Last year I started a series of columns aimed at encouraging self–love. In November I talked about how an abundance of self-love is the key that opens the door to all other abundance in life. In December I went a step further and described how you begin the process of self-love by becoming aware of what you are thinking and saying to yourself, and then commit to creating a more loving and compassionate relationship with yourself.
In this brand new month in a brand new year, I hope you might consider foregoing those pesky New Years Resolutions (do they ever really work anyway?) and instead commit yourself to becoming as self-loving as possible in 2016. This will be the greatest gift you give yourself as well as all others in your life, and it will open the door to the greatest joy and satisfaction you’ve ever experienced.
So we come back around to that all-important question, “How do we love ourselves.”
Remember, awareness is the key ingredient to self-love. You must become aware of how you are treating yourself before you can change it. Once you become aware, you can begin taking actions in the realm of self-love.
Some of the most important actions you can take is putting yourself first and making your own health and happiness a priority over everything else. Many people confuse this with being selfish, but there is a profound difference between the two. When you commit to taking care of yourself first you are filling yourself up before giving “it” away, so to speak. The truth is, we cannot give away what we don’t have within us. We cannot give authentic love if we don’t love ourselves. We cannot give compassion if we aren’t compassionate with ourselves. We cannot help others if we cannot help ourselves. This is why so many people walk around exhausted, depleted, angry and miserable, because we are trying to give from an empty well. However, once you fill yourself from within it becomes a joy to give to others, and in doing so you fill yourself even more.
So, make it a priority to fill your “well” within. What you decide to put into your well will depend up you and you alone because we are all infinitely unique. However, it should be filled with those things that make you feel good, brings you joy, inspires and enlightens you.
What are those things for you? Do you know?
I encourage you to figure out what it really means to you to take care of yourself and put yourself first. Make a list of everything that brings you greater health, makes you smile, laugh or feel good, and actively incorporate these things into your daily life as much as possible and wherever possible.
Unfortunately, many people convince themselves they don’t have enough time, are too busy or don’t have the resources to show themselves love. But there are many ways to fill yourself that require little time, effort or money. It doesn’t have to be hard or daunting and sometimes the smallest acts of self-love are the most powerful. In fact, it could be as simple as drinking more water, taking daily walks, reading or listening to a new book, spending time by yourself, etc.
One extremely important element of self-love is giving yourself permission to be fully self-expressed. Being fully self-expressed means being who you are no matter what that looks like and no matter how much society tells you should be something different. Embrace every part of yourself and let it shine at all times. Forget the critics and the naysayers because what others think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to with their own lack of self-love and acceptance.
Allowing and embracing a creative outlet is another huge act of self-love. We are creative by nature and each of us has an artistic gift that wants to be expressed. However, not all creative outlets are as obvious as painting, writing, singing or dancing. Some are less obvious but just as valid, such as constructing tiny ships in bottles or writing computer code. The point is to recognize and embrace your creative side and incorporate it into your life as much as possible.
And most importantly of all do not feel guilty or judge yourself for making you a priority. This is huge and absolutely vital so I am going to say it again. Do NOT feel guilty for taking care of yourself and finding ways to make yourself happy. This does not mean you should neglect all others or become egocentric, but rather it’s time for you to stop neglecting you!
Love and take care of yourself as your greatest gift to you, but also as your greatest gift to the world.
With Love and Light,
Amy Nyland manages Love and Light LLC located at The Center for Love and Light in Atlanta, GA. Amy’s mission in life is to help spread the gospel of self-love. Learn more at: www.withloveandlight.com