21 Day Self love challenge - it can't be that hard right?!
Ok so being new to the whole blog thing - here goes. I have just started the book "The 21 day self love challenge" and this seemed as good a point as any to start as it gives me a bit of focus, always important in coaching - if you don't know what you're aiming for how can you expect to achieve it?!
So why aim for self-love? Well I've noticed how frequently in life we have those loathing moments, it almost seems part of our culture to keep ourselves small, by hating on ourselves a bit, whether under the pretence this will help us grow stronger, work harder, get better? Realistically for me a lack of love, or worse, a stick to beat myself with because of self loathing can actually do me more harm than good, so I thought I would seek a way of improving my self love and this book seemed the place to start. Here's hoping it works, can a book which only has a couple of pages per day have that much of an impact?- tune in to the updates to find out!
So day 1 - it says to ask myself and friends the question "do you love yourself?"
Simple enough to answer, no? A closed question, demanding one of two responses. My answer was initially "maybe-about 5/10" - I have those self loathing days - and also have been fortunate enough to experience those "at-one-with-yourself" days, but still this is definitely an area where there is room for progress to be made!
I was most inspired however by listening to others responses - the book suggested the majority of us would not look too fondly on ourselves and I was thus expecting a very short "no" "not really" response but the actual answers prompted me to consider where it is
self love actually comes from. Everyone I asked had enough understanding of love, or the concept of self love to realise the weight it holds and therefore the answers were meatier and more tantalisingly thought provoking than I had anticipated.
"Mood" - it seems how we feel plays a big part in how loving we feel towards ourselves. Feeling sad/low/a bit on the podgy side can greatly affect our ability to extend love to ourselves. However if asked the question "can you love another when feeling under the weather?" - "yes, I mean it might require a bit more dedication", but "absolutely yes!" - so why do we devote ourselves to others, yet struggle to devote ourselves to us - the one person we have to spend all of our time with?
For those who couldn't say they were ready to love themselves yet their problem with it was not only that it felt alien to self appreciate, but also because they were so in-tune with their flaws they were unable to see past them. Physique played a huge part and this was inextricably linked to social expectation which created their individual perceptions of what is expected of them, and more so what they expect for themselves based on these perceptions - confusing? huh?! Aren't we complex beings.
On the other hand however, I was very pleasantly surprised at the amount of people who did have a certain amount of self love and rather than feeling this was any sort of a display of arrogance I had such joy in hearing they could love themselves and give a confident exuberant "yes!"
Most of those who were able to say the celebratory yes did feel a need to justify it in some way - and it seemed that certain achievements or qualities they appreciated in themselves gave them confidence to acclaim their love! Also it seemed the 30s are the age of commencing the self love - hitting a point where you know yourself so well as a person and have accepted yourself for who you are, so love it seems is linked to acceptance. However as some people noted self love in this form can also come with a lack of self care. Is self care part of self love? If so, is this another facet we need to explore to be able to say we truly love ourselves. If we were in a relationship with another person would we consider a lack of care towards us as love? Or would we instead feel lacking and under appreciated?
We are happy to love ourselves for the successes, our achievements and progress we have made, but what about day to day - bog standard us, no makeup, unwashed hair-how self-loving are we then?
This question definitely prompted all those asked to see the use of self love, because if we cannot show love to ourselves, how can we expect others to, in both social and work environments. Coming from a creative background this I can totally relate to - if I cannot go in to an audition room displaying my own self confidence who is going to buy in to me?
I found the experiment and this one question so much more thought provoking than I ever assumed it could be. Why not give it a try?
Do you love yourself?
(...and while you are at it...a little food for thought...
What are the ways in which you show love to yourself?
What ways do you not show yourself as much love and self care as you might?
What could you do to love yourself more?)