(This article is the first part of a 2-part series on Love)
I have been thinking about the word love a lot lately.
I feel like it is a word that gets tossed around quite a bit. Especially with all of the recent events going on in the world.
And while the idea of love sounds simple, and in many ways it really is, I think it can also be quite complicated.
To truly love, unconditionally, with no obstacles, no expectations, no preconceived notions, is actually sometimes kind of hard.
I mean, if it was SO easy to just love ourselves more, wouldn’t we just DO it? Would there have to be so much information out there on HOW to do it?
If it was SO easy to love others, wouldn’t we all be blissfully happy? There would be no war or fighting, because we would all simply just be loving each other, right?
So even though a lot of the wellness world talks about how simple love is, and how we all need to be doing it right now, I say that we need to be real and speak the truth. Sometimes love is hard. Sometimes love takes some work.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are examples of love in the world everywhere, examples of love that happen every day, and I really do truly believe that we all have the capacity deep down to be beautiful, love-filled beings.
But I also recognize that life can be hard. It can be a cold place. An unforgiving place. A confusing place. And it can be tough to maneuver through at times.
Self-love and loving others isn’t so simple during these times, and we need real, practical strategies to help promote love when we are faced with situations challenging our ability to do so. THAT is when it is most important to work on love.
So how do we love ourselves more when we are struggling?
We have all been there – the self-doubt, the self-deprecation. The feeling that we aren’t thin enough / pretty enough / smart enough / good enough / etc. The feeling that we can’t really love others that cause us distress and problems.
PLUS, we are bombarded with messaging on how to “improve” ourselves on a daily basis. Whether it is makeup, diet, fitness, clothing, belief systems, or ways of being, the media is constantly in our face, giving us “tips” on how we could be “better people.”
Is it any wonder why we are so hard on ourselves? Why we are so hard on others? Why we are experiencing such high levels of anxiety and depression?
I mean, look at the messaging we are faced with on a daily basis!
And over time it can really wear on us, even break us down. And in turn, we then can’t be there for others.
So how do we overcome this?
EXPRESS LOVE TO YOURSELF EVERY CHANCE YOU GET.
The more you put out, the more you get back.
Think about it – if all you think about are stressful, negative thoughts, you are going to carry that energy around and attract that energy to you.
But on the flip side, if all you think are loving thoughts, you are going to carry THAT energy around and attract that energy to you.
This is a daily practice – a practice that requires discipline and consistently. One you must be purposefully engaged in at all times.
This is a practice that helps push back against the consistent messaging we are exposed to every day.
It helps build resilience, so that when times do get hard, it will be easier to draw upon. For we engage in this technique not for when the times are good, but for when times are bad. When life is hard. That is the time that we need these skills the most. And the only way to be able to draw upon these skills is if we have already been practicing them in the first place.
Now is the time to start practicing self-love and building up your reserves for when life gets hard.
So I want you to start with YOU – that is where it begins.
I want you to start loving yourself. HARD.
I want you to post messages on your mirror about how freaking gorgeous you are.
I want you to record messages to yourself about how amazing you are.
I want you to write down love notes to yourself every day.
I want you to read those love notes every day.
I want you to eat foods that LOVE your body.
I want you to do exercises that LOVE your muscles.
You may not 100% believe in the things you are saying and doing in the beginning, and you may feel silly at first. But that’s ok! It is totally normal! It is likely quite different from how you have been operating for a long time – remember that it will take some time to adjust and for this to become your new way of thinking and being.
Just remember this for motivation: if you were to take all the energy you put into being mean to yourself, and instead put that energy into being kind to yourself, imagine how amazing you would feel and how powerful you could be!?
I challenge you to practice this radical self-love every day for the next 30 days. Do it for YOU. Do it for your partner. Do it for your family. Do it for your community.
Are you up to the task?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think!
(PS – Next week: How to love OTHERS more.)