A Lesson About Cultivating Self-Love
I recently came across a podcast episode that talked about self-love and why it is so important to cultivate in our lives. It was the inspiration for this piece and my hope is that by reading it, you will identify ways to create more self-love in your own life.
Learn to take care of yourself
On his podcast, the Model Health Show, I recently heard Shawn Stevenson talk about how it’s actually easier to love someone else than it is to love yourself. We fully immerse ourselves in being there for another person and neglect the most important relationship of all, the one we have with ourselves.
Imagine the impact we can have on other people if we practice self-care. When we know how to take care of ourselves we can help others to do the same. We are each responsible for our own happiness.
About a year ago, shortly after going through a breakup, I was distracting myself from the healing process by dating before I was ready. This resulted in me damaging a relationship with a great person because I was behaving like someone who wasn’t truly settled. My emotions were so unstable. One minute I would be in to her and wanting to spend time together, and then the next I just wanted to be left alone. The time alone is what I probably actually needed, and it wasn’t fair to her to pretend otherwise (though I actually thought I was ready). It wasn’t until I was able to embrace being alone without feeling lonely that I was able to date again. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way.
Focus on values
On his podcast, Stevenson also talked about focusing on innate and explicit values.
Innate values are those values that come from having a human experience. The fact that we are alive is a miracle. A lot in the universe had to align for us to be here. It goes far beyond the fact that our parents happened to cross paths. I heard that some scientists say that each of us had a one in 400 trillion chance in being born. If this is true then how awesome is it to be alive? The fact that we are here is something we can acknowledge as a gift.
We matter because we are here. If we can somehow stay connected to that fact, we have a chance of developing a mindset that believes in endless possibilities for others and ourselves.
Explicit values are those things that we are naturally good at. In business I often hear the advice to focus on your strengths. But I think it’s sometimes difficult to identify or be connected to what it is that we’re naturally great at.
It’s helpful to keep it simple. Downplaying our strengths and overestimating our weaknesses is something that comes natural to many of us.
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a seeker of knowledge and perhaps view yourself as a life long learner. Whether you realize it or not, you have a strength of seeking information and learning on your own without someone forcing you to do it. This is a long way of saying that you’re resourceful.
Another strength people underestimate is the skill of being a good friend. Maintaining meaningful relationships is no easy task. Life gets in the way and people change. If you’re someone who is able to maintain friendships that survive time and distance, you should definitely consider that a skill to be proud of.
A big part of self-love is recognizing your innate and explicit values. It’s not easy to do, but if you can be intentional about it and make it a daily practice, you will be able to create a love for yourself that can be an inspiration for others.
I’ve found journaling to be a great way to stay connected to my values. I’ve written before about my daily practice with the five-minute journal. Each day I end my practice by expressing three of my truths or values. I’ve found this to be helpful in being mindful of why I am here and what makes me unique.
Self-love is not transactional. It’s not something we do every once in a while when we think about it. It’s a daily practice that involves being mindful about the stories we tell ourselves, and being intentional about what we focus on. Loving yourself isn’t easy, but like all things, it gets better with practice.