I think there are mixed messages about Self-love and Self-care. Some think it’s just facials and naps. Others think it’s nonsense altogether. Well…
Self-Care is defined as:
- the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Self-Love is defined as:
- regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
That sounds pretty simple to me. And it sounds like they’re one in the same.
What do I think? Firstly, Self-love and Self-care are about the Self. It’s a personal practice that you get to decide for yourself and your life and your needs. No one can tell anyone else what to do. No one can tell anyone else that what they do for themselves is wrong.
As long as you’re not harming or neglecting yourself (which, of course, is not Self-care or Self-love), then what you do for your practice is up to you.
Secondly, it’s not just about mental health. Self-Love and Self-Care should be natural, normal, routine practices. Things you do to help heal or grow or nurture all areas of yourself and your life regularly. It’s simply prioritising the Self.
Areas to consider:
Self-love and Self-care should include growth because we all need to grow. We weren’t made to stay the same forever. Growing, changing, learning, experiencing, and shedding skins is a natural, beautiful part of life.
Resisting growth or not prioritising it is not cultivating self-love or self-care. Those who love themselves and care for themselves embrace growth and invite it in regularly.
Similar to growth, it’s important to make changes. Again, we’re not meant to live the same day in the same places over and over again until we die. We need newness. New people, places, experiences, and sights. It fills the soul. It improves your health and sense of wellness.
Change up your routine, your environment, your diet, your habits and so on. Travel and taste all that life has to offer.
This is an area often forgotten, but finding your strength is a practice of Self-love and Self-care. We find our strength by doing three things: knowing ourselves, trusting ourselves, and loving ourselves.
The root of all growth and healing and strength is in those three things.
For if we know ourselves, then we know what we’re good at, what needs work, and what needs to be simply accepted. We know how we work best, how we love, how we speak and move and live. Knowledge is very important to any means of growth or change or inner strength.
If we trust ourselves, then no matter what is thrown our way (because life can be really cruel at times), we trust ourselves to get through it. We trust ourselves to make the right decisions for the right reasons. We trust ourselves to look after ourselves. We trust ourselves to invite the right things into our lives.
And if we love ourselves, then we will be strong enough to walk away from what is no longer serving us. We will embrace our imperfections and love ourselves not in spite of them, but because we accept them as a part of us.
This is how we become strong and how Self-Love and Self-Care can get us there.
Betterment & Progress
This is similar to growth. We must make a conscious effort to progress. We must challenge ourselves to things, step out of our comfort zones, and see what we are truly capable of. Choosing to do this regularly is an act of Self-care and Self-love because it gives us a sense of achievement, which is great for our wellbeing.
As long as you’re not being overly competitive, are never satisfied or content, or are tying your self-worth to achievements and progress, then healthy, meaningful betterment or self-improvement is encouraged.
Taking care of yourself
At the very root of Self-care and Self-love is just caring for yourself; though, of course, caring for yourself looks different to each person.
It could look like spa treatments, if that’s what you need after a hard week.
It could be breaking up with the partner who doesn’t bring anything into your life.
It could be choosing yourself for once.
It could be doing the hard work, the scary work, the honest work to finally get through the funk inside of you.
It could be facing tough emotions or tough barriers in your life.
But it definitely is always putting yourself first: health-wise, decision-wise, happiness-wise.
So, What are Self-Love and Self-Care?
- Showing up for yourself
- Putting your health and happiness first
- Doing what needs to be done to grow, feel good, and be healthier
- Making conscious decisions with intention towards a good life, a healthy you, and wellness
- Picking the apple over the chocolate bar; rest over another hour of overtime; good people and belonging over bad people and “fitting in”
- Being grateful for all that you are and grateful for all that is to come
Self-Love is looking in the mirror with a smile, even if it’s forced at first.
Self-Care is knowing when to rest, when to work, and when to play.
Self-Love is awareness of the inner self and a nurturing of it.
Self-Care is saying I need this thing and I will give it to myself because I deserve it.
If you need any help in bettering your mental health, or better coping with anxiety, depression, and stress, then my book “You’re As Mad As I Am” may be for you. Check it out here, and download a free sample to see what it’s all about.
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