Five Thoughts About Self-Love We All Need To Embrace

Good morning, Dear Reader! Although I’ve been up since 2:23 a.m., I am running late on this post. Forgive me. I’ve been putting labels on my spice jars. It’s what I do when I can’t sleep. I’m still determining what I would do without that label-maker, but, as a minimalist and an insomniac, I’m running out of things to label. 

We, dear Reader, are quickly approaching the end of the year. I only have a few more weeks to convince you that simplicity isn’t “something you do” but rather more closely aligned with “someone you are”. That is not to say, “You are simple”. But instead, the act of embracing simplicity makes life more simple. Sigh. I can’t find my words today. I hope you get what I’m trying to relay. (SOS. Send coffee.)

I’ve looked back on many of my posts over the past year, and a great amount center on self-love. So today, I’d like to wrap up that concept with five thoughts on loving yourself and why it’s essential.

Most of us grew up believing that anything that looks like ‘self-love’ is selfish and we should avoid being selfish. But I no longer agree with this, and here’s why:

Loving yourself means you can be a better human. But…let me be clear about something. I believe you can be less than 100% into the whole self-love thing, AND you can love another person. Do you know what I mean? So many people cling to that old adage, “You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.” 

{Cough} Bullshit.

I’ve loved my son more than the air I breathe since the day he arrived on this planet, and I struggled with loving myself for many of those years. So, um, yeah. You can love others while you work on yourself. 

You may ask, “What does it even mean for me to love myself?” Don’t worry. I’ve got five thoughts to share with you on that. 

So, grab that drink and settle in. Let’s get started, shall we?

1) Caring for yourself, and knowing that caring for you, is just as important (if not more!) than the care you provide to others. Since I battle insomnia, I know that there are times I require a nap during the day. If I don’t get adequate sleep, I will screw stuff up at work. I’m pro-nap on days like today, even when others need things for me. You may need to call off work and take a ‘sick day’ when you aren’t sick and go to the movies. If you read the employee handbook, I betcha it outlines how many sick days you earn. It doesn’t list the items that qualify as ‘sick days’. (Gasp! My father just rolled over in his grave because I suggested you take off work when you aren’t even sick. Sorry Daddy-O.)

2) It means being willing to set and maintain boundaries even if you sometimes feel guilty about it. I love my son’s school, and for two years, I served on the board of the PTA. I gave a lot of time and money to these efforts. However, I stepped back last year and set some boundaries around my time and money. It breaks my heart when there is a need at the school, but I have decided to give my money elsewhere for the 2022-23 school year. If you, like me, are a people pleaser, this can be a significant step in the self-love arena.

3) It means honoring your own wants and needs. I know you all think I’m the most direct and crass person on the planet, but honestly, there was a time that I would eat food I didn’t like just because I was afraid to speak up and say, “I don’t want to go to that restaurant.” These days? Well, I’m not spending time with my family for Thanksgiving. My kid is with his other half of DNA, I’m off work, and I’d really like some downtime with no dishes to wash or people to please. So, guilt be damned. Honor those wants and needs.

4) It means accepting yourself as you are…not waiting until you are (fill in the blank). Someone sent me a link to an MLM program yesterday with the subject line “Stop hating your body,” and I remember thinking, “I don’t hate my body.” Sure, I’d like to lose some weight. I want to make more money. I want to be entirely out of debt. But waiting until those things are accomplished to accept me? Hogwash. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself – get some help if you can’t think of anything – and pull that out every time you wade into negative water.

5) It means noticing your unhelpful thought patterns and working on them so you can improve how you feel about your life. For example, mid-Summer, I realized I was agreeing to things I didn’t really want at the moment because I feared the reaction of others. In fact, this irrational fear of others’ reactions actually lent itself to unhappy choices in several areas of my life. I invite you to work hard to get to the bottom of some of your limiting beliefs or unhelpful thought patterns. Once you see them for what they really are, you’ll begin to notice how unhelpful they are. Those thoughts probably create opportunities for you to shrink back, and not live your best life. 

That’s it for today, Reader. I’ve got a nap to plan. Also, I’ve been digging around Spotify all damn morning trying to find a song that fits with the theme today; alas, I just can’t find that perfect song. So, how about I give you a link to one of my favorites? This Mitch Rossell song may be new to you. But he isn’t new to the music scene. In fact, he’s written a ton of songs for Garth Brooks and if you listen closely, Trisha Yearwood provides a lot of background vocals on his songs. She even makes a cameo in this video (Bonus song!) He opened for GB in April in Arkansas, and I fell in love. (Okay, not love. Remember, I no longer fall in love with musicians as I mentioned in this post last week.) But, ain’t gonna lie. There’s something about a man and an acoustic guitar that makes me swoon. Sigh. Enjoy!

As always, if someone needs to read this, share it on all those social thingys. I’d appreciate it. And as all the YouTubers say, “Don’t forget to subscribe,” so you don’t miss a post.

Summer Storms

Good morning, Dear Reader. I cannot believe Friday finally arrived. It’s been a long, hot week. One that has left me feeling anxious and tired. The new moon is upon us, so it’s a good time to think about what you want in your life for the next month and set your intentions so that they support your journey. On another note, if you step outside tonight, you should be able to see all the visible planets lined up in a neat row. Isn’t science cool?

I feel like I’ve been walking in quicksand this week, not accomplishing much yet feeling drained. I’m allowing myself to step away from anything that requires a lot of energy this weekend. Sometimes self-care means doing less, and that’s what I intend to do. I hope this weekend is nothing more than board games, beer, lake swimming, and good food. But it will also be hot – which means sweaty private parts. Blech.

Speaking of food, I’ve been plant-based for a week and feel better. I’m not vegetarian or vegan or even lacto-ovo. I’m just reducing the amount of meat I eat regularly. Some of it was driven by my desire to lose weight. Still, I’ve also been reading a lot about blood glucose (it turns out its too much fat in your diet and being overweight, and not so much about the number of carbs one eats.) I’m sure that will get some raised eyebrows, but honestly, everyone is different. Some people thrive on the Keto diet. For some, like me, the Keto diet tries to kill us – bad pancreas’ run in the family. I’ll stick with my veggies and grains.

Anywho. What’s been going on in my brain this week? A heck of a lot, I can tell you that. I’ve done a pretty good job over the last few months focusing on the positive aspects of life and being grateful for all I have in my life. But this week, ripe with two difficult dates, I’ve been lucky to get out a few sentences. I’m feeling the need to retreat and withdraw but forcing myself to stay somewhat in the moment.

This leads me to today’s ‘stuff.’ Toxic positivity is something I’ve decided I can’t handle anymore. I mean, there’s a fine line between being a pessimistic asshat all the time and acknowledging that sometimes life isn’t fun. I look for a silver lining in most instances, try to remain calm, and attempt to keep my shitty moods contained for the most part. But can we please, please, please stop with all this false positivity when things don’t feel or seem right with the Universe.

Case in point…I was thinking about a friend who passed away this week and found this meme (below)…which I sent to his widow. She replied, “Amen”. See. She gets it. Sometimes life just is…well…life. Whatcha gonna do?

So that’s where I come in. I’m gonna tell you what you can do instead of falling in line with the ‘just think positive’ movement when the ‘just think positive’ movement is less than helpful.

Go on. Grab a drink. Settle in. Let’s go.

1) Feel your shit. Remember when I was a ‘Let that shit go’ person? I’m not anymore. Feel all your feelings so you can move through them. I ask my son a lot what he’s feeling because if he can name it, he can move through it. Ignoring feelings is a good formula for anxiety, restlessness, and stress.

2) Permission granted. If you were waiting for permission to fully exist in every mood and season. I hate when anyone makes me feel bad for being grumpy. “Gosh, you’re in a mood, aren’t you?” I don’t need to apologize for being grumpy unless I hurt you in the process. Guilt trips won’t help your cause any, though. I promise you that.

3) Watch your inner dialogue. Be mindful of the stories you’re telling yourself. My son said last night, “I have autism. I am stupid.” First, being Autistic and being stupid are not even related. There are very smart Autistics (like my son) and very stupid non-Autistics (like nearly 1/3 of the politicians in office). One does not beget the other. So I told him, “If you tell yourself this, then you’ll believe it when others say it about you. And it isn’t true, so stop with that negative self-talk”.

4) Get curious. I do a lot of inner work to find out which parts of me still need healing. I know I’m still furious at some folks, and I also know if I don’t get real and raw about why I won’t move past it. If you find yourself in that same boat, release any judgment you have for yourself (judge them all you want, for now) and speak compassionately to yourself. The most healing sentence in my life? I made the best decision I could with the information I had at that time. Go on. Write that on a post-it and stick it on your mirror.

5) Embrace the seasons. Every human experience comes with a full range of emotions. I gave birth after 23 hours of labor. I was exhausted and excited to meet the beautiful human I had co-created. I also was okay with them sweeping him away so I could sleep. I still love that small human beyond measure, but I look forward to the weekends he’s with his father. It’s okay to be sad and relieved at the same time.

My point today? Honestly, just stop apologizing for the day-to-day stuff we all experience. If someone writes you off for being sad too many days in a row, I invite you to do two things: Ignore them and maybe, just maybe, book a session or two with a therapist. Brief bouts of sadness or moodiness are one thing. Prolonged feelings signal to your body that something needs to change. And if you don’t take control of the course of action required for change, your body will do it for you. This part I know for sure.

I’m leaving you with a song (I know, SURPRISE!). I like this one because it acknowledges that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but it can still be lived. I know I’m heavy on Mitch Rossell’s songs this season, but forgive me. I really like him, and he’s still a humble guy, despite his incredible talent and success. We should all take a piece of that lesson, right?

PS…If you liked this post, please feel free to post it on all the socials. Please and thank you.