What does self-love really mean?

After Phelan Well’s first event this week, I felt completely awe inspired to create this blog! I wanted to start by saying that self-love can look different to each individual and I believe this message was consolidated at the Self-love & body confidence event last weekend!

Here are a few pointers which came out of the weekend:

The ability to accept yourself just as you are right now. Whether you are on a health journey, mindfulness journey, seeking a new career path or relationship, change is scary and can be uncomfortable and being hard on yourself in the process will not make matters easier. In my eating disorder recovery, I had to first ACCEPT myself and my body, before I could learn to love it and instead of punishing and depriving it, I nourished it and fought my way back to loving it through self-care, patience and acceptance.

Knowing that strength means something different to everyone and does NOT just mean being able to live a heavy dumbbell. Being strong in mind, believing in yourself, persisting and not allowing challenges to break you, is what will make you the strongest in mind and body. If you don’t always feel “strong”, that’s okay too; to admit you aren’t okay is also a sign of great strength.

Surrounding yourself with positive people who make you feel good, who life you up, encourage you, believe in you and who want the best for you. Having these people around you will enable you to feel better in yourself and act as a reminder to love yourself as much as they love you.

Thinking positive thoughts and planting your mind with them! This one is by no means easy, but the wonderful Sophie Leah reminded us why this is so important. The more we fill the garden in our minds with negativity, self-doubt and criticism, the more weeds and thorns will grow. The more we are able to praise ourselves, forgive ourselves and complement our efforts, the more the flowers can bloom and the more resourceful and happy we become.

Stop comparing. We are all different, unique and like no other and that’s what makes us AMAZING. How can we compare ourselves to someone else when they are nothing like us? It can be hard and I put my hands up and say I have done it, but does it achieve anything positive? No. By focusing on ourselves, our goals, needs, wants likes and dreams we can make ourselves happier. Someone else’s path is theirs for a reason and unless you are learning or getting inspiration from them, it is of little use to you.

Compliment yourself and compliment someone else each day. If you send out positive vibes they will come back to you. It can be so easy to get caught up in all the things we would change about ourselves, but what about all the things that are so great already. Say one out loud right now!

Focus on what matters most, the inside. It’s great to feel great in the way we look, but focusing on the physical appearance alone will not make you love yourself more. Physical appearances can change, but who you are deep inside is what is congruent and what people will remember you for. Ask yourself, do you want to be known as the person with the great abs or the person who is kind and positive?

Make a gratitude list as often as you can. Remind yourself of all you have, all you have accomplished and all you are!

Finally, remember that self-love is a journey and does not happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day and building yourself back up from low self-esteem, confidence and self-worth takes time. Be hopeful in that each day, with each new challenge and step forward you are on your way to loving and accepting yourself just as you are, an imperfectly, perfect you.