Self-love takes practice
A week ago, I posted my video “10 ways I practice self-love” on YouTube. The footage was taken last year. As a huge self-love advocate, I feel like I, myself, really need some of these reminders I spoke about in the video right now. Why did I post the video a year later? I was too busy attacking how poorly shot the footage was, how my eyeliner was off, and how I was talking while eating my hair thanks to the wind. And why the huge hiatus from blogging? Probably something similar to that in nature, but how much I miss writing! I can’t wait to share more thoughts in more posts with less words and less fear. There has never been a greater time to be raw and authentic.
Anyway, I’ve realized how much time of life was spent in me trying to please others, allowing conditional situations to make or break my mood, judging myself, and how stupid it was to lack the one thing I should be giving myself every single day…self-love. It’s so easy to get caught up with how far we are away from our goals and where we want to be instead of focusing on how far we’ve come.
Hatred comes from the lack of love we have for ourselves. If I see myself as a failure, see myself as stupid, weak, or undeserving of love, then I’m not really able to fully embrace myself unconditionally. As I’m growing older, I’m focusing less on what others think of me and tuning more into how I, myself, feel. The awareness is there. The realizations are there. Love ourselves is a choice we make. The next step is more execution. How do we listen to our own needs and take care of ourselves so that we have more capacity to do the same for others?
So after looking through the video I held back on uploading, I came to a conclusion that the content was pretty good, and a great amount of time was spent on shooting, writing, and editing, so why not just post it? It’s 2019 after all, the year of less hesitation, more execution, and more self-love. So uploading it I did! Feel free to watch the video and let me know what you think! Here’s to us being kinder to ourselves and practice caring for, accepting, and loving ourselves more.
For those of you who prefer reading and skimming through some ways in which I practice self-love, here it goes- 10 things I do to practice more self-love:
1. Declutter my spaces.
I used to (I like to think I’m a lot better now) be a terrible hoarder. I would collect and keep everything and anything because maybe it’s something I think I’d come back to, only to not touch it for years on end. Unorganized spaces keep me away from being productive and allows me to use this as an excuse to spend a huge chunk of time on cleaning, or as an excuse to not feel motivated to do anything. Decluttering is more than just throwing away stuff, it’s another way for me to really examine my life by going through the possessions I own and letting go of things that no longer serve a purpose in my life so that I can make room for those that are important to me. Does the item serve a key function in my daily life? Does it bring me joy? Have I used this item in the past year? Decluttering your spaces give you more peace of mind. Not to mention, sometimes the things you were seeking for months come popping up! If I’m not taking care of clutter, I’m not taking care of myself either.
2. Set boundaries and surround myself with the right people.
Since college, I started straying from hanging out with friends too frequently. I didn’t feel this urge to hang out and see friends every single day, week, or month. It’s not that I don’t want to be around others, it’s just that I am more than okay with being alone sometimes and spending that time in developing a strong relationship with myself. There are times when I just feel like I need a lot of time to “recharge”; no matter how much someone means to me, I just want time to myself. And sometimes it’s kind of a sudden need for space and the not wanting to have any sort of human interaction. However, if you feel this way too, not everyone might understand that, so let’s be responsible and make sure we communicate this to others to avoid misunderstandings or unnecessary hurt. Our time is precious and I see value in relationships that are 100% genuine. Find your balance between individuality and togetherness – of getting to know yourself and being comfortable in your own presence and catching up with friends to find out what’s going on with them and the world. Set boundaries on how much content you are consuming (whether it’s watching television or scrolling through Instagram) to ensure you are in a happy place. Balance keeps us from burning out, giving up, and most importantly, allowing us to keep our identity and right to choices.
3. Indulge in me-time.
I’m definitely biased about this whole “me-time” thing, but it’s so important to take time to clear your mind, comfort yourself, reflect, and recharge. We think we want or need so much, but all we really need is time to breathe. Maybe for you, it’s listening to music and busting out some moves you’ve been wanting to try. For others, it might be gaming, reading books, exercising, writing, or lounging in pajamas and binging an entire series of television. Whatever tickles your fancy, do it and be totally immersed in the moment. Do whatever soothes your soul and puts you at ease. I actually want to share a quote I just came across a quote: “I will spend more time with myself in this lifetime than anyone else. Let me learn to be the kind of person I would like to have as a friend.” Learn what you like, what you need, what your purpose is or what you’d like for it to be.
4. Decrease my inclination to compare myself to others/judge others.
There is only one of you in this world. There is no one out there who can ever take away the combination and essence of you (I know I mentioned this in a previous post and I truly believe this). Sure, there are people born every single day, there are people who are richer, younger, seemingly more “beautiful”, intelligent, but can anyone in the world have the same sense of humor, quirks, strengths and weaknesses, memories, experiences, hopes and dreams? Probably not. I’ve read a lot of quotes in my lifetime, and here’s a pretty popular one: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” I love this quote because everyone is doing things at their own pace and it’s quite disrespectful and unfair to compare two people at two different points in their lives. I feel like hatred comes from people not loving themselves enough. From feeling insecure themselves. From projecting that onto others. When you make foul comments about others, think deeply about why you’re doing it. What are you hoping to accomplish from it? Does it make you a better person? To those who receive nasty comments from others, don’t label yourselves with others’ opinions of you – their opinions of you are not your reality unless you let it be, but that doesn’t stop you from being introspective and seeing if there might be some truth to them as well.
5. Learn to accept and love my appearance.
As a kid growing up, I wasn’t always confident in my own skin. I was vulnerable to comments like “Sylvia, you’re so skinny, go scarf down a burger!” and some years later “hahaha, your thighs are jiggling”. I mean, when hormones change you and you’re used to seeing celebrities look a certain way or peers being applauded for appearing a certain way, it was difficult to not compare, as stupid as it all sounds now. Then college restlessness hit and I sulked about my eye bags, the amount of beauty marks I have, weird freckles and spots on my face, but why? As I grew older, I realized that appearance means so little (and I mean, really, so little). Sure, it might be the first impression someone paints of you, but if you want someone to see past that, you don’t have to worry about impressing the wrong folks. Someone’s external attractiveness (which is very subjective) does not equate to the goodness they possess inside. Create your own definition of beauty. Media depictions do not have to be our reality. If we can’t come to terms with being proud of our appearance, we’ll never feel good enough and we’ll always be left feeling like we lack something. How many businesses would lose money if everyone were to feel confident in all that they are as is? How can we try to focus on the things we do like about ourselves? What are our abilities? Personality? Perspective on the world? Repeat affirmations of self-love to yourself, like how you’re doing the best you can, you’re a work in progress, and how you’re beautiful because there’s only one of you. When you fall in love with yourself, the rest of the world falls too. When you accept yourself wholeheartedly, you’re that much closer to experiencing joy and focusing on things that actually matter. You cannot change things happily if they are done out of anger or worry.
6. Spend time outdoors.
Whether it’s taking a long walk on the beach, a short walk to the supermarket, or hiking in the mountains, interaction with nature seems to have a positive impact on me. The smells, the sights and sounds are such a great stress reducer. When I like to walk and reflect, my favorite place might be a nearby park bench. It’s my favorite because the trees remind me to breathe, the cars zooming by remind me how much of the world I’ve yet to see and explore, and the children? They remind me how far I’ve gotten in life and me being where I am at the present moment is not always guaranteed. So I have to make the most of what I can, with what I have to reach my goals and live a happier life.
7. Stay hydrated and eat well.
I can’t believe that a huge chunk of my life was spent in hating water. Ever since freshman year of college, I began drinking more water. The dining halls had plenty of soda and juice options, but I’m not sure when I decided I should get water and as each day passed, I opted for water over and over again. Guess what? We need more water in our lives! It’s easy to get caught up and forget how long we’ve been at the computer or how long we’ve gone without drinking water. I spoke with a friend on the phone yesterday and she told me how she’s now eating healthier; that she finds pleasure in grocery shopping and looking at some simple and healthy recipes online to make, instead of resorting to unhealthy ramen noodles. If you have a water filter system at work, keep a tally of the number of cups of water you drink! Our bodies need water to perform its regular functions at its highest level. Otherwise we may get tired, experience dizziness, muscle cramps, or other serious symptoms. It’s that balance factor again. Your body reacts to what you eat and put in your body, so listen to it.
8. Celebrate all wins. It’s important to be proud of your achievements no matter how big or small. I’m guilty of being hard on myself, beating myself up over things, but to what end? The past is the past, no matter how much we ruminate or wish we did some things differently. The things that we can control is what we do now, in the present moment. Sometimes when we think progress, we think about those big wins or achieving a long-term goal, and while those are great, they’re kind of rare. We forget about the small, ordinary, incremental progress that can increase people’s motivation, mindset, and happiness too. There’s power to progress. There’s power to me admitting that I haven’t been doing amazing and that I’m still learning how to better practice self-care. Getting errands done is an accomplishment, doing something that scares you or is outside of your comfort zone is an accomplishment, and even just waking up this morning is an accomplishment worth celebrating.
9. Talk to myself the way I would to another person I love in my life
…whether it’s my mother, father, best friends, sister, brother, grandma, grandpa, son, daughter- everyone messes up sometimes. Everyone experiences roadblocks. We’re human. But imagine your loved ones being scared, sad, or feeling poorly about themselves. How do you feel? Do you have this urge to help or comfort them? We should extend this compassionate mindset toward ourselves as well. If thoughts like, “I don’t deserve that” surface, we need to ask ourselves why- why do others deserve compassion but not us? Would you talk to loved ones the way you talk to yourself sometimes? Short answer, no. Then why do we hurt ourselves like that? Let’s try to be our own best friend, our own hero, and advocate.
10. Choosing myself.
This means loving, accepting, and caring about myself even when I fail miserably at some of my self-love goals. This means I recognize that I’m human, I’m flawed, and I’m trying…harder than ever. There are days where I break down, where I panic, where I feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, but I’m still in the process of becoming better, of trying to understand that although we cannot predict what life will throw our way, we are responsible for and in control of how we react to circumstances. Why choose ourselves?As much as others may love us, even if we have the best of friends or best partner on the planet, they won’t be able to make us truly happy and feel loved unless we have space for it inside. Don’t be afraid to say no if you want to say no. It took me so long to understand that I’ve overestimated the cost of saying no. It doesn’t make me a horrible person, it doesn’t mean I’m inconsiderate, rude, or insulting others. It took me so long to realize that I need to put myself first before I can be at my best to help others. Self-love is everything but selfish. No one can steal our knowledge away, no one can exercise and take vitamins for us, just like no one can prevent us from loathing ourselves, but ourselves. Be kind to yourself. Acts of self-care lead to self-appreciation and self-love. Strive for that self-love, unconditional feeling of appreciation, love, and acceptance for one’s self….that no matter what you do or what happens, you’ll always love yourself the same. Be proud of your loved ones and be proud of the person that you are and all that you are becoming!