Transforming Self-Care into Self-Love

Looking inward is easily ignored and forgotten, as it needs to be a persistent and conscious effort to nurture the inner world if we are to design the outer world of our dreams. The outer world is filled with people we call friends, family, co-workers, items we’ve purchased, items we were gifted, things we needed, things we wanted, animals, trees, plants, birds, sirens, cars, laughter, cries, smells of bakeries, pizza shops, sewage, flowers, dinner in the oven, etc…

The inner world is filled with thoughts and beliefs that express into the outer world through choices, actions, and behaviors. Therefore, to modify the outer world to be one that we desire, we have to begin looking inside at our thoughts and beliefs. What do we consciously and unconsciously tell ourselves everyday? Why do we believe what we do? This is an opportunity to look at your choices, actions, and behaviors to determine whether they are in your best interest and in alignment with the thoughts and beliefs you desire.

When life doesn’t reflect the health and happiness you imagine, it’s time to look inward. While altruism is admired by some, it is not a sustainable pathway. The transition from a life of complete selflessness to one that includes self care is a challenging one. For in the beginning, it may seem selfish to take time out for yourself. It will feel odd not doing what you have grown accustomed to doing for others. This choice involves setting new boundaries, which may very well be the most difficult task.

When you recognize the need for change and declare it so, others aren’t always so willing to go along with it. They may not understand why you desire to change. Maybe they will understand and support you, but if they don’t, you’ll have to find a way to express your needs that feels good to you. In the end, taking care of yourself results in a new outer world, one in which you are finding others who love themselves as deeply as you love yourself.  

Life shifts in your favor as you no longer search outside of yourself for the love you were once denied. Practicing self care with the goal of self love, will result in your ability to comfort and care for yourself during the most difficult times of life. You’ll be more gentle to yourself when life sweeps you up and changes your direction. You’ll have the strength and courage to set your course again, while simultaneously being able to support others through their rough times.

Self care is what you do to ensure you’re happy and healthy. Self care is what you do to make sure you are available to give to others. Self care can take many forms and change throughout a lifetime. 

To fully grasp the concept of self care, you must first begin to look at how you take care of yourself. Do you love yourself like you love your loved ones? Do you give yourself the same attention? Do you say “thank you” to yourself when you do something that brings you joy and health or when you give yourself a gift? Do you easily forgive yourself or beat yourself up when you make a mistake?

When you provide self care, you can begin to recognize that you are caring for yourself because it comes from a place of love. When you love yourself, you are able to more fully love others in a sustainable and regenerative manner. We cannot nurture others in a healthy way if we do not first nurture ourselves.

When you take this step to acknowledge your own self care practices, you can begin to improve and transform them into self love as you grow. If you currently have a routine of self care, take note that you are providing yourself with love. Consciously recognize that you are doing these actions out of love for your life and others. Consider your self care a practice and commit to your evolution as a human to a fully awakened state.

When you have practiced the 5 Senses Activation, you’ve gotten a taste of an awareness exercise that attunes you into your internal world and physiological sensations. If you haven’t done that yet, I suggest you practice that method alongside this new method to cultivate the necessary awareness to shift your life into the direction of one with less struggle. This next exercise assesses your self care. Recognizing where we are now, allows you space to develop further into what you desire.

Use this as a guide to quantify your personal practices of self care in various realms. Draw your own wellness wheel with 6 pie pieces and write in your self care practices. When you are done, shade in the pie piece to reflect your amount of self care practices and create percentages to go with each section. Notice how you may spend more time in one area than another. This is not a place for harsh self judgment. This a place to recognize simply what we do and where we can grow.

When you’re done mapping your self care, see where you can adjust and add in new practices to support yourself to create more balance in your life that will result in more happiness and health. Below, I’ve listed and briefly described a handful of practices that you can explore more deeply that will help you design the life of your choosing.

When you love yourself you make choices that are in alignment with your integrity. 
When you love yourself you make choices that bring happiness and bliss. 
When you love yourself you are able to truly experience what it means to love another.

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