Since discovering my issues with codependency, I have been putting a lot of emphasis on the importance of self-care in my life.
Self-Care: (noun) care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.
As I uncover the layers of protection I have built around my low self-worth and low self-esteem, I am discovering that I have spent my life taking care of others in order to avoid taking care of myself. It’s easy to ignore what it is I really want or need when I mask my inability to face my own issues with the distraction of helping others.
What I am realizing, is that I will never be able to cultivate the kind of relationship I truly want if I’m not willing to take care of myself first. Choosing to ignore a loving relationship with myself – by putting all of my love into someone else – is a recipe for disaster when that relationship finally ends. I’m finding that a big reason why I jump from partner to partner is that I chase those butterflies that come from a new attraction with someone and label that feeling ‘love‘ – because I myself am broken, incomplete and unable to feel love for myself.
I’m now single for the first time in over 2 years and no longer have a relationship where I can bury my issues and insecurities into. I’ve had to relearn how to be alone, rededicate all of my time to caring for myself instead of someone else and rediscover the definition of self-love.
If you’re looking to love yourself even just a little bit more, below are some of the self-care strategies I’ve adopted that may help you:
Positive Affirmations & Intentions
“Affirmations are like prescriptions for certain aspects of yourself you want to change” – Jerry Frankhauser
You are the words you say. The world around you is a reflection of how you feel. Affirmations and intentions are a way for us to put out into the Universe what it is we truly want – and we need to put those thoughts out there as if they already are.
For example – If happiness is what I desire, I shouldn’t say “I want to be happy.” I should say “I am happy.” Because then instead of waiting for this abstract happiness to come to me, I’m choosing to dictate my current state of mind. Speak your affirmations and intentions out loud, in the mirror, every-single-day.
Remember – our thoughts are just lies we tell ourselves based on our past experiences. When you speak your true intentions out loud, your voice of the present, of the hear and now, takes back the power and overrides the toxic thoughts of the past in your mind.
I’m going to go ahead right now and admit that I used to be super skeptical when it came to the idea of meditation. The thought of sitting in silence and chanting and breathing and thinking that would bring me some kind of enlightenment seemed so far out of the scope of my abilities.
But instead of ‘owning‘ this mentality that I ‘suck a meditating‘ – I decided to give it a chance. I finally was able to welcome meditation into my life when I realized that the goal of meditation is not to quiet the mind – it’s an uninterrupted opportunity to observe thoughts. In fact, my favorite meditations and the ones I find most helpful are ones that involve music and/or movement. I recently had a very profound meditative experience where I used the power of music to heal from romantic relationships in my past. Other times I’ve used yoga and dance in order to travel inward and connect with myself.
Meditation – especially when combined with affirmations and intentions can be a very powerful tool to take care of our hearts, minds and bodies.
Nurture Your Inner-Child
Each of us inside are just little children waving our arms in the air asking to be seen – by our partners, our friends, our families – by every single person in our lives. The emotional and mental problems we face as adults are issues stemming from something we didn’t get as children. The unloved child becomes the codependent adult. The ignored youth becomes the attention-seeking grown-up. We are all just trying to recreate our childhood experiences in order to get what we never received.
The benefit to this is now, as adults, we have total control over how we treat that inner-child. We can spoil it, love it and nurture it in all the ways our parents never could. The greatest gift we can give ourselves is reconnecting with this inner-child and always honoring what it says it needs. Are we hungry? Do we need a nap? Do we want to color? Do we want to be alone? Do we want to dance? Do we need some chocolate?
You’ll be surprised how much easier life can get once we stop complicating things and get back to our basic wants and needs. (And most times we really just need a nap.)
Please remember – you are worthy.
Self-care is all about placing value on yourself and your mental, emotional and physical health. Choosing not to practice self-care indicates a major problem with worthiness.
If you’re single – how can you truly expect to show up for someone else if you don’t even love yourself?
If you’re in a relationship – how much better of a partner would you be if your own needs were met first?
I invite you to look inward and ask yourself what it is you really need. Take care of yourself and love yourself – you are worth it.