SELF-LOVE IS TRUE LOVE
Taking care of yourself isn’t just all manicures and hashtag selflove. There's been a lot of eye-rolling of late alongside self-love or self-care being seen as a bit of a 'trend' but let me tell you, this is not like the next superfood. When you break it down, self-care is a basic human right and need - it's about ensuring your most basic needs as a human being are being met. It's having a 'moment' because actually, in our busy world, we are having to re-educate ourselves to take time for ourselves and practise putting ourselves back at the top of the priority list.
So let's focus on SELF-LOVE shall we. This is basis of my work because I truly believe true health starts here - on loving ourselves unconditionally.
Self-love may seem like a journey and not a destination, but for today and from everyday moving forwards, I’m making it your destination. Why? It all starts and ends with loving ourselves, our minds and our bodies unconditionally. We can eat all of the right foods, do the right exercise and meditate for hours a day, but if our relationship with ourselves isn't based on kindness and compassion, our health will never optimum and we will never thrive.
Consider these needs akin to the foundational BASIC human needs. They’re the most important piece of the body and soul pyramid, and without them, it’s impossible to build a healthy life.
So, how do we meet them? The recurring theme is time—scheduling it and prioritizing it, so that self-care becomes as routine as tying your shoelaces before leaving the house.
You are all incredibly magical, knowledgeable and intuitive creatures. Each women is more knowledgeable about herself more than anyone, she just needs to listen and give herself time.
WHAT IS SELF-LOVE?
- It’s putting your needs first
- It’s being happy in your body.
- It’s looking in the mirror and not seeing every single stretch mark, scar, and extra skin as something to be fixed, changed, and made smaller.
- It’s embracing the imperfections and knowing it’s these that make YOU unique
- It’s trusting the timing of your life and being okay with where you are now; your body, your career, your relationship.
- It’s being mindful, loving, and gentle with yourself and your body; with where you are now in your journey.
- It’s being courageous enough not to hide or be ashamed of how you look.
- It’s keeping yourself at the top of your priority list
- Its being YOU and you in your truest form- not the you that you think you need to be but the YOU you really are. You are wonderfully made, you are incredible, you are YOU.
“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”. Siddhartha Gautama.
The way we treat ourselves is often a direct image of how we feel about ourselves. Yet we can often speak to ourselves in such a nasty way, far from how we communicate with our loved ones. Why do we speak to our friends and family with love, care and compassion, yet when it comes to ourselves we can find it so hard to be kind and loving. In fact, we are often nasty, criticising and un-supportive.
SO, HOW DO WE START TO GENERATE SELF-LOVE?
First, you must understand that YOU ARE THE CENTRE OF YOUR UNIVERSE. No one else, you and only you. This might be a hard pill to swallow, but listen up and listen good! Hear it, feel it, digest it and BELIEVE it. You have to keep your glass topped up nice and full in order to be able to give yourself 100% to others. Right?
Here's a few of my favourite self-love tips that I promise have been tried and tested from private clients and those on my 6 Week Intuitive Eating and Living Programme, where our first week is all on self-love (more details on that here).
The ultimate act of self-care is not adding a bunch of things to your your schedule, but how you organise your schedule. It’s saying no to people, places, food and things that you don't want to see, visit, eat or go to. It’s saying no to things you do not like doing, rather than doing them and hating yourself throughout it, and afterwards. Learn to set boundaries and say no, and allow some of that quality 'me time' to make way into your calendar.
We underestimate the power of good rest to restore our vital energy - or Qi as it’s called in Chinese medicine and 'prana' ion Ayurveda. In our ‘do more culture’ of today, nothing is ever enough and rest is the first thing we seem to sacrifice. Yet ironically, lack of sleep only amplifies every ache, sorrow and stress!
Answer honestly - do you feel like you get enough rest? I’m positive that most of us have truly rested in a while. Being on your phone whilst on holiday is NOT resting. One 60 minute yoga class in amongst the madness of a busy social life is NOT resting.
Getting more rest is easier said than done. But it starts with reorientation our minds and replacing old beliefs of never enough with the understanding that recovery is now, more than enough - it is everything! This is where our intuition comes in - nurturing our own individual needs and knowing when to start, when to stop, when is too much and when is not enough. Take a bath, eat more slowly, take time to oversleep and have a duvet day. REST IS BEST.
Affirmations can be a powerful tool to help you change your mood, state of mind, and manifest the change you desire in your life. How do we use them? Affirmations are sentences aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind. The words composing the affirmation, automatically and involuntarily, bring up related mental images into the mind, which could inspire, energize and motivate.
Write down several areas or behaviours you'd like to work on. Then, for each of these, come up with a positive, present-tense statement you can repeat to yourself several times a day. It's important that your affirmation is credible, believable, and based on a realistic assessment of fact. For more information on affirmation and how to use them, book in for a 1-2-1 Life Coaching Skype session with me here.
I’ve gone on and on about the benefits of meditation for the mind, body and soul; the creativity, productivity and peacefulness it brings. I warn you - it is highly addictive. In fact, it’s the only thing I encourage you to be addicted to!
Meditation increases the art of self awareness. Meditation helps you recognise your own emotions, anger and then become detached from these feelings or emotions. Meditation calms and clears a busy mind. Plus when you dive more inside, it makes you feel more comfortable with who you are and so you start showing it more.
It also increases happiness and we all want to be happy! Studies have shown that brain signalling increases in the left side of the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions, while meditation actively decreases activity in the right side, responsible for negative emotions. The other benefits of meditation, including increased self-awareness and acceptance, also contribute to improved overall wellbeing.
Start with a simple meditation concentrating on the breathe and using the mantra 'om' as you breath out to keep you focused. I love the 'Insight Timer' app for guided meditations too.
LEARN TO LOVE YOU
I’m BIG on touch. In recent years, a wave of studies have documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health. Go figure.
It’s so easy to forget the power of touch, the release of oxytocin that occurs in just 20 seconds of affectionate touching. Skin on skin nurtures us emotionally with feelings of trust and connection. When was the last time you touched your body - massaged your toes or your belly or your bum. You have to start touching, looking, seeing your body in all of its glory.
Start by looking at yourself in the mirror. Touch the parts you hate the most. Smile at yourself. Do your affirmations naked in front of the mirror - whatever it takes. It the evening before bed, grab yourself some oils and give your feet, belly, bottom - whatever feels good - a rub.
Do yoga naked at home - I know it sounds crazy but it teaches you so much about your body.
Read a book about the digestive or immune system - start understanding what your body does for you every single day. Really understand how sophisticated and smart it really is, and find a new appreciation for all that YOUR BODY is capable of.
Don't take time with yourself lightly. If you remember anything from this journal feature, remember this mantra below.
Be kind, be loving and repeat this mantra to yourself:
I give myself a break
I give myself credit
I give myself time
I give myself attention
I give myself love
I give myself power
I give myself ME
MUCH LOVE, PANDORA X X X