Self-care has become a popular phrase in our society. We’re supposed to take time for ourselves: take a bath with candles, eat healthy, get enough sleep, meditate. I fully embrace the concept of self-care and subscribe to the practice as much as possible.
Self-love however, is way more important than self-care, and isn’t really talked about much at all, at least from what I’ve seen. Self-love is essentially having compassion for yourself. It is the practice of relating to yourself with love and kindness, without judging yourself or criticizing yourself. It’s the art of not regretting your decisions, or labeling them as “mistakes.” It’s the art of not fretting over the things you wish you did or think you should have done.
It’s important to give ourselves some slack, to not be so hard on ourselves. Treat yourself with kindness and know that everything happens for a reason and that you are doing to the best you can. If you behave a way in that you don’t like, with curiosity (not judgement) ask yourself “I wonder what is underneath the surface that drove me to behave that way.”
We all have patterns ingrained in us from society and our upbringing that cause us to behave in specific ways. Everything, truly everything, is a lesson in this life. If you keep repeating the same behavior patterns, it is because there is a lesson that you have not yet “got.” You’re being given the opportunity again so you can learn whatever it is that you are supposed to learn.
If you shift your mindset out of judgement and belittling yourself to a place a curiosity, you’ll start to uncover the reasons you are behaving the way you are. That first acknowledgement that you want to improve is the way out.
When you approach yourself with compassion, you are being mindful which enables you to be more kind to yourself. Your compassion is highly effective in changing your behavior, far more effective than shame could ever be.
Everyone screws up. We’re human. When you do, just ask yourself “What can I learn from this opportunity?” or “How can I do better next time? And what structures can I put into place that will help me succeed?” This thought pattern will enable you to guide yourself in the right direction and give you the strength to try again.