With the holidays over, and the new year underway, we begin making a list of things we want to focus on for the year ahead, also known as “new year resolutions.” These are the promises we make to no one other than, ourselves. Promises to make changes in how we eat, how we exercise, maybe even how we save money… mainly to just be a better version of ourselves entirely. However, how many of these promises that we make to ourselves, do we actually stick with? In other words, how many of these promises are actually “life-changing… a promise that has such a powerful effect of change, that it changes who you are, therefore, becoming your best version of YOU every day?
During my journey of “self” the past few years, some of which I have shared with all of you here on my blog, I have come to realize that most of these promises, although maybe made in good faith, are not life changing. Can we actually stick with something, unless we make it life changing? Does it become a part of who you are and how you live? Does your promise to change something, anything, become so much a part of you, that you don’t even have to think about doing it… you just, DO, even on the days that are challenging? Have you asked yourself how much you love, YOU? If you don’t love yourself, how can you commit to yourself? How are the changes you want to make important enough, if you don’t even find, YOU, important enough? With that said, I believe there is ONE thing you must accomplish, before these promises can become truly successful:
Self-love is important to living well. It influences your perspectives and your perception of life entirely. It influences on how you react or respond to issues, therefore, having an overall effect on your health. So, what is self-love anyway, and how do you obtain it? According to the Oxford Dictionary, the simple definition of self-love, is the regard for one’s own being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable, rather than narcissistic characteristic). However, I came across this article a few years ago, that actually put things in perspective for me, when trying to understand what it really means to love myself. According to the article, A Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love, self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. Our actions are the foundation of how we truly define ourselves. How we see ourselves, how we treat ourselves, how we deprive ourselves, and even how we better ourselves. If you don’t love yourself, completely and unconditionally, then how can you expect to accomplish any changes you want for yourself. Without self-love, you are unable to accept your weaknesses, as well as your strengths. You are unable to have true compassion for yourself… and if you don’t have compassion for yourself, how can you have compassion, or have an expectation to have compassion, for others, if others is what is included in your change?
Self-love cannot be bought, and it cannot be accomplished by reading inspirational books. Self- love is about loving ourselves unconditionally… with no expectations, no regrets and no false promises. To live life entirely through our own efforts and with intent, not through the permissions, expectations or acceptance of others. The author of the said article, Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D, notes her Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love, which helped me along my journey of self-love, so I will also summarize and note:
- Become mindful. Know what you think, feel and want, rather than what others want for you.
- Act on what you need rather than what you want. Stay focused on what you need. Turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
- Practice good self-care. Take better care of your basic needs; nutrition, sleep, exercise, etc.
- Set boundaries. Set limits or say NO to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
- Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. GET RID of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. Never let anyone dull your sparkle or steal your peace.
- Forgive yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You must accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
- Live intentionally. Live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose.
The term, “self-love,” has come a long way. This term used to be connected to narcissistic ways, if you even mentioned loving yourself. This is no longer. Know who you are, your purpose, your intentions, and loving yourself will become easy. Love yourself completely and without conditions… love the ENTIRE YOU! When this is accomplished, any changes you want to make for yourself, whether it is at the beginning of the year, or throughout the year, will become without effort and life changing.
You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. — Buddha
Love always, @thedesiredgurl
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