With the month of romance upon us comes inescapable thoughts of love. Whether or not you're devoting these thoughts to a significant other, this is the perfect time to consider how you foster a relationship of honor and love within yourself. In this practice, you also build and attract healthier, quality relationships from the world around you.
WHAT IT MEANS TO HONOR AND LOVE YOURSELF
Honor is about respect and integrity - acting in accordance with your values and holding yourself in high esteem. With that, loving yourself goes hand in hand. Loving yourself in actions and not just as an idea or feeling. Though we live in a world that often asks us to put ourselves last, pouring into ourselves creates a life of greater in health and wellness. When we develop a loving and respectful relationship with ourselves, we ask the same of others and expand our capacity for more fulfilling relationships.
Do you have a hard time putting yourself first? Some of us may identify with this more than others, depending on our roles, responsibilities, and the messages we’ve received about self-care. One way to look at this is to examine how you express love to yourself. Do you speak and think about yourself in positive ways? Do you feel guilty when you do something kind for yourself or have a hard time accepting praise?
Like the classic oxygen mask in the airplane precaution, taking care of yourself first establishes a healthy capacity and ability to care for others. If expressing love to yourself is new or uncomfortable, feel encouraged to do it anyway. When those around you witness it, it will demand the same respect from them and will likely be inspiring!
PUTTING SELF LOVE + HONOR INTO PRACTICE
Now let’s get into it. You deserve love right now, as you are. No matter your flaws and the things you wish were different. We’re all capable of loving ourselves as-is while actively working towards the person we want to be. Here are 5 paths toward self-love we all should visit:
1. Be Mindful of Making Healthy Choices
How you “fill” yourself, including what you mentally consume impacts thoughts, beliefs, and moods. Be aware of the entertainment, social media, news, and leisurely activities you take in. We all know how “doom-scrolling” can make us feel, as well as constantly consuming news that induces negative thoughts, anxiety, and worry. Sometimes, censoring your intake, utilizing Time Limit apps, or seeking more lighthearted content makes a difference.
Additionally, what we physically consume plays a role in our health and wellness. Food can help or hinder our day-to-day lives. Some foods cause inflammation and fatigue, while others provide energy, vigor, and antioxidants. Just like your plants, water is an absolute necessity as well. If you’re not staying hydrated with water, try to get water from daily fruits and veggies.
2. Make Time for Yourself and Your Thoughts
Cliche or not, feeling comfortable with being alone is an important part of self-love. Everyone doesn’t have to love being alone, but solitude can be useful for your health and growth. Alone time is also rewarding since you have the power to fill it with things you enjoy. Mastering this practice means you probably won’t settle for poor company, either, and you’re better able to strengthen your identity and thoughts.
Some simple ways to do this are:
- Set aside time to just listen to your thoughts. Tip: Knock this out in bed as soon as you wake up, in the shower, or at night with a journal, video vlog, or yoga mat.
- Save time for things that bring you joy + growth. Hobbies are a great use of alone time. Put on a video game, develop a new skill, or try your hand at something creative. Even puzzles, doodling, or coloring can be a productive way to pass the time while allowing thoughts to flow.
- Accept any discomfort that accompanies solitude. It will pass. When all else fails, take a nap and make new plans.
3. Choose Relationships That Make You Feel Good
Human connection is very important to our wellbeing as we are social creatures. Even better is when you feel affirmed, safe, and respected by the people in your life. Honoring yourself becomes challenging when you're engaged with people who treat you in ways that make you feel conflicted and mistreated. This includes friendly, familial, romantic, and professional connections.
You don't have to rid yourself of every imperfect relationship, but you can set new boundaries, have honest conversations, and choose how much access a person has to you. Be encouraged to lean into healthy connections that water the nurturing seeds you've planted, and find new ones.
4. Be Firm in Your Needs and Boundaries
Many mental health experts are in agreement that boundaries are important for living a balanced, healthy life. Awareness of the things that drain, trigger, and fulfill you will guide you to create and revisit boundaries that allow you to have a truly loving relationship with yourself.
If you know that having more time to do "xyz" thing would improve your quality of life, consider what boundaries you might need to tend to that personal desire. Factors like money and energy are also worth attention. Boundaries and accountability are an act of love and devotion to your wellbeing and goals.
5. Romance Yourself
The fun stuff! Romancing yourself is where self-love feels creative and tangible. Treat yourself as you would the person you adore and respect. How would you care for that person? Perhaps you’d encourage their goals and dreams and ask how you can support them. You might plan trips, take them on dates, make playlists, and write them uplifting notes. You might be generous with gifts and acts of service that bring them joy. You would likely speak to them kindly, with compassion and understanding. Create your dream relationship with yourself and see how it transfers to life and other relationships.
For Your Growth:
- What would an ideal date with yourself be, and how can you create it? Are there nostalgic or new places you want to visit? Activities or food would you want included? What would you wear? Treat yourself to what this would look like.
- If you're here as a plant lover, you likely tend carefully to your greenery. You're invested in its health and growth. You take notice of a change, stress, and lack. You probably wouldn't trust just anybody to substitute for your care if you needed to travel.
As a meditation, letter to yourself, or daily practice, think of yourself as one of your beloved plants. Don't pass judgment for needing a bit more or a bit less sometimes. Think of the emotional + physical nourishment that you need to grow, shed, and thrive.