By Meredith Gaston
Let’s talk about self love.
Because when we love ourselves sincerely, wholeheartedly and unconditionally [something we can all learn to do] we transform our wellbeing and the wellness of everyone around us.
Self love is not selfish
It is a profound part of our collective wellbeing. When we love and respect ourselves just as we are while working towards our dreams, we blossom.
Loving ourselves has nothing to do with ego, vanity and pride. To truly love ourselves is a natural and powerful choice we can all make in support of our personal growth, inner calm. And vital energy for life. Loving self-care involves suspending constant judgement of ourselves, making peace and joy with our inner voice, nurturing ourselves by spending time at home within, and expressing our authentic selves.
What is self-care?
Self-care involves loving life and trusting life to love us back, allowing divine grace to meet and support us at every turn as we bring our best to life each day. Indeed, when we do our very best, we can trust that life will do the rest.
Self-care involves committing to kind, clear and loving thoughts, and aligning our actions with our heart’s desires. The love we give ourselves sets the tone for all other love in our lives.
We are often on the hunt for love outside ourselves – be that validation, recognition, attention or approval in romantic love, friendships or professional relationships we build with others. It is impossible to receive exactly what we are looking for in the way of love, however, until we are able to grant that exquisite quality of real love unto ourselves, first and foremost.
In the wise and beautiful words of writer and philosopher Helen Keller, what we are looking for isn’t out there, it is within us. The gaps we feel in our emotional and spiritual lives are invariably spaces into which our own true love must pour and nestle, soothing, settling and fortifying us for life.
Self love: How to love yourself, first
Our very own love is a powerful, personalised healing elixir tailor-made by – and just for – us. Drinking from our inner wellspring of love, we learn to thrive by gifting ourselves our own time, attention and care. We come alive in our own love. Nourished by our own love, we find our frequency elevated, our energy levels revitalised and our hearts replenished.
In such an uplifted, expansive and vital state, it is hardly surprising that we welcome more loving people, moments and experiences into our days, as if by way of divine magnetism.
With such riches on constant offer to us, we are wise to abandon any of our outworn, self-limiting habit patterns and beliefs in favour of practising loving self-care instead. This is not complicated philosophy. Indeed, like all the very best things in life, it is remarkably and gorgeously simple.
Be your own hype girl
The concept that we are our own worst critics is bandied about but holding this belief is to our collective detriment. It is a notion supported, both wittingly and unwittingly, by our routinely unloving behaviours. In truth, we needn’t be our own worst critics.
In an ideal world – the kind of world we are striving to create together – each one of us would be our own greatest and most faithful support person. We would also be sincere and passionate in our support of one another.
Self-deprecation should not be confused with humility. Especially when it results in us hiding our important and unique lights under proverbial bushels. The ways in which we judge and berate ourselves can be so unkind and unloving. When we wouldn’t dream of treating others with such damaging thoughts and ideas.
Intercepting unhelpful self-talk at the thought level is critical emotional intelligence. Learning to interrupt, question and rework our redundant thought processes means we may avoid the unhelpful words and acts that follow them.
Cultivating and nurturing loving thoughts and a compassionate, supportive inner voice positively transforms our lives, even beyond recognition.
Be kind to yourself
If we wish to experience more love, this is always and forever our place to begin. With our own thoughts, the very thoughts that create our worlds. We experience things as we choose to see them. As our thoughts change, the way we see things changes. As the way we see things changes, everything in our lives changes. Choosing to think, see and act with love is always our choice to make.
Beyond loving maintenance of our thoughts and self-talk – our daily foundations – we can incorporate various self-care rituals into our daily lives for sustaining nourishment. Self-care will look different to each and every one of us: from quiet nights and gentle walks in nature to lighthearted movies or evenings spent dancing.
Enjoying a practice of prayer, meditation or quietness can infuse our daily lives with greater peace and clarity. Routinely savouring slow stretches or quiet, soothing music can free and loosen our minds and bodies as we lead our daily lives. Drinking tea from a favourite cup can bring us comfort. As can reciting a heartfelt affirmation to fortify and uplift us.
Find your self-care ritual
Our self-care rituals needn’t be grandiose or complicated. Indeed, keeping things simple brings us joy. Making time for pleasure revitalises and fulfils us.
We might love travelling, reading, baking cakes, or playing musical instruments. As we care for ourselves more lovingly each day, prioritising our bliss and joy becomes our way of life. When we are nourished, we may go forward to nourish others with whom we share our lives.
The all-knowing, all-sensing power of love meets us in the middle each time we consciously move towards it, acknowledging our efforts and replenishing our hearts with fresh optimism, vitality and faith.
Love touches us and all things. We are never alone. Indeed, heavenly forces embrace and carry us in every moment. As we explore the more mysterious and invisible parts of love, we come to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture in which we
timelessly and effortlessly belong. Woven into a resplendent fabric of life, our hearts form part of a perfect network offering us
endless inspiration and a sense of belonging.
In loving ourselves tenderly, we harmonise with greater love to create joyous lives we can truly celebrate and adore.
This is an edited extract from Choosing Love by Meredith Gaston published by Hardie Grant Publishing.