Hi friends & happy Monday! This post is all about self-love. What does it look like? Is self-love selfish? What are practical ways you can learn how to have a better relationship with yourself? What tiny changes can you make today to turn away from toxic stressors, relationships, and habits within your own life?
My intention is this: I want to share all the things I’m learning with the hope that something will resonate with you. I want to reassure you that you are not as alone as you feel. And above all, I want to leave you with practical takeaways that you can implement today. These are the tools that will help you begin to change your own personal relationship with yourself and your body.
Dear friend, you are not alone in your self-love struggle. I face this battle every single day!! And every single one of my friends feels it too. None of us are immune. And yet we still feel so alone! Why is that!!!? I believe, now more than ever, that it is crucially important to have this conversation so that we can set out on a path towards healing.
Y’all. The relationship you have with yourself is arguably one of the most important relationships you will ever have in your life. Do you believe that you are enough? Do you hate who you are? Do you hold yourself hostage for mistakes or perceived failures from your past? Do you restrict calories or binge on food because you feel unworthy? Do you say mean things to yourself when you see your body in the mirror? Do you hide under baggy clothes? Do you feel ugly because you experienced a sexual trauma that haunts you every single day?
My eyes fill with tears as I write these words because I have been so mean to my body. I have hated myself and skipped dinners because I didn’t think I “deserved” to eat. I’ve told myself over and over again that I was ugly for having so much acne. I learned how to make myself small and take up as little space as physically possible because I thought I would be more liked if I did. I’ve struggled with seasons of depression because at my core, I didn’t believe I was enough. I was made fun of for being “too skinny” so I beat my body and pushed myself to an unhealthy level in the gym to try and change what I looked like.
Have you felt any of these things, too?
Sister friend, please hear me when I say this.
You have an undeniable power and strength within you, eagerly waiting to come out. You can rewrite the narrative and learn what it looks like to love yourself!!! You can make great changes TODAY that inspire and empower you to rise above the pattern of self-hatred! Wanna know how?? 🙂
Before we dive in, I wanted to share a lil background on something really cool that we did in May!
A few weeks ago we held our first ever workshop at The Fit Flamingo Studio and it was BEYOND anything I could have ever dreamed. I cried the whole way home out of pure joy. We laughed and cried and poured our hearts out to one another in a way that felt more special than words can describe. As someone who craves deep, meaningful conversations about real life stuff with other women, this workshop was pretty life changing for me. I fell in love with my purpose of creating this fitness studio all over again and left the workshop feeling on top of the world.
Our purpose with May’s “Love Your Body” health & wellness workshop was to give women tools to love themselves, while building an authentic, vulnerable, and empowered community of women. I teamed up with my yogi friend, Lindy, to host two workshop sessions for 25 women. It was incredible!!
Lindy led us through a heart-opening seated yoga flow (pictured below!), my dear friend Edna made nourishing homemade smoothies for everyone to enjoy, Isabel captured these fun pictures that I’ll forever be grateful for, and Mallory & Rebecca stayed late to help us clean. It truly was a team effort!! The event went better than I would have ever expected and if you were apart of it, I want to take a moment to thank you.
Thank you so much for being here and sharing your heart, time, and energy with Lindy & I.
Without further ado, let’s dive in. These are the 5 best self-love takeaways from our time together. I hope and pray these tools will serve you greatly if you feel like you need to make shifts in the relationship you have with yourself and your body. And if anything, I hope this post can be a conversation starter of sorts as you connect deeper with yourself and the women in your life.
01 Self-love starts with your thoughts.
Our thoughts hold ALL the power. What are the state of yours? Do they inspire you to move forward or do they keep you in a spiral of anxiety, depression, and self-hatred? Are you your own best friend or your very worst enemy?
Observing judgmental thoughts without judgement is the very first step to switching up your inner dialogue. I love the practice of observing my thoughts because it takes the judgement completely out of the picture. Sometimes I’ll catch myself saying something really negative about my skin or my body. Instead of believing the thought to be true or beating myself up, I simply try again. I’ll say something like this to myself:
“Wow Maddie, I’m so sorry I said that. I would like to choose again. You are beautiful. You are enough.”
I walk away from those thoughts feeling soooo much more enlightened and confident. It’s like I can breathe again!! I also do this practice whenever I judge another person. If I think something critically about someone else, I simply observe the judgement. Then, I’ll say something like, “Wow, that was really unkind. I would like to try again.” I’ll follow that up by thinking a kind thought about that person. Then I let it go and move on.
Next, I work on replacing judgmental thoughts with positive affirmations. Affirmations are definitely having a movement right now! But for good reason. Our minds are a battlefield, filled with sharp criticisms and constant comparisons. You have to come to the fight prepared. Compliment yourself for small victories. Don’t tell yourself you’re a “hot mess” or “always messing things up.” Tell yourself, “I am enough” + “I am competent” + “I am here for a purpose” + “I am being guided” + or whatever affirmation resonates the most with you!!!
Self-love is taking stock of judgements you have towards yourself and others. Listen to the way you judge others. These are self projections you are making about yourself. Stand up for yourself and for your sisters every chance you can.
Read Gabrielle Bernstein’s Judgement Detox for more on this topic!!
Ps – Self-depreciating humor can have a negative impact on your mental health too. Do you ever notice yourself jokingly saying something like, “ugh I’m the worst” ??? Tune into your thoughts and replace any negative ones (even the “funny” thoughts that we say are “jokes”) with uplifting, empowering thoughts instead. This will go a lonnnnng way in increasing the amount of love you have for yourself.
02 You can love your body before the dream body comes.
Self-love is learning to love your body BEFORE the dream body comes. You are on a journey. What has your struggle come to teach you? For me, self-love has been about loving my skin before my skin clears. It dawned on me recently that I can achieve every single one of my dreams WITH acne. I don’t have to have clear skin to be the kind of women I want most to be.
If you are waiting to love your body until you’ve lost the weight or are the “right” size, you will never truly learn self-love. And learning how to love you for all that you are is an incredible gift. You can start loving yourself today. You do not have to wait to have the perfect body.
03 It’s important to schedule blocks of time for yourself.
Self-love includes scheduling time to rest, be alone, reflect, recharge, breathe, meditate, or simple just be. On a very practical level, I literally schedule blocks of time on a daily basis to be with myself. I spend my time differently every day depending on what my soul needs. Sometimes I go for a walk or read a book or the Bible. Sometimes I pray and sit in a meditation. Other days, I get a massage, food prep, or sip butter coffee and dream up goals and plans for my business. It changes every day! But I just listen to what I truly need and go for it 🙂
It’s also important to be able to identify your triggers and limits. This will help you learn how you can set yourself up for success each week. Everyone I know would probably label me as an extrovert!! But at my core, I love (I mean loveeee) being alone!! I feel filled and fully recharged when I can sit with my own thoughts. Since I know this about myself, I’m really intentional about how I schedule my weeks. If I have a busy week with lots of clients and deadlines, I’m careful to schedule good blocks of “me time” early in the morning or in between appointments so that I can rest and regroup before moving on to the next thing.
So, set aside time in your calendar this week for YOU and only you!!!! Then show up to this scheduled time in the same way you would show up to a coffee date with a friend. Don’t reschedule or show up late. This is a time for you. It is not selfish to make time for yourself!!!
04 It takes courage to say “no” to toxic relationships & habits that no longer serve you.
Self-love requires that we filter and monitor the things that come in and out of our bodies. In terms of the things coming “in” our bodies, look at your nutrition intake, the amount of water/alcohol you drink, the words people say to you, and any drama or gossip that you’re involved in on a daily basis. When looking at the things coming “out” of your body, pay attention to your physical exercise (movement!) and the words you say about yourself and others. You can also look at who you give energy to. What situations, environments, and people leave you the most drained, angry, and/or emotionally stirred?
In order to love ourselves, we have to nourish, nurture, and deeply honor our bodies. We can’t always control who’s in our lives or what happens to us. But we can always always choose our thoughts and make conscious choices that may help improve our environment.
Choose to spend time with others who make you feel beautiful, empowered, and respected mentally, physically, and emotionally. And if you don’t have any positive people in your life, listen to podcasts!! Thanks to technology, you can be inspired and motivated by people that you’ve never actually met IRL!
This one is my favorite podcasts & an ultimate game changer in my own life!
05 You are not alone.
No matter how “perfect” our lives seem from the outside, we can all struggle to love who we are. Together as women, I think we have such an opportunity and responsibility to team up and lift each other up. No matter what dress size we wear, we can all struggle to feel seen and safe and valued. When you love yourself, you are giving the women in your life permission to love who they are too. And that is such a special, freeing gift.
Also, you may need to seek professional help to overcome trauma and work through past hurts. Asking for help from others is not a weakness. Think about it. We admire others sooo much when they are real and vulnerable. We connect deeper to people when they reveal their struggles because we can see a piece of ourselves in them. Why are we so harsh when it comes to ourselves?
Self-love is an ever growing, ever evolving process. It’s a journey that takes time! But for me, it’s a journey I am committed to pursue for the rest of my life. I want to know how to love all that I am so I can be better equipped to lift others up. I want to be fit and healthy and full of energy so I can pour into others and serve the community of women in my life.
So, dear friend, what will you do today to love YOU!? Share a note in the comments below! I would love to hear what has resonated with you 🙂
With so much love,
PS! A few notes before I go:
- If you are looking to grow your yoga practice, please take one of Lindy’s classes! She teaches at Sunstone in Flower Mound & McKinney, TX. And thank you, Lindy, for leading this workshop with me!
- Isabel is INCREDIBLE! She took all of these photos and is such an inspiring creative. Click here to peep her website!!! Thank you, Isabel!