18 Feb Self-Love (Why Your Kids Desperately Need You to Have It!)
Do you consider yourself self confident? Do you even know how to answer that question? Up until recently, I have to say, I didn't! Until I did a workshop on self-love, and boom, I found my answer.
Generally speaking, your confidence and your self-love fluctuate. It all depends on the kind of day you’re having, what’s happening around you, to you. How much sleep you’ve had. Whatever, everything. Self-love isn’t something you have or have not, it’s an adventure you go on with yourself and it never ends.
Honestly, as parents, we’re the first role models our children have. It’s radically important that we take ourselves on a self-love adventure, if we want them to grow up loving themselves radically (which would be pretty cool after all, don’t you think?)
First, let’s start with a metaphor… a self-love adventure is like climbing a pyramid…
Bottom Rung of the Self-Love Pyramid: Knowing Yourself
Frankly, this is where you do the grunt work.
It’s time to get annoyingly nosey with yourself by asking yourself a bucket load of questions. What do I like? What do I dislike? Why do I like / dislike them? What are my strengths? My weaknesses? What do I think? Why do I think that? Where the hell did did those beliefs even come from?
The fastest way to break a cycle is to question everything in that cycle.
Basically you have to channel your inner stalker and take yourself out on a first date.
Remember to bring a pen because you’re going to be asking yourself everrrrrything!
Next Rung up in the Self-Love Pyramid: Acknowledging Yourself
Now that you’ve interrogated yourself till the cows actually came home, you should be exhausted, but you should also have an outline of who you think you are. The next step up the self-love pyramid is acknowledging these beliefs that you have about yourself.
Whether you believe you’re not worthy, or you believe you’re fabulous. Whether you believe there’s no way you’ll be able to get that job, slay at karaoke, rock that hair colour (fill in your own blank here friends) or you believe you are the world's greatest joke-teller, cake baker, bridge-builder, now is the time to simply acknowledge that you hold those beliefs about yourself.
So why is that important? Because the beliefs you have about yourself control the messages you tell yourself every day. “I’m so stupid” “I’m too fat” “I’m literally the best person in the world ever”.
Your silly old subconscious is stupidly gullible. It believes every word you say. So you end up becoming the messages you tell yourself constantly.
And what's more, I’ll let you in on a little secret - you’re not just telling yourself those messages either - you’re basically broadcasting them to the entire world, with every person you meet. Every interaction you have. You’re constantly sending out signals telling people how YOU believe you should be treated. That’s all rooted in the beliefs you have about yourself.
Basically, acknowledging those beliefs brings them out into the light. That’s good enough for now. Be patient. This rung in the ladder isn’t about fixing any ‘broken beliefs’. It’s just about acknowledging their existence inside your wee head, so we can start to get ourselves in order.
Next Rung up in the Self Love Pyramid: Accepting Yourself
It’s tough in this media driven society to really, genuinely love your body / life / home / self.
However, here’s a radical idea… How about starting with acceptance. Accepting this is the body I have. And what's more, accepting that these defects are MY defects! These feelings are MY feelings. These vibrations I’m putting out into the world are MY vibrations. Accept everything that is yours, because, well, you can’t have anyone else’s so stop trying. And the good news is that no one else can have yours!
In a society that’s designed to profit from our own self hatred, it might just be too much to jump in at the deep-end of unbridled self love. If you could start with just accepting yourself in all your glorious, defected humanity though, you’d be taking back a huge chunk of control over your own happiness. That’d be cool, right?
Next Rung up in the Self Love Pyramid: Respecting Yourself
That is, having enough respect for you, yourself as a person, to put yourself first sometimes. Go ahead friend, give yourself permission to take what you need. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. And socially.
If (like me) you’re a bit rubbish at self care, it’s because you’re always at the bottom of your own list. Clearly, everyone else comes first. Look, no one respects the person shoved down to the bottom of the list, so climb on up out of there!
What is it you need to be happy? We’re not even talking about massive life goals here. Let’s start with the little things. What sparks joy in your universe? Seriously, that could be a slice of cake, 5 minutes to put on your fave song and have a bit of a disco dance in your knickers, or saying yes to coffee with friends even though (EVEN though!) you still have sooooo much work to do. (spoiler alert, there’s always going to be more work to do. Go have that coffee and have a damn slice of cake while your at it! ) Go ahead, give yourself permission to reach out and grab what you need for once.
And as well as that, to keep yourself on the respect straight-and-narrow, every night before you go to sleep, go over the list of things you did to respect yourself during the day.
And friend, most importantly, no matter how well you did... give yourself a pat on the back for even trying! In the self-love adventure, sometimes that’s enough.
Next Rung up in the Self-love Pyramid: Valuing Yourself
Ok, so, valuing yourself is totally built on all the other rungs of the pyramid. Knowing yourself, accepting yourself and respecting yourself. You’ve got to go through those first. Do the work!
When you get to valuing yourself - I know it can be kind of hard to say ‘hey I think I’m just swell’, at least out loud anyway. Like, who is that arrogant beeeatch over there talking about how amaaaaazing she is, right?
But our dear old consumerist society needs us to think like that. It relies on us believing we’re some kind of steaming pile of poop, so they can make money off selling us things to ‘make ourselves feel better’.
I call BS!
We’re human beings. We’re living breathing stardust. We’re the result of millions of years of evolutionary fine tuning and we’re magic. Damnit, everyone is worthy. Everyone.It’s literally just an automatic part of being alive. And that means you are worthy too!
On this little self-love journey, when you start to know, accept and respect yourself, you’ll be amazed to find you can actually come to value yourself too. Yes, even little olde you! (And without being a narcissistic dick either.) Wild, I know. There’s power in that, and strength too. And oh la la who doesn’t aspire to be strong and powerful!
And that leads us to the holy grail: Self-love.
First of all, be not fooled friend - this is not a destination. It’s an ongoing self-love adventure that you have to work on day after day after day (after day after day) (after day after day).
Confidence fluctuates. Shit happens. The only way to keep your self-love pint glass topped up, is by committing to the adventure and taking responsibility for your own damn self!
To sum it all up, you've absa-frikn-loutely got to:
Start by asking yourself questions (the hard ones!) to figure out who you are exactly.
Then acknowledging the beliefs you have about yourself, so you can be aware of the ‘self’ you’re creating every day.
Next, accepting yourself, even if you can’t quite love yourself wildly at this stage. Just give yourself a break and say hey, this is me and that’s enough. (Wait till you see how relaxing that can be!)
Then respecting yourself - give yourself permission to fill your own cup for once, because you bloody deserve it, just like everyone else.
And also valuing yourself - because you’ve found the power in knowing, accepting and respecting yourself.
Self-love is such a huge mountain, ahem pyramid, to climb that, to be honest, I would never have known where to begin. Going step by step up that pyramid (and sometimes back down again... it’s a snakes and ladders kind of adventure) is the surest way to fill your cup with a steaming load of self-love.
If you want your kids to learn to love themselves, you’ve got to commit to the self love adventure so you can show them the way. It’s not a theory to memorise, it’s a life to live. So go ahead and start climbing that self-love pyramid, and I’ll see you at the top, in all our gloriously defected humanity. Yeay!