What Is Self Love?
Self love is all about coming to terms with and accepting all aspects of yourself. However, that isn't where self love ends, it's where it starts. When we love another, we care about them and accept them, we don't expect them to be perfect. If someone we love is engaging in destructive behavior, we would support and nurture them. This doesn't mean that we forcefully try to change them (remember, we accept them as they are), but instead, we might ask if they are ok, or if they need anything and offer our support in whatever way they request.
Self love is the same concept, but turned towards ourselves. We accept all parts of ourselves, without expectations of perfection. That doesn't mean that we don't strive to become our best selves. It means that we are patient with ourselves along this journey we call life. We practice radical self acceptance of who and where we are, in this moment.
So, Self Love is really about connecting with our innermost self, as well as our hopes, dreams and desires. It is about bringing about and living your highest truth and promoting wellness in all aspects of your life- physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual; and this is where self care comes in, because to love yourself it to care for yourself.
What Is Self Care? Why Is It Important?
Self Love is about our inner world and how we feel about ourselves, whereas Self Care stems from self love and can be thought of as 'self love in action.' It's the process of knowing you are worth the effort, you are worthy. This is where thoughts become actions, and this is an important point. Self Care is a verb, and boils down to how we live and treat ourselves... and truthfully, what is more important than how we think, feel and live?
Some might see this concept as selfish, but that is an ideology that needs to be examined and relinquished. We should not feel selfish about striving to be well. When we our doing well, physically & emotionally, it impacts every aspect of our lives- We will be better partners, better friends, better parents, better workers and better community members. Simply, we will just be better people.
How To Practice Self Care
So, is self care a bubble bath, taking naps and eating ice cream if you want to? It could be, if those are things you need or love to do, but self care is also realizing that eating ice cream all the time is not good for your health, so it should be eaten in moderation as a treat. Self care is actively and consciously showing up for yourself, participating in your life and not just going through the motions. It includes everything from basic hygiene, like brushing your teeth, to healing your relationship with yourself, setting healthy boundaries, knowing when to ask for help, exercising and managing stress.
So, if you NEED a nap because you are tired, it absolutely is Self Care. If you WANT a bath to feel relaxed, nourished and well taken care of, then you should give yourself permission and time to do just that. Rarely will you find that eating ice cream is truly Self Care, but it is of course possible.
Self Care in practice is about mindfulness and consistency. We need to consistently be mindful of our thoughts, feelings and sensations so that we know what we need in each moment. Understanding and knowing what your needs are and doing what needs to be done for your Self. Self Care is unique to each individual, but some general practices are to eat well, get plenty of movement, sleep enough, be kind to yourself and to set healthy boundaries. A couple of other great practices are reflecting, meditating and practicing Yoga, journaling, practicing gratitude, spending time in nature, having a rich social life and finding a hobby you're passionate about.
Assessing your current self care:
- How are you sleeping?
- Does your diet fuel you with stable energy throughout the day?
- Do you drink enough water?
- Are you taking charge of your health?
- Do you exercise or get regular movement in your life?
- Do you make time to see friends and family?
- Do you do anything just for you?
- Do you take time alone?
- Do you have any hobbies or things that stimulate your mind?
Creating and starting a self care routine:
- Assess your needs
- Start small
- Plan for challenges
- Ask for support
- Schedule time in your day for your self care practices
For more on this process, check out our blog on SMART Goals.
Self Love and Self Care are intertwined concepts and are vital to living our best lives. Each individual's Self Care practices will look different. To some it might include exercise, meditation and massage, to others it could be carving out time in their busy schedule to read or paint; or it could be working less to have more time with friends and family. The main things to remember are that Self Care is not selfish and it is a practice that requires mindfulness, action and consistency. Whether you already have Self Care practices or not, we at Lotus Tribe believe in you and your ability to thrive and live your best life!
*This blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.