What if your only goal this year was to love yourself better?
It feels like everyone is talking about how to be your best you in 2020 - how to set goals to be more, get more, have more. But what if, the more you reach for some idealized version of yourself - the further away from her you get? What if she doesn’t even exist? What if you realized that when you’re reaching for that idealized version- you’re really just chasing your worth?
And what if I told you that I know this because I spent most of my life learning to chase it- then the last 8 years unlearning it. And what if I told you that secret to it all isn’t becoming anything in particular - it’s simply learning to love yourself? And what if loving yourself IS the way to a healthier, braver, kinder, truer, stronger, wiser and more authentic you?
Sister- i’m a HUGE fan of learning, growing, and becoming. Are you kidding me - that’s why we do what we do around here at Soul Chicks. It's got me unstuck from some very dark places. But here’s the thing I had to learn, and what I want you to think about....there’s a very important distinction between “growing” into a healthier wiser version of yourself from a place of self-love...and “chasing” an idealized version of yourself from a place needing to be enough.
Hello...as a recovering people pleaser / over functioner / perfectionist - it took me a long time to learn there was no idealized version of myself out there somewhere waiting to be found- there was only me...the one true beautiful messy human version. The one made of struggle and strength - wisdom and weakness - courage and fear - kindness and cruelty - faith and fear - hope and regret. And the only thing to do, was learn to love her.
Sounds simple, even cliche...right!? “Love yourself”. Heard it a millions times. But what does it even mean really?
Well...what good therapy, Brene Brown’s coarse work and doing my soul work has taught me is this - Loving yourself isn’t a feeling, it’s action and attitude. It’s how you treat yourself, what actions you take, or don’t take toward yourself, and the attitudes you hold toward yourself. It’s the way you choose to be in relationship with yourself.
Self love looks like:
Showing up for yourself & your life. That means paying attention to you…what you need, what you want, what you like or don’t like, what makes you tick, and what lights your soul on fire. It means letting yourself be seen, not hiding parts of yourself behind a mask, or living behind a cardboard cutout version of yourself.
Valuing yourself more than you value what others think of you. Letting what you think of yourself, what you know to be true for you…be enough…period!
Knowing your worth. Being the keeper of your own worth and never negotiating it away, or assigning it to anything or anyone outside yourself. Knowing that no matter what gets done or remains undone each day, no matter what happened yesterday or what comes tomorrow, no matter what others think, say or do…YOU ARE ENOUGH…simply because you're here, you’re breathing, you're part of this creation thing called life.
Staying with yourself. That means having your own back and not abandoning yourself to make others comfortable, to fit it, avoid conflict, earn affection, not even to win connection or belonging. It means sitting with yourself in the pain and discomfort of hard experiences and difficult feelings. Not running away and numbing, but staying with yourself, listening and holding space for all of it. And reminding yourself that it’s ok, you’re ok, because you’ve got your back. You will not abandon you.
Honoring your sacredness by setting and keeping boundaries. Letting others know what is and isn’t ok for you; how you choose to or not choose to show up; and what you will or will not allow into the sacred spaces of your heart.
Choosing courage over comfort. Saying no when you mean no. Respecting yourself enough to have the hard conversations, to tell your emotional truth, even when it makes others uncomfortable- even when you’re the only one who's doing it.
Authenticity. Being who you are and owning your story without apology. This doesn’t mean behaving badly then saying, “sorry this is who I am, deal with it.” It means taking responsibility for who you are, knowing you’ve walked through struggles, hurts, and suffering no one else can know. You’ve climbed mountains and fought battles, and crossed finish lines that only you can understand…and it matters! Your story matters because you matter.
Self compassion. Talking to yourself and about yourself with gentleness, compassion, and kindness. Having an attitude of compassion toward yourself, knowing that you are, and always have been, doing the best you can with what you have/had in the moment. Extending yourself grace, believing that you are more than your worst moments.
Self care. Caring for your own needs with the same attention and importance as you care for others. Being willing to make the sacrifices necessary to care for yourself. Choosing your well-being over fast, fun, or easy.
a Taking responsibility for managing your own thoughts, feelings, behaviors - and allowing others to do the same.
Keeping promises to yourself. This is a hard one, but so important. It means valuing yourself enough to build trust with yourself. To stop making empty promises to yourself as if you don’t matter. To do what you promise yourself you’ll do because it matters, because you matter.
Doesn’t that list feel so much different than chasing some idealized version of yourself. Some version of you that’s based on what you should be, or need to be, in order to be enough?! And here’s the beautiful part….that healthier, braver, kinder, truer, stronger, wiser and most authentic you…she’s there waiting for your love to grow her and give her wings.
When I finally shifted my focus off fixing myself, and the people and situations around me. When instead, I embraced this notion of loving myself, and set out to learn how...that's when things began to change. When the cage door opened. I didn't know that learning to stay with myself, care for myself, value myself, keep promises to myself, set boundaries for myself, show up for myself, ask for what I need, and be my authentic self without apology was the key to growing into my best self...but it was. Not in that idealized perfect best self sort of way...but the real, strength and struggle, gloriously messy and human, still learning and growing best self sort of way. The way that feels honest, doable, satisfying, and deeply freeing.
So my gorgeous soul sister - I’m going to challenge you. When you’re thinking about what you want for the new year ahead… instead of asking yourself what do I need to be, do, or become in-order to be some idealized best version of my current self. What if instead the only question you ask yourself is this...>>>What does really truly loving myself look like? How can I love myself better?
That’s my 2020 wish for you dear friend. That you will learn to love yourself better. It may sound simple and trite…but there’s a reason why every expert sage keeps pointing us back to “self-love”…because they know this one deep abiding truth. Everything grows with love!!!
Here's to growing yourself with love Sister.