I’m privileged to share a second guest post from the lovely Briannan Dean. Briannan’s first article was all about the benefits of cacao and a delicious and super-quick recipe! Read it here.
Back to self-love…Over to you, Briannan…
The Pursuit of Self-Love: Loving the Skin You’re In
It seems that in this day and age of glossy magazine perfection and technological disconnect, self love is a concept almost as abstract as the idea of the perfect soul mate. We’re all familiar with these ideas of love, but they seem far fetched and unattainable to the average person. We think self-love is something that only the likes of Victoria’s Secret supermodels have, but in reality, self-love has nothing to do with external beauty. Rather, it has everything to do with the unconditional acceptance of yourself exactly as you are. It is not self-indulgent, it is self-affirming.
To be perfectly honest, I found this article a little difficult to get going – an indication that I am still not quite there yet with the whole self-love thing either.
Life teaches us to be resistant to the concept. We learn self-deprecation from an early age and fear being the tall poppy.
Moreover, our modern culture of comparison means that we stop valuing ourselves for the people that we are, and instead ascribe value to ourselves in relation to other things – what we do, what we possess, who we are better than. All of these things disconnect us from ourselves and make it harder to practice this all loving self-affirming acceptance.
Recently, circumstances have sent me on a journey of serious self awareness and in turn, blossoming self love. Since getting acquainted with self-love, I have had people and opportunities come into my life at an unprecedented rate, and I feel flipping good! When we honour ourselves, our emotions and our bodies, and act from a place of self-love, it is as though the whole universe gives us a hi-5 and says ‘yes, you get it!’
With self-love comes confidence in being. With self-love comes the ability to say yes to the right things and right people, and no to the wrong ones. With self-love comes love of others and love from others. With self love comes the knowing that each and every moment, experience, person or project is happening and unfolding exactly as it should, at the right time, for you.
So, how do we actualise this self-love in our lives? Here are some tips to get the ball rolling:
1. Choose progress over perfection
As a recovering perfectionist, I can tell you that perfection can be the enemy of self-love. Why? Because perfection actually is unattainable! And when we strive for it we get locked into the feeling that anything less than that, including ourselves, just isn’t good enough. The reality is that nothing and nobody is perfect, we all have flaws, and that’s cool. Make the conscious decision everyday to make progress and become the best version of yourself that you can be, but let go of the pursuit of perfection.
2. Honour the promises you make to yourself
We generally keep the promises we make to others, but are not so reliable when it comes to honouring the promises we make to ourselves. We promise to ourselves that we’ll go for a run tomorrow, do that yoga class, go to bed earlier, or eat better. And then we find 101 reasons not to do those things. When we actually honour our promises we send the message that we support ourselves, and support is fundamental to self-love.
3. Trust your intuition
Self-trust goes hand in hand with self-love. When we ignore or go against our intuition we send our subconscious self the message that we lack confidence. When you listen to and follow your intuition, you come to the realisation that you (and only you!) know exactly what is right for you. Making the choices that are right for you and serve your highest good is one of the ultimate expressions of self-love.
4. Practice a little mindfulness meditation
Take a few moments everyday to do a little meditation or some deep breathing exercises. Mindfulness meditation draws our awareness to the present moment and away from all the external distractions that keep us from being centred. Practicing awareness of the moment as it is enables us to quiet our mind and connect to our body.
5. Honour and explore your sexuality
Our sexuality is deeply linked to our sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Engaging in sex (with a partner or with yourself) that is respectful, reverent and connected is a powerful way of reminding you just how amazing you (and your body) are!
6. Get nudie!
Yes, that’s right. We spend a great deal of time concealing our bodies, and not a lot of time actually looking at and connecting with our bodies. Take a moment everyday to look at your body and marvel at all the incredible things it does for you.
7. Treat you body with respect and eat and exercise right
Looking after your body by nourishing it with healthful foods and exercise promotes your sense of self-worth. Respecting your body is absolutely fundamental to loving it, and the two are directly related. The more you love your self, the more you continue to make decisions that are good for you and promote your health too.
Self love means being confident in your own skin, whatever that may look like, and honestly, there is nothing more attractive than that!
Light and love,
Briannan is a health coach certified with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, New York. She is a writer, speaker, mother, foodie and passionate lover of all things wellness, and specialises in the mind body connection.
For any enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked this article, check out more about self-love here.