June 14, 2014
by Caleen Martin
Accepting and loving yourself
One of the most important parts of caring for yourself whether you are dealing with an illness or are healthy is to really love yourself. To accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your flaws, your past mistakes, your challenges, your imperfections; this is the cornerstone to extreme self-care.
When we can accept who we really are it naturally enhances our ability to speak up, be heard and communicate our needs in a loving and compassionate way. I am in awe of Cheryl Richardson, author of the book 'The Art of Extreme Self-Care'. Through her life stories and personal challenges she takes you on a 12 month journey in exploring the art of extreme self-care. The strategies and techniques take time and research shows that it takes us 30 days to change a habit or create a new one. Each month Richardson presents a new challenge and technique for accomplishing your extreme self-care.
Turning inward and finding your soul
When was the last time you looked into your own eyes in the mirror and said, 'I love you'? It sounds silly and simple but in reality it's anything but silly or simple. This is an intimate and expressly personal act which makes doing this difficult. When we are able to express unconditional love for ourselves we touch our very inner being and begin to fully understand that we are in fact a shining soul inhabiting an earthly body.
When I accept myself, I am freed from the
burden of needing you to accept me.
- Dr. Steve Maraboli
We are free to express ourselves and be truly authentic. There is no shame in the mistakes we have made and will make in the future, simply opportunities to learn and grow. We become more patient with ourselves and others and speak up more often. Other aspects of our life will change as well; we are more discerning with what and who we allow in our lives and what we put into our bodies.
Developing a loving relationship with yourself
By developing this loving relationship with ourselves we open up to a completely new life experience. We'll still have our challenges and hurdles to overcome but our ability to recognize the signs of stress and care for ourselves immediately will become second nature. We were not born to live in misery and disconnection from ourselves. We were born to live, to experience, to love and to grow.
Here are some of the best tips for starting on this journey of loving yourself:
Every day take a moment to look deep into your own eyes in a mirror and sincerely say, 'I love you'. Even if it feels awkward or silly, stick with it for a full 30 days.
Take 5 minutes each day to meditate and clear your mind. This will help you keep the events in your life in perspective.
- Take a minimum of 5-10 minutes each day to journal about your feelings. Expressing ourselves, even if we are the only ones to ever read it helps get frustrations out, records our thoughts and keeps the stress from building up.
Get back into nature. Research tells us that getting close to nature is not only good for us physically but the emotional benefits are an act of love and compassion that we should be giving ourselves on a regular if not daily basis.
Fill your home and workplace with loving affirmations. These can be signs you create and hang on the walls or written out on small cards that you can carry with you. Took at them when you need them during the day.
These tips will start you on a journey of self-discovery. There will most likely be some difficult and uncomfortable issues and feelings that will come up but by sticking with the practices listed above you will be able to show yourself the love and care to handle anything in your path.
In my years of research regarding my pain condition I've come across plenty of information on finding the right doctors, eating the right foods, the latest research on medications and treatment options. Some of these things help but the one thing that I keep seeing that actually does any real lasting improvement in peoples lives is self-care. It all comes back to how you care for yourself because we are the ones who are ultimately deciding how we react to what comes into our lives. And self-care begins with self-love. Without loving ourselves we cannot begin our journey to living the life we each deserve.