THE PRAC­TICE

BUILD­ING SELF-LOVE FOR A HEALTH­IER, HAP­PIER, MORE CON­FI­DENT YOU

NICHE Magazne - - Romantic Fantasy - by Erin Treloar

We step on the scale and feel dis­ap­pointed. We look at our­selves in that pic­ture and cringe. We scroll social me­dia and sud­denly feel like our own life is lack­ing.

I once lived trapped in the be­lief that only when I looked a cer­tain way or reached my goals would I at­tract the things I cov­eted most in life: love, hap­pi­ness and con­fi­dence. It took an eat­ing dis­or­der and a roller coaster of highs and lows to learn those things will never come from some­thing as su­per­fi­cial as your ap­pear­ance, a pro­mo­tion or your re­la­tion­ship sta­tus on Face­book. Love, hap­pi­ness & con­fi­dence come from within and we must work to un­cover and cul­ti­vate these feel­ings so that they el­e­vate ev­ery other as­pect of our life. It all starts with self-love.

It seems like we hear about self-love ev­ery­where these days but what does it re­ally mean? I think of it as hav­ing a strong un­der­stand­ing of what makes you thrive and then mak­ing space in your life to prac­tice and honor those things. It doesn't mean life will al­ways be pic­ture per­fect and it's not as sim­ple as stand­ing in front of the mir­ror re­peat­ing “I love you” to your­self. It sim­ply means that you un­der­stand what al­lows you to feel your best and you aim to live from that space as of­ten as pos­si­ble. It's a bal­ance of nour­ish­ment, move­ment, per­sonal growth and self­care. Be­low are four self-love prac­tices that have sig­nif­i­cantly helped me on my jour­ney to health, hap­pi­ness, less stress and more con­fi­dence:

LIS­TEN TO YOUR BODY

If we want to make peace with our body we have to start work­ing with it. The first step is learn­ing how to lis­ten to all the mes­sages it is send­ing us through­out the day. A body scan is a quick way to check in. Find a com­fort­able po­si­tion, ei­ther sit­ting or ly­ing down. Start to slow your breath, and fo­cus on breath­ing deeply into your belly. No­tice the thoughts pass­ing through your mind. Slowly scan

your body from your toes to the top of your head and get cu­ri­ous about any sen­sa­tion, emo­tion, ten­sion or pain you may be feel­ing. Imag­ine send­ing your breath to any spots that feel tight or sticky. Are you happy, tired, ner­vous, ex­cited, sad, hun­gry, thirsty? You might feel un­com­fort­able at times and feel the urge to get up but stick with it and ask your body, “What are you telling me?” Learn­ing to lis­ten to your body and ac­knowl­edge what it is ask­ing for is one of the great­est ways we can prac­tice self-love.

CRE­ATE A PER­SONAL NOUR­ISH­MENT MENU

Make a list of things that fill you up or give you en­ergy. Avoid list­ing things that you think “should” give you en­ergy. In­stead think about what you would do if all your “to do” lists dis­ap­peared and you had an hour to your­self. Think read­ing, play­ing ten­nis, tak­ing a nap, mak­ing a beau­ti­ful meal, hang­ing out with friends or writ­ing. There are a bil­lion peo­ple on this earth and ev­ery­one's list is go­ing to look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent. It's all about rec­og­niz­ing what nour­ishes you.

CARVE OUT TIME FOR YOU

Now that you have your per­sonal nour­ish­ment menu the next step is ac­tu­ally mak­ing space in your busy cal­en­dar for the items on the list. Eas­ier said than done in this over­com­mit­ted world that of­ten has us sac­ri­fic­ing our own health and well­ness to keep oth­ers happy. The re­al­ity is we can't show up as our best selves when we're run­ning on empty. It's lose/ lose. Look at your cal­en­dar: Can­cel or resched­ule one thing that you al­ready know is not go­ing to fill you up or ask a loved one for sup­port so that you can cre­ate some time for you.

GIVE GRAT­I­TUDE

En­ergy flows where at­ten­tion goes... and noth­ing makes ap­pre­ci­a­tion grow more than ap­pre­ci­a­tion it­self! Most of us have a ter­ri­ble habit of fo­cus­ing on all the things lack­ing in our life in­stead of cel­e­brat­ing all that we have. Cre­at­ing a rit­ual around giv­ing thanks en­cour­ages us to look for the good in our lives. The more we look for it, the more we start to see. Try start­ing a grat­i­tude journal or cre­ate a rit­ual around din­ner where ev­ery­one says some­thing they are grate­ful for.

I be­lieve the num­ber one nee­dle mover in cre­at­ing a life you love is liv­ing from a place of self-love. When you learn to ap­pre­ci­ate, em­brace and lever­age all the in­cred­i­ble things that make you unique, you un­lock the abil­ity to change your en­tire life. You can love the per­son star­ing back at you in the mir­ror, feel amaz­ing in the body you've been given and have a life you love.

photo cred­its: Brit Gill (above), Jena Lenzi for The MAMAS Project (right)

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