunity to love ourselves through a glitchy moment is exponential too. 

 

Being nice to ourselves can almost sound kind of dull.  We want wham bam epiphanies!  Huge awakenings!  Shining messages delivered in grand moments in front of sunsets! 

 

What was illuminated for me in the last full moon was that the simplicity of actually noticing each and every tiny moment of discomfort and loving yourself through it, can open the heavens.  This is not a simple task because it calls on you to pay very close attention to yourself. 

 

These moments come fast and furious and they may not even be noticeable if you are not watching for them.  They are little blips of: I look different than everyone else.  I’m too loud/too much.  I’m late.  I’m not having the same experience as everyone else.  I’m not as spiritual.  I’m not as comfortable with my body.  I’m crying and no one else is.  I’m not dressed appropriately.  I feel left out.  I’m embarrassed.  I don’t fit in.  I’m the only one without a partner.  I feel anxious and everyone else seems so together.  I don’t know anyone here.  I didn’t prepare enough.  I’m not ready.  I’m not as successful as them.  I don’t know the words.   

 

It all boils down to an internal dialogue that says I’m different and less than and that’s bad. 

 

What we normally do when we have these tender weebly wobbly self esteem moments is begin the self-flagellation.  We slap ourselves around instead of giving ourselves a giant hug.  We make it our fault that we feel this way and shake our finger in our face about our shortcomings. 

 

We are the meanest to ourselves when we are in need of the most love. 

 

This is purely unconscious behavior.  It’s usually an old tape playing.  It could be a parent’s voice.  It could be the type A part of you.  It could be a mish mash of every person who has ever criticized you.  I call mine the Mean Mommy.  It’s the voice of You Should Be Doing This Better & What is Wrong With You.

 

The fiercest form of self-love is to be able to really observe yourself through each and every day and see when that voice starts whispering at you.  It can be so subtle.  Just a split second of feeling less than multiplied by 10 can leave you feeling depleted and anxious at the end of the day. 

 

If you can feel the contraction into shame, rebound with the kindest words you have.  Ask yourself, “How would I like to be loved?  What is the language you need me to use with you so that you know I mean it?  What do you need to hear from me?” 

 

Let your inner child do the talking.  It might sound something like this:

 

You are doing your best.

You are remarkable. 

You are so brave to even be doing this. 

You have been through so much and still you rise.

You are loved.

You don’t need to be anything more than exactly who you are. 

I love you.