In my last post, New Year, Same Awesome You, I talked about all the articles we see this time of the year that mention “new year, new you”. I addressed how the beginning of a new year doesn’t mean that you have to completely reinvent yourself. And how maybe you should focus on taking care of yourself. So today I want to address the importance of loving yourself.
Sidetrack: Loving yourself, or self love, always sounds dirty to me. Whenever someone says “self love” the comic in me thinks ‘TMI! I don’t want to hear what you do in your bedroom’.
Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day. So why do we thinking that a new year automatically means that we should change who we are. Like we’ll all of a sudden be a brand new person. Someone who springs out of bed each morning excited to work out. Someone who saves all their receipts and diligently tracks their expenses. Someone who keeps their house immaculately clean and their life perfectly organized.
I think woman have a harder time taking time to love who they are. In general, they are the caretakers. They put everyone else’s needs before their own. But I think if there is one thing we can learn from millennials it’s that we need to advocate for ourselves. It’s not only more accepting to love yourself today’, it’s almost a necessity.
Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re in love with yourself. It doesn’t have to be conceited or braggy. It doesn’t mean putting your needs above everyone else’s. It does mean putting your needs on par with others’, though. Here is why I think it’s important to love yourself.
You have things that make you unique. Yay! That is reason to celebrate. Why would you want to be like everyone else? I mean, yeah maybe when you were in junior high because all you want at that age is to fit in But when you’re a grown ass woman, you want to be valued for who you are as an individual. Isn’t it better to be one of a kind?! How boring would this world be if we were all the same? Celebrate what makes you uniquely you.
You’re not perfect, which is such a relief. Trying to be perfect is a lot of unneeded stress that you put on yourself. Especially when it’s not attainable. It’s like when the Minnesota Vikings started the football seasons 5-0. That was fun! But we all knew it wouldn’t last. What goes up must come down.
There is only so long you can be at the #1 spot before someone comes along and takes your place. You learn and grow more trying to reach then#1 spot then you do from trying to retain the #1 spot.
You are work in progress. When I was a kid, we made a piece of artwork for our parents in Sunday school that said, “Be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.” Can you imagine if, when we were born we were done growing physically, mentally, emotionally, etc?! That would be a sad life. We’d wouldn’t get to experience all the cool things the way we do when we’re striving to be our best.
I love knowing this because there are some days when I don’t feel like reaching for the stars. Somedays it’s just enough for me to exist.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve lost my motivation permanently. It doesn’t mean that I am giving up on my goals because I don’t have time to work on them. It just means that everything ebbs and flows. Some days are great, others are just so-so. Some are fantastic, others are horrible. We are constantly growing and learning.
I started this post a week ago and then lost my energy. I’d been wrestling with a cold for two weeks. That’s what the doctor told me I had, a cold. I went to see her on December 30 because I felt like I had strep throat and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to get my friends sick on New Year’s Eve. She said it should be almost over in a week. No meds needed and sent me on my way.
Then last week I started feeling worse. No energy. Bad cough. Super sore throat. Just an overall grossness where I didn’t have strength to do much. It’s times like these when I’m feeling down that I start to worry, do I have what it takes to be a solopreneur? Why am I still so tired if I just have a cold? Surely it’s run its course by now.
I went back today and found out I have pneumonia. I’ve never had pneumonia before. I’ve heard people talk about it. But like most medical issues, you don’t really understand the severity until you actually experience it.
Illness always makes doubt myself and feel self-loathing. Which is probably why it has taken me so long to finish this post. But persistence pays off, even if, or should I say especially if you backslide a little. I’m not going to let some pneumonia make me feel horrible about myself. I have to remember I’m a work in progress. Grow and learn.
If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect someone else to love you? My dad told me in junior high when I was running for student council, “How can you expect anyone to vote for you if you’re not willing to vote for yourself?” It sounds harsh, but he made a good point. It goes back to the flight crew example (previous post) where you have to secure you’re safety mask before you can help someone else. Love yourself first, then let others love you.
You don’t need anyone’s approval. Loving yourself doesn’t require anyone’s approval. It’s your right and you deserve it. You just have to make it a priority. Set some time aside on your calendar. Make an intentional decision to love yourself.
It’s healthy to model loving and accepting yourself to those around you. You play many roles in life – a child, sibling, coworker, parent, aunt/uncle, volunteer, etc. People look up to you. It’s important that you model a loving and accepting relationship of yourself. When others see that, they realize it’s normal to love yourself. How amazing would it be if everyone loved themselves just as they were?
You know best what your needs are. So it makes sense that you should love yourself. No one knows you better then you. You know if you need more alone time, time with others, physical activity, relaxation. or time to be creative. And if you’re not sure what your needs are, it’s time to find out.
When you love yourself, it shows that you value and respect yourself. Others will start doing the same. We all know a person that oozes confidence. They respect themselves and because of that, others do the same. It would be amazing if everyone had that kind of confidence.
When you love yourself, you treat yourself better. For a while, my only exercise was going to the dog park. I did it because I know my dog needs exercise, socialization and times to explore things. I always make time for him. But making time for me to exercise hasn’t been a priority for a long time, until this past year. I finally came to the realization that I need to put my oxygen mask on first before I can help him. As I exercise more, I have more energy to keep up with my very active senior dog.
Instead of using the beginning of the year to reinvent yourself, think about the importance of loving yourself. Then think about how you can show yourself some love every day. Acknowledge one thing you like about yourself each day. Maybe it’s something physical like your beautiful smile or your strong arms. Or maybe it’s that you take time to listen to other or you always remember special dates and events in the lives of your loved ones. Or think about what makes you one-of-a-kind. You have so many reasons to love yourself. It’s about time you discover them!
What do you love about yourself?