“You have to love yourself.”
That statement confused me beyond measure when I first heard it in my early 20s. It felt like someone had vomited on my shoes and expected me to clean it up.
I was annoyed as well. What right did the person have to tell me what I needed to do?
“New Ager!!” I thought to myself. “What does she know about what it’s really like?”
The person talking to me didn’t realize that I didn’t know what “love yourself” really meant. I understood the words but had no clue as to what the experience of said love would feel like.
What I knew how to do was survive. I had layer upon layer of defenses against neglect, hardships, and dysfunctional people. I learned that being smart was something to develop and being fast with your wits got you attention and approval. Love? Nah, that got you nothing but heartache.
I had concluded long ago that love was a luxury not meant for me. So, it made sense to abandon it and its many manifestations.
And yet here I was listening to someone tell me to love myself. It hurt.
That’s the beginning of my story with self-love.
I’m wondering what does loving yourself mean to you? How do you do it? What does it feel like?
When we think of others loving us, we can name actions and behaviors that make us feel loved.
“When he knows I’m tired and he’ll get the kids off to school.”
“She just accepts me, warts and all!”
“I can be myself. He’s not afraid to get into it with me. I love that.”
With ourselves, are we as lucid and willing to engage in a real,l loving relationship? We cultivate relationships with our partners, kids, family, and friends by going out for dinners, movie nights, hikes and picnics – what could we do to grow the longest, most enduring relationship of our lives, ie the one with ourselves?
Date night? A hike? A long bath? A new pair of shoes?
My sense is that too often what we are taught about self-love in magazines and the media in general, is that candle lights, soft music, treating yourself to some shopping are the way to our own hearts.
Groan. It’s ok but so, so shallow. I like a nice bath. I like to shop but is that all I have to offer when it comes to being with me? A series of romantic, sentimental dates?
No, like all real relationships, I have come to find that my relationship with myself has ups and downs. There are times I like myself and times when I don’t. I don’t want to hang out by myself too much but if I don’t have that daily dose of alone time, I am grumpy.
My favorite me times are when I trust myself to quieten down and allow my breath to deepen. It is in these moments that I feel self-love. And just as what we want from our soulmates – to be truly seen and felt by them, I want the same from me for me, an appreciation and love of me. Untainted by expectations, fears or agendas.
How about you? What kind of relationship do you desire with yourself? Do you feel you can give that to yourself? Is something getting in the way? Let me help.
Whether working to pay the rent or starting a new diet to trim a few inches off of our waistlines, we all run into the challenge of not having enough time, money, or energy. Rarely do we think about how to invest that time, money or energy for the best return on our investment.
Being thoughtful and strategic are not often the first things we think of when we wake up or approach a to-do list but in order to transform fatigue-filled, dull days into fulfilling, passion-rich prosperity and wellness we may have to do just that.
If you think it truly is time to mine your potentials, create more bandwidth for your wisdom, and feel good about yourself then please step this way for 3 of my best investment strategies for your time, money and energy.
1. Let’s begin with the biggy – it’s time to get off the emotional roller coaster of entitlement to guilt, perfectionism to unworthiness because being in the polarity of these emotions all too often can obscure and distract us from the very capabilities that can help our star rise.
I know it’s complicated and even messy to explore why we may not be feeling fulfilled or why we beat ourselves up but I want to encourage us to look past these feelings and dive in deeper to discover other supporting facets of our being. They are in there, I promise
Do it by investing in inner work. Enquire into behaviours that hurt your progress in love and life. Get help to transform these old, exhausting, poverty creating patterns and create new ways to view your life as a person at the helm of their life.
2. Redefine success – whilst we’re at it, we might as well address this conversation: how money has come to be the only factor used to judge success and how good we feel about ourselves. Listen, I default into that mode, ie if I have more the happier I will be.
However, sages from time immemorial to Oprah Winfrey teach: it isn’t only about making money, it’s about something else. Money is an integral part of our lives sure but in of itself it doesn’t create a sense of success or wellness. That part comes from within us.
If we were to choose to apply their wisdom to our own lives we would ask these two questions 1) what does money mean for me? and 2) how can I use the wisdom they teach?
Well, you may find that your answers may lead you to do what you love. Be mindful and present in your life. Be kind. Cause no harm to others.
What if we measured our successes based on how well something made us feel or how much positivity we generate?
Invest some time to clarify to yourself what makes you feel successful or prosperous, then figure out 2 or 3 experiences that meet that criterion this week and go for it. You will be glad that you did.
3. Time to have a time out – Take that extra 5 minutes in bed before you launch into the day. Or, if you want to be cheeky – take the day off work. You would if you got sick, right? So why not one for resting and relaxing? Give yourself this time for your body to adjust to the seasonal changes or recover from daily over extensions.
This is perhaps the easiest investment you can make for yourself – time off from life’s many demands. Whether it is a couple of minutes between meetings or on the commute home, taking these minutes for yourself can make a world of difference to the quality of your life. Give it a go and make time for you.
Please note, something magical happens when we switch off all devices and appliances. Let the world take care of itself whilst we unwind, daydream, and slumber. Listening within is self-care worth its weight in gold for you, your family, and all the dreams you want to realize.
The key strategies I have shared here with you present a transformation in thinking – not easy or convenient – but so necessary if we want meaningful returns on our daily investments of time, money, and energy.
Are you ready to get those returns? I can help you. Sign up today for a free discovery session with me and we’ll get you on your way!
“I know this is a first world problem but….”
It seems I am hearing this disclaimer more with each passing day. It is meant to convey that the speaker understands that any hardships or challenges they may face in life are incomparable to those suffered by many in the 3rd world and yet they are experiencing hardships just the same.
They are running from mortar fire every day. I’m just going through a divorce. They are in a real life and death crisis so I can’t complain about my divorce.
They literally have no food. They are starving and I am struggling to keep my weight down. I feel guilty for even thinking that I have problems.
She can’t go to school because she is a girl. She would probably be killed for even trying. Here I am with everything: a great job, a husband, a home, and a severe depression I am too embarrassed to even admit to.
Let’s be clear about something. We may live in the first world, but that does not mean that all of our hardships and challenges are 1st world problems. Although it is true that there are systemic problems exclusive to industrial society, most of what is attributed to FWP is usually just an irrational and overly emotional response to minutia and mild inconvenience.
A person screaming at ticket counter staff in an airport because of a weather delay that the staff has no control over is a 1st world problem. Debilitating depression, tangled emotional divorces and yes, even eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia which kill more people each year than any other mental illness or disorder*, are real problems and they need to be handled as real issues.
Comparing our problems and wounds with theirs is like comparing apples and oranges. We can’t and shouldn’t for everyone’s sake. I live in the first world, but I was born in the third world. I have seen and experienced problems in both worlds. What helps me to steer a clear course in both, are the following touch points:
1. Unpack what is really going on – Whichever way stress may come into our lives: whether by mortar fire or a project deadline, we need to know how to deal with the stress. The worst thing we can do is immediately belittle our problems and by doing so, belittle ourselves by comparing our lot with others.
I would like to see more of us looking within and unpacking what is really going on. That’s the upside of being in the first world – generally, we have both the time and space to unpack our problems and figure out what is really going on.
For example, if you are in the middle of a divorce and you are feeling broken – allow yourself to feel what is true for you. Be willing to examine and challenge your thoughts and feelings. Is it really the end of your life? Are you really broken? Tired yes, but broken? Why? Will you always be?
2. Deal with reality – Once you unpack what is really going on be willing to take action steps to create a reality that works for you. For example, if you are having issues with your weight, what belief systems and assumptions do you need to slay in order to get back on track with creating a healthy body and mind? Get support – you don’t have to do it alone.
3. Raise the standard – don’t feel sorry for anyone – No matter what our circumstances we all have choices on how we want to experience each moment in our lives. Feeling sorry or guilty doesn’t help our brothers and sisters facing challenges on the other side of the world. Instead, let’s address the issues we are facing honestly and with purpose. As we do that we create more space to be with others and see them through a clearer lens. That way, perhaps we can be of actual help to them.
4. Meditate and be and do good – Be mindful. Create some quiet time. Meditate. All these activities that slow down the speedy mind and ease the stress levels help to create perspective about what’s really important, what’s healthy and how we face problems, first world or not.
We are part of the WHOLE world. We are aware of each other’s challenges, joys, and accomplishments. We cannot live our lives comparing them to each other instead, let’s do what the flight attendants teach us on every single flight in the event of a decompression: If traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.
I think this approach would serve us all a great deal better and in turn, we land safely at our desired destinations.
How do you feel about your problems and issues? Do you inflate or bully them to the nether regions of your mind? Please take a moment to share your thoughts with us below… and don’t forget to pass this post along to someone who may benefit from this discussion.
*If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, please understand that there is help out there. It’s just a click and call away.You are not alone and it a trivial problem. For statistics on the dangers of Eating Disorder Statistics and Mortality Rates
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