I remember quite clearly when my need for self-love had become obvious. I’d just lost 100 lbs, but I was drowning in self-loathing and leading a life that I wasn’t happy to be a part of.
I felt like a bystander in my own life without any control over my circumstances. I realized then that all my driving forces for life-change weren’t rooted in self-love at all, but self-hate. I was stuck. Things needed to change. Things DID change. But if you’re thinking self-love is all about facials, bubble baths, and yoga in the yard, then it’s time to take a fresh look at how true self-love can literally transform your life.
1. Realize It’s Not Just About Your Body
It can be easy to hear “self-love” and place it in a box that only deals with one component of your life. True self-love is something that’s consistent between your body, mind, and soul. To transform one, you must consider them all. A healthy relationship, like all relationships, is not rooted in surface alone. You must nourish all three to experience something meaningful, long-lasting and life-changing.
2. Start With Self-Care
Listen, I get it. You’re not just going to suddenly wake up one day and love yourself. Our minds and hearts aren’t that kind. It starts simply with self-care, and that looks differently for all of us. For me, a big part of self-care meant getting up early and getting ready in a way that made me feel amazing; hair, makeup, whatever. It became very obvious to me that when I made that effort – my whole mindset changed for the entire day, simply because I was feeling good.
3. You Can’t Hate Yourself Happy
Often when we want to make a life-change or transformation it’s rooted in our unhappiness and even hatred for ourselves, our bodies, our life. It’s ok to take note of these feelings, but don’t let them fuel your journey. Instead, try making decisions for your life based on love for yourself, your life, your body. That way, you won’t be continually finding new “wrongs” to right, you’ll just be growing in affections for the right things in your life.
4. Your Self-Love Can Mean Losing Relationships
Losing sounds like such a bad thing, but sometimes, and in some relationships – losing is winning. It’s not always easy to identify, face, or walk away from toxic relationships in your life. If it’s a big relationship, it’s even harder. A good relationship should make you feel secure, happy, cared for, respected, and free to be yourself. Which is why the mere absence of “bad” doesn’t necessarily make a relationship “good”. If you’re faced with a decision about a relationship, it’s easy get stuck in mental ruts of all that you’ll be disrupted by or lose. Remember that even while it can be hard to make decisions for yourself that impact others in the short-term, in the long-term, it’s best to be in healthy, loving and meaningful relationships – starting in the one with yourself.
5. It Can Be Humbling
Sometimes self-love means a huge reset on life. Whether you walked away from a relationship, making a massive lifestyle change, or perhaps you’re choosing a career that makes you happy instead of one that gives you status. Let go of the pride, humble yourself, and do what’s right for YOU. If it feels like rock bottom, remember that in reality – it’s just a new, sturdy foundation to build upon.
6. Comparison Will Be The Thief Of Your Joy
Our tendency to compare can cripple your experience as you work towards life-change and self-love. Be inspired by others, be encouraged by others…but whatever you do, do not compare another’s experiences, body, relationships, career etc. to yours. You will have no room to love yourself or grow if you’re constantly comparing to someone else. Be laser-focused on your own journey, and celebrate others successes without allowing them to diminish your own.
7. Forget Motivation, It’s All About Drive
Motivation is a an up-and-down path, and constantly wavering. However, your drive and your decisions are what keep you on your path. Make daily decisions for yourself that include food, exercise, and how you spend your time. Simply just more acts of self-love, but ones that won’t bring metaphorical “stink” to your life.
8. You Need To Date Yourself
It’s time to start paying attention to YOU. Start recognizing and taking note of what makes you happy, what drives you, what your ambitions and goals are. Make the relationship with yourself a priority. Romance yourself. Spend time alone (yes, alone!). Find out what really makes you tick, brings you joy, and pushes you further in life. In getting to know and love yourself, you can then teach others on how to love you best, too.
9. Become Congruent
Being congruent means to be in harmony – outside, inside. Social media makes this difficult for us because what we see and share are projections, never the full story. It can be a job, a lifestyle, a relationship or something you are simply just playing the part of for the satisfaction of others in your life. Nobody likes to rock the boat, but perhaps – you’re already drowning while trying to keep it steady. Time to let go of what others think, feel or want for your life. You are the only one who will ever walk in your own shoes, so make sure it’s a path you want to be on.
10. You Have Authority Over Your Life
You have authority and power over your life. Do you trust that? Do you believe it? How many of us have felt at times that this just isn’t true? “It is what it is” becomes our belief system, and before we know it, we’ve put ourselves in another box and placed a few more mental roadblocks on our path. At the end of the day, we have to face ourselves, who we are, and who we are becoming. In the quiet moments of reflection – are you leading a life you love? If not, do you love yourself enough to take the steps to change it?
Sarah is a 33-year old mother of 3, also known as @thebirdspapaya on IG. After losing 100 lbs by changing her relationship with food and her body, she now speaks openly about self-love, body positivity, and finding yourself amidst divorce, motherhood, and massive life change.