They are the dreamers, the changers, and the movers and shakers. They hold stardust in their bones and magic in their veins, and they see the world for its beauty and all that can be. When they have a vision, a dream, a goal, and an idea, they move heaven and earth to make it a reality. They have no care or concern for what the naysayers whisper and shout, for they believe in possibility.
Here’s to the ones who set their own course.
They are the ones who see a closed door and do not fret, for they know that they can open a window or find an entirely new door. They do not stress about the roadblocks that come up throughout their journey, for they will walk barefoot along the road for miles upon miles if it means that such a trip will bring them closer to their goal.
Here’s to the ones who set their own course.
They are the ones who do not buy into the notion that life milestones must be on a timeline. They know that sometimes plans go awry and dream change and that it’s never too late to go after what you want.
Here’s to the ones who set their own course.
They know that the dreams that they try to make come true must be the ones that come from within themselves. They know that advice will come solicited and not—and that even when it comes from the most well-meaning folks, it’s not their job to live out the dreams that others have dreamt for them.
Here’s to the ones who set their own course—they are the ones who inspire us to step more fully into the person that we were born to be each and every day.
I want to ask you a series of questions, which I hope you are comfortable answering to yourself. First, how do you react when things don’t go your way? What emotions do you experience? Is it anger, anxiety, fear, or other negative emotions? What is your inner dialogue during these times? More importantly, how do you comfort yourself when you feel this way? It’s a given; life will not always go the way we expect. Unfortunate situations will arise and we must deal with circumstances we haven’t experienced before. This can be difficult because we fear we cannot handle what is taking place.
But that is only our initial reaction, and things are likely to change as we move into the unknown. Our negative emotions matter because they are important to assess what is taking place in our life. The key is to feel the fear and do it anyway, as author Susan Jeffers states in her self-titled book. For instance, psychologists talk about getting comfortable with discomfort and uncertainty. This is not as easy as it sounds unless you’re a Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Commando. These highly decorated special forces are known for operating in difficult environments and dealing with discomfort and uncertainty. But for many of us who are not trained like these individuals, inhabiting our discomfort zone can be frightening.
So, what is the purpose of being comfortable with how things are, even when we dislike it? It means we experience less stress, pain, and suffering because we accept life as it is instead of wishing the situation was different. In fact, it is something I see often in my coaching practice with individuals. Many of them experience pain and suffering and want to learn how to overcome it. They believe I will show them how to change the situation and are surprised to learn I help them change the way they look at it. Invariably, they learn to confront their pain and change their perception of what is taking place, which turns down the volume on their suffering.
How To Transcend Any Difficult Experience
Are you comfortable with this understanding so far? Could you entertain the idea that life’s circumstances are not the root cause of our pain and misery, but it is how we interpret them? Because if I were to take a population of people and expose them to a difficult situation, each person would interpret it differently. So, we either change the circumstances causing us pain or we change our response to it. This is the essence of what author Michael Singer captures in his latest book, Living Untethered: “One of the most amazing things you will ever realize is that the moment in front of you is not bothering you—you are bothering yourself about the moment in front of you. It’s not personal—you are making it personal.” Granted, sometimes, we cannot change our external conditions, and this is when we must change our response instead of internalizing the stress.
Let me be clear here and say this in no way underscores what is taking place in your life. So, if you are facing difficulties with your employer or intimate partner, it requires acknowledging your emotions. However, to suggest this person or condition is the only source of your suffering is unwise because there could be something within you triggering the pain. It is about walking a tightrope between balance and discomfort. Because stress can actually be helpful to our nervous system, but being exposed to too much stress tips us over the edge. To get comfortable with the way things are requires understanding our emotions instead of resisting them. In some respect, we must befriend our emotions.
Here, befriending means making time to listen to our emotions to understand what they are trying to convey. In most instances, negative emotions are protective parts we may have neglected. Therefore, when we come home to ourselves in an authentic and compassionate way, we open the door to healing and integration. We let go of judging what is taking place and consider the lessons contained within the experience. I often repeat this throughout my writing because I believe it to be true. Meaning is subjective, based on our level of awareness. Every person will attribute a different meaning to their circumstances. However, the lessons learned from our difficult experiences are what we ought to place a value on most.
So, could you do this? Could you allow yourself to get comfortable with the way things are right now, even if you don’t like it? Could you welcome your anxiety, anger, fear, and other difficult emotions? Are you willing to learn something true and authentic about yourself through these emotions? I assure you, when you decide to show up for yourself in an authentic and compassionate way, you transcend any difficult experience. In fact, you invite these powerful emotions to join with you in a way you never thought possible. I’ve gone through the process myself and welcomed anger, fear, hurt and judgment frequently. Moreover, I’ve coached hundreds of people to see how their difficulties contain opportunities for personal growth. It requires changing the way we look at things, instead of perceiving life through a single focus.
Considering this, I invite you to answer the questions I asked you in the opening paragraph. If you’ve been following my work, you will know I frequently ask questions through my work because there is tremendous value in self-enquiry. This is a powerful tool because you become your own therapist (healer) instead of relying on others to give you the answers. Equally, self-enquiry is not a replacement for therapy but a compliment to it. Furthermore, when you work through your problems on your own, it builds strength of character, self-belief, and self-esteem. This is the point of self-development: working through our problems to grow into the person required to overcome them. Ultimately, if we want to get comfortable with the way things are, it requires setting aside our beliefs on the way life should be and accepting circumstances as they are. As we do, we open the door to transformation and healing and allow life to show us who we need to become to transcend our pain and suffering.
Self-abandonment is something we develop as children, when we learn that to gain love and acceptance from other people, we have to put their needs before our own or suppress how we really feel so they don’t get mad at us. It’s a result of us not getting the love and care we needed as children, so we continue to ignore our needs and feelings as adults so we can survive because we were taught that being ourselves will get us more punishment than love.
We start noticing our self-abandonment issues when we grow up and have a better understanding of who we are and what we want or how far we’re willing to go for others. We start realizing that we’re constantly suppressing our voice so others don’t get mad or we’re always doing things we don’t want just to please people. We learned how to bend and break because we didn’t learn healthier ways to communicate or set boundaries to get what we want. We think that to fit in and be liked, we have to avoid conflict and go the distance for those who wouldn’t do the same for us.
We also never celebrate our successes because we don’t want to look ‘arrogant’ or that we’re boasting because we care too much about what people think, and we often diminish our accomplishments and discredit ourselves so that others don’t feel intimidated by us. We think that we’re not as important as others and that our accomplishments don’t mean anything. Self-abandonment goes hand in hand with self-criticism. We’re always over-critical of ourselves no matter what we achieve, but we cheer on others when they achieve anything.
Because self-abandonment will always leave you feeling like you’re not good enough and what you do is never enough, you’ll constantly be second-guessing yourself and your choices or trusting others more than yourself.
To stop abandoning ourselves, we need to reprogram our childhood beliefs and instincts. We need to start listening more to our needs and feelings. We need to start paying attention to the red flags instead of ignoring them. We need to start having more courage to lose people or kick toxic people out of our lives. We need to be okay with saying no and asking for what we want and speaking up when things seem unfair. We need to stop being too forgiving or too accommodating when people are constantly taking advantage of us. We need to stand up for ourselves when people do us wrong and we need to set boundaries with those who always belittle us or disrespect us.
And last but not least, we need to treat ourselves with the same kindness and compassion we selflessly extend to others. We need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. We need to love ourselves more so we can stop feeling guilty for getting what we want. We need to stop selling ourselves short and learn how to value ourselves regardless of the outcome. We need to get more in touch with who we are and embrace our emotions instead of abandoning ourselves anytime we’re faced with challenges or conflicts.
We need to put ourselves first when people make us feel like we’re not good enough or they don’t treat us in a way that pleases us. If there’s anything we need to abandon, it’s the old beliefs and thoughts that made us feel unworthy of good things in life or healthy relationships. We need to abandon the idea that it’s too late to change who we are, because healing begins when we dare to change our old self-loathing habits and start embracing patterns that allow us to receive what we deserve.
We have to ignore the apocalyptic voices in our head that take us to hell instead of heaven. We have to ignore the way they frighten us and the way they belittle us to believe that we’re not good enough. We have to try to shove them aside when they attack us and we have to trust ourselves more even if we’re unsure of ourselves. We have to ignore our uncertainty and just keep moving.
We have to ignore the critics.
We have to ignore their opinions and their advice, we have to ignore their rules and their limitations and we have to ignore the toxic words they use to describe us and the poisonous arguments they feed us about why we shouldn’t do this or why we shouldn’t follow that. We have to ignore their experiences because it is not our own and we have to ignore their excuses because that’s how they justify living their lives and we need to find our own justifications.
We have to ignore those who left us behind.
We have to ignore their promises, the plans we made for the future, the secrets they shared with us and the way they looked at us. We have to ignore these enchanting moments because they’re no longer happening. They chose to take it all back and we have no other choice but to leave them behind too, because fighting for them might not bring them back and even if it did, they will run away again. We have to ignore those who didn’t appreciate us and we have to ignore the way they made us feel about ourselves.
We have to ignore some of our questions.
We have to ignore the dreadful questions we ask ourselves every night: ‘Why me? When will I be happy? What do I want? Why am I still here?’
Sometimes we have to ignore these tantalizing questions and trust that in time we will find the answers and that the answers may not always be what we wanted.
It’s hard to ignore the things that bother us but it’s also harder to live with all these burdens, they weigh us down if we pay too much attention to them.
We’re always faced with two choices; either we carry those burdens with us until they kill us or ignore them so we can live.
Not just people or things, but yourself. Many of life’s problems result from a lack of self-love. To love more means to connect with the deeper intelligence that guides your being. You are the embodiment of love, irrespective of whether you’re hurt or betrayed. Set aside those feelings and know that you are the ocean swimming in a sea of love. Drown yourself in it.
2. Be Vigilant With Your Thoughts
Be mindful of your thoughts and don’t let them consume you. Do you think uplifting thoughts or are they filled with self-doubt and pessimism? Do you look for the silver lining in situations, or do you consider what could go wrong? Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? Despite people’s beliefs, our thoughts are not fixed. They’re shaped by being aware of them and not believing everything you think.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Bring your thoughts to the forefront of your mind and resist being a victim to unconscious behaviors. Mindfulness invites you to bring your attention to what’s taking place in your life instead of reliving past events. It means connecting with the present moment instead of being a victim to the past.
4. Regular Personal Development
Immerse yourself in inspiring material that encourages you to become someone of character. If we don’t shower, brush our teeth, or exercise, we fall victim to destructive habits and pay the price in illness. People claim since they can’t see the benefits of personal development, everything is fine.
5. Attitude Is Everything
Your attitude is more important than your outlook, because it influences how you show up in life. How is a positive attitude developed? By overcoming life’s obstacles rather than retreating from them. As you approach life with courage, you overcome your fears that once crippled you.
6. Be Of Service To Others
We all have a purpose, some discover it early in life while sadly, others die with a song in their heart. You can be of service to others in the smallest way through your thoughts, words, and actions. You needn’t lend your time to charities to be of service, although it’s helpful. Give of your time and resources by enriching other people’s lives. Even sending peaceful thoughts to another person is a step in the right direction.
7. Character Is More Important Than Reputation
Your reputation can be destroyed in moments, while character takes a lifetime to build. Consider celebrities involved in scandals who squander their character and reputation. Be mindful of whom you’re becoming. Don’t forsake this for a reputation that lasts a fraction of the time to build good character.
8. Let Go Of Worry, Fear, And Anxiety
Have you noticed that what you worry about rarely happens? We’re notorious for fabricating stories to protect us in case such events transpire. Yet if we continue down this path, we will attract these circumstances because of the energy devoted to it. Replace negativity with enriching thoughts that bring you closer to the life you wish to live.
9. Make Peace With The Past
To avoid excess baggage in the future, we need to heal the past. You’ve heard it said that the past is a figment of your imagination and no longer exists. Reliving the past derails a bright future because your mind is stuck dwelling on something no longer relevant.
10. Happiness Comes From Within
The biggest fraud sold to mankind is that happiness is attained via success, fame, wealth, or a suitable partner. Yet one need only look to people who have these things and are still unfulfilled, sometimes depressed. If you’re unhappy and gain wealth, you’ll continue to be unhappy because having more of these things amplifies what is lacking.
11. Surround Yourself With Great People
Especially those who bring out the best in you. If we lack self-esteem, we attract like-minded people. They are likely to notice the disowned parts within us we disapprove of. The other person will then reflect this through their interaction with us and we retaliate to prove them wrong. Surround yourself with people who see your greater qualities and don’t take you for granted.
12. Be Here And Now
Stop worrying about the future until it arrives. We worry about circumstances and miss out on the aliveness of the present moment. The future never arrives as we expect, so it’s pointless to worry about something that exists as thoughts. It’s wise to have goals, dreams, and ambitions. Yet if we’re not aligned with the motivation to accomplish these things, when they arrive it will not be as we expect. This is how a midlife crisis ensues because our vision of the future does not match reality.
13. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude means to appreciate what you have in your life instead of what is lacking. We can focus on the negative or positive, and either way we’re right. One brings unfavorable circumstances, while the other carries positive aspects. Be grateful for the smallest things because somewhere, someone is longing for what you take for granted.
14. Forgive Yourself And Others
Forgiveness is a doorway to heal the past. Many people forgive others, yet they’re unable to forgive themselves. I invite you to start with yourself first. Forgive yourself completely and open the window for love to heal. Remember, forgiveness does not mean to forget; it means to see the past in a new light.
15. Practice Acceptance And Detachment
Acceptance means not resisting what’s taking place in your life. Irrespective whether it’s an unfortunate situation, it can pave the way for something wonderful to transpire. Detachment means to distance ourselves from a desired outcome and allow circumstances to play out until the complete picture has emerged. Only then do we realize everything that takes place unfolds as it should, for our greater purpose.
16. Honor Your Feelings
Medical doctors now realize the harmful effects of toxic emotions which can lead to illness. Perhaps you were told not to express your emotions, apparent in cultures where it’s viewed as a sign of weakness. To connect with your emotions invites you to honour your feelings and express them in a healthy way. This doesn’t mean acting on your feelings of anger. Rather, investigate what the anger is seeking to represent.
17. Discover And Live Your Purpose
People who live their purpose lead healthier and robust lives. They’re happy pursuing that which makes their spirit come alive. There’s a purpose within you waiting to reveal itself. Dependent on your age, you may have realized it or are still discovering it. The key is to experiment until you find a purpose that resonates with you. Your purpose will bring joy to your life and those you serve.
18. Be Kind To Everyone You Meet
We’re often unaware how tough some people have it until we get an insight in to their story. Don’t judge people like an oil painting because there’s greater depth to a person than you realize. We don’t get an impression of them until we really know them or walk in their shoes. Assume the best in everyone until they prove otherwise. Be kind and withhold judgement, since that only defines you as a critic.
Self-care is a big deal. You can’t take care of others unless you’ve taken care of yourself. It isn’t possible to pour from an empty cup. Self-care methods and techniques are different for every single person, and what works for some might not work for others. When it comes to self-care, there are certain things we can do that benefit our minds in the most beautiful ways. There are other wonderful things we can do that benefit our physical bodies just as much. Most importantly, certain self-care techniques benefit our souls on the deepest levels.
Overcoming traumas, moments of anxiety, or days that are filled with stress aren’t typically easy for anybody. Sometimes it feels like something horrible is eating away at you emotionally, and there isn’t anything that could realistically fix it. The truth of the matter is that although it isn’t possible to magically cure anxiety or heal trauma in one day, there are still plenty of small things we can do on a daily basis to help ourselves feel better about surviving through life. Life is filled with endless highs and lows, but despite the wave of existence we are all constantly riding as human beings, we do deserve to be happy!
Continue reading to uncover 50 self-care tips that benefit the mind, body, and soul.
1. Write a letter to yourself from your dream guy.
2. Go the entire day eating healthy foods (no fast food or junk food).
3. Play with puppies at a dog shelter.
4. Write down the 10 best compliments you’ve ever received from others.
5. Unfollow and unfriend anyone on social media that irritates your inner peace.
6. Read thoughtful affirmations to boost your self-esteem on an app like Selfish Babe.
7. Write a paragraph that starts with these words: What love means to me is…
8. Text a random compliment to a friend.
9. If you’re religious, pray to God on your knees.
10. For those with gym access, go to the gym for at least 30 minutes.
11. For those without gym access, use a workout video for at least 30 minutes.
12. Sleep for eight hours straight.
13. Do a Google search for inspirational quotes using keywords such as “motivation”, “success”, and “happiness”.
14. Clean and organize your entire room.
15. If you’re religious, read daily Bible verses from an app like Jesus Calling.
16. Increase your water consumption with the help of an app like Aloe Bud.
17. Say “no thanks” to any social invitation that stresses you out or doesn’t interest you.
18. Get at least 15 minutes of sunshine.
19. Socialize on a phone call with an old friend.
20. Watch or read at least one thing that makes you laugh (out loud).
21. Purchase healing crystals that heal trauma, anxiety, and other mental ailments.
22. Try deep and mindful breathing—10 inhales, 10 exhales.
23. Journal your current feelings out and be brutally honest.
24. Take a bubble bath.
25. Take a two-hour break from technology.
26. Declutter your office or workspace.
27. Get your nails and toes professionally done.
28. Make a list of 10 major blessings you’ve been blessed with from your birth until now.
29. Get a professional massage.
30. Listen to a playlist of your favorite songs.
31. Invite a friend out for a coffee date, ice cream date, or cocktail date.
32. Blend a fruit, protein, or matcha smoothie for yourself.
33. Write a reflection on the last most enjoyable night you experienced.
34. Apply lotion all over your body.
35. Gather old clothing for donation in order to clear space in your closet.
36. Attend an appointment with a professional therapist and open up emotionally.
37. Deep clean and wash the inside and outside of your car.
38. Start a gratitude jar (write down every little thing you’re grateful for and put them all in a large glass jar).
39. Create a vision board for the next 12 months.
40. Actively forgive yourself for your past mistakes by saying the words out loud.
41. Do your makeup and take a sexy selfie.
42. Watch a guided meditation video for attracting love into your life.
43. Write a list of 10 things you love about yourself (give yourself compliments).
44. If possible, add a bit of money to your savings account.
45. Write your favorite inspirational quote from your Google search on your mirror.
46. Wash, fold, and put away all your laundry.
47. Light candles and/or incense.
48. Make a list of your 10 best memories from the last year.
49. Rewatch episodes from one of your favorite TV shows.
50. Write a “thank you” note to yourself for past choices you’ve made that you’re proud of.
So often, we find ourselves burning out from stress in our daily lives, and it’s not until the moment we’ve absolutely had enough that we allow ourselves a break. But what might happen if we all took a “break” before we reached that final breaking point?
There are five different types of self-care: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual and professional care.
1. Physical self-care
While physical self-care can be anything from a Netflix binge to a day at the spa, there are many other activities you can do to enhance your overall physical well-being to contribute to better overall mental health. Examples of this include: eating healthier, getting regular exercise, wearing clothes you like, or taking time out of your day to get your hair or makeup done. While many of these activities might be considered more “superficial,” I think they are essential to maintaining lower levels of stress. So go ahead and go to your favorite beauty store and splurge on one of those bath bombs for a night in the tub — you deserve it!
2. Emotional self-care
Digging a bit deeper now; emotional self-care is often simply the act of allowing yourself to feel your emotions for what they are — with little to no judgement. This can be especially hard at first, but the more you do it the better you can become. Some activities in this area include finding things that make you laugh, complimenting yourself when you look in the mirror, allowing yourself to cry when you feel sad, spending time with loved ones and re-reading/re-watching your favorite book or movie until you can recite every line word for word.
3. Psychological self-care
In my opinion, this is one of the most neglected areas of self-care that most people (including my past self) are lacking engagement in. For instance, it’s OK to say “no” to extra responsibilities in your life. This is a very small but effective way you might be able to reduce stress. Some other activities in this area include engaging your intelligence in other topics (like going to an art exhibit or history museum), be curious for a day, practice receiving compliments well from others, make time for self-reflection and last but not least, pay attention to your inner experience (thoughts, feelings, attitudes and so on). You might be surprised at how even doing one of these activities a couple times a week can have a positive effect on your mood.
4. Spiritual self-care
Whether you believe in God, Allah, Buddha, are agnostic or atheist, it’s important to embed spiritual self-care into your daily routine. In this case, spiritual doesn’t refer to religion or believing in a sort of higher being (although, it absolutely can if that is what helps you). Instead, in this sense, spiritual self-care is the act of getting in touch with your inner human spirit and soul. Some examples of this include contributing to causes you care about (donating money or volunteering), meditating, spending time in nature, engaging in inspirational videos or literature and highlighting the non material aspects of life. I realize that some of these suggestions may be vague, but they can be done simply by thought or writing them down in a journal. Essentially, everyone is different and it’s up to you to engage in whatever form it makes you feel best!
5. Professional self-care
Engaging in professional self-care is essential for those in the workforce, however, these examples can be easily applicable to those still in school. Some of these examples are very basic, yet often missed throughout a busy work or school day. They include: taking time to chat with coworkers/peers, decorating your workspace to your liking, balancing your workload (literally meaning taking breaks as needed), developing an outside hobby or area of interest and creating a quiet and reserved area to get your work done. Ultimately, when you are able to give your professional life balance, lessened stress may allow you to succeed in other areas of life.
All in all, the best things in life come with balance. While certain stress in life can be necessary and even beneficial in some situations (hey, we’ve all put off our work until the last minute and felt the surge of adrenaline to help us turn it in on time), it’s easy for everyday events to become overly stressful and unmanageable. Yet, change isn’t easy. It’s said that it takes about 25 days for something to become a habit. In the process of incorporating some, if not all of the topics listed, I highly recommend doing one thing at a time at your own pace. This way you can see how each aspect of self-care benefits your mental health, and you won’t become overly critical of yourself if you miss the gym one day, forget to take a break, or fail to spend more time with yourself. After all, life is just a journey in which we should do our best to enjoy it and not be too critical of ourselves when we don’t need to.
I’ve been on quite the journey lately. A journey deep inside myself with the goal of learning to truly love the person that I am. It has not been easy. While being kind and loving to others has always been second nature to me, the idea of treating myself with that same compassion and care has proven to be one of the most difficult things in my life. But I’ve been working hard on it, and lately I am better prepared for this battle, one of self-acceptance and love that I didn’t know before.
I found myself wondering why this has always been so hard for me. Why is it often so easy for us to love others but we find this concept of self-love so difficult? Is it because we see the idea of self-love as sort of self-centered and think that loving ourselves is just plain selfish? Or is it easier to love others because we see, for the most part, the best sides of them, whereas we have to see and live with what we may view as the worst parts of ourselves? I get it, self-love is hard and I used to think the same things, that self-love was just some trendy idea thrown around in therapists’ offices. But I now believe it’s so important and that life can be so much more fulfilling when you’re happy with the person that you are.
I know it can also be hard to love yourself if you are, like I am, a perfectionist. For a perfectionist, very few things that we do ever feel like they are good enough. We are constantly striving to be better and to do more in our lives. I’ve struggled with this since I was young. And I’ve come a long way with my perfectionism. I like to say that I’m a “recovering perfectionist”. I’ve learned that imperfections can be beautiful and to let things go more easily. I think having a chronic illness as well as struggling with mental health challenges has forced me to learn to be okay with things being less than ideal, because my body often just won’t let me be that perfect version of myself that I pictured myself becoming and strived so hard to be when I was younger. I’ve accepted that life has had other plans for me. Maybe this has been a blessing in disguise.
I wonder, looking back, how much joy and happiness I missed out on because of my perfectionism and lack of self-love. It makes me sad for the girl I was back then, but it also makes me more determined than ever to learn how to truly love the skin that I’m in today. I want to give that girl a big hug and be the person today that I needed back then. But this has proven to be hard. I’ve asked myself many times how I can really do this; how can I really love myself when I live in a body that is constantly letting me down?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in pain which predominantly leads to me saying, “I hate my body”. It’s not easy to love your body when you feel like it is just a constant source of pain and discomfort. But recently I began to wonder how detrimental that viewpoint was on both my body and soul. Constantly feeling like I hated my body and being a tense, frustrated ball of nerves because of my pain just uses up so much valuable energy that I could be using for so much good. So I decided it was time to flip the narrative. Time to change the words I say to myself on a daily basis. The words we speak to ourselves become what we believe and shape who we are. I decided that I was going to learn to love this body that I’ve been given.
While I used to view self-love as kind of cliché and selfish, I now believe it is a beautiful thing that is so incredibly important, especially as a woman and a person that has a debilitating chronic illness. And if you’re a person who loves to help and serve others, learning to first love yourself is paramount. Alan Cohen said, “You can be helping many people, but if you are not helping yourself, you have missed the one person you were born to heal”. You cannot pour from an empty cup. When we first love and take care of ourselves, we can then love others more fully, with our whole hearts.
So how do we cultivate self-love in our lives when it often seems so elusive? For me, I’ve started by looking back at my journey and the challenges I’ve faced, and I’m learning to love my story and the woman who has overcome so much. I’ve started to think about my pain differently. Rather than viewing it as an enemy that I hate, I’ve started to realize the good that has come from my pain. Because I know what true pain is, I am able to feel and appreciate joy and happiness so much more. I have a different perspective on life because of it. It’s given me a wisdom that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s allowed me to help so many other people who are hurting, because I’ve been there and I know how to make it to the other side. My pain has given me purpose, and that’s something I’ve learned to love.
I’ve recently started doing a meditation to help me change how I think about and view my body and pain. During this meditation, I put my hands on different areas of my body while I breathe in, saying to that part of myself, “I love you”. I then breathe out, while telling myself, “we’re healing”. I’ve been doing this every day, with each part of my body, especially the ones that hurt. When I first started this meditation, I thought it was a little silly and I didn’t believe what I was telling myself, but I did it anyway. And I kept doing it. After a few days, the meditation made me start to cry. I was crying because I was thinking about the woman and girl who used to hate her body so much, this beautiful body that I was now starting to love and appreciate. I felt so much sadness for this girl and how I treated her. I wanted more than anything to change that. Since then, I’ve started to believe the words that I’m telling myself. And its a wonderful, freeing feeling.
You may not need to go this far to begin on a journey of self-love, but I encourage you to make self-love a priority and begin by changing some of the things that you tell yourself and how you see yourself. You can start by learning to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Beating yourself up for ways that you have failed in the past does nobody any good. If you need to, think about how you would treat a little child or your best friend and how you would forgive them for making a mistake, for being human. Think of yourself this way and try to be kinder to yourself. You are human and in this life you will make mistakes. Use them to learn and grow, and then move on.
How many times have you looked in the mirror and seen things that you don’t like about yourself? I’ve started to look at myself and purposefully change the way I view my body. I now see my scars as battle scars that I am proud of; they show how strong I’ve been and all that I’ve overcome. I encourage you to see your scars in the same way.
Our bodies and lives each tell a story that is so special, a story that no one else has. A story that deserves to be celebrated. My hope for you is that you can start to see your body in a new light. See the wrinkles and lines on your face as reminders of a life well-lived; a life filled with all the beautiful and heartbreaking emotions that come with a life lived fully.
See your hands as hands that have loved, provided for, and served others. Hands that have nurtured your children and created beautiful things. See your arms that have held and supported friends when they were hurting and needed a soft place to land.
See your legs that have carried you through life, navigating each obstacle thrown in your way, carrying you through to the other side each time. It may or may not have been graceful, but they’ve always gotten you where you needed to go. See your feet that have met the floor each morning, even when all you wanted to do was stay hidden under the covers. No matter what life throws at you, somehow you have just kept putting one foot in front of the other and facing each day with strength and grace.
Mamas, see your stretch marks as a beautiful reminder of the life you grew inside of you for nine months and brought into this world. See your grey hairs as proof that you’ve shown up, for your family and friends, even when life gets hard. And you will keep showing up, because you are so strong.
I encourage you, if you struggle with self-love, to try to change the way that you view your body and the words that you say to yourself. Even if you don’t believe it at first, keep telling yourself “I love you”, keep viewing your body as beautiful and strong; I promise it will start to sink in. And when you learn to truly love yourself, not only can you love others more fully, but life becomes a little more beautiful and happiness a little less hard to find. Start to put self-love and self-care a little higher on your list, I don’t think you’ll ever regret it. You are so beautiful, and you deserve nothing less.
Throughout our early lives, we were taught how to read, write, manipulate, calculate, build, destroy, theorize, study, and analyze life.
We were taught how to say “please” and “thank you,” as well as what was acceptable and unacceptable to others and society at large.
Butmost of us had one crucial part of our education neglected: self-love.
Something that continues to shock me about my own upbringing was the distinct lack of emphasis on respect for oneself and acceptance of one’s flaws and virtues alike.
As a child, I can never recall being taught the value of loving oneself; of setting healthy boundaries, knowing how to say “no” and “yes” when you mean it, and learning how to take care of yourself – even at the expense of others.
What about you?
If you were raised in a culture and society similar to my own, you were probably taught to “put others before yourself” and not give much consideration to your own needs.
Self-denial and self-sacrifice were two of the main values taught in our childhoods, and continue to be emphasized as the markers of a “kind, caring, and worthy human being” to this very day.
Unfortunately, what I learned later in life is that these two values taught me nothing more than being a self-imposed martyr with no real understanding of ‘love.’
When we don’t learn how to love ourselves depression, bitterness, anxiety, resentment, isolation, and great unhappiness are the result.
To live a life of joy, to walk a path with heart, we need to learn self-love. We need to heal our own wounds and become doctors of the Soul.
Put simply, self-love is the practice of understanding, embracing, and showing compassion for yourself. Self-love involves nurturing your entire being – that means taking care of yourself on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels. When engaging in self-love, we also work to forgive ourselves, accept our flaws, and embrace our inner demons. Contrary to popular belief, self-love isn’t just a blind adoration of our strengths, it’s also an embrace of our weaknesses and shadows.
Why Loving Others Requires Self-Seeking
It sounds like a paradox, but you cannot be altruistic, caring, or compassionate unless you’re selfish.
Unless you’re capable of truly loving yourself first (even the darkest side of your being) you can never fully love somebody else.
Self-seeking is preached in all societies as sinful behavior. We’re encouraged to be self-sacrificers and martyrs for ” the greater good.” History is plagued with stories of the individual hero’s willingness to sacrifice his/her life for the survival of a group or collective of people.
But the truth is that the purpose of our society’s social conditioning is to preserve and develop society as a whole, not to allow individuals to reach their full potential.
This is why taking care of yourself first is met with so much resistance from others: it’s against our collective brainwashing.
But here’s the thing: to be a positive presence in this world, to care for others in an authentically loving way, we must first focus on ourselves. We must first dedicate a large amount of time to our own healing, happiness, and self-fulfillment. In other words, we must be self-seeking.
If you can’t love yourself at a deep level – the place where your love originates from in the first place – how will you ever be capable of true altruism or of truly loving anybody else?
You can’t give away that which you don’t actually have.
Think about it for a few moments.
What Self-Love ISN’T
On the surface, it’s understandable how the word ‘self-love’ could be confused with the words ‘egotism,’ ‘self-indulgence’ or ‘narcissism.‘ But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Self-love isn’t about self-indulgence; it’s about taking care of yourself.
A person who loves themselves wants to become the best they can be, they want to explore themselves, practice inner work, do some soul-searching, work on their flaws, heal their traumas, and find inner peace.
How is this a bad thing?
We are taught to believe that being self-seeking will jeopardize society as a whole – regardless of what you actually do – so it is condemned indiscriminately.
This attitude is evident when we describe the behavior of a person who succeeds at the expense of other’s well-being with words like ‘selfish.’ But this isn’t selfish, it’s foolish and idiotic!
A person with mindful self-love is aware that they’re actually harming themselves when they harm others. Why? Because they understand that if they hurt others, they will suffer the negative consequences in the long term, which will make life much more difficult for them. They realize that causing suffering to others is actually self-destructive, which is the complete opposite of self-love.
(On a side note,is there any such thing as Altruism, really? The actual act of helping other people does benefit us: it makes us feel good. Therefore, Altruism itself can also be thought of as a “selfish” act.)
If you truly love yourself, you want to take care of yourself. It’s only self-hating egotistical people that harm themselves physically or mentally.
Self-love has nothing to do with egotism or narcissistic self-indulgence. On the contrary, the desire for honest self-exploration requires immense respect and love for yourself. Egotism revolves around the ego, and the ego depends upon the respect of others, not yourself.
Self-Loveand Spiritual Awakening
Self-love and spiritual awakening go hand-in-hand. In other words, if you commit to self-love, you also commit to deeper spiritual transformation. Love is a quality of the Heart and Soul – and when you actively seek to expand that sense of self-compassion, you are also awakening new parts of your being.
Perhaps this is the most enchanting thing about self-love: it’s not just a surface practice, it is actually a spiritual path. Hindu mystics call this path that of Bhakti Yoga, and indeed, when we are devoted to loving the Divine essence within us, our practice takes on a more meaningful and alchemical quality.
23 Waysto PracticeAuthentic Self-Love
Coming to terms with the fact that almost everything which defines a “good and respectable person” is actually false can be hard to accept at first. But as thinker Jiddu Krishnamurti noted:
The good news, I discovered, is that with time and persistence, we can learn how to heal ourselves. In essence, we can teach ourselves to become doctors of the Soul, healing our wounds, curing our own sicknesses, and maintaining optimum health through the development of gentle self-love.
If you have just started the path of healing and recovery, or need some inspiration, you might benefit from the following guidance. Here are 23 ways to begin practicing self-love:
1. Change your diet
Swap processed, fatty, and sugary foods, with whole and unprocessed foods. So much research has shown the link between food and the mind. Eating the wrong food can contribute to physical, emotional, and even mental illnesses. Try slowly cutting out junk food, and experience the immense benefits! This is a basic form of self-care.
2. Identify your subpersonalities
Within all of us, there are subtle and incessant voices that sabotage and paralyze us – these are the voices of our subpersonalities. Awareness is the key to overcoming the negative self-talk of The Worrier, The Critic, The Victim, and The Perfectionist. Practicing self-compassionate mindfulness as an exercise is a good place to start.
3. Start reading
No, I don’t mean the news, or the latest gossip on Facebook or Instagram, I mean reading books! Focus on mostly non-fiction books in the spiritual/self-help category. Reading this type of material helps to expand your mind and equips you with inspiring and life-applicable knowledge.
4. Practice inner work
When we practice inner work, we are shining the light of consciousness into our hidden, unconscious realms. It is within the deeper layers of our minds where unresolved fears, blockages, wounds, and traumas lurk. Working through these issues is paramount to your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Learning how to love yourself, healing your inner child, and delving into shadow work are all the cornerstones of inner work.
5. Experiment with self-hypnosis
Self-hypnosis is a practice anyone can easily incorporate into daily life – it’s simple and straightforward. By re-wiring your brain on a subconscious level, you can dissolve deep-seated inner obstacles such as self-doubt and addictive patterns of behavior. You can apply self-hypnosis to yourself (which is usually the best approach) or find a plethora of hypnosis recordings already available online.
6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
Also, ensure you set a stable bedtime! Getting less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep every night, as numerous scientific studies have found, lowers your immunity, contributes to chronic fatigue, moodiness, depression, anxiety issues, and chronic pain (or fibromyalgia). Aim to go to bed around 10 pm and rise at 6 am. You’ll feel the difference immediately!
7. Learn quiet assertiveness
Permitting others to overstep our boundaries, use, and walk all over us isn’t aligned with self-love. Self-love means self-respect, and therefore, learning how to stand up for yourself and setting strong boundaries is imperative.
8. Explore your mental traps
Low self-esteem is often the result of false and unrealistic thought patterns that are deeply ingrained within us. These are composed of mental traps such as assumptions, beliefs, comparisons, desires, expectations, and ideals about ourselves and others.
9. Treat yourself like you would your best friend
Often, we are our own mortal enemies. To heal ourselves, it’s vital for us to consciously change our relationships with ourselves, and treat ourselves with compassion and consideration just as we would with a best friend. You are with yourself 24/7, 365 days a year. Doesn’t it make sense to enjoy your own company? A good place to start with befriending yourself is by practicing morning affirmations.
10. Welcome solitude into your life
When we don’t make space in our lives to be alone, it’s easy for us to burn out, become disorientated, and even ill. Each day, make time for yourself to rewind, relax and reflect, alone. Solitude gives you insight, perspective and reinstates harmony in your life.
11. Meditate for self-awareness
Becoming self-aware is a key skill in life, a gift that allows you to identify your self-destructive patterns of thought and behavior, and find more peace and balance in life. Meditation, although frustrating and seemingly meaningless at first, is a silently powerful practice with endless benefits. One simple meditative practice you might like to try is breathwork. Aim for 10-15 minutes each morning first thing (or whenever you have time!). It’s worth it!
12. Identify toxic people in your life
Toxic people cause us to feel wretched and significantly lower the quality of our daily lives. What defines a toxic person? A toxic person (who’s an individual that’s usually just acting out their pain), is often judgmental, manipulative, clingy, backstabbing, ruthless, aggressive, controlling, deceptive, self-pitying, and/or self-destructive. Learning to distance yourself (or flat out remove from your life) those who hinder your self-growth is a difficult, but absolutely necessary step on your journey of healing.
Note: there’s a difference between a toxic and a wounded person. Toxic people consistently create and spread misery whereas wounded people will only act out from time-to-time. Most people are wounded and learning to love them despite their shortcomings is a transformative path of healing itself. However, toxic people often carry an unconscious mission to undermine and demoralize others. These people are best left to their own devices.
13. Seek supportive companions
Supportive people encourage, uplift, and inspire us. These people have often obtained a certain level of self-love. Because of their ability to respect themselves, they can easily respect and love others. Often it’s not necessary to seek these people out as we naturally gravitate towards them on our paths anyway! If you come across someone, perhaps a soul friend, on your path, stay in touch with them if you can! We all need the help of others.
14. Learn to trust your intuition
Our unconscious minds are oceans of wisdom, understanding, and insight. Intuition, that mysterious inner guide we all have, is a manifestation of this vast untapped world within us. Learning to trust your intuition will help you to live a life true to yourself and your deepest needs.
15. Support the well-being of nature
All of life on earth and the universe is profoundly interconnected – the harm we do to others always comes back to harm us in one form or another. By supporting the well-being of nature, we are promoting the well-being of us as individuals.
A few ways of honoring our connection with the earth include choosing local organic produce, eating a plant-based diet, reducing our carbon footprint, buying “non-animal tested” items, and adopting a low waste lifestyle.
By honoring nature, we honor ourselves, and by honoring ourselves, we honor nature. Everything is connected.
16. Take a walk or jog each day
Writers, creators, thinkers, and health enthusiasts alike have all commented on the simple power and beauty of exercise. Not only does walking (or jogging if you’re up to it) clear the mind, but it also refreshes the Soul – and that’s not mentioning the numerous health benefits! Commit to going for a walk outside for even just 10 minutes a day. You’ll soon notice the difference on nearly every level of your being! Walking is a wonderfully straight-forward self-love practice.
17. Do a digital detox (aka. stop spending so much time on social media!)
Did you know that on average the American adult spends 2+hours per day on social networks (and that number is increasing)? Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any of the numerous other social networks out there, we waste so much of our time on social media … and what for?
Often times we are motivated by the ability to obtain “likes,” “shares,” “followers,” and “friends” constructing a fragile cyber alter-ego that craves acceptance and validation from others.
It’s common knowledge that spending too much time on social media is associated with a decrease in mental wellness. Toxic comparison, insecurity, low self-worth, jealousy, anxiety, harassment, and other issues have a profoundly detrimental impact on our emotional and mental health.
To practice self-love, we need to regularly practice digital detoxes. A digital detox involves voluntarily refusing to use any form of social media for a period of a few days to a month or more. Uninstall the apps on your phone. Go outside. Plan to do something more nourishing with your time. Journal about your progress. The benefits can often be felt within a day!
18. Use color psychology
Colors greatly impact our internal well-being (hence the field of “color psychology”). For instance, I have recently replaced a lot of my black, grey, and dull-colored clothing with bright shades of various colors. The experience has been surprising: the colors of the clothes I wear directly impact how much energy I have and how happy I am.
Wearing light blue, for instance, stimulates feelings of openness and yellow stimulates optimism. Dull colors like khaki, granite, and charcoal, on the other hand, are all associated with feelings of apathy, aloofness, pessimism, and despondency.
So think about the kind of colors you surround yourself with. How do they impact your thoughts, feelings, and health overall? This is a simple way of practicing self-love and care.
19. Make time to explore your passions
What drives you? Fires you up? Fills you with joy and a sense of accomplishment? In society, we are conditioned to forget our needs and smother them with other’s desires. As a result, we often lose sight of what truly makes us happy in life.
Many of us abandon our dreams at an early age, and so we live meaningless lives of drudgery and socially approved pursuits (such as having a “good” career, big house, nice car, perfect family, etc.). It’s important, therefore, to ask yourself “What is my passion?” You need to really sit down with this question and ponder it deeply.
Remember, passions are not static – they evolve with us. Whether painting, writing, dancing, designing, building or whatever excites you – pursue it – even if on the sidelines!
20. Focus on reducing sources of stress in your life
Prolonged stress contributes to endless illnesses in our lives, so it’s crucial to learn how to reduce and deal with it when it comes. Often, stress can be reduced by simply dropping our desires and expectations for ourselves, other people, and situations in life.
Stress can also be reduced by practicing many of the things I have mentioned in this article, e.g., having a good diet, getting 7-8 hours sleep per night, deprogramming negative thought-patterns, and so forth.
21. Accept your flaws, celebrate your strengths
It’s vital to come to terms with the fact that you are imperfect – there’s no denying it! As part of my journey, I have dedicated a lot of time to exploring my Shadow Self and accepting the embarrassing and even shameful aspects of my nature.
By accepting your flaws, the doorway to self-growth is opened. Accept them, don’t run away from them. Likewise, learn how to celebrate your strengths! Keep a journal of gratitude and honestly list every little thing you appreciate about yourself each day. Balance is essential.
22. Nourish your inner child
Every single person on the face of this planet possesses an inner child, or original self. Your inner child is the most innocent and vulnerable part of you, it is quite literally the child that still lives within you. While this sensitive part is the source of a lot of joy, creativity, and wonder, it also contains tremendous unresolved pain from childhood.
We were all wounded, to some extent, in childhood. We all experienced traumas that we struggled to process. Beginning to work with your inner child is the start of deep emotional healing and freedom. Inner child work is one of the most self-loving paths that you can ever commit to and I highly recommend it.
23. Begin a spiritual practice that feels authentic to you
Self-love is a path that caters to every part of our being, including the spiritual. When we live a life that is in service to the ego, something feels lacking. Sadly, when there is nothing greater than the material self, we struggle with feelings of chronic emptiness, loneliness, and depression.
Since the dawn of humanity, we have been a species drawn to the sacred and numinous. You don’t need to be religious to be spiritual (and there’s nothing wrong with being religious either). However, if you’ve been harmed or disenchanted by religion, be assured that you can still have a spiritual practice that is aligned with your authentic needs, perspectives, and desires without religious dogma.
Why PracticingSelf-Love Can Sometimes Feel Stressful
Like me, you might have read a lot of material all over the place on self-love.
You might have watched videos of gurus explaining the importance of self-respect, you might have read books on people’s journeys of self-love and you might have a spiritual circle of friends that are always emphasizing the importance of taking care of yourself.
You might be bombarded with the overwhelming desire to love yourself – just like all these other awakened people do – but something isn’t quite right. You find that the more you try to love yourself, the more unhappy you are with your efforts.
You might find yourself berating yourself about an old misfortune or a new resentment, and then later repent, telling yourself “I should let this go and move on, I should be more forgiving.” Or you might try to be more confident in yourself, fall into insecurity and anxiety, and later think “If I am to love myself I have to be more confident in the person I am – I’m not doing well enough!”
You might even compare some of your habits with others on the same path and feel miserable as a result, realizing that you are not as “self-loving” as they are.
When it comes to the word “should,” there is a very fine line between motivating oneself and sabotaging one’s happiness. On one hand, we motivate ourselves by setting goals and fulfilling them, (e.g., “I should keep up this exercise routine for the next week to see how I feel”), and on the other hand, we can undermine our happiness by imposing unnecessary ideals, expectations, and comparisons onto what we do.
Have you ever thought something along the lines of, “I SHOULD have more self-love! I SHOULDN’T feel so guilty!”? This is a perfect example of falling into the trap of making self-love a duty, a burden, and a jail cell that restricts our ability to truly grow.
That is the threat of making self-love into a “should”: it actually turns us against ourselves. Ironic don’t you think?
So what do we do if self-love is becoming a burden to us? The answer is to take a step back and be gentle even with our inability to practice self-love.
Self-Love= Gentlenessand Forgiveness
At the start of our spiritual journey of self-love, it’s all too easy to be ensnared by the external comparisons we make between ourselves and others who have perhaps advanced more on the spiritual path.
I used to do this a lot until I realized one day that the very essence of self-love is about being gentle and forgiving with yourself.
Thanks to some much-needed guidance, I learned that it was (and still is) completely fine to take my time, to go slowly, and to learn little by little.
I learned that it was OK to be flawed and to continue making mistakes … just as long as I tried, persisted, and pushed through little by little.
So if you haven’t yet reached the pinnacle of what you consider to be self-love yet, don’t worry. It’s not necessary that you push yourself, and it’s not necessary to be hard on yourself – the precise opposite of what self-love is.
Rather, know that self-love, at its core, is the ability to embrace your wrongdoings and imperfections, knowing that you are innately worthy of all the love life has to offer.
Toxic Forms of Self-Love
We’ll now move onto the ‘dark side’ of self-love.
This is a strange topic that not many people shine the light on when discussing self-love. But YES it is possible to use so-called self-loving practices as a way to band-aid our deeper wounds. YES it is possible to unintentionally deceive ourselves as a self-protection mechanism.
Here’s what you need to be mindful of:
1. Cultivating extreme “positive thinking” habits
Replacing the negative cycles of inner talk within us is very helpful. However, not only is optimism often a polarized reaction to pessimism, but it can also be used as a form of avoidance by dismissing the reality of our own pain and other’s pain.
It’s common to use positive thinking as a way to spiritually bypass our own deeper issues.
Bottom line: be careful when approaching positive thinking communities and teachings. Positive thinking becomes toxic when it is used to hide the pain, shame, and fear we carry inside. Often, what we most need isn’t to mask our problems with positivity, but to hold space for our most vulnerable and tender selves.
It’s okay to feel your feelings. It’s okay to be messy and hurt. These are profound opportunities to practice self-love – to love even your most flawed, unsightly self.
2. Thinking that you are perfect the way you are
Yes, it’s beneficial for us to fully embrace the people we are and to love our strengths and weaknesses. However the affirmation “I am perfect the way I am” can lead to problems.
The truth is that there’s no such thing as perfection. Thinking that “I’m perfect the way I am,” can be used as an excuse to avoid growing and changing.
Self-love isn’t about bypassing uncomfortable experiences that catalyze growth under the guise that “we’re already perfect as we are.” Life is about change. And there can never be a state of perfection because perfection is stagnant, unchanging, and dead.
3. Excessive indulgence
Rewarding ourselves every now and then simply for the sake of it is a healthy, self-nurturing habit. It’s nice to relax with that mini-series, spend an hour in a bubble bath and lavish ourselves with nice food, clothing, and other gifts whenever we feel the need.
However, this habit can be taken to the extreme and used to justify unnecessary greed and indulgence that covers up and overcompensates for deeper issues such as the fear of aloneness, worthlessness, and social insignificance. There is a time to reward ourselves and a time not to.
Cultivating self-love is essential if you desire to live a life of joy, love, peace, and fulfillment.
Although it’s usually missed in our early life education, self-love is as vital to daily life as any other fundamental human need.
Without learning how to love ourselves, our lives are filled with self-sabotage, self-loathing, toxic and heartbreaking relationships, emptiness, and a profound lack of connection with life.
I hope that this article has inspired you to re-educate yourself. And please, if you feel that someone else in your life could benefit from self-love, please share this resource with them!
Sometimes, growth is subtle. Often, we only see it clearly in retrospect. Though we often assume that our growth will be completely evident to us, it’s usually the small shifts, done repeatedly, that make the biggest difference. Here are a few signs that you’re really growing as a person, even if it doesn’t feel like you are.
1. You’ve let go of an old dream.
One of the universal markers of inner growth is always a heightened degree of self-awareness, and that can very often come from realizing that what we are pursuing might not really be what we want.
The truth is that we outgrow our dreams and plans more frequently than we realize, and if we aren’t conscious of what’s happening, it can seem as though we’ve lost out, missed an opportunity, or didn’t actualize our potential.
In reality, we let go of old dreams because they were designed for a person we no longer are.
2. You’re no longer content to live a surface-level existence.
Instead of looking good, you are more interested in feeling good. Instead of appearing as though you have a cool weekend, you want to have a fulfilling and relaxing weekend. Instead of trying to earn approval, you’re more interested in digging up your own self-love.
You might still love social media, but you understand that it is a piece of life, not your entire existence. You might still love to put yourself together well, but you understand that you have to like what you see in the mirror, because trying to constantly mold yourself to other people’s standards is a game you can’t win.
Your life is starting to take on more depth and substance, and it’s because you realize that you can never truly feel fulfilled just existing on the surface.
3. You want to understand why.
You’re no longer content to just accept things as “the way it is,” you want to really understand.
You want to understand why some people react certain ways, or hold limiting and false beliefs. You want to understand why a relationship ended the way it did, and what role you did or didn’t play in how it unfolded. You want to understand why you’re triggered by certain things, why you respond the way you do, why you think the way you do.
This is the entryway to truly changing your life. You’re finally asking the right questions, and beginning to see just how many people live on auto-pilot.
You do not want to be one of them.
4. You might feel embarrassed about past choices.
While nobody ever has to feel embarrassed about their past, many people do, especially when going through periods of more intense growth.
You might look back on what you said, did and wore even in recent history and cringe. This is because you’re starting to realize that a lot of those decisions were actually coming from a place of insecurity, or a desire to fit in, or unconscious beliefs that were never questioned.
While it might be uncomfortable on the surface, being able to look back at your past self and realize that you are different from them is often a huge sign of real growth.
5. You’ve lost touch with a lot of people, or a big relationship ended.
This is almost always one of the biggest signs that someone is changing — when their social circle no longer fits them anymore.
It’s not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with you or them, simply that you might not have anything in common anymore. You are changing, and so the people you attract and “click” with do, too.
On the other hand, you may have lost a close relationship, which shook you awake and prompted you to begin a journey of self-discovery. While this is important, remember that it’s okay to grieve, and know that people phase in and out of our lives (yes, even the ones we care most about) for a reason.
Trust that process.
6. You’re more concerned about quality than quantity.
Work, friends, experiences — no matter what it is, you’re no longer able to sustain a fast paced life with minimal substance.
Now, you’re more interested in having a few really close friends as opposed to dozens of acquaintances. You’d rather do a few projects really, really well than try to fill your days with work and hope it all turns out okay. You’d rather take one or two trips and have them be the exact experiences you want than constantly be on the move but not really being present.
Rather than having a lot of things, you realize that all you need is a few really good ones.
Anything else just spreads you too thin, and never really gets you what you want anyway.
7. You’re rediscovering your soul.
You’re remembering your love for music, art, or creativity.
You’re listening to songs that make you feel again. You find yourself crying with relief, or sadness. You are empathizing with others. You are redesigning all of the details of your life with more heart and care than you ever have before.
This means that you’re coming home to yourself.
You’re rediscovering the essence of who you are, and you’re opening back up to your soul.
Even if you closed off for a while out of self-protection, this piece of you was always there, waiting for you to reach inward again, and allow it to be.