By Wangeshi Wambua
Self-love is undoubtedly the oil that wheels my vibrant life. Self-love is the little things you do for yourself. Contrary to the illusion most people have that it is selfishness. Self-love is a state of appreciation of oneself that sprouts from the things we do, content we consume, activities we engage in to support our physical, social, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual growth.
Self-love has a series of ripple effects on our well-being. These can range from feelings of goodness, empowerment, self-awareness, acceptance, fulfillment, contentment, accomplishment, the list is endless. Self-love helps you overcome habits that work against you like self-doubt and self-criticism, self-defeating behaviours, inspire you to design relationships differently, and help you reinvent yourself.
Self-love cannot be fixed in a day. It is a process that you consciously commit to your mind and live it. You begin to focus more on self-improvement and beating yourself less. You have a better understanding of your weaknesses and accept them.
I encourage people to be intentional in their day-to-day life. This simply put, is to commit to what you want for yourself and take steps to put in place measures to achieve what you want and you endeavour to see them to completion. In the words of Les Brown, “wanting something is not enough, you must hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that will invariably come your way.” Make an inventory of your life and look at what you need to work on. Don’t take it casually, for instance, I made a resolution to stick to my weight loss program. I came up with a timetable of the activities I wanted to engage in and wrote them down and stuck it on my wall. This has helped keep me accountable to myself and stay on course.
Whatever it is you want for yourself, it is important to set a goal. I like jotting down, so I listed a few actions I needed to cultivate and drew up a plan of how I wanted to achieve my goals. For example, I needed to make changes in my diet, so I had to come up with a menu that would fit in my desired diet. You must plan for the result you envision to attain. You cannot change the destination of your life overnight, but you can change the direction of your life overnight.
Goal setting goes arm in arm with remaining focused. You remain focused by committing to the path you set out implying that you remain steadfast to the plan that you put down. To achieve this you must be in a state of mind that you are fully determined. Surround yourself with people who can contribute to your growth. Read further and pray about it. Keep pushing don’t give up, whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. Put in some effort however little; if you fall, start again but make sure you take note of what led to your failure and strategize on how to begin again. Pretty soon it will be part of your life and you will not be struggling anymore.
What crosses your mind when you come across the word self-care? Is it taking a shower daily? Changing your clothes daily? Brushing your teeth? Keeping your nails short and clean? Many times we overlook the subject of self-care and casually equate it to the aforementioned. We tend to be to engulfed in our busy schedules. Self-care is more than grooming oneself; it is the actions we deliberately take to gratify our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. These help you to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself which enhances your self-esteem and confidence.
Purpose to take a retreat, unplug from everything, switch off your phone and reflect on your life. Do this once in a while and you’ll realise how refreshing it feels when you return to your normal life, you are motivated. Read a book, this sharpens your thoughts as it gives you more knowledge and lessons. Gift yourself and celebrate the small wins in your life. Engage in any form of physical activity that you enjoy. The endorphins released boost your mood and energy. Join a club and engage in activities that you enjoy. I miss my days engaging in charity activities with my rotary club. Express gratitude for the small things you take for granted in life. At the beginning of this year, I purposed to make a gratitude note every day and extended this practice to the members of my family. Engage yourself in something creative you love to do like trying a new recipe, get artistic, DIY (do it yourself) activity the list is endless.
Create personal boundaries. Boundaries set expectations for yourself as well as what to expect from other people. Personally, they help set limits and protect me from what I don’t want to entertain including people. They help you filter what to consume and engage in. You put yourself as a priority and reach for your aspirations and cultivate in genuine relationships that enrich you. For instance, saying no with no apologies.
Put order in your life. Setting life goals with an action plan, something as simple as keeping a journal with a list of things to do, making schedules and deadlines, organising your stuff makes your life very simple, you don’t have to agonise trying to look for a document on your desk. Being organized increases your productivity. When you are organised it is easy to evaluate your achievements and what you need to work on. Arranging your bookshelf, your clothes, handbags, shoes, belts and other personal effects and giving everything a designated spot saves you a lot of time and gives you a sense of control and reduces feelings of being overwhelmed.
The metaphorical definition of forgiveness as given by Mark Twain is that “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Forgiveness is untying self from thoughts and feelings that bind you. What is true is that holding a grudge consumes you from within and diminishes your emotional health. It is difficult to forgive, but you need to live again and be happy. You cannot be happy while you are still holding onto the hurt. Let go of the past and live again. Letting go is coming to the realization that your destiny is not tied to anyone and that you have a future. You must forgive yourself too. You are human and bound to err. Acknowledge your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on. If you don’t do this you bleed on those around you, they will be hurting with you because you will be unknowingly projecting the bitterness from within to them. Forgiving oneself brings inner peace and turns around so many things in ways we cannot imagine.
Show love in yourself today and challenge yourself to a 21-day challenge to show self-compassion for yourself. Cultivate those habits of well-being and you will realise that the quality of your life is better and you will be glad that you made a deliberate choice to show compassion for yourself.