Your Survival Guide
How to survive extraordinary times, one day at a time.
There is so much talk these days about self love. I know from personal experience, it doesn’t matter what your life (or you) look like on the outside, what’s going on on the inside is a completely different matter.
For an interactive experience, respond to the prompts in the italicized bulleted lists.
As children we are full of self love. Hang out with young kids and you’ll notice how all genders are fully confident in themselves. Maybe somewhere along the way you lost your conviction that you are amazing. It’s never too late to reconnect with that. Know you are worthy of self love. In spite of what may have happened in your past, you deserve love and respect, exactly the way you are. You don’t need fixing!
It is common for women to see our worth tied to what we do, where we live or what we have and not who we are.
For instance, I am a mother, a friend, a business owner. All of that is great, but it has nothing to do with the woman I am. I’ve found the following exercise incredibly powerful. When I describe myself in my own words, not relying on society’s expectations, I am able to find fulfillment from within, who I am. As opposed to finding self worth from external factors - the car that I drive, the trips that I take or the neighborhood I live in. Know your self worth is NOT tied to something external.
Boundaries are your first step to carving out time for self love. Boundaries teach the world how we wish to be treated. If you are constantly giving to others or allowing others to take advantage of you, take a hard look at why you allow that.
For boundaries to work, you must identify AND enforce them. Setting boundaries allows you to have relationships that are mutually respectful and supportive. In the best case scenario, your friends, family and partner are already honoring your boundaries. Other times we must teach others how to treat us. Sometimes it’s enough to model the behavior by respecting our loved ones, other times we must not only put limits in place, but not allow our boundaries to be ignored.
First acknowledge that you deserve boundaries - mental, physical and emotional - it may seem easier to set a physical boundary, when people get into your personal space, but all boundaries are necessary to Self Love.
Sometimes it may be easier to forgive others than yourself. Once you learn the power of forgiveness, you’ll wonder why you’ve been holding on to bitterness and disappointment. What we choose not to forgive, holds us back.
Gratitude is a powerful tool for finding contentment. Gratitude, specifically, for who you are - including perceived flaws and choices that led you in the wrong direction - allows you to live life on your terms instead of someone else’s.
It’s fairly easy to find gratitude for the daily things we may take for granted. Family, friends, home, job and material things. Sometimes when we’re faced with discomfort in life, it’s easy to get wrapped up in how everything is going wrong. Facing traffic on the way to work or having difficulty with people at work can feel like too much. I’ve found when I look at the situation with gratitude everything changes. I’m grateful for the job I get to go to. I’m grateful for the people I work with so I don’t have to do everything. A shift in mindset can change everything.
Finding gratitude for challenges may be incredibly difficult, but it is the key to surviving and even thriving when challenges arise again. Here's how to find Gratitude for who you are and your situation right now.
Be intentional with your time, your energy, with how you start your day. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and the busyness of life. If we don’t stay intentional, not only does our entire day get off track, but our life goes off track.
Set aside time for yourself every day - write it on your calendar just as you would any other commitment. Time for you can be anything from a walk at lunch to break up the workday to getting together with friends on the weekend to an evening of self care - staying in with a bubble bath and a book or getting a massage or a pedicure.
Start your day intentionally. Journal or sit quietly with a cup of coffee or tea. Watch the sunrise or sit in nature. Take a shower listening to a meditation or music.
Make it a point to pause before you jump in to work or family. When you start your day on your terms, everything changes. Whatever you do, don’t pick up your phone first thing. When you do that, you begin your day be reacting to what’s going on in the world or what your friends are up to. Do you really want to start your day on someone else’s terms?
Finally, know that self love is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Sometimes, self love feels like life, a few steps forward and two steps backward. Whatever you do, don’t stop. Keep moving forward.