We finally reached the first sparks of self love last week! Yay!
If you have been reading from the beginning, you will probably feel like you’ve lived my life with me and felt a lot of the pain that I did. Hopefully that also means that you’ve felt my strength, you’ve laughed with me and you’ve loved with me.
My aim for this blog was always to tell my truth and by that I mean really, really own and accept it. Only after that could I even begin to explain how I really fell in love with myself.
Now that we are here, I feel scared. I feel scared at how many other people are better at this than me, scared of not explaining myself well or shining enough to help people. But mostly I feel scared that I might shine a bit brighter than I am comfortable with, I might get the attention of one person or many people. I might be seen.
So this is why we are switching to some practical tips on how I fell in love with myself. Some, I just do anyway and some I have learned from others. I will always say which is which.
With that in mind, welcome to tip number one. For me personally, this is the most important. This is the foundation to rest your self love on.
Know your truth.
This is something I’ve heard from everyone I know that loves themselves and this is my take on it.
Don’t just know your life story, feel it and understand it.
I started by journaling- initially, it was about my relationship with food but it became my blog- the story of my life so far, warts and all.
Next, I dug into all the painful bits and linked them to how I react to certain things now. For example, and this is the biggest and most obvious example so you can see how this works, I am terrified of arguing with people I love. So much so that I have historically* ignored issues for so long that I eventually exploded and said a lot of things that I didn’t necessarily mean and at the very least not in the way it was said. (* I occasionally still do this but not anywhere near as much)
Looking back through my life it’s quite obvious why I do this- fear of abandonment after my dad walking in and out so much, leaving foster carers that I cared about and, later, my mother committing suicide.
“What has that got to do with self love?” I hear you wonder, and my answer is “so very much”.
Now, more often than not, I will face any minor issues with friends and loved ones head on because I know my fear and can provide myself with logical reasons as to why I won’t be abandoned. And if I do get left? It’s okay because I know that I am safe alone as long as I know and trust myself.
I’ve also learned my behaviours. As another example, I know that when I am stressed/ anxious/ upset, the first thing that goes is my self care (things like eating and washing my hair especially) so I ensure that as soon as I feel slightly anxious that I buy food that will give my body what it needs and is easy to make, and book extra hair appointments.
It makes me feel grateful towards myself for looking after me. I have learned to love myself like I’d want my mother to show me love. It’s easy to love someone who looks after you, try to be that person for yourself.
I think that’s how we should all love ourselves. We should know ourselves, what makes us happy, sad, angry, anxious, etc. and tailor the way we show ourselves love to what we need; as if we are the most special person in our world (as we should be).
We have no problem with wanting to know every little thing about our partners as we fall deeper in love. Why not know ourselves that well?
Can you genuinely love someone who you refuse to get to know?
My practical tips for you to start getting to know (and love) yourself are;
1. Buy a journal. Any time you do something/ react a certain way to something and you’re not sure why, ask yourself why until your response hits the truth nerve. It might hurt but it’s worth it. For me, 9 times out of 10, my subconscious is trying to protect me but I do not always need it.
2. Make a list of what you like; it could be food, activities, places, people, jobs.. the list is endless (it doesn’t have to be in one go, add things as you realise you like them, perhaps?)
Bonus: If you’re not already, try to start incorporating these things into your life in some way. Work to enjoy the time you spend alone as it’s easier to love yourself when you at least like your life!
3. Make a list of what you dislike (again , it could be anything and it doesn’t have to be in one go)
Bonus: Try to crowd these things out with things you do like.
There is no time limit, everyone develops new feelings at different speeds and in different ways!
Let me know if you try it and what you think. (Also, hit me up if you need any further advice around the practical tips).