“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” ~Audre Lorde
It’s Valentine’s Day week and it is only right to address this topic of love – the kind only you can give yourself. Over the last year I have taken a journey in the area of self-love. To me, self-love is more than simply loving yourself. It is the acknowledgement of where I currently am in life and the consciousness of my passions, desires, needs, strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. These days, when I think about self-love, it’s hard for me not to think about self-care. These two concepts seem to really intertwine. While self-love identifies the need, self-care addresses them. In the past year, I’ve learned a great deal about self-love through being aware of my needs.
As the Ada (first daughter), I learned to take leadership very quickly. I tried to be and do everything. While many of the skills I learned as Ada are beneficial, I also learned to hold the well-being of others wayyyy, wayyy, wayy before my own, allowing myself to be uncomfortable so that others could be comfortable. So I’m learning to have a balance. Listen to my body. To enjoy my own company. To be self-reflective. My Friday nights are sacred and often spent alone. I’ve cancel meetings and decided not to go to previously plan outings (with proper communication). There are times when I simply have to say ‘no’ for my well-being. Here are a few concepts I have learned about self-love:
Self-love isn’t selfishness. I cannot continue to pour into others and become empty. I must be replenished.
Self-love is necessary. I am better able to love and care for the well-being of others when I do the same for myself.
Self-love is guidance. When I know what/who is in my best interest, I act accordingly.
Self-love is forgiving. I’m not perfect but I’m trying my best. I will make mistakes, but I will learn from them.
Self-love is healing. It’s allowing myself to reflect on mistakes and make changes for the better.
Self-love is encouraging. I am aware of my strengths and I affirm them. I celebrate my accomplishments because I know how hard I’ve work to achieve them.
Self-love is awareness. I acknowledge my weaknesses and limitations and I work toward changing or finding positive ways to compensate for them.
Self-love is uncomfortable. I hate feeling like I’ve let others down, but there are times that I will have to for my well-being.
Self-love isn’t solo. While I’m more mindful of who I let into my space, I have amazing friends who encourage me to take care of myself and vice versa.
Self-love is exploration of who I am becoming. I’m constantly changing and so are my passions and desires. Knowing these will inform how I engage the world. I’m still learning this thing called self-love and it’s not easy, but I see its value in my day to day life.