Last January, I went on a self-love retreat to Bali. What most people in my life didn’t know is that before I left for that retreat, I was spiralling downward and making choices that didn’t honour my highest self. It’s still a difficult admission to type. What I learned from that experience is that loving yourself is not a one stop shop. While an amazing experience that I would fully recommend, a 10 day retreat, a weekend retreat, a one day retreat cannot ultimately “fix you”. Self love is a continual, evolving commitment to yourself to show up in the world coming from a place of love. It’s accepting that, when you experience those dark times, you will allow yourself to sit in it and feel it, and then finally release it.
We live in a world where our lives are defined by what society dictates. What we should wear. How we should look. What the definition of success looks like. Social media is the backdrop and constant reminder of photos of happy times. Our worth is dictated by the number of likes we get.
It’s uncanny the amount of pressure it is to uphold these standards. When you stop conforming to these crazy ideals of what your life should look like and find joy in the rat race of every day life is when you truly start living. It’s finding joy in the here and now. It’s being present in each moment and finding some good in every situation.
Life is not always perfect. The demands of juggling work, kids and managing a household is becoming greater and greater. It’s time to give ourselves a break. It’s time to show ourselves a little compassion that we are doing the very best we can.
Loving yourself does not mean that your life is picture perfect. It does not mean that you are the happiest person on the planet and that everything you touch turns to sunshine and rainbows. Loving yourself means that you accept yourself completely. It’s accepting every part of yourself - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and be willing to acknowledge them and honour them. It means that when you have a bad day, that it’s ok. It’s just a bad day. Tomorrow is a new day. Self love means observing all your emotions, sitting with them, and then choosing to let them go. It’s allowing yourself to cry. It’s allowing yourself to be angry. Just don’t stay there too long. Loving yourself means that you accept your limitations and understanding that you may not have all the answers. It’s means reaching out for help when you can’t do it on your own - whether it be a counsellor, lawyer, or advisor.
"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection." -- Buddha
Self love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being for others. Self love means not settling for less than you deserve. Once you start loving yourself a little more each day, the foundations of all the relationships around you will change. You will be in charge of your own happiness and you will no longer put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.
Self love has everything to do with it!
What are some things that you can do for yourself each day to promote self love?