Love Yourself First
By
Theresa Polley
On
February 6, 2022
March 10, 2022
IN
-
Self Care

I struggled for years with self-love. I'd internalized so much negativity - insults and name-calling from childhood and well into my adulthood. Although I believed women deserved respect and love, I didn't always believe I deserved it too. You, like me, deserve love and respect. It begins with supporting and loving each other AND loving ourselves. I'd wonder - why is it easier to love others and harder to love myself? The answer to that - I was taught to love others and to sacrifice myself for others - family, children, partner. There is simply no time left for yourself when you continually sacrifice for someone else.

Only by taking care of yourself, are you able to do all those things you want and need to do. Love Yourself First is just as important as putting your oxygen mask on first in an airplane. As a society we've decided being busy, leaning in and doing more is the path to some sort of ultimate achievement. We trick ourselves into believing if we eliminate “me” time we will have more time for other things. Running ourselves ragged leaves us exhausted, with neither the time nor energy to take care of anybody or anything. I know from personal experience, eventually feelings of resentment start to come up.

Through self-care – physical, mental and emotional – your immune system and energy levels stay strong. YOU deserve the gift of self-love and self-acceptance!

"You are nature. You are already perfect, peaceful, and powerful. You don’t need to become anything. You simply need to remember yourself.” ~ Vironika Tugaleva

Self-love begins with self-care. It’s learning to say no to things, so you can say yes to you.  I’ve started these habits over the last few years. When I make my self care a priority, I not only feel better, but I'm able to show up in my life as the best version of myself. Once you get the self-care routine down, think about taking your self love journey a step farther by being intentional with your thoughts, your time and your energy.

No More Negative Self Talk

  • Stop second guessing yourself or comparing yourself to others.
  • Don't put yourself down, even in a self-deprecating humor sort of way.
  • Find compassion for yourself.
  • Engage in activities that make you feel empowered.
  • Keep in mind, you are doing the best you can.

Set Boundaries

  • Never make excuses for other adults.
  • Remove toxic people from your life - an acquaintance, a work colleague, a childhood friend, a love interest or even a family member. Let go of the guilt. You deserve better.
  • If you're unable to remove them from your life, vow to limit your time with them.
  • Say no to things that don't serve you - obligations, meaningless connections, time on social media - so you can say yes to you.

Live in The Moment

  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Be present with each person and situation you encounter.
  • Avoid living in the past - either reliving something fabulous or thinking about what you could have done differently.
  • Beware of living in the future - anticipating conversations, experiences or life changes.

Let Go

  • What you did. What you didn't do.
  • Anyone who has manipulated or mislead you.
  • Regrets, missteps, wrong directions and false starts.
  • Letting go allows space in your life for new possibilities and opportunities.

Forgive Yourself and Others

  • Give yourself grace for taking a wrong turn along the way - it got you where you are today.
  • Forgive those who have wronged you - by holding onto anger and resentment towards that individual, you are only harming yourself.

Embrace Acceptance

  • Instead of waiting for everything in your life to be perfect, find contentment in the way things are right now.
  • Accept yourself just as you are today.
  • Accept friends, family and loved ones exactly the way they are - there's no need to fix anyone - it doesn't work and it's exhausting.

Make a List of 20 Positive Things About Yourself

  • If you have a hard time getting started, begin with what you like and don't like.
  • Start with a few things and allow the list to grow.
  • Sometimes a negative is actually a positive - for instance if you're stubborn, that means you're persistent!

It may be difficult at first, but know that, yes, there are 20 positive things about you!

I did this exercise several years ago and it was incredibly difficult at first. I had no trouble listing 20 positive things about everyone in my life. Just as I was taught to sacrifice myself for others, I was also taught to always see the best in others. I realized, it was just as important to see the best in myself. I try to do this exercise every few months. It reminds me of my self worth and to make myself a priority.

The journey to loving yourself is like anything else - it starts with baby steps and can be a few steps forward and just as many steps back. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, "Smile, Breathe and Go Slowly."

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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