Self-love, in my opinion, has many facets to it. Many different components, such as the ability to have self compassion, to self care, to self forgive and be self-aware. When practised regularly these individual components can help us to not only relearn how to truly meet, allow and accept ourselves for who we really are. But also they can allow us to recognise and reconnect with ourselves on a truly wholehearted level that allows us in turn to truly love ourselves once again.
When I talk about self love, I don’t mean the egotistical conceited level of self love that is focused on vanity or self infatuation but rather I talk about self love in a much more innate, organic, sense where we are truly able to be with ourselves and value, appreciate, honour and accept ourselves, warts and all without condition, expectation, judgement or criticism. Loving and accepting all parts of who we are, just as we are – True unconditional love.
Self love is a natural state of being into which we are born. Just consider tiny babies for a moment. Who has ever seen a newborn baby taking a moment away from their innate ability to enjoy life and themselves, through their eyes of pure wonderment and awe, to stop and criticise or judge themselves. Not me. We are naturally born into a state of self love.
But sadly for most of us, this way of being becomes lost over time through day to day interactions, experiences and beliefs picked up from those with whom we interact, in particular during our earlier and younger years.
In this blog post I would like to share with you the first in a series of simple techniques and exercises which I have been practising over the recent days and months to help me to nurture and increase self love. As with all the exercises and techniques that I will go on to share with you, I find this simple exercise, which needs just 5 minutes a day, if that, to be a particularly useful part of my daily routine at this time. It plays a really important part, in enabling me to not only stay grounded, centered and connected to my higher self and truth but also, in enabling me to cultivate a really authentic and sustainable sense of self love.
How we think about, talk about and see ourselves as I mentioned above is largely shaped and moulded throughout our lifetime. If our experiences and interactions have not been ones that have taught us, or modelled to us a positive sense of self and self love, then it is highly likely that we are going to have developed low self worth, self value and self esteem and thus in turn we will be probably be largely feeling negatively about ourselves and therefore not so able to practise self love.
How we think about, talk about and see ourselves not only shapes how we feel about ourselves but in many ways defines and shapes the path, the choices, and journey that we take in our lives.
This exercise focuses on building self love through the act of cultivating a positive sense of self. It is my hope that in sharing, it may help you to take a further step forward on your journey to thinking about, talking about and seeing yourself in a more positive light. To help you thus in turn to shape your life in a way that is based more on self worth and self value and a more, authentic, wholehearted and loving way of living.
We can change our script or lens through which we choose to see ourselves. And change we must if we want to be truly able to live authentically, sustainable, happy, fulfilling and loving lives.
I invite you to consider this exercise as a way of helping you to take your next step to valuing and loving yourself more.
So here it is. Like I said above, it’s simple and easy to practise and just needs 5 minutes of your time each day, if that.
Exercise Instructions: Complete the sentence below:
Today I have added value to life by…
That’s it. That’s all you need to do. Complete the sentence with 1, 2, 3 or more, if you can, ways that you have added value to your life, the life of others, your family, your community and/or your world today.
We all have gifts, qualities, skills, creativity and expertise that are needed in the world. These are the ways that we add value.
Now at first, you may find this hard to do, but once you get going, I promise you, you won’t be able to stop and with that you will start to feel so much more differently about yourself. So to help you, if you are finding it hard to get going, here are some ways that I have added value over the last few days and weeks to help inspire you to get started…..
How I have Added Value and made a difference in Life
I’ve practised Meditation, Yoga and Qi Gong daily to help me stay centered and grounded. And also to nurture and support my body, as well as calm and focus my mind, at this time. I have been listening to inspiring podcasts and talks on YouTube that have helped me to focus on a more positive, mindful and self aware way of journeying through these challenging times. And I have made sure that in the limited free time that I do get to myself that I fill those precious moments doing things that make me feel good and that I love to do. All of the above have helped me to self care and process and manage the current challenges and experiences in a more positive and mindful way. This in turn has enabled me to ensure, that I am not only taking responsibility for what I am putting out into the world, in the form of my thoughts and beliefs, at this time but also, that I am able contribute to society and the world, through my daily interactions with others in a way that is based on conscious and wholehearted awareness rather than fear.
I have helped to support others through the sharing of my tools, knowledge and awareness on my blog and social media to help, support and inspire others. I am teaching myself how to produce podcasts to help further help and inspire. And also in the community I have kept daily contact with elderly and more vulnerable neighbours in my area.
I’ve added value to my family by being the main carer to our 2 year old daughter, whilst my husband continues to work full time, – loving, supporting and listening to her. Feeding her, washing her, potty training her, reading to her, playing with her, giving her plenty of hugs, teaching her to ride her first bike and to count to ten. And helping her navigate through the challengers of being a toddler in very restricting, challenging and confusing times so that she can grow, develop and flourish safely, healthy and as freely as possible amongst the lockdown restrictions.
I’ve added value to my household by making the house nice and doing my share of the day to day stuff like the washing, cooking, cleaning and sorting etc. I’ve also planted lots of nice bulbs and seeds to provide us, hopefully, with some nice flowers and vegetables over the next few months.
So there are just a few things that I have done over the past few days to add value in my life, that I hope will inspire you to get started.
When practising, you don’t need to answer each category, like I have illustrated above, every time. (Although you can if you so choose). Just let the practice unfold naturally and organically each time you practise. You don’t have to write long sentences, you can just jot down key words or short phrases. I have just given you the categories above to give you some help, if needed, to get you started.
To practise, it’s important not to put pressure on yourself or force yourself in any way to make it happen. If you find this exercise is not working for you on a particular day, then let it go and have another go another day. Try to practise when you are in a good space and not force yourself if you are just not feeling it on a particular day.
It can help to practise at the same time each day and to add it in to an existing part of your daily routine, e.g. during your yoga or meditation practice, or whilst walking the dog, going out for a run, cleaning your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil or just as you get into bed. It’s great to practise with others too. With friends or family members. With children too, it can become not only an enjoyable part of an end of day/bedtime routine but also a fun way to teach them self love.
It doesn’t matter how you do it or when you do it. What’s important is that you try to find a way, if this exercise is something that you resonate with, to practice regularly, daily if you can, for as long as feels right and useful to you.
You don’t need to do anything special or have anything special in order to carry out this exercise, although you might like to assign a special notebook to your daily practice of cultivating self love and then include this and the upcoming exercises to record your journey. In doing so you can not only build up some really inspiring and nurturing pages for yourself but also a useful resource to act as a future reminder of the self love within you, for the days when you may lose that connection and feeling of love towards yourself.
So that’s it. I hope you find it useful and feel inspired in some way to give it a go. If you do so, join me on Facebook or comment below to share your journey towards self love and how you are adding value each day to life.
We all have our own unique gifts and talents…ways that only we can add value into the world. What the world needs from us right now is not to be like everyone else but to find our own uniqueness and share it out with the world.
I look forward to rambling with you again very soon.
Until then, take care
Sophia Grace xx