Have you read or listened to the advice to love yourself more? When I first heard that recommendation, I really do not know how or where to begin. Do you? What would this look like? I had to seek out role models.
I had a wonderful guiding figure who resided a six hour drive from me in New York City. She and I loved to visit. When we would talk about possibilities, she made it clear that she could not put me up in her studio apartment in Greenwich Village. With sweetness she explained that in the past she had allowed friends or relatives, her niece or nephew, to stay over with her. She found it exhausting and then took serious amounts of time to recover. From this she learned that she could not offer that– it was unhealthy for her. This woman was modeling self love.
In my thirties I attended a major growth training, one of those big ones where they use a hotel ballroom :). By the end of the sessions, I realized I needed to come off coffee. Facing that inner guidance, I developed a process, one of gradual implementation. I told no one– so I was not distracted by commentary from others– and took three years reducing the amounts I drank, doing inner work on the aspects of the brew that had me hooked, ( i.e. being part of the group of working colleagues, something to reward myself, observing what it did to my body, nerves, digestion and more). After three years I could easily walk by urns of free,delicious coffee at conferences. Sticking to that focus for as long as it took constitutes one example of self love.
Tick off some other kinds of self love:
- an exercise program– currently I am getting to swim four times a week all year long
- eating in healthy ways
- getting plenty of sleep– and even if it is more hours than others need
- making a phone call to get support
- yoga practice
- going shopping for some treat–
- having a pet for companionship
Jalmina had spent much of her life stepping up to responsibility, arranging events for family and friends, following through on the plans made. In her dating life a situation arose where a new man offered to do her a kindness … she ended up scheduling this “favor” as part of a day where he would take her out to dinner. When the day arrived, she realized she felt depressed at the prospect at what this gift of his entailed– two hours of driving on a sunny day when it had rained for three weeks, a process that was a strain and more.
Long story short: Arising in her was an inner NO. Early on the day of that plan Jalmina awoke to the fact that she had set herself up for too much burden– it did not feel like fun even though this piece was supposed to be for her. Sure, she had voices that she had to follow through on what SHE had planned. Instead she had access to the quiet inner voice of self love: she called the man and changed the plans so that she would throw off the feeling of weight, get back to the fun of their date and connection. Ease flowed; they had fun; lovely time. Making that phone call, making what felt good top priority, was an act of self love.
I have heard accounts of how a person who has completed law school decides that he really does not enjoy the law after all. He seeks out other ways to use himself that make him happier. Or, the woman who wanted to sing so after working all day in an office, she goes to auditions and sings. Or, the man who earned his money from architecture for most of his life and in his seventies, devotes himself to fine art painting- allowing that expression to flow with gusto.
Cally fell in love with man who lived half way down the east coast from where she had lived all her life. Her mother liked her living close by to support her. Though she had been a dutiful daughter for many years that Cally left her job, sold her house and moved toward a loving man and a new future. That was self love too.
What are some of your examples? In what ways do you express the love for your dear self? Do you have some questions about the topic? Please write to email@example.com. More love in this world makes us all shine!