“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
“Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ”
– M. Scott Peck
Did you just say self-love, Keia? Self-love...schmelf-love…
Okay, okay, I get it… Self-love has almost become a buzzword in today’s world. But hear me out! Any act of prioritizing your health is an act of self-love. Simply put, self-love is about giving a DAMN about yourself - caring about your values, your goals, your boundaries, your preferences and taking the steps to live your life in alignment with these. In my own journey with food and in watching the journeys of my clients, prioritizing your happiness is absolutely key to when it comes to healing your relationship with food and breaking free from the the cycle of chronic dieting and binge eating.
So whatever your relationship status, I invite you to use this Valentine’s Day to prioritize the most important relationship of all, your relationship with yourself! After all, even if you are in a relationship or not yet in a relationship and looking for one, you will still always have your relationship to yourself that will serve the basis of how you connect to and relate with others. Make today a day to practice self-love.
So how do you do this? Here are 3 practical ideas on how you can show yourself love today:
1. Write yourself a love letter
We make cards and write messages to express our love to others, so why not write one for yourself? Grab a pen and paper now and set a timer for 5-10 minutes to write a letter to yourself. Why are you one awesome human being? What do you love about yourself? You might write about external qualities like how you love your hair and your smile or about internal qualities such as your kindness, your humor, and/or your intelligence. Pour the energy of love into the words you write to yourself.
If you have trouble with this, it can help to mentally call in someone or an entity that embodies love (e.g. example: a parent, a friend, Jesus, Buddha, your dog, Mother Earth, etc.). What would this person/entity say they love and appreciate about you? Feel free to write a letter from this person’s/this entity’s perspective.
This is also a great time to examine how you normally speak to yourself in everyday life - when things are going well and when you’re under stress. Do you send yourself words encouragement, acceptance, and support? Or do you find yourself beating yourself up, criticizing yourself, and sending negative words to yourself? Whatever your habits, it’s all okay. I invite you to begin observing and shifting your self-talk to be 1 degree more loving and supportive.
2. Take yourself out on a self-care date
It’s a spiritual need to have something to look forward to in your day, week, and in life. I’ve had many clients who would eat when they were bored or low energy simply because they had forgotten or neglected to schedule things that they could look forward in the near future. After all, if food is the only thing you have to look forward to during a hectic day, it would certainly be an easy option to reach for and overdo.
So what is that for you? What is something that you can look forward to doing or have always wanted to try? For me, it’s teaching my pole dancing students, taking a dance class, or cuddling up with my boyfriend to watch some Terrace House or Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Guilty pleasure, I know :) ). What is it for you? Is there an activity you’ve been wanting to try? Do you enjoy exercise classes, going out in nature, or getting massages? Feel free to brainstorm as many ideas you have write now and jot them down on paper.
You may want to invite other people on the date if you’d like. But even if you don’t find any takers, be your own best date and do something caring for yourself. After all, every action we take either fuels us or drains us. The more we can fuel ourselves, the more present and energized we are and frankly others end up benefiting as byproduct. I think back to my one of my clients who was in graduate school at the time and came to me for help because she was having trouble with stress eating and incorporating exercise into her hectic schedule. It was challenging for her at first but once she realized how energized and centered she felt when she prioritized her self-care, she later shared with me that she taught over 100 women at her school the value of self-care during a conference she organized. How cool!
3. Do a joy audit of how you spend your time
My mom recently called me gleefully sharing how organized her drawers were after watching “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo. I had read Marie’s book a few years ago and loved her method of asking this one key question when deciding whether to keep or toss something: “Does this bring me joy?” If you’ve watched any of the episodes or have had the experience of decluttering yourself, it tends to leave us humans feeling incredibly accomplished, peaceful, and relaxed.
Why is that? When you start letting go of things that don’t serve you well, you start making more space for the things that do. Decluttering is therefore an act of self-love. You are actively making decisions that align with your goals, preferences, likes, and dislikes. So this Valentine’s Day you are welcome to do a physical space audit but I also invite you to do this with how you spend your time during the week. Some categories to consider are:
Pick one of the categories and ask yourself, where do I find myself feeling most energized and where do I find myself feeling most drained? For example, if you look at your current job responsibilities, you may notice that you enjoy training other employees but feel tired and drained during sending routine messages. If you look at your relationships, you may notice a trend in how feel after interacting with certain people. f you’re noticing your energy drop with regards to certain task/person/activity, get curious. It might mean just making a simple shift in perspective, changing something in what/how you do this activity, or it could mean dropping this activity/relationship/task. (I’ll leave that decision to you as you know yourself best but if you need additional support, let me know!)
I often have my clients do a joy audit in their relationship with exercise. In my opinion, moving your body should be fun and enjoyable, so if you’re feeling like you’re “forcing" yourself to exercise, then I invite you to drop this practice and bring more joy into the activity. It’ll be WAY easier to stick to your routine if you enjoy it! This could mean changing the activity completely or shifting something small such as asking a friend to join you or downloading an audiobook you can enjoy while working out.
For myself, doing continuous “joy/energy audits” was an important part of what helped me build a life I really love now and heal my binge eating for good. After all, if you have so much to look forward to that will energize you, then food just becomes something that fuels you to do more of what you love :).
So on this Valentine’s Day, I want to send you a big hug and encourage you to cultivate the most important and longest relationship you’ll ever have - your relationship with yourself.
Also, I’d love to hear how you decide to practice self-love today. Feel free to post on my Facebook page here with any photos, comments, and insights you have. Thanks for reading!
Stay well, eat well, and savor all that life has to offer you…because life is simple too short not to ;)
Above all, love,