Self-love can be a tough concept to wrap your head around. We know that we need to take care of ourselves. We’ve all heard the phrase “treat yourself”. It’s like a nagging reminder at the back of your mind, telling you that you can reward yourself with a little bit of self-love once you’ve completed everything on your checklist. But what if you added self-love to your checklist? Treating yourself should never be a reward, but rather a priority in our day-to-day lives. Perhaps this Valentine’s day we can use this season of love to learn to love ourselves a little bit more.
Google defines hustle culture as: “a lifestyle where career has become such a priority in your life or the environment that you work in that other aspects of being human — such as hobbies, family-time and self-care — often take a back seat.” Hustle culture is so damaging to us and our sense of progress and self-worth. Many of us believe that unless we’re working, we’re falling behind. Telling people the things that we have accomplished and only having a shortlist feels like a failure on our part. Self-care and self-love don’t count towards your accomplishments in hustle culture and instead feel like excuses for why we didn’t get more done. This is a mentality that we need to leave behind.
You are your Best Friend
Life is not a competition against yourself. We have a lot of ideas in our heads of where we think we should be in life and how much progress we should have made by now. So when the present doesn’t reflect that, we tend to be very harsh on ourselves and punish ourselves for not being where we think we should be. Life is not a competition for first place. There is no gold medal for living life a particular way.
Appreciate the present. How you congratulate yourself needs to work in tandem with your limits and boundaries and how much you can realistically do. Self-love should not be a reward. You are a human being who is capable of so much, but recognize that you are not superhuman, and you are still on your way to living your best life even if it seems to be taking a little longer than you originally thought it would.
Change your Inner Monologue
We tend to be far harsher on ourselves than we are on other people. Would you say to others the things that you say to yourself? Try to change your inner monologue to use more positive language. Failure is not permanent, and your mistakes do not define you.
When you feel like you are falling behind or you make a mistake, think of the kind of things you would say to a loved one if it was them who had made the mistake. What kinds of advice would you give? How would you encourage them to keep moving despite this? Same thing when you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. Before you jump to punishing yourself, think of what you would say to a loved one instead. Self-love is hard, but changing your inner monologue is a good place to start. Encourage yourself. Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Self-love also means trying to take a moment once a week to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. The point of this is not to scrutinize what you didn’t do, but rather to reflect on what you did do. Don’t think of this in only the context of work. Did you go to bed on time? Were you finally able to finish that book you’ve been reading? Reflect on what you did this week and let it remind you that you are making progress. If you find that this doesn’t solidify your progress enough, journaling is a wonderful way to remind yourself of your successes.
This is not a time to think of the next steps or all of the things that you still need to do, but rather to make it very clear to yourself that you have accomplished far more than you were probably giving yourself credit for.
This Valentine’s day, what is something that you can do as an act of self-love? Maybe buy yourself some flowers or those chocolate-covered strawberries that line every shelf at the grocery store. What is a negative habit towards yourself that you can stop? This Valentine’s day, make yourself your own valentine and love yourself a little bit more.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”– Buddha