Stress is slowly killing us. Stress is what’s affecting your diet and fueling unhealthy decisions. Stress is what’s taxing our systems and therefore leaving us running in emergency mode (picture flames and fumes and weird rattles coming from the engine) pushing us towards food, alcohol and other drugs, Netflix, shopping, gambling, and many other ways in which we waste our resources.
I have found that when I peel back the layers and recognize where my stress usually stems from, it is often a self imposed stress. In other words, I am doing this to MYSELF!! Now, I do not beat myself up for this (thats not very loving) as I now understand that I was sold an idea of what success was suppose to look like and then set off to be a “success”. When life didn’t end up looking like that idea I came to the conclusion that I must be unsuccessful, the opposite of a success, a failure. I was not living a life that demonstrated love to myself at all. I wasn’t even listening to myself. I was treating myself like the waiter that keeps babbling about the specials when I’m ready to order, “yeah, yeah, spinach dip and chocolate lava cake please.”
When I started deciding to create a life that I didn’t need to run from, numb from, or avoid, I started to see that I was unhappy because I wasn’t making my decisions. This seems so simple but I didn’t even notice that I had no clue how to dream up a dream life, I had no clue what I wanted or what would make me truly happy. Letting go of these pressures lightened my load significantly, reducing the silly stressors I placed on myself because I needed to be doing more and or because I always found something else that I should be doing.
Along this journey I started to get to know myself. I learned more and more about myself trying to figure out what I truly valued and wanted, making it easier to feel comfortable in my own skin. This comfort led to me caring more about how I felt and what I spent my time thinking and doing. This care led to a connection with myself that allowed me to trust myself, support myself, forgive myself, and ultimately fall in love with myself. I created a ride-or-die relationship with myself, knowing that I have love and compassion for myself, no matter what.
If this seems foreign do not worry, it was to me too. Below are some steps to start the process.
Steps towards more self-love:
You do not need to perfect one step before moving onto the next. You will be building a constant flow of awareness that you can use to feel good the rest of your life.
Notice to your emotions. - They are your guide.
Notice when you feel negative/less than emotions when you think about what others will think of you or a decision. This is you stressing about others. This is you allowing the pressure to be applied.
Notice when you feel good/satisfied/greater than! Start doing more of these things. This is how you will find what lights you up.
Notice your self talk. - Our self talk is simply a running dialogue of affirmations. You can use these words to brainwash yourself into thinking you suck or you can use these words to create a crazy awesome relationship with yourself. One where you are your biggest supporter and therefore safe. Safe = less stress. Less stress = feel better. Feel better = create a happier life.
Pump the self-care. - Just like self talk creates your mental status, self-care creates your physical status. When you don’t feel good, you don’t want to take the extra steps to make a healthier decision, you want immediate comfort or relief. But, even little acts of self-care can lighted your mood and keep you from sliding deeper into the low vibes. Start experimenting with things that make you feel good naturally. You should feel refreshed, relaxed and lighter or calmer. Doing these things shows yourself and others that your wellbeing is important and a priority.
Regularly remind yourself that you’re worthy of love. - When I first started this stuff I had just quit drinking and most moments of my life were uncomfortable. I had read something suggesting to look at yourself in the mirror, right into your eyes and tell yourself “I love you.” At this point I had tried so many things that this one seemed so simple and harmless that I gave it a try. Holy shit. As soon as those words flew out of my mouth I began to cry. I realized in that moment that being nice to myself was foreign to me. This was not okay.
I now use this technique to remind myself that I am loved, I am supported, I am love. When I brush my teeth or put on a face mask, I look myself in the eye and say something nice. I flirt with myself, winking when I catch my eye in the mirror, using cheesy lines to make myself giggle. I now have replaced the need for attention from another by giving myself the loving attention that I only got from my parents and ex-boyfriends in the past.
Remember that this is like any other loving relationship, it takes work, time, commitment and care. Be kind to yourself.