Per my usual, it’s the end of the month which means it’s time for the monthly wellness roundup post. If you’re not familiar, every Wednesday of each month I write a wellness/wellbeing post that’s centered around self-development and motivation. I also focus on a specific topic for the month. Last month’s topic was Aggressively Editing Your Life: A Four Part Series and for this month my topic was centered around Self-Love. I thought it would be a great idea to do a round up post at the end of the month which entails me providing the highlights from the topics I wrote about each week for that particular month. Consider it a one stop shop if you will, for those who may have missed a Wednesday post, or if you need a refresher or a boost to help you get through.
For the month of June’s topic I provided a variety of tools we we can use to help aid in our self-love. I talked about ways in which we sabotage self-love and I even talked about how self-love can be a process. In other words, even if you think you have it figured out, you may still have to continue to work on it. Working on our self-love is never ending because we grow and change as we progress through life.
I think a lack of self-love derives from an unhealthy upbringing, society, and even our romantic relationships. Our minds are like magnets because it has the potential to attract and hold on to the words we hear, especially if they negatively impact our well-being. This is why it’s so important for us to know our worth and love ourselves. There’s always going to be someone who makes us question ourselves and our abilities but when you love yourself, it creates space for you to not take things to heart and regardless of what others may say or think, you know what you bring to the table and you know that your flaws are only a small part of who you really are.
Boundaries This may not seem like a factor of self-love but a lack of boundaries can drain you. I always say that boundaries are set in place to protect both parties and when you set boundaries you’re setting methods in place that works best for what it is that you want at the moment. A lack of boundaries means that anything goes and essentially that’s an opportunity for others to take you for granted.
A lack of self-love plays a role in what we are willing to accept from other people, because when we don’t love ourselves, we don’t see our value or worth and we are willing to settle for just about anything from other people (especially if it’s bad). That lack of love is like a void, therefore whatever others are willing to give us to “fill that void,” we will take it no matter how it shows up. This is hard for a lot of people to hear but if you love yourself there’s a lot you won’t settle for and there are some expressions of love from others you will know is not accurate. For example, love is not abusive, love does not put us down, love does not discourage us, and love does not tell us that our concerns about things that don’t feel right is all in our head. A lack of self-love can be very toxic because you open up yourself to the possibility of being taken for granted, you lower your standards, and boundaries no longer exist.
Negative Self-Talk most people are probably guilty of this to some extent but I think it’s an issue when it sounds like the person has completely given up on life. I’ve met a few people that drained my energy because their outlook on life and the way they talk about themselves is completely negative, it’s as if they don’t see the bright side of anything and they expect the worse to always happen to them. If this sounds like you, then there’s probably a problem. People who love themselves may not always see the positive but they will likely follow up negative self-talk with something positive.
Why re-invent the wheel? While contemplating today’s post I thought it would be a great idea to do a play on a self-love through self-care toolkit. The idea is to provide my readers who struggle in this area with some ideas that they can use to help with their self-love journey. I provide a list of self-care ideas every Sunday and I went through some old blogs and came up with a list of five that I thought would help cater to our self-love needs. These ideas can be practiced for five consecutive days, you can try doing them all in one day, or you can choose what you need from the list based on how you’re feeling today.
PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION (emotional self-care): this may not apply to everyone but someone might need it. Often times we are entirely too hard on ourselves. We go down the “I should’ve, I could’ve, I wish, Why did I, I can’t believe” rabbit hole. I’m no stranger to this mindset, but it’s mentally EXHAUSTING and if you can relate to this, then I’m sure you will agree. Lately I’ve been checking myself when I feel this way and instead of beating myself up, I try to accept what is, especially if I have no control. It’s difficult at times but practicing self-compassion shifts the energy away from mental exhaustion to being kind and patient with yourself.
START A GRATITUDE JOURNAL (emotional self-care): Start the morning on a high note by writing in a gratitude journal as soon as you wake up. Set some intentions for the day and write down a short mantra that you can memorize and repeat throughout your work day. Psychology Today states that gratitude journaling improves our self-esteem and mental strength. It also improves our psychological health and opens doors for new relationships. Journaling also caters to our emotional self-care needs. I mentioned in a previous post that journals are easily our best friends. You can share without the fear of judgement. Read more on gratitude journaling from Psychology Today here. Below are some potential prompts to get you started.
- Write about a happy memory.
- What’s something you’re looking forward to?
- What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?
- Write about someone you’re grateful for.
- Write about three things you’re grateful for.
- What do you like about your job?
- What makes you grateful for your family?
- What skills do you have that you’re grateful for?
- What accomplishment(s) are you grateful for?
- What’s something you’re grateful for outside?
I think it’s important to note that self-love is pretty standard but I think it looks different for everyone. I think there are people who practice what I like to call “tough love self-love”–these are people who don’t take life too seriously and they don’t take things personally. They appear to take criticism well and make it work to their advantage. But there are those who need to retreat so they can self soothe when they feel attacked by others. Self-soothing for them might look like self coaching (e.g. don’t let it get to you, you’re good enough, etc), journaling, talking to someone, or just having some me time. I dont think there’s anything wrong with either approach.
It Won’t Always Feel Like Love based on the picture society has created on what “love looks like” (always happy, things always going great, etc) that won’t always be the case. You will have to set boundaries and not everyone will be happy with the boundaries you set (including yourself). Some people will make you feel bad about doing what works best for you and sometimes you may not like the decisions you make because sometimes you have to make hard choices that hurt initially but will be the best for you in the long run.
This month’s focus was challenging and enjoyable to write because it was a struggle sometimes to think of a topic for the week, but I also learned a lot from the information I provided for you. Specifically from the “self-love not always feeling like love” paragraph. I felt that one, and I need to remember that one because sometimes we take a step forward and sometimes we end up taking 5 step backwards. It can make us feel like a failure but it’s just a part of the process. Always remember that.
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