Self LOVE month

“Be the Love you never received.”

Photo by Peng Louis on Pexels.com

I recently watched the Netflix documentary about the beautiful Audrey Hepburn and it was heartbreaking to see her granddaughter get emotional about thinking how genuinely sad it was that Audrey was this beautiful, iconic, talented woman but never felt the love she needed within her life until the very end. Audrey seemed to almost be searching for LOVE her whole life and had a huge emptiness that yearned to be filled. It was apparent the things that became very important to Audrey in her life. She gave up the glitz and fame to raise a family and be present with them. She then gave so much of her time and energy to help UNICEF with their mission. She began to truly be the love that she never received. She gave love in all she did. That I believe is one of the great reasons she is still so beloved. She is a beautiful example of giving oneself, sharing ones life, becoming LOVE.

I think all of us, to some degree have voids within that are yearning to be filled with love. I just read a poem that said, “I was never addicted to one thing; I was addicted to filling a void within myself with things other than my own self love.” -Yung Pueblo

My husband has recently left his job because of some leadership decisions that he could not agree with that effected a lot of people, so he is trying to make sense of where he is at the moment. It has been a tough week. He has been talking about feeling empty, so I have been doing a little research and came across empty feelings, personal voids and found that they are often a result of lack of self love.

Surprise. Surprise. Self Love is a larger problem than anyone truly understands. It can stem from, like Audrey, an abandonment from a parent or loved one at a young age. It can be childhood wounds from lack of the love you need, etc. There are many emotional struggles that can be the beginning of internal feelings and personal complexities. [Let’s not go down the little child rabbit hole 😉 So many things…] Let’s find some solutions for the here and now.

I figured since it is February 1st that today would be a great day to start a February Self Love Month—all February–ideas right here for you to take on, lean into and challenge yourself to grow in all areas of self love. You can do it!! We can all get better at loving ourself.

SELF-ABANDONMENT is a big factor that will lead you to feelings of emptiness and lack of self love. DONT abandon yourself!! Do you have a hard time trusting yourself? Do you feel you don’t know or understand your purpose? Is there something from your past you struggle to make peace with? Do you find you hide certain parts of yourself and don’t share specific feelings? Do you discount your own feelings? Do you truly feel you understand what you want or who you are? These are all feelings or ideas that can lead you to abandoning yourself and leading you to less self love. Examples of Self-Abandonment [taken from psych central article]:

  • Not trusting your instincts – second-guessing yourself, overthinking and ruminating, letting others make decisions for you and assuming they know more than you do.
  • People-pleasing seeking validation from others, suppressing your needs and interests in order to please others.
  • Hiding parts of yourself – giving up your interests and goals, not sharing your feelings.
  • Perfectionism – having unrealistically high expectations for yourself, never feeling worthy regardless of how much you do and what you accomplish.
  • Self-criticism and judgment – saying hurtful and mean things to yourself when you dont meet your own painfully high standards.
  • Not honoring your needs not recognizing that your needs are valid, failing to practice self-care, feeling unworthy of self-care.
  • Suppressing your feelings – pushing away uncomfortable feelings through denial, mood-altering substances, and avoidance.
  • Not acting according to your values – doing things to please others even if they go against your beliefs and values.
  • Codependent relationships – focusing on someone elses needs, wants, and problems and neglecting yourself.
  • Not speaking up for yourself not asking for what you need, not setting and enforcing boundaries, letting people take advantage of you.
  • Self-abandonment is a learned behavior, a way you tried to cope with unhealthy or dysfunctional family dynamics. Self-abandonment is a self-destructive pattern that can contribute to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and unfulfilling relationships. Abandoning yourself may have been a necessity during childhood, but it isnt helpful anymore. So, lets look at how you can begin to trust and value yourself.

Self-abandonment, critical personal judgements, negative thoughts and self talk, have a belief that others should make you feel good, happy, loved…you tell yourself you are unlovable, not worthy, etc. All the personal cruelty leads you to a void that remains empty until YOU can find a way to help begin to fill the emptiness [state of lack] with LOVE…self love.

An article posted on HuffingtonPost.com, written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., says it best: “There is only one thing that truly fills the emptiness. Love. There is only one cause of inner emptiness: a lack of love. But it is not a lack of someone else’s love that causes your emptiness. Inner emptiness is caused by self-abandonment — by not loving yourself.”

HOW TO MOVE BEYOND and BEGIN LOVING YOURSELF:

Be unapologetically yourself: whatever that looks like, whether you are quirky, super smart, have a creative style all your own, silly laugh, love crazy glasses, can’t get enough puns…just do you!! Don’t let the possible judgements or disapproval from anyone stop you. Give yourself the power over the fear to be uniquely you. Don’t play small. Do, create, play, share your passions like no one else can.

Be gentle with yourself: We have often heard “be kind or compassionate” with yourself, but what does that really mean? According to Harvard Health here are four simple, yet effective ideas…

  • Comfort your body. Eat something healthy. Lie down and rest. Massage your own neck, feet, or hands. Take a walk. Anything you can do to improve how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion.
  • Write a letter to yourself. Think of a situation that caused you to feel pain (a breakup with a lover, a job loss, a poorly received presentation). Write a letter to yourself describing the situation, but without blaming anyone — including yourself. Use this exercise to nurture your feelings.
  • Give yourself encouragement. Think of what you would say to a good friend if he or she was facing a difficult or stressful situation. Then, when you find yourself in this kind of situation, direct these compassionate responses toward yourself.
  • Practice mindfulness. Even a quick exercise, such as meditating for a few minutes, can be a great way to nurture and accept ourselves while we’re in pain.

Here is another article from positive psychology about self-compassion https://positivepsychology.com/self-compassion-5-steps/

Boundaries & Keeping your power: I laugh every time my daughter talks about a college friend that comes into her room & he lays all over the girls stuff, grabs pillows and plays with them, his presence is overbearing & my daughter expresses—“he needs boundaries!” I laugh & calmly respond, “well, you know you just need to talk to him about your boundaries and your feelings. That will help everything.” She has been working on this during her first college year. She has been learning to communicate better, build friendships, set boundaries and speak up and own her power in certain situations. We all need these things.

Allow feelings to well up and work for you: I loved having my daughter face some of her personal demons of perfectionism and finally say, “it is okay that I feel this way.” You need to get honest with yourself and really listen to what you are feeling and saying to yourself. Your feelings will help you identify what you truly need within.

Get grateful and appreciate: I will ALWAYS say and believe in the power of gratitude. You cannot be in a place of lack (whatever that looks like—money, sadness, loneliness, etc) when you are genuinely trying to seek those things within your life to be grateful for. It is scientifically been proven—Just writing down 3-5 things a week (they[scientists] say a week, but I think you try a day or every other day) you are grateful for will make you 25% happier within a matter of months.

Invest in you: Look at and evaluate how you are spending YOUR time. Do you watch a lot of television over reading/listening to a podcast or something that will elevate your life? What unhealthy addictions (ie: TV, gaming, alcohol, drugs, overeating, shopping, etc) do you need to look at and let go of? What activities light you up or give you a sense of purpose for your life? What gets you excited to try? What calms you? Think back to when you were younger if that helps–did you escape through art, did you enjoy playing in the dirt or sand? Did you enjoy sports or getting out in nature? Think of things that will benefit you and where you are at right now.

Try something new: According to studies conducted by neurobiologists, learning new things and engaging in new experiences can help you feel a lot happier and feel more motivated in life. It has almost similar effects as dopamine and can help you experience emotional arousal. It is also a great idea to give your living space a makeover and change your living environment.-yourtango

There are plenty of podcasts with teachers, lessons to learn, books to read, YouTube videos or TED talks to learn from, places to see, people to meet, food to try, exercises to move you, instruments to challenge, free courses to expand your mind, ships to sail, paddle boards to ride, so get out of yourself and try something…anything that will light you up, even just a little.

Ground yourself in something good: I believe in calming ones negative places & mind spaces with time meditating, doing yoga, walking in nature, quietly coloring, listening to calming music. Things that will soothe.

Steer clear of outside yuck! You can easily feel down about yourself after comparing and despairing about your life after seeing the pics and tricks of social media, ad campaigns on tv and entertainment. Don’t get sucked in to the yuck because you will truly begin the trip of the ego and fall victim to more self-doubt and self-abandonment.

Decide! Be mindful of the thoughts that play in your head, the self-talk, the fears, the judgements, the worries about what others think. You need to let those go! They are not your friend. I once heard a very wise Native American story—when dealing with self-talk you need to always remember this story. It is an easy metaphor that could make a big difference in your life.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

 He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

I have always loved this story because it is such a simple, but vivid reminder. Our thoughts we listen to will win, so be aware of the thoughts that repeat and those you feed.

Lots to think about this month. Lots of ways to LOVE yourself this month. BEGIN. Do you. FLY or rather FIRST LOVE YOURSELF. How will you truly love if you are not filled with love in the first place. You can only give what you have, so begin to fill your empty places with LOVE. xoxo

Please take care of you. Love, Peace and Light to you today. xoxo. -H

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