I’m sure that we have all heard about the importance of self-care, especially as moms.
We need to take some time for ourselves, we should focus on eating and drinking enough water, or how setting aside time in our days for a bubble bath or glass of wine can help tremendously when it comes to the burn out we all so often feel.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in all of those things!
However, there is something else that I feel like gets glossed over more often than not: the importance of self-love and the sources of our happiness.
Let me back up a little bit. As a mom to two kiddos under five, I know first hand how hard it can be at times to find tiny moments for ourselves, let alone enough time to truly figure out what makes us “us.” Just the thought of having to examine myself and face all of my faults and failures seems like a daunting task.
I can actually say that it doesn’t just seem like it, it was!
I am at the tail end of a season of growth as I like to call it (or what I hope is the tail end of this season). 2020 forced a lot of emotions to the surface for me that had been buried for a long time. It showed me how much of my happiness hinged on people, things, or experiences, instead of coming from within. I lacked one of the most crucial parts of life, self-love.
What does self-love look like?
Self-love looks like knowing and believing your own worth, having confidence, and ultimately caring about your own well-being and happiness. I know so many people, including my friends and I, have struggled with this area of our lives. It is especially hard with social media and the picture-perfect squares that fill our internet feeds nowadays. That right there is what lead me to my own “ah-ha” moment. I realized I had been comparing myself and my own life to the lives of others.
I have always heard that comparison is the thief of joy, and when I actually stopped to think about that, it hit so hard! Of course I won’t feel good enough when I look externally for my worth because that is not where true fulfillment is found.
So much of my life I had wanted the confidence and happiness that others around me seemed to radiate so effortlessly. Yet I had been my own roadblock all along. I am slowly realizing that deep-seated contentment and joy is built individually, over time, and with a lot (A LOT) of practice.
I wish it were as easy as snapping our fingers and *poof*: confidence! But unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I have learned that it is all about doing a few small things often.
– Pay attention to your inner voice. How does she talk to you? Is she harsh and critical? I know mine was (and still is a lot of days). Listening to how I was talking to myself was the first step in learning what needed to change.
– Try not to believe every thought that comes into your head. I know that is hard to do, but here is a trick: when a negative thought pops in your brain, immediately follow it up with the opposite, a positive! Even if you don’t believe that positive thought, just put it out there.
– Take a good hard look in the mirror and forgive any part of the person looking back at you that needs forgiving. We often hold ourselves to incredibly high standards and when we fall short of them, it leaves us feeling like we have failed or aren’t enough. Stare that shame square in the face, acknowledge it, and then let it go.
– Speak positive affirmations daily, and give yourself credit for ALL that you do!
– Enlist the help of others. You may think that because loving yourself has to do with only you, that YOU have to be the only one to make it happen. False! Getting help from a counselor or close friend will only speed up the process. They can teach you the right way to go about this or even just speak life into your days, and that alone is a huge blessing.
When I chose to look inward and realized that I am the keeper of my own happiness, I was surprised how quickly that reality set in.
When challenging situations arise, I am the one who gets to determine how I will respond. I am able to look at myself in the mirror and see both the flawed areas as well as acknowledge the beautiful parts that had been hiding behind my inner voice’s negative shadow for years. Every day definitely isn’t perfect, but I can say that choosing to love myself and harness my own happiness has been way easier than I ever thought.
“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you.”