Many of the major reoccurring lessons in my life have been on self-love. I used to consistently place myself in relationships where I gave/tolerated way more than I should have. However, there was one situation in particular that caused a major shift in my life. I found myself putting my needs and wants to the side to make sure my partner at the time was happy; in hopes that he would eventually see me as the prize. I did things that I never imagined doing for any man, ever. Only to one day be hit with, "I don't think I can be in a serious relationship with you because you don't understand or practice reciprocity." That was one of his many lies. This is when I said, "Okay, universe. I hear you loud and clear." I was cut off by someone who let material things get in the way of our sense of connection and what was truly important in the relationship we were trying to build. To him my love, attention, compassion, nurturing, etc., wasn't enough.
This wasn't the first situation like this for me, but it was definitely the last. The biggest lesson in this was learning to walk away when I found myself doing the most and being shown no signs of appreciation. There were a ton of red flags (as per usual) but I was too busy romanticizing about what could be; the story I made up in my head on all the reasons why this could work, when all along he just wasn't the guy for me. Something I believe he knew but just didn't know how to articulate; instead he chose to make it seem like I was at fault.
Needless to say, that situation took a toll on me. I just couldn't see where I went wrong, but after some major self reflection, I realized that the universe was telling me I needed to stop avoiding the obvious. It was seriously time for me to focus on myself. I put all of my energy into someone who wasn't able to receive what I had to give, which in return depleted my energy and took (what felt like) all my power. That was one of my many wake up calls. I've since then made it a priority to continuously build myself up, clear my energy, and own my power. I had to start to really love myself in order to attract the type of partner I knew I truly deserved.
Self-love and self-care's really something that one has to work hard at daily. It's not just about reading books and blog entries; it's also about actually putting what you learn into practice. There are a ton of rituals, videos, quotes, etc., out there to assist with this process. Once I decided to start this journey, I found a few things that worked for me, so I figured this was a great time to share. There will be many more posts centered around doing what makes you feel good and raising your vibration. In the meantime, here are a 5 things you can do to help start your self-love and self-care practice.
- Journal... I don't know how to not journal. This is something I've been doing for as long as I can remember. Journaling is the easiest way to work through whatever issues you're currently dealing with—as well as things you've been holding on to from the past. You can write as if you're planning on putting this stuff in a book, or you can just let it flow. No need to be concerned about punctuation, spelling, or grammar. This is your personal therapist. Try it. I bet you'll feel ten pounds lighter once you're done. Journaling doesn't have to be a daily practice. Do this as you please. I personally aim for at least once a week, or whenever I need to vent. I'm obsessed with picking the perfect journals. I literally have to be in love with my journals in order to write in them, it's really weird. So yeah, make sure you pick a good one and start journaling!
- Affirmations... Ah, good old affirmations. This came into my life back in 2008 when my uncle sent me a few books to help me get through a rough patch. One book in particular entitled, "The Game of Life," had a ton of affirmations for basically everything—work, money, love, resentment, you name it! I used these affirmations daily. I wrote them down on post it's and placed them all over my room. All I can say is don't knock it till you try it! I was a bit pessimistic, and doubted the power of affirmations, but I was proven wrong. You can google affirmations for any particular situation or buy a book filled with them. I find that writing my own has been really helpful. It feels more personal. A great way to begin writing affirmations is just to start off with "I am" followed by whatever you feel you're not. Take the most negative thing you often say about yourself and make it the opposite of that. For example, turn "I'll never be rich," into "I am rich." Always make it in the present never the future. You absolutely have to believe and know that you have whatever it is you desire right now—claim it! Make it a part of your daily practice to write your affirmations/say them daily.
- Meditate... To some, this may seem mundane and boring. I mean, who wants to sit still and try not to think, right? Talk about a snooze fest! That was my view on meditating when I first started, but once I got into it, there was no turning back. It's all about maintaining a clear and open mind. You just have to make it fun and do what works for you. Use crystals. Find guided meditations with music to help keep you focused. Challenge yourself, start off by doing 5 minutes a day and work you way up. Use one of your affirmations as your focus. Whenever you find your thoughts drifting, go right back to focusing on your breathe/affirmation. Meditating will change your life.
- Exercise... Movement is so necessary. Any form of vigorous activity is better than none. Exercise is a great way to release endorphins which helps reduce stress and depression. All you need is 20-60 minutes out of your day to get moving. No gym membership? No problem. Go for a walk/run around your neighborhood, take a dance class, subscribe to fitness gurus on YouTube—the options are endless. You really don't need a gym. As long as you stay active that's all that matters.
- Stay positive... When things aren't going your way it's so easy to want to stay in a funk—to just be sad/cry. At the end of the day, we are human. It's okay to feel! There is power in vulnerability—allowing yourself to feel creates balance. But what's even more powerful is positive thinking and being about to see the good in a negative situation. It's all about retraining your brain to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. What I listed above are great ways to help get you in a more positive mindset. I also highly recommend practicing gratitude. Say thank you daily, for all that you have and for all that you've yet to receive. Write these things down, talk about it with your friends and family. You'll see how quickly a shift in your focus will not only help your inner world but you'll see a shift in your outer world as well—these things are not separate.