Hi friend! This post is all about self-love. What does it look like? Is self-love selfish? What are practical things you can learn to ensure a better relationship with yourself? What tiny changes can you make today to turn away from toxic stressors, relationships, and habits in 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.
Self Love Starts Here
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. Here's why:
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 dimmed my shine. I’ve struggled with seasons of deep 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 learn how to rewrite the narrative and learn what it looks like to love yourself!!! You can make great changes TODAY that will support, inspire, and empower you as you rise above the pattern of self-hatred.
You hold all the power.
So let’s dive in! The purpose of this post is to provide you with practice tools so that you can feel empowered to love yourself for all that you are. 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 so much 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 judgment is the very first step to switching up your inner dialogue. I love the practice of observing my thoughts because it takes the judgment completely off the table. 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 for thinking it, I simply try again. I’ll say something like this to myself:
“Wow Mad, 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 so much more enlightened and confident.
I’ll also do this practice whenever I judge another person. If I think something critically about someone else, I simply observe the judgment. Then, I’ll say something like, “Wow, that was really unkind. I would like to try again.” I follow that up by thinking a kind thought about that person. Then I let it go and move on without ruminating on the experience or feeling ashamed.
Next, I work on replacing judgmental thoughts with positive affirmations. Affirmations are definitely having a moment right now! And 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 (or others!) that you’re a “hot mess” or “always messing things up.” Instead, say things like, “I am enough” + “I am competent” + “I am here for a purpose” + “I am being guided” + or whatever affirmation resonates the most with you!!! Say them out loud or in your head.
And friends, it’s really important to add that self-depreciating humor can have a negative impact on your mental health. Do you ever notice yourself jokingly saying something like, “ugh I’m the worst?” Tune into these thoughts and replace any negative ones (even the “funny” thoughts that we say as “jokes”) with uplifting, empowering thoughts instead. This will go a long way in increasing the amount of love you have for yourself. Trust me on this. The power of your words is PROFOUND.
For more insight on judgments and their impact on your wellbeing, read Gabrielle Bernstein’s Judgment Detox. This book will change your life.
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 acne clears. It dawned on me recently that I can achieve every single one of my goals 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. Learning how to love yourself for all that you are is an incredible gift. You can start loving yourself today. You do not have to wait until you have the perfect body to feel good in your own skin.
03 | 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 my Bible. Sometimes I pray and sit in a meditation. Other days, I get a massage, cook a homemade meal, or sip a warm cup of tea 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.
Slowing down can also help you identify your triggers and limits. Little by little you will learn how to 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 the 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!!! You cannot pour from an empty cup.
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 nutritional intake, the amount of water/alcohol you drink, the words people say to you that you take to heart, 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 cannot 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 other people who help 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, find online mentors, and read books that inspire youI! Thanks to technology, you can be inspired and motivated by people that you’ve never actually met in real 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 build each other up.
No matter what dress size you 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 and intentional pursuit! 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 build others up. I want to be full of life and 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!? It’s about time you know how powerful, beautiful, and enough you are.
With so much love & light,
Your trainer - Madison