Hopefully, you've recovered from the onslaught of "love" from Valentine's Day. Flowers, candy, and romantic love were everywhere. But, once the day was over (and maybe during it), did you truly feel love?
What did you say to yourself on February 13th or on February 15th?
In this episode, I’ll share 5 things about self-love that are critical if you want to have peace and joy, even if your life is busy and chaotic right now:
If you're pressed for time, you can get a summary below, but the full explanation is in the podcast.
1. How self-love is different
Get a massage. Get a manicure. Get a babysitter and take yourself out. Those are all great things. I talk about some of them and certainly advocate taking care of your physical and emotional needs, including finding ways to get time alone.
However, that is self-care. Self-care is taking specific actions to care for and restore your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Self-love is deeper. Self-love is WHY you do those things. Self-love allows you to do self-care and not apologize for it or feel guilty. Self-love is what you need to be able to make self-care a consistent and sustained priority. It’s deciding that you are worthy of self-care and that the long-term goals of serving and caring for others can only be done fully if you are not sacrificing yourself.
2. Self-love requires you to talk differently
So, lesson one is that self-love requires you to talk to yourself differently. Specifically, it requires you to stop the negative talk and self-hate. It requires you to see yourself the way God sees you, and the way that people who truly love you see you. This doesn’t mean denial or minimizing your weaknesses or challenges. It just means not defining yourself by them.
3. Self-love demands that you advocate for yourself
Self-love demands that you advocate for yourself. In my recent series on 12 lessons from 12 years of marriage, I talked about learning to advocate for yourself. You can check out Episode 16 , Lesson 9 for details on learning to advocate for myself to hear about that.
The short version is that prioritizing your needs is advocating for yourself, often in a season where you are giving to others at home and at work. When you advocate, you are clearly articulating what you need and why it’s important.
If you don’t advocate for yourself, who will? Maybe others for a time, but they have their own challenges to deal with. So in order to love yourself, you have to be willing to stand up for and protect yourself. Again, this doesn’t mean narcissism or trying to constantly get your way. It’s a level of protection that says that I have needs and they deserve to be met.
4. Self-love requires you to forgive mistakes
The third thing that self-love requires is forgiving yourself for mistakes, shortcomings and failures. I listen to Gary Vaynerchuck a lot and I love how he talks about not judging yourself.
You had a loss or a failure. It sucked. That’s life.
But you probably learned from it. However, it’s really hard to walk forward when you are constantly looking backward. This may not be something you personally struggle with, but I am a recovering perfectionist and a recovering self-worth ties into my achievements person.
I am in my head a lot and spend a lot of time, doing negative self-talk that is focused on my mistakes from the past ("what I should have done, what I could have done", etc.). These mental gymnastics are literally burning mental energy that I could be using to focus on what I will do next and who I am still becoming.
So, you might be wondering how do you forgive yourself and stop judging. Well, first you have to acknowledge that is what you are doing. Name it. And name the mistakes.
I did an exercise last year that really helped me with this. I wrote down all my regrets (well, like top 10). I then wrote down something I could do now to address them if they were really that important to me. For example, I regretted not having saved more money in my 20s and gotten better with budgeting and finances. So, what I can do now is have a monthly budget meeting, track my spending etc.
Now, once you do this exercise, you don’t have to start doing all those things to address the regret. You get to actively make the choice if these are things that you are still interested in fixing. Or, are you just beating yourself up because that is the pattern or habit that you’ve formed? If it’s the latter, then you get to just forgive yourself and move on.
Let it go, and stop spending the mental energy on it.
This is a great exercise to do along with your goal-setting for the new year. You can directly see if the current goals you are setting are more important to you than the time you are spending on self-hating.
5. Finally, if you’re not already convinced, I just want to highlight why this matters for your marriage and your parenting.
Your view of yourself impacts how you interact with the people you love. That includes your spouse--so it impacts your marriage. And, it includes your children so it impacts your parenting. For specific ways it impacts those you love, take a listen: