I want you to ask yourself this: what do you want your life to look like after?
After you feel totally safe in your body. After you accept yourself wholeheartedly. After you stop comparing yourself to ads and edited photos and your partner’s new hot fling. After you allow imperfection to turn you on. When you can lean in and not pull away from the parts of you internally and externally, that are, for lack of a better word, shabby-chic.
Imagine a future you that is fully in love (with yourself) and genuinely thinks the sun shines out of your ass. Perfectly sassy and always speaking kind truths about yourself and of others. Loving yourself truly and without ego is not easy work, but it is one of the only dead set ways to live a grounded and joyous life that feels authentically you.
Do you believe in life after love?
Do you really want to be on your death bed wondering if you could have loved yourself more? Loved your life more? Cared less about the shape of your calves or the way you stutter when you’re nervous?
Could you dream up laying there, in full gratitude to your body and mind? And kind of obsessed with the way you love some words so much, they don’t want to leave your mouth all at once?
Maps: They don’t love you like I love you
There is no specific road map for how to love the fuck out of yourself because you are a unique snowflake who has a body shaped like no other being, a mind that has 86 billion neurons and memories that are purely your own take on reality.
If you aren’t much of a self-love romantic (yet), a good place to start would be working out your love languages. You can learn more about yours here.
Start by writing a list of practical ways of giving yourself love in your top two styles, then give them to yourself, ideally before you text your ex about how they never loved you right. You can use these to help communicate your needs around other relationships too.
Personally, I’m a sucker for a cuddle (physical touch) and a slow home-cooked meal (quality time). So, on days I know I need some extra self-love, I snuggle my dog, and I pre-purchase ingredients for my favourite meal, so I can cook slowly and sensually for myself, after a big day at work, without having to cue at Coles with mad PMS and the self-serve check out screaming at me to bag my items.
It’s really important to remember that our bodies are fluid little creatures. Our physical and physiological bodies change in response to our environment, hormones, food and water intake, geographical location, gender, age, daily movement and stress levels.
There is a fine line here because eating nourishing food and moving your body on the regular is absolutely a beautiful way to show your body respect, care and love. However, when extreme restrictions around body input and output, come at the cost of negative self-talk, depriving yourself of simple joys or judging yourself or others harshly, it may be time for the ‘real medicine’: deep acceptance, fierce softness, utter forgiveness, listening to your bodies’ core needs, and quite possibly GTFO social media for a while.
To embrace the self fully is not to only love the done up, small-portioned, perfect hair and skin day, and hilarious banter version of you. It is to want to make love to yourself with a broken heart in the mirror after eating a bowl of your favourite pasta and relishing in the divinity of your realness.
Crazy in Love
My adoration for pasta and self-pleasure aside, self-love is also about making decisions in your life that reflect back to the world how damn much you are worth.
Daily decisions that say: “I am fucking here, and I deserve love, abundance, community and respect.” As opposed to, “maybe one day I’ll deserve that thing / life” or “someone else will come and show me just how much I am worth.”
It doesn’t work like that. No amount of money or love another person gives you will truly and deeply fill a well of self-worthlessness. If you throw a penny in a pond, the water still rises with it, and lowers again if it’s taken away. It’s like that. This feeling, which often manifests as shame in the body, sits deeply embedded in the physical body, usually sitting within the root chakra. Along with dogma, guilt, and the feeling of a lack of security, in self-hood or daily living.
Shake it like a Polaroid Picture
One of the most effective ways to move shame from the body, (other than good ol’ therapy and journaling), is through movement, similar to shaking. This can be expressed in dance, in sex and in some mat-based exercise like yoga or pilates. This Chi Queen knows what’s up if you need some shame re-set inspo. Sweating is also a great way to move sludgy emotions like shame, so you can add boxing or jogging to that list too.
Emotions often manifest in a similar way in the body, to the quality of that emotion. So, if you think about shame as something which makes us intuitively want to hide away – burying deep into a thousand doona fortress in the dark, dank room – yeah, that’s kind of how it exists in the body.
I Want To Break Free
Does it feel good to sleep in a clean, crisp, bergamot-scented bed AND love your wobbly bits and weird tooth and bung toe and impressively stubborn personality and hair on your nipple and awkwardly shaped heart and whatever other quirks you got going on? Hell yeah. It’s totally and honestly, transformative.
Look, sometimes you may have to fake it till you make it on the self-love train. That doesn’t mean you have to post on Insta about your journey with loving your bung toe, even if you aren’t there yet (but also you do, you boo.) Something as simple as the act of replacing negative self-talk with a basic homemade mantra, and being consistent with it, can work wonders. For example, if looking in the mirror makes your mind chatter go, ‘Ugh I hate my tummy…’, replacing that internal talk with: ‘No. My tummy helps me break down nutrients that nourish me.’
The more consistently we reinforce these new, positive ideas about ourselves, the better.
Speak it internally, put a sticky note on your mirror, write it in your notes on your phone and set it as your screensaver, make it your ringtone, sing it, say it in a funny voice. Anything that makes it more conscious helps when it comes to unlearning deep-seated anxieties, fears and inadequacies which for the most part are faux illusions, unrelated to who we actually are and why we actually matter.
Tip: enchant your mirror with sexy lights, drape translucent fabrics, blu-tack happy polaroids, body-positive messages, your fave IDGAF icons, and reminders that help you step away from minimising your worth to whatever skin you are in.
Our negative ideas so often stem from other people’s projections of their own insecurities anyway. Especially when we are children and tweens, these projections really hang around, and we can easily mistake them for our own thoughts and feelings about ourselves.
Name a plant after yourself and literally shower it in words of affirmation, prune it, dust its little leaves, put it in the sunshine and sit with it, read it soul poetry, give it nutrient mix, check up on it, bring it wonderful and weird friends.
That’s it! If you can do it for that cute photosynthesising breath of life, you can do it for yourself.
I believe in you and I promise, you are so fucking worth it.