What it Really Means to Self-Love

Self-love is more than just a day at the spa...Though it just so happens I did spend a day at the spa last week with a couple of very dear friends. We listened to each other’s stories, and connected deeply on a level of understanding about how the work we do for our clients and ourselves takes a very strong commitment to self-care and self-love. It was that very experience at the spa, where I realized that one day of healing waters isn't enough to sustain me day-to-day in the practice of self-loving. In order for us to serve others the way we desire, with love and our highest integrity, we’ve recognized that offering ourselves self-care looks like many different actions and takes on many different forms on a daily basis. 

Let’s start by listing some of the ways we typically hear of how we should include self-love in our lives: 

— Spa day with your friends

— Quit your job and go travel the world

— Buy yourself a fancy new dress

— Splurge on cosmetics 

— etc. etc

(This is not to say that all of the aforementioned ways aren't absolutely incredible, and I that I do think you should incorporate as many of them as your heart and soul desires!)

However, I’m all about remembering to be grounded and actively participating in this exquisite human life. This exquisite human life, that sometimes demands we do very mundane, human life tasks. 

 

I want to make it clear that self-love is not about finding ways to escape your everyday problems. 

Self-love is about alchemizing your everyday problems, into magical and incredible everyday experiences. 

 

I also want to highlight how, with the right attitude, these very basic human life tasks we have to do all add up, surmounting to a very incredible amount of self-care and self-love even though they can be boring, tedious, or mundane. Let’s take a look at some of the things that might seem monotonous daily practices, but that are also pieces of your daily self-love and care regime. 

— Household chores: washing the dishes, sweeping, cleaning, organizing, purging

— Home improvement: renos, decorating, fixing

— Cosmetic: nail filing, moisturizing, shaving, waxing, scrubbing (whatever floats your fancy)

— Finances: Accounting, taxes, filing

— Creating: writing, singing, dancing, playing, photographing, filming, acting, painting

Now, you may think that the daily chores of dishes, mending clothes, or cooking meals are not the incredible trip to Bali that all your friends are going on for their holiday getaways, however, on a daily basis we are caring for ourselves by getting our chores done. For instance, take accounting; we can do our taxes with the appreciation that we were able to buy many things over the last year, and with the understanding that abundance in monetary form is a blessing. Acting as such allows you to receive and care for yourself more in the future. It can be a source of empowerment if you let it be, rather than a means of discouragement and irritation.

After a very plain old Sunday spent at home, one of my housemates mentioned that she often thinks about how almost everything we do on a daily basis is done with the intention of self-sustenance. We go to work so that we can make money to feed ourselves. We mend our clothes so we can wear them again. We sleep so that we have the energy to wash, rinse and repeat. This may sound pretty dull to you, but I want you to know that isn’t dull at all when you change your perspective from, ‘I have to do this just to survive’ to, ‘I am doing this because I care about myself enough to create and live another day.’

Because here is the truth; when I don’t do my laundry, or sweep the floors, or finish my taxes, I feel like I’m living in a mess…that mess trickles into how I experience my life on all fronts. When I do my laundry and sweep the floors, I have a clean space to work, I get things done, I’m more creative, I invite friends over (I’m more social), I feel good, and I definitely love myself more. 

Even when I go to the gym and lift weights, I feel better.

I just spent a month waking up 2-3 times a week really early to get my ass to a circuit class at my place of work. I unofficially took part in my own ‘November challenge.’ 

Being a dancer and a full time entrepreneur/freelance artist is a very tricky thing to balance, so I wanted to show myself that I could stay strong, healthy, and feel good without having to take dance class everyday. (Because the truth is, I can’t afford to take dance class every single day right now.) Throughout the month I had moments of “I hate this, I’m going to throw up, and I can’t do it,” but by the end of the month I’m feeling healthier and I’ve learned so much from my co-workers about fitness through their new challenges. 

I also discovered that I really do like lifting weights. I find it so empowering to feel strong as a woman! 

 

The most clarity I’ve received from a steady workout regime where I’m constantly being challenged is that being physically stronger allows me to open up to being more vulnerable in other facets of my life.

I feel I’ve made quite a shift, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

 

Now that’s just one example (my most recent and personal example), of what self-love can look like and what it can create and make space for in your life. 

 

Ultimately, self-love means a deeply rooted commitment to yourself. It means doing what you know you truly want to do always, and sticking to it long enough so that you can reap the incredible benefits, from the mundane to the marvelous. 

 

It means not being a people-pleaser in the plainest terms. The only exception should be that you aim to please yourself.

It means taking responsibility for your emotions, your thoughts, and your current creations. It means loving yourself just enough so that you can show up and get things done. It means loving yourself enough so that you can serve others, once you’ve served yourself. 

It means breaking down the foundations and restrictions that hold you back, so that you can be revealed and unleashed in the most pivotal ways. 

It means remembering who you are and what you love. Remembering to always ask yourself — What makes you happy? What do you desire?

It means refining and creating more of that in your life, right now. 

Self-love means committing to new levels of health. For me, it means more acupuncture. For others, it means less late-night partying. 

For you, maybe self-love means a new supplement to your diet, or cutting out that extra cup of coffee.
It may mean more water, or a new herbal tea. 

It may mean setting up 20 minutes of meditation or spiritual practice each day, and less tv. 

It may mean swaying away from things that are violent.

It may mean letting go of connections that are collecting dust.

It may mean listening to your heart and traveling across the world alone on Christmas when everyone else is with their families. 

It may mean signing up to work with a mentor, or spiritual guide and energy worker. 

It may mean quitting your job and starting your own business. 

It may mean that you pick up that pencil again and start writing. 

It may mean you start to sing down the street and care not what anyone thinks. 

It may mean you no longer need to shop at high priced trendy stores, and you become best fiends with the treasures of thrift.

It may mean you make your own superfood hot chocolate as opposed to drinking the crappy store-bought version.

 

It may mean you start a savings account.
It may mean you move out.
It may mean you break up. 

It may mean you surrender and let them win. 

 

Whatever it is for you, it will be different for someone else. Self-love takes on many forms. 

Only you know best what you need to feel fully and completely loved within yourself. 

 

The problem is we’re often not quiet enough to hear, and we don’t feel capable enough to listen and act accordingly. Let me tell you at the very least that, you do deserve it

You do deserve to listen to your heart. You do deserve happiness in all its forms and manifestations. You do deserve to move through all the difficult things and come out on top, shining and feeling forever-free.

 

And the only reason I can fully say that, is because I deserve it too…

and I have, and I will. 

If I can do it, if I can look fear in the face every single day of my adult life and tell it that I love it so much, I want it to rest and play right near me, all while I keep moving forward no matter what — then, so can you

If I can listen to my heart when my mind wants to abandon, sabotage and drop everything, then so can you

If I deserve to move through all the shittiest, crappiest feelings that spiral out of control for no reason other than to teach me some badass and bold lessons — 

then my darlings…so can you.

And you have, and you will.

 

With love, 

Vanessa

Edited by: Moriah Stendel