This year the transformation team at Photography by Krisleen is excited to invite you on an adventure of falling in love with ourselves. While there is no shortage of self-love lingo floating around the internet, it can still feel overwhelmingly vague. How do you even begin such a journey?
What is self-love?
First, let’s define what self-love is and is not. Social media images of green juice, yoga poses, and lakeside sunrises with #self-love in the description are abundant, but what does it really mean? A good definition of self-love is “having a high regard for your own wellbeing and happiness.”*Basically, self-love is the ability to take care of your own needs and not sacrifice your well-being to please other people.
Basically, self-love is the ability to take care of your own needs and not sacrifice your well-being to please other people.
Self-love is not:
- Beating yourself up at the gym to finally achieve the body shape that will make you happy
- Pushing away feelings of distress because, “Other people have it worse!” (aka “toxic positivity”)
- Ignoring a critique because “Hey, no one’s perfect!”
- Appreciating your body for the amazing tool it is and making choices that honor it
- Accepting feelings of distress with compassion. “I’m allowed to feel sad right now.”
- Accepting criticism without internalizing judgment. “It’s ok to make mistakes. I wonder what I can learn from this?”
If the concept of self-love is something you’ve been struggling to get on board with, here are 3 concepts that can steer you in the right direction:
Embrace radical self-acceptance
Accept attributes about yourself that you can not control, without judgment. “Without judgment” is the crucial part and it means viewing your choices and situations with total compassion.
- “I am allowed to feel anxious/sad/angry right now.”
- “I totally and completely accept myself.”
- “I deserve this happiness and I will enjoy every moment of it.”
When experiencing any kind of challenge or emotional distress, imagine how you would respond to a child, or another vulnerable person whom you love dearly, and react accordingly. The way that you would respond to a loved one is the same way you should be interacting with yourself… with gentleness.
Check in with yourself. A lot.
Make “What do I need right now?” a daily, personal question. At any point in your day, assessing and responding to your needs can recenter your direction. Do you need food? A trusted friend to vent to? Some fresh air? Check in, as often as possible, with this question and focus on what you need to lovingly navigate your day.
Every big adventure starts with one step, and we encourage you to take a couple of tip-toes with us by applying some of these concepts today. We believe investing in yourself has major payoffs and we’re excited for what this year will bring.
*Jeffrey Borenstein, president of Brain & Behavior Research Foundation