Now, I KNOW the basic tenant of self help and conscious living is to love yourself. In all the glorious wisdom of self help legends Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, Deepak et al, their message is clear and simple. Love your self. This is the starting point, the foundation. Without loving yourself, you are a ship without a rudder and each of your best intentions will go awry creating havoc and chaos in your life.
And I get it, I really do. But the question i keep pondering is this… what if I just don’t really feel like I love myself?
Its pretty easy to look at my child or my partner and see their perfection in their imperfection. Loving another is child’s play compared to loving myself. How do I start to build my ‘Loving Myself’ muscle if, when I look in the mirror with the affirmation “I love you Sonja” my toes curl, I cringe, I want to vomit and I feel like a fraud?
This is a question I have been asked time and time again, so I’ve been thinking it through. Here are my thoughts.
Start with the body, then move on to the mind.
Our physical bodies are a powerhouse of communication, working as a fundamental team member of the body/mind/spirit alliance that carries us through life. Each of our 52trillion cells houses ancient wisdom, the ability to communicate what it needs within the body, and to store memory and emotion. The miracle of our working body is enough to make you fall in love with your self when you really think about it, and the PRACTICE of taking care of your body is the first step to loving your self.
Because of the interconnectedness of our body/mind/spirit alliance, by starting to care for your physical body you cannot help but become more careful towards your mind and spirit.
4 easy steps to care for your body.
Loving yourself is a state of being, but we can access it in the much easier to reach state of doing. Here is a to do list to get into caring for your physical body.
1. Care for what you put in and on your body.
- Eat food that has grown in nature rather than through the aid of chemical fertilizers. Eat organic where you can afford to, and stay away from processed, packaged, canned food. A good rule of thumb is if it has a marketing campaign its probably not that great for you.
- Use body creams and products that stay away from science and instead use the enormous wealth of ingredients nature provides. Dr Haushcka, Neals Yard Remedies and Weleda are a good place to start.
- Drink to keep hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re dying of thirst, keep a routine of drinking to hydrate, especially when breastfeeding. Find your treat – coconut water, lemon & ginger, lime water or a glorious glass of iced water with cucumber and fresh mint.
2. Get some sleep.
Put some energy into turning your bedroom int a calm and peaceful haven for you.
- De-clutter, only keeping things in your bedroom that make you feel good. Think about textures, lighting, imagery, music, photos, crystals, and set a glorious self indulgent loving yourself tone.
- Remove all electrical devices especially those with the little red light on when on standby.
- Burn some essential oils; lavender, yang yang and neroli are wonderfully relaxing. Send the message to world out loud and clear – this is My place to SLEEP.
- Make it so that you are looking forward to getting into bed, and try to do so at 10 or earlier if you need it.
3. Move & create.
Everyone has something they love to do aside from being a grown up (working, parenting, planning…), but I think it is easy to forget what hobbies we enjoyed when we were young. Which is sad, because as we get older we need to move and create more than ever before to keep alive and inspired.
- Find a sport that you like. I’m not talking about olympic level exercise (although feel free if that’s your thing). This can be anything from walking through the park for 30 minutes every day, to free diving at the weekends. There is NO LIMIT to what you can do to keep your body moving, and there are infinite ways to have fun doing so. Your body needs to move to stay working properly, but with the right attitude, doing your thing will be the highlight of the week, rather than another job on your list. Take responsibility and find your thing.
- Create. As a woman, your Divine Feminine Energy is all about creation. You’ve already done the ultimate by creating your life and the life of your child. Now its time to create just for the fun of it. Not for the resale value. Not necessarily for anyone else’s eyes. For you. Need to bake a cake? Set about it with your most creative flare, losing fear of getting it wrong. Get your sewing machine out, or some knitting needles, or some paint & pencils, or an instrument you used to play. Get a pen and note pad and write a poem. Write anything. Just create, and know that in doing so, you are loving you self.
If you REALLY went to start caring for yourself, take 5 – 20 minutes a day to meditate. Find somewhere quiet, sit with your spine straight, breath deeply and choose a mantra to repeat inside your head. I’m currently using ‘Peace starts with me’. When your mind drifts off the mantra, smile, and repeat again, ‘Peace starts with me’. Do that for anything from 5 minutes upwards. It’s that simple.
It takes 21 days to create a practice, so set yourself the challenge.
Once you’ve practiced these simple things for 21 days, see if you can feel the difference. When we are in the space of practicing a ritual of care for our physical bodies, the mind will naturally move to a more loving state towards your whole self – body, mind and spirit. In this space, it becomes a lot easier to look at yourself in the mirror, and with a smile and genuine belief, say to yourself “I love you”.
Sonja Lockyer is author of the website http://www.happysexymama.com and is driven by the desire to share tips on self care to new Mums.