If you are a client of mine, or have been reading the blog, you know I like to take the loving approach to facilitate change. Love is the only place where all lasting healing comes from. And, for that lasting healing to take place in our own lives, we have to extend love to ourselves.
I’m sure most of you have all heard something about the self love movement. It’s a new idea that is turning a lot of heads. As a collective society, we have spent a lot of time trying to hate and shame ourselves into change. We criticize ourselves and others over every little “flaw”. Every magazine we see at the store is plastered with advertisements on how to get a better body, a new workout or diet to try, and tips on how to get people to like you. Everyday we are bombarded with pictures of photo shopped men and women, weight loss products, and dietary dogma. It’s no wonder we hate our bodies, feel confused about our health, and just end up settling for sugar and TV at the end of the day.
To counteract these false belief systems, the self love movement has begun. This movement consists of mostly women who have decided to turn their backs on the standards and expectations of society. The message is ‘love yourself the way you are’. I support this idea 1,000%. Because, again, if we don't look at healing (from disease, emotional eating, anxiety, pain, etc.) from a place of love, real change wont happen. It’s imperative that we do love and accept ourselves today, the way we are right now. When we appreciate our bodies the way they are, we open the door to healing.
Empowered Self Care vs. Destructive Self Care
I want to make something else clear. With that self love, also comes the need for self empowerment. Without the element of empowerment, we can end up using “self love” as an excuse for self destructive behaviors. Because, and listen up now...
Loving ourselves cannot be used as an excuse for going on junk food and Netflix binges.
One more time...loving ourselves cannot be used as an excuse for going on junk food binges (or any other unhealthy habit). When we truly love and accept ourselves, we are able to break away from the fear, the patterns, and the dependency that drive unhealthy habits.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still a real human. I love Netflix and ice cream. I just do it in balance and without emotional attachment. No guilt, no shame, and no overjoy either.
There is a big difference between changing "bad" habits out of shame, guilt, and essentially self hate versus changing those same habits from a place of empowerment, self love, and gratitude. Eating healthy, exercising, sharing your passions with the world, and living abundantly – this is true self care. It is only when we are standing in the flow of our own personal power, that we can truly nurture, serve, and love others.
I had a misconception of self care and self love for years. I thought that my self demeaning habits – eating junk food, skipping workouts, and playing down my gifts – was taking care of myself. The food brought comfort. Laying low kept me protected. Or so I thought.
I realized that staying in that place was the deepest form of self rejection and denial. I was rejecting my true nature. My true nature, and all of our true natures, thrive in health and authentic self care. And, when we are in that place of empowered self love, we can thrive in service, charity, and love for others.
Support in Empowered Self Care
Asking others – your spouse, family, or friends – to assist in self destructive behaviors isn’t support. It’s ok to be different. It’s ok to change. We don’t have to keep living in old patterns just because “it’s the way we were raised” or “everyone else is doing it”. It’s time we support ourselves in empowered change, and ask for the support we need from others. Tell your spouse or significant other, that you are making a change. And, if you aren’t finding support in outside sources, support yourself. Always support your authentic self. When we aren’t living our truth, we will feel it. I did this for years. And, wow, I was uncomfortable! I was overweight, broke, exhausted, sick, and overwhelmed.
So, find others who are on the same journey and stick together. Extend the love you wish to feel for yourself, to others.
To Sum It Up...
Indulging in junk food is not self care. Denying yourself health, wealth, or thriving relationships isn’t self care. It’s quieting your power. It’s stepping down from your life and essentially saying, “not today, thanks anyways”. Authentic self care is daily habits that empower a person towards greater health, wealth, passion, and purpose.
Examples of Empowered Self Care
What does empowered self care look like in real life? It can mean many different things to you. And, it may change everyday. But, here are a few examples of true self care.
- epsom salt bath at the end of a long day
- going for a walk in nature
- enjoying a warm cup of tea and a good book....at 3pm...for no reason at all
- going to lunch with a friend
- turning on music and cooking a delicious, nourishing meal for yourself
- sitting under the moon and journaling everything you are grateful for
- taking a nap when you are tired, without guilt
- having a dance party with your kids (or by yourself!)
- starting up a community tradition (dinner swaps, friday night pizza and a movie with friends, etc.)
- having a designated "snow day" once a month - stay in, read good books, watch funny movies, and play games
What are your favorite empowered self care habits?