What is real self-love? Self-love seems to be one of the hottest words at this moment.
Some people think self-love is self-care. For example, a lazy doing nothing day, a bubble bath, a massage and a Netflix day. Some people think self-love is they do whatever to please themselves. For example, buying a designers handbag, booking an exotic vacation, or becoming a serial dater just to have fun.
What is your definition of self-love?
Self-love for me is not just those things we do to please ourselves on the surface. Self-love is an on-going process of soul searching and becoming my best self. Someone may ask, “What if you reach your ‘ideal’ self?” But there will always be a new level to claim, a new goal to achieve. Does it mean that you will never be happy or satisfied with yourself? Of course not, it just means you are finding happiness in your growth as a person. The real happiness for me is not the result, not the goal that I have achieved, it is the progress that I have made along the way. I celebrate every little step that I have taken and live in the present enjoying what growth I see daily.
Self-love also means having my best relationship with myself. That means I will not beat myself down when things are not going well. When I fail or start to doubt myself, I became my own cheerleader. I remind myself that I have a pure heart and always want to do well. I remind myself what a wonderful human being I am, and how many great things I have achieved in my life. I forgive myself if I have made mistakes and put effort to learn from them. I give myself permission to break down, to cry, and not knowing what to do. I say I LOVE YOU every morning when I wake up and evening when I go to sleep along with giving all my gratitude to others that have helped along the way.
Self-love means to accept who I am as a human being who has endless potential. Some people don’t really understand this one, they think self-love is just settling for what they have gotten. They accept giving up on their dreams because it is too hard to pursue and they are not willing to put three years of their life on hold to make it happen. They accepted being overweight and unhealthy because it is too hard to go to the gym regularly and eat healthy daily. They try but give up too fast and don’t stick with it long enough to see the results. They accepted an “ok” relationship because it is too hard to confront their partner. They don’t want to talk through their true feelings or find a solution with their partner when conflict appears. Does this sound familiar to you?
I have accepted that I am 45 years old. That is ok that my eye-sight is changing and to have more and more grey hair. But it is not ok to not take care of my skin, my weight, and my appearance. I have accepted that I will always have an accent when I speak English. But it is not ok to use this as an excuse to not pursue my public speaking dream and write my books. I have accepted that I am a widow. That it is ok to be a little moody during the holidays. That it is ok to cry once a while when something unexpected triggers a memory. But it is not ok to stay there and feeling sorry for myself. I have accepted that I am a single woman again. That is ok to not know how to date and struggle. But it is not ok to not learn so I decided to give it a try.
Self-love is not just about buying myself followers. In fact, practicing self-love most of the times can be quite challenging and painful. Self-love is definitely tough love to me. Because I am breaking the old me in order for the new me to be born. It means I take 100% responsibility with my life as is today, the good, the bad and the ugly, they are all on me. It is hard to accept that I have contributed to what my life is. I didn’t ask for child abuse, and I can’t say that it was my fault that my mom treated me that way. But I take 100% responsibility in healing myself and finding meaning in those life events. I am the one who has the duty to replace the pain with peace.
For me, self-love also means self-discipline. When evenings or weekends everyone goes home and relax, I am still working to make it one step closer to my next goal. I don’t watch TV, don’t use social media much, and don’t read any news. Instead, I listen to motivational speeches every morning. I read books and write reflections/gratitude journal. My life is not just about working hard, I put a mask on daily to take care of my skin, I make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep, I get ninety minutes massages twice a month and I stay on a low-carb diet. I work for six weeks and then give myself a relaxing vacation to reward and celebrate.
Do you truly love yourself? Are you still beating yourself down when something went wrong? Are you lonely when you are alone? Share your practice in defining and reaching your own level of self-love!
Photo credit: Grace Liang
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