Doing “Self-Love” When You’re Not Good At It
This blog on self-love is written by guest blogger Amanda Edwards.
Amanda is a marketing and social networking aficionado who loves writing, her dogs, and people with excellent communication skills.
February is International “Boost Self-Esteem Month.”
It’s also home to that lovely candy-filled, glitter explosive holiday called Valentine’s Day when you’re supposed to show everyone your love and affection.
Even before the clearance Christmas decorations are ravaged and removed from the stores, heart-shaped candy and all things sparkly emerge.
Some people love it, some people hate it, and others simply tolerate it.
Usually, people focus on showing affection to everyone around them: the spouse, friends, family, and co-workers.
The one person most people forget about is the person who always looks back at them in the mirror.
I remember being in elementary school and spending hours decorating a “mailbox” with stickers, glitter, and whatever other craft supplies could be found in a classroom in the ‘90s.
The following day all the classmates would go around putting Valentine’s Day cards in everyone else’s mailboxes.
Though I think we were technically supposed to bring cards for each kid, that’s now how it turned out.
The popular kids would have received a card from everyone else; the unpopular kids might be lucky to receive a handful.
At that time, I doubt people were thinking about these seemingly small actions, and how they might affect someone.
They certainly weren’t thinking that the lack of Valentine’s Day cards from grade school would be something that would follow a person into adulthood.
Now that I’m older and a Full-Fledged Adult ™, Valentine’s Day seems to be all about acknowledging your love for those in your life, whether it is romantic, platonic, or familial.
Most couples I know dress up in red, pink, black, or hearts.
They splurge on expensive dinners, indulge in fondue and exchange gifts they may or may not be able to afford.
With all of the different types of love out there to acknowledge, why do so few people acknowledge self-love and self-care?
As Dr. Jane has taught me – there’s no way I can love anyone else properly if I’m not loving myself.
This is true for me, it’s true for her, and…
it’s true for you as well.
As someone struggling with my own mental health issues of anxiety and harsh thought patterns (Dr. Jane calls that “self-talk”), on this international day of love, I want to acknowledge the one constant in my life – and hope that you acknowledge the one constant in yours.
The person who will never let me get away, no matter how wonderful I am or awful I am, the person who deserves the world but instead is stuck on the receiving end of my rants, lashing out, and general hatred…
Or for you… YOU.
In this age of mental health awareness taking care of ourselves is so important yet too often even with the best of intentions, we end up shoving that thought to the back burner.
We all say we’re going to do it… and then we don’t.
The negative thoughts you allow to perpetuate in your mind manifests into truth.
As Dr. Jane teaches us all – thoughts become things; therefore be mindful of your thoughts.
In the spirit of sharing the love with the most important person in your life (YOU), here are five of my best pieces of friendly advice for you to take care of yourself, too.
Take a break and offer yourself the same kindness you show others.
I often ask people to do this when I can see they’re working themselves up.
Dr. Jane often reminds me to do this – and explains the science behind it, too.
Here’s a link to one of her YouTube videos with a mindful breathing bubble.
When you’re not breathing well (and most of us don’t) words flow faster and faster and we get more agitated with the situation at hand.
When I see someone in this tailspin, I gently ask them to 🛑 stop 🛑 and take a deep breath in through their nose 👃🏼, feeling their lungs expand, hold it for a moment, and then slowly exhale through the mouth, feeling their chest slowly fall.
Even guiding people through this doesn’t help them “unlearn” their poor breathing habits and learn how to breathe properly… and for that we go back to Dr. Jane with this video she admittedly says is not professionally shot.
She literally sat on the floor of her office and shot it just for a client who needed to re-learn how to breathe.
That’s the kind of coach she is.
Watch it and learn how to breathe for maximum oxygen absorption in your brain and the rest of your body.
The simple act of breathing properly invites calm – it’s science – and it’s real.
Take a moment for you.
Do something small, yet indulgent.
“Indulgent” doesn’t carry with it a bunch of dollar signs.
Most people think indulgences have to cost a lot.
They lament that due to their budget, they can’t afford a spa day, a really nice meal, or that vacation they so desperately need in order to get away from it all and recharge.
Reframe your thinking here.
You can take time away from the chaos of your life anytime, for free.
Simply take a 30-minute hot bath with some Epsom salt poured in.
On a pleasant day, go for a slow & leisurely stroll while taking in deep, relaxing breaths.
Curl up with a good book, visit a museum and don’t take your cell phone, close the door and close your eyes while listening to calming sounds or affirmations like these.
It’s about the outcome, not the act.
Play Dress Up.
When I’m sad, I feel like it’s evident to anyone who looks at me.
It might be the redness of my face, the watery eyes, or the fact that I’m dressed frumpily because when I feel bad I don’t make myself look any differently than that – my negativity inside manifests outward.
Why care about how I look when I feel as though my mind is so broken?
When I feel bad, I’m more focused on that feeling rather than how I look.
A former boyfriend and I had an argument once, and afterward, I went to get lunch at the restaurant I worked in at the time. A coworker complimented my clothes. I responded, “Thanks! I feel ugly on the inside so I wanted to look good on the outside.”
It’s just as fun to play dress-up as an adult as I remember it being when I was a kid.
Even in my 20’s when I felt down I’d go to Neiman Marcus and try on beautiful & expensive dresses and have a mini-photo shoot.
When you look good, you [can’t help but] feel good… or at least better than before.
It’s one small thing we can control, with a big impact.
A body in motion stays in motion, but sometimes that initial motion needs to be forced.
If hindsight provides a 20/20 view of what has been, and it’s so easy to beat yourself up over the things you didn’t do, then use that as motivation to prevent having that hindsight.
Dragging myself out of bed and to the gym might be hard, but once I’m “up and at ‘em”, it’s not as bad as I made it out to be when I were curled up with my gravity blanket and dog, laying there in the dark.
People tend to regret the things they didn’t do, so even if you have to force yourself to start, take back that control and propel yourself forward, even if it’s just by one small step.
One thing that helps with this is having a regular morning routine; here’s another gift from GILD to help you create one that works for you.
Sometimes even with the best of intentions, we have days where we just. can’t. even.
We can’t find the willpower to get out of bed.
It’s easier to complain than to take action.
We’d rather live inside our heads than out in the real world.
Please understand that this is okay… to a point.
Dr. Jane adds that it’s okay as long as it doesn’t become your regular mode of operation.
It’s good to slow down and give yourself time to feel whatever it is that you need to feel for a little while.
If you find yourself in a negative pattern of thought, check this out – this infographic GILD has as a free gift can help you crawl out of the darkness.
It’s important to not sit in negativity because again- as Dr. Jane says – thoughts become things.
If you dwell in negativity, expect more of it… and we both know you don’t want that.
Stop, use this tool to elevate your thoughts, and move on in your higher vibration.
One last thing – during the holidays, Dr. Jane dropped this YouTube video about self-care – you should check that out, too.
GILD Coaching encourages guest bloggers to contact us and request to be featured here.
If you’re interested in working with a coach and would like to see if Dr. Jane or another of GILD’s world-class expertly trained coaches would be right for you, schedule a complimentary breakthrough session for an assessment.