As women, we tend to struggle with things like self-love. We inherently put the needs and happiness of those around us first, and think about ourselves last. Women are inherently harder on ourselves than we are on others. We also expect more from ourselves than anyone else. If/when we fail to meet those expectations, we punish ourselves more as well. We expect ourselves to look a certain way, act a certain way, take care of our families, do everything for everybody else, while maintaining strength and poise through it all. Knowing how to find self-love isn’t exactly easy, but it’s vital to start your journey so that you can live life to the fullest.
The issues comes when this façade of strength and poise is exactly that, a façade. We put a mask on for the rest of the world and tell them that everything is fine. However, on the inside we are housing this deep insecurity we can’t even admit to ourselves. Often times we suppress this insecurity our entire lives. There are those who never find it in them to truly love themselves. As women, we put so much focus on taking care of others. Unfortunately, we forget that self-love and self-care are just as important as well.
You may be reading this and nodding along, because you can identify with the sentiment. You may also be thinking, “I’m too old to change, I am who I am. This is simply who I will always be.” That’s not true! You are never too old to begin a new journey, and find your way to true self-love.
Lao Tzu once stated that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Often times, that first step is not only the scariest, but also the most difficult.
Exercise: There is truth in the power of exercise. However, you don’t have to turn into a fitness fanatic. Enjoy a daily walk, join a yoga class, opt for something new like heavy weight lifting — just get your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins that make your brain happier. Plus, if you can look at yourself and like the way you look on the outside, then it becomes a bit easier to love yourself on the inside as well.
Journal: Treat yourself to a pretty journal or notebook and write down your thoughts. Make it a point to sit down every day, or even just once or twice a week and write down how you feel. Keep track of quotes that you like or that inspire you. Writing out your thoughts and feelings can help you to process them better, making it easier to move forward from those issues.
Meditate: Meditation takes different forms and isn’t a monolith. For some this might be praying, for others this could be the traditional forms of meditation. For others it might mean just sitting quietly with their morning coffee and reflecting. It doesn’t matter what form meditation takes, the main objective of it is to clear your mind and allow yourself those moments of peace.
Learn: Your journey to finding self-love doesn’t have to always be serious. Have some fun as well. If there is something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do, go do it! Take music or cooking lessons. Learn a new language or take dancing lessons! Often times learning something new can teach us something about ourselves, even if we aren’t aware of what it is until later.
Affirm: When you think happy, you’ll feel happier. So have some affirmations ready! An affirmation is any quote or saying that makes you feel happy, empowered, or strong. It can be what most think of when they hear the word affirmation, “I am strong.” “I am worthy.” “I am beautiful.” But, it can also simply be any quote that makes you feel inspired. For instance the quote from above telling us to take that first step of a journey, that can be an affirmation. Write them down, say them out loud, do what works best for you.
Set Boundaries: If you find yourself constantly making yourself accessible to others, you could be taking time away from yourself. Think of the oxygen mask concept — you must put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. If you struggle with saying “no” to others, try and think of it as saying “yes” to yourself instead. After setting a few boundaries, you’ll be amazed how much lighter you’ll feel!
Everyone’s journey to self-love will be different, so don’t fall prey to comparison. We are all on a different path! You have to find the things that work best for you. It is possible to find self-love at any age, and it’s never too late. All you have to do is find the strength to take that single step and begin your journey.
Ready to stop comparing and competing? Read another writer’s take on how to find self-love and live a happier life.