I once read that self-acceptance comes before self-love. I didn’t understand what that meant when I first read it — I thought self-acceptance and self-love was one and the same. Now that I have been consistent with my self-care practice for 70-plus days, I understand that accepting who I am and what I look like was vital to learning how to love myself.
Neither self-acceptance nor self-love is easy when we wear so many hats at once — mother, wife, daughter, friend, and the list goes on. More often than not, our true “self” comes last because we either don’t know who we are and what we like, or we just don’t make time for it. So how can we — who wear so many hats — practice to accept and love ourselves to make our lives better? Here are my top five things I turn to for help.
1. My Tribe
I met some of my best friends on social media, but we took it a step further. My friends and I made the effort to personally meet one another. Making physical contact made a difference in the quality of our relationships; it helped establish a real-world friendship and helped us learn about each other more than what we shared in our virtual reality. The women in my tribe support me through my happy and sad days, and keep me accountable when it comes to my self-love.
I disliked reading until I found books that awakened me to emotions, experiences, and questions that I had suppressed for so long. Reading has allowed me to explore and learn about different perspectives, which has helped me face the healing that I must do in order to love myself.
Connecting with nature whenever I can helps keep me centered and aware of what’s beyond my everyday worries. When I feel overwhelmed, I no longer try and fix things. Instead, I sit with nature — even if it’s just in my mother’s garden. I feel more and fix less. Nature helps me give up control, and in doing so, I allow myself more space to learn how else I can love myself.
Dancing helps relieve my stress. I love that I can dance anywhere. It doesn’t have to be in front of anyone and I don’t need to know how to dance; I simply let my body move however it wants to the music. I recommend you dance in front of the mirror. Dance for yourself and welcome the emotions that come with it. Dancing has a magical way of surfacing the healing that needs to be done.
5. Quitting Social Media
Giving social media the boot has been one of my biggest aids in learning to love myself. Removing myself from the virtual world helped me cut ties to the constant comparisons and feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. I’m not telling you to quit social media, but I do recommend giving yourself a break when you feel heavy with ill feelings towards yourself.
There is no one practice that will suffice for all women, but the more you try and the more time you invest into learning to accept yourself, the easier it will become to cater to your needs, which ultimately means you’re on your way to learning about self-love.
Here’s a challenging question for you: Who are you and what brings you joy, other than your children? —Jasmin