I’m ashamed to admit it, but I used to snicker like a 12 year old boy at this hyphenated word. But sexual connotations aside, it’s a no-brainer, right? Who doesn’t love themselves?
I mean, we’re a pretty badass species, aren’t we? We work, play, love, live, procreate, hunt, gather, empathize, protect each other, mourn together, grow together and flock together. Yet somehow in the daily running from here to there, commitment to commitment, children’s activity to work function, job trips to family events… paired with added stresses along the way, like a house that is falling apart or a loved one falling ill… we try so damn hard to keep it all together that we forget to take care of ourselves. Self-love falls to the wayside.
And most often, the times we need the most attention given within… is exactly when we pay that nagging (or shouting) sense of overwhelm-edness the least.
Until we have to.
Until we realize that something’s gotta give.
Until we find ourselves crumbling, wracking sobs overtaking us, as it hits us so completely that we need to give ourselves a break.
I won’t go into everything whirling around in my crazy life right now, but suffice it to say that this year has taught me a LOT. And I’m still learning.
What I’ve discovered about myself is that waking up an hour earlier to practice meditating and doing a short yoga sequence helps “set” my mind for the day. My goodness, the difference in my stress level with just focusing for 20-30 minutes on something as simple as breathing is astounding. My former routine was to sleep as long as possible and then hit the ground running at 160mph to get myself ready, feed/dress my son and take him to school and then get to work. My job requires being in a “constantly ON” mode, putting out fires in between a solid chunk of conference calls every day. And then after work comes the “witching hours” to feed the family, playtime then bath and bedtime for my son, after which I usually collapse with a book or my phone until I fall asleep. I’m exhausted just reading that.
But since I started with the extra hour in the morning to take care of myself, my mental and emotional stress has lessened a great deal. I’m calmer. I can handle stress and pressure with less anxiety. I’m more willing to just LET. SHIT. GO. And I’m a nicer, gentler person to those around me.
If we don’t take the time to figure out what works for ourselves in the realm of self-love, we find ourselves on that brink of panic attacks/sobs/yelling. And the majority of the time? Our worst self is projected at those we love the most. Which leads to allllll kinds of ickiness and can spiral out of control before you are even able to blink.
Life is just too fucking short to spend it at max-effort, nearly at tilt, without any time for yourself. We have to choose to make the time.
For ourselves. And for the safety and comfort of those around us.
How do you practice self-love? Do tell.
Til next time,