as my first post for “the art of…” series, i figured it would be most beneficial, and logical, to begin with the art of loving yourself. i’ve received a lot of questions in my twitter DM’s and emails about situations in others’ lives, and i find myself responding with words that correlate back to loving one’s self. it’s inspired this blog post.
self-love, in all its fragility, is one of the most powerful components of living a purposeful life. during my own journey to helping others and living a fulfilled life, i am finding that cultivating a supreme self-love is not mutually exclusive. there is a venn diagram that exists in the cosmos, intersecting the purpose of life, self-love, and living, being, becoming. the loving of self and the loving of life both temper one another; they are parallel; they are synonymous. you were put on this earth with a vessel of a body. your spirit has been with you, traveling, for some time now. you two are not strangers. you are a stranger to this particular body in this lifetime, though. that’s where the journey of life comes in — the learning, the unlearning, the scenic route of traveling to your highest self. wouldn’t it be easier to travel to this place of culmination if you weren’t at war with yourself? your soul, your spirit, and your body all must get along if you want to reach your destination in one piece. the glue that will work to hold it all together is self-love.
so what is self-love, anyway? self-love is an energy, and an action, and not just an ideology that some weirdo came up with to self-satisfy their own distorted reasons. it is a verb, it is a noun. you implement it, you practice it, you embody it. it’s the pre-requisite to “love thy neighbor as you love yourself”. how can you love another when you don’t love yourself? that’s like giving when you have nothing to give. math and logic tells us that this is not possible. to put it simply, self-love is:
self-esteem that gives us confidence to do, to be.
the knowledge (of self) helps us navigate through life.
a force field that can keep all the poop out of our life and our element.
how we conduct ourselves and represent ourselves.
how we measure who is invited into our sacred space.
how we determine what works for us, and what doesn’t.
how we are able to give and to love others, wholly.
our guide to wholeness.
our owning of our uniqueness.
the art of self-love.
be good to yourself.
being good to yourself is a nice umbrella for all other aspects of self-love. self-care, positive thinking, belief, consistency, and honoring your emotions is all under the general idea of being good to yourself. you want to engage in activities and with people that help you grow and water you. knowing yourself and what's good for you, protecting yourself from anything that doesn't serve you, and filling your head with pretty thoughts are all actions of self-love.
honor your emotions.
this is a huge one for an emotional being such as myself. for so long, i've suppressed emotions because i felt as if i were bothering others or not welcomed with my baggage of feels. i'm not saying being a bag lady with luggage full of emotional overload is smart - because it'll only slow you down - but i am saying that denying your emotions is denying your humanness. you are allowed to feel, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not for you. (they also have some self-love issues to work on themselves.) when you honor your emotions, you're honoring your existence as a human. when you love yourself, you are taking stance in your worthiness and your right to exist and to be here, living and blooming.
discipline yourself to act and think in ways that higher your vibration.
silence your worst critic in your head. silence any noise that distracts you from your vision. it takes a lot of adjustment to settle in with this, but it is worth it. our mind is a haven for infinite thoughts; a lot of them might not be conducive to our self-love and our growth. we have to discipline ourselves to flip perspectives, inverse the negatives, and push through to manifest more positivity. when we higher our vibrations, we are acting in a way that shows that we honor ourselves too much to keep us low. we are powerful beings- we deserve to be treated as such. it starts with what we think of ourselves.
be honest with yourself.
this is first and foremost. self-love is not a walk-in-the-park all the time. it is sometimes the diving into a deep, dark abyss that you've avoided for so long. self-love will show you to the darkest parts of yourself and it is your choice to be unapologetic about it. in my opinion, self-love is a synonym for truth. (and the truth ain't always cute.) it takes honesty with yourself to be able to recognize and be aware of what needs healing, what wounds are still open, and how to conduct yourself to mend them. being honest with yourself requires many out-of-body experiences to see yourself in situations and analyze how to get out of them without harming yourself. seeing yourself in a mirror can reveal you to the god within you. you just have to begin with truth.
curate your environment.
curating your environment means more than cleansing your space and keeping plants in your room. mindful self-love requires us to know who and what is being welcomed into our space and what is staying and taking up room. keep your space sacred. limit energies that do not serve you. cut off 'friendships' that drain you. cleanse your element and declutter your mind. minimalism sometimes is the secret to grandiose living. less friends can be a blessing. getting out of that relationship that no longer serves you is a good thing. taking steps to make sure your environment is a reflection of your love of self and the positive, clean space in your mind is key to the art of self-love.
- radical, quality self-care.
self-care requires consistency and discipline. do not confuse self-care with just indulgence. sure, we want ourselves to have nice things because we deserve them; however, over-indulgence is just a veil for distorted self-love. at the root of indulging, it is desire. desires are what exist when something is void or missing. the cultivation of self-love is ensuring ourselves that we are whole and not without. everything that we need is already within us. as a shop-a-holic and a consumer, i can tell you that buying things does not mean you love yourself. it might mean the opposite. radical, quality self-care means indulging in things that feed you and your spirit. exercising, traveling, learning, eating quality foods, reading quality books, watching quality tv (this might be a paradox), etc. your body is a vessel for your spirit in this lifetime. loving ourselves means taking utmost care of this vessel; thus, radical self-care as a means to loving ourselves.
- setting boundaries.
say no. go ahead, i dare you. if it doesn't fill you, say no to it. if you don't feel like doing it, say no. setting boundaries is a vital part of being good to yourself and honoring yourself. you are of value and you matter. involving yourself in situations that drain your energy is not valuing yourself. knowing yourself allows one to know when a boundary needs to be set. what are your likes and dislikes? how to you want others to treat you? what are your goals? these are just some things to ask yourself, matters at hand, that are crucial in the development of setting boundaries. if you know you have to study for a final, don't say yes to peer pressure of a party the night before. that's limiting yourself. that isn't self-love. if you know you're trying to lose 10 pounds, why are you not saying no to that slice of cheesecake? if you know you don't want to ever be called out of your name, why are you in a relationship where your partner verbally abuses you? SAY NO. set the boundaries. be firm. love yourself.
self-love is vital to conduct ourselves in life and for relationships to sprout and blossom. in my e-book "the art of self-love" i go more into depth of what self-love is and how to cultivate it.