How to Love You

Lady Life Lessons's picture

If you, like Groucho Marx, would never join a club that would have you as a member, you probably find the concept of self love a little foreign, or downright distasteful. There is something immodest about "being your own best friend" as well as a bit desperate, for it seems to suggest not so much that you really love yourself, but that no one else does.

Wait - it gets worse. We are so rubbish at being good to ourselves that our reward system-  buying, consuming and doing things that feel good right now, has  a built in self punishment factor. Another piece of cake? A new pair of shoes you can manage if you re-mortgage? Another large G and T cos it's been one of those days? That “oh blow it” lipstick/scarf/scented candle that “doesn’t really count”  but acts as a Prozac-like lift in the moment but is forgotten an hour later.

You don't have to be fat, broke or alcoholic to realise these little tokens of self love wear off rather quickly and the short term pleasure they bring taps into a form of self sabotage. It's a bit like having a one night stand with yourself: fun while it lasted, but really, you think she's gonna call you again?

At the other end of the self-loathing spectrum, there are those who equate "doing it for me" with punishing dietary, deprivation or exercise routines which feel like some fresh hell at the time,  but might make you glow and feel "good" later. Life is too short to be Gwynnie.

I have news for you. There is a middle ground between self loving and self loathing and it is not indifference. It is about doing things that feel pretty good in the short term and very good in the long term, and no, you don't have to write a love letter to yourself or chant affirmations which feel scripted or false to you. 

Feeling good about yourself is not one size fits all, but there are things everyone can do to, if not to be your own best friend, to at least ring yourself for a second date:

  • Loving yourself means being “responsibly selfish” – making sure your needs are met first so you can be a better partner, parent, friend, son or daughter for others.
  • Check in with yourself when people make requests of your times and energy – do you really want to do it or are you just pleasing others to seek acceptance?
  • Avoid energy vampires.  If they are family, limit your time with them.
  • Rest more.  Naps are energy investments. None of us gets enough sleep.
  • Diarise NNMT – Non Negotiable Me Time (feet up/reading/facials/massage/ staring at the wall) and honour it.
  • Find what you love and do it regularly.
  • Build in bliss points for your day. Good coffee, favourite music, smart clothes, organic food, walking in nature, delicious bath) – you’re never far away from something restorative on the horizon.
  • Write out 50 things you are proud to have done, compliments you have been given and skills you have and then look at it regularly
  • Have healthy boundaries with others – no derogatory language or jokes, no assumptions of favours, no dog’s body treatment.
  • Treat yourself with the kindness you’d show a dear friend.
  • Forgive yourself your regrets, goof ups, weaknesses and fears.  Show your humanity and compassion. – free half hour consultation when you mention The Lady