I find it great that self care has become such a hot topic as of late, even with a full week dedicated to its importance this past week. Yet what we might be forgetting the more main stream the phrase becomes, is that self care is not just something we say – it is a daily practice of doing, being, feeling, and embodying what you need to become the best version of yourself. It is a behaviour as well as one of our greatest responsibilities.
Though self care often tends to be associated with physical activities and perhaps a marketing ploy to sell material items – getting a massage, taking a bath, candles, oils, etc – self care is less about what we can do and more about how we behave. It is a mindset shift that brings us back to ourselves, and is both constant and ever evolving.
These are what I consider to be the pillars for self-love and self-care:
- Acceptance. Not what others want you to be or how you think you should be, but acceptance of the person you are. Acceptance takes knowing yourself in the first place. Knowing the real you, that whole, beautiful, perfectly imperfect package, and allowing what is to be. It is from a place of acceptance that we can decide which next action best suits our current need.
- Compassion. Nobody has it all figured out or all together. We are all learning on this journey. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would a dear friend or relative. Recognise your needs so that you know how to make those needs a priority in your life.
- Forgiveness. There was a time when you didn’t like yourself. You mistreated your body. Said unkind things of and to yourself. Learn to forgive yourself so that you can truly embrace who you are and who you are becoming. The past has brought you here, you can now let it go.
- Belief. There is a part of you, deep in your core, that believes in the infinite potential that lies within you. You are capable of anything you set your mind to. The only thing holding you back, is you. Trust yourself. Trust what you are capable of. Be your own greatest cheerleader. Use mantras and affirmations to help you along the way as they interrupt the thoughts that create limiting beliefs.
- Respect. Honour yourself. Set boundaries. Know your limits. You set the tone for how other people treat you. If you want respect from others, start by respecting yourself first.
- Accountability. Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. When you do, own them – learn from them. Mistakes help us to grow, but only if we are willing to accept our accountability.
In order to build off of a strong foundation, these pillars need to be worked on every day. They require mindfulness and enough time to slow down in order to connect with how we are doing. Self care might feel selfish and the last thing in a laundry list of things “we need to do”, but the fact of the matter remains that you have more of yourself to give when you take care of you first. When you work, so does everything else.
Change starts with you. Take a look at these pillars again. Where do you fall short? What can you do to take better care of yourself? There’s no need to search for answers externally. The answers you seek exist within you. Work from the inside out.