As I turn 36, if there is one thing I want to share with everyone it would be how I have made it a habit to constantly love myself in the last two years. Even though I’m not a life coach and I’m also aware that there can not be any one way to love yourself, I can still share my experiences. Also, I say practice “loving myself”, because it doesn’t come naturally to me. If you’ve spent most of your life in self doubt and with low self esteem like I did, then I truly believe that you will have to make a conscious effort to love yourself every single day. Sometimes, I succeed and sometimes I fail miserably.
But what has changed since I started loving myself? The answer is practically everything. The relationships that I really care about improved, I learned to detach myself to a large extent from things and people who don’t matter. I found myself believing in my gut feel and following it. Now I understand, love more and hate less. I trust myself more and fear less. I’m more calm and manage my anger much better. I find it easier to let go of unimportant things. And I finally got the courage to be vulnerable and authentic.
Running helped me connect with my body. It began with punishing it, by pushing myself when I shouldn’t have, and I don’t know when, but slowly it turned into nurturing and nourishing it. It felt good. Really good. The stronger I got, I found myself loving myself a little more.
1) Routine – When you love yourself, you want to take care of yourself. Or it can start the other way, when you start taking care of yourself, you start falling in love with yourself. I have realised one of the most important aspects is to include physical activity in your routine. Walking, running, piliates, zumba, yoga, anything which makes you stronger physically. Chores at home don’t count as exercise, it has to be 45 mins to one hour of sweating it out.
2) Good food – You want to nourish your body and give it all the good things it deserves when you love yourself. My consumption of junk food has seen a decline without the feeling that I’m depriving myself of the “good life”. Just that I enjoy clean food way more.
3) Rituals – Everybody would have different rituals which benefit them. In the last few years, I have rarely missed out on “oil mouthwash” before sleeping. It doesn’t feel like a chore. I do it because I firmly believe it benefits me.
4) Annual check ups and dentists – I know by now I must be sounding like a boring old woman but medical check-ups are important. You need to know if there is any deficiency in your body and a visit to the dentist every six months is a must.
5) A Reading habit – Reading nurtures your mind like nothing else can. Fiction, non-fiction, biography, memoir, short stories to The New Yorker blogs, I try to read anything I can connect with. There’s a huge void which gets filled only when I read. There’s a little shift that happens with every good book I manage to finish reading.
6) Meditation – Meditating regularly helped me clear a lot of baggage. It helped me feel lighter and forgive myself and others easier. I’m no saint but being gentle on yourself and others is important. There is no point in carrying unnecessary weight. Taking out 15-20 minutes to clear your mind isn’t much at all.
7) Getting rid of toxic people – This happened automatically when I realised my self worth. I’m quick to withdraw when I realise the other person is not authentic and doesn’t deserve my time.
And I refuse to wear spandex, let that tummy bulge out a little if it has to 🙂