This month I am employing the ‘I am my own secret admirer’ method. Not for a lack of love, nor because I wish to diminish the messaging that comes with Valentines, but because I have, am and will spend a huge amount of time with myself, so I should like, no, LOVE her and with love should come admiration.
It’s not as easy as I first thought… I give myself a hard time, a harder time than I do other people and I wondered why? Am I not deserving of the same patience and time that I so willingly give to others (whether they deserve it or not – that brings with itself a whole host of other questions!). And so I set about thinking why is it that I am so willingly hostile, impatient and unforgiving of myself when I wouldn’t dream of being so with others.
The answer: self love. Or rather a lack thereof.
‘Self Love: regard for one’s own well being and happiness’
I recently watched a video of Jada Pinkett-Smith with her mother and daughter where she explained the importance of putting yourself first:
“You always have to remember to take care of you first and foremost, because when you stop taking care of yourself you get out of balance and you really forget to take care of others.”
There is no harm in making yourself a priority, in fact, it is imperative to your survival and your ability to help others. They even say it on airplanes, put your mask on before helping others – what use are you to other people when you have nothing to give yourself?
And so I set about how I could better serve myself, care for myself and love myself. One of the important things for me was that whatever I chose to employ needed to be easy to implement, things that I could be consistent with and would celebrate the small triumphs as well as the huge accomplishments. I would be my own biggest cheerleader for all things big and small.
Quality time with me
In this digital age, everyone wants access to you at all times. The advent of ‘last active’ on instagram seems like the final nail in the coffin so *takes deep breath* log out of the matrix! It’ll be hard, at first, but it is so necessary now and again. Take the time off grid to get to know yourself: what you like, what you dislike, how things have changed over time and your ambitions for the future. In getting to know yourself again, you stop being passive in your life story – things stop happening to you and happen because of you, you have agency! Sometimes we can get so caught up in life that we forget what we are doing and who we are doing it for.
Learning to say no
It is human nature to want to please people but that shouldn’t be at the expense of your own happiness. Learning to say no can be tricky and feel awkward. When you say no, do so without feeling that you owe an explanation. If something doesn’t feel right or you just don’t want to do it, no will save you a whole load of stress and regret later on. Ask for what YOU want and don’t be afraid to say what YOU don’t want.
How easy is it to rush through life without stopping to take it all in. Taking the time to pay attention in the present, to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you can greatly impact how you feel about yourself and your environment. Enjoy things in the moment, observe and appreciate the world around you and learn to let go of issues that have kept you occupied without resolution. Watch your thoughts.
We all make mistakes! Self flagellation is not going to help. Learn from the mistake and move on! You are worthy of your own forgiveness.
Do the things that make you happy. Not the unhealthy coping mechanisms you have turned to over the years masked as happiness. Do those things that bring you real and lasting joy, that could be spending time with loved ones, buying yourself that dress you always wanted, going to the gym, having a home cooked meal 3/5 days of the week – it can be the ‘mundane’ to the extravagant but do it because you can and it brings you bliss.
Loving yourself is the greatest revolution.