What Does “Love Yourself” Mean Exactly?

There are times when I feel like my brain has been taken over by a wild banshee, struggling for a solid foothold, thrashing in all directions as if it just encountered a nest of hornets. To calm my mind, I try to do all of the things that the self-help gurus say I should do…I mediate, I work on mindfulness and present moment awareness, I do yoga and I love myself…wait, what?

When I started this journey of learning more about myself, in an attempt to bring more joy into my everyday life, over and over again I would see this concept of self love. I have read it everywhere. People who give good advice have affirmed that self love is where it’s at. Of course I love myself. I mean, I’m not ugly, I have the GREATEST friends, I shower and groom, I buy myself nice things. Hey, me and myself are homegirls. What’s not to love? Of the gazillion things that I have to work on for self improvement, at  least I can check that one off of the list. I love myself, CHECK! Well, if you have been on this planet for any length of time, you have realized that the universe has a wonderful sense of humor and loves to get in the drivers seat and show you the way. Turns out, I wasn’t loving myself as much as I thought. At times, I can me down right mean to little ole me.

I have been getting up an hour earlier than my normal routine to make time to meditate before I start my day. I have come to love rituals and having the extra time in the mornings to sit with myself, read and prepare a healthy breakfast for my son certainly makes for a more peaceful start than racing the clock to make it out of the house on time.  In addition to rising earlier, I have tried to start thinking of three things that I am grateful for before my I get out of the bed. Hey, all of the enlightened ones say that it increases happiness, Im going to at least try it! Truth is that this simple act has revealed to me that I am not always kind to myself. Without the gratitude practice, I possibly never would’ve analyzed where my brain goes the second I awake. Turns out, the first things that I say to myself in the morning are pretty harsh. I am not sure how I can go from sound slumber to beating myself up in the split second it takes for my eyes to open, but this is exactly what happens. For the last few days, I have really been watching this first thought and it truly amazes me. “Did you have to drink that second glass of wine”, “did you have to say that to your son last night”, “here goes another day of floundering with no purpose”, “I wonder if I can get anything accomplished today”. This is NOT self love, this is NOT being kind to me. This morning was the first morning that I had enough awareness to shut my critic up before it could utter one word. Today was the first day I was able to open my eyes and immediately say “I am going to be kind to myself today”. I then went on to state three things I was grateful for, the first being coffee, and I put my feet on the floor. I walked towards my day with a smile on my lips, joy in my heart and a peace that would make Switzerland jealous.

There are a million places to begin a journey of self discovery. However, I highly recommend starting with loving yourself, being kind to you. I encourage you to take a deeper look in to what that truly means. Correcting a problem in your life begins with awareness, it has to, how can you repair something if you don’t even know it exists? Pay close attention to your thoughts and eliminate the ones that are degrading to your very being. It takes practice, routine and time to become self aware. I can’t think of a better love or greater way to use time than to put effort towards maximizing the joy you experience here on the earthly plane. Slay the banshee in your head and love yourself with all that you’ve got.

 

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