By: Alex Halenda
I like to think I've always loved myself. But I know in childhood it wasn't a concept that crossed my mind. Maybe it was a natural experience or maybe all the familial love I was blessed to have filled that space. Somewhere after puberty, with all the hormones and all the societal norms wiggling around in my brain, I started focusing more on getting love. As if it was something I could acquire! If you've ever been loved, or loved another, you know it's not so concrete. Love is more like a season that has no particular pattern, just changing, expressing, retracting, and... Exploding? Something like that.
What I've gathered so far is that love is pretty unpredictable. Especially love that involved more than one person. Realizing that I can't control the love that comes to me from the outside, I decided I ought to just start making some for myself inside. After working on that in and out of my days over the last 10 years, I'd say I've figured out some useful ways to get sweet on lil' old me.
So here's 5 of the ways I get into myself in the best way possible:
1. Get Into an Optimal Health Routine
From the organization in your home, to the cleanliness of your body - inside-out! Your health is truly the best way you can love yourself. What does it take to get into a healthy routine? It takes research, practice, and consistency. Each of these things will improve your life in more than the obvious ways. When you research you get educated on multiple sources to try and share. When you practice them you find out what works for you, and you build strength, energy, and confidence in your ability to achieve your goals. When you are consistent you gain experience that may build into a passion, and before you know it, you're inspiring others, which helps you build a healthy place in your community! I'll give you a few specifics, but for the most part your health program will be unique to you! Eat organic, drink water often throughout the day, get out in nature for a walk 2-3 times a day if you can, and get into some sort of physical exercise. Even a YouTube video could work if you keep up with it! But how do you know you're healthy? You will FEEL better than you've ever felt, and more balanced and clear than you can remember. Give it a few months to take effect. Know that it's not always about the change in your looks. True revolution starts from the inside out. And if you need help figuring out where to start- reach out to me directly!
2. Do Exactly What You Want in The Moment
Yup. First, try this on your day off. Go for that walk you impulsively wanted to go on. Turn around in the middle of the street to look through that window, for admire that tree. Tell a stranger they are beautiful because you felt it when you looked at them. Lay comfortably on the couch because your body feels the pull! It's all especially great when you have no responsibilities to tend to. Listen to that feeling, or that voice, or whatever it is in you that tells you what you want! If you don't have any idea what that is, it might help to spend some time alone doing things that are healthy for you, like I mentioned above. When you're feeling healthy your thoughts are more clear, and so is your ability to make decisions. Remember, part of your health is also your conscience, so it's just as important to make decisions you know won't harm others when it is within your power. Keep in mind, sometimes your decisions will be right for you, but a friend might be upset or bothered that you made those choices. This can be a delicate arena, so be sure to take the time to look deeply into things. I always try to ask myself, "is it my responsibility to tend to this feeling or preference of my friend?" Sometimes it isn't, sometimes I decide that it is, or that I am willing to be flexible. I know for me, I can fall into a pattern of always doing what is better for another person, especially in partnership. So I try to be extra mindful of my own needs. Hope it helps you too!
3. Sign Up for that Class or Workshop You've Been Thinking About
What are you waiting for? The perfect moment? Might be waiting a while when you could put forth a little extra effort for yourself now! Take time to study online, there may be a free resource if money is an issue. I find, most often it's my time management that keeps me from pursuing things that spark my interest. There are moments when I think about that language I want to study, then turn to some other activity instead, like IG or FB, just out of habit! One thing that helps me dive in is making my study a non-negotiable part of my day! No matter what, I will study Italian, even if it's only 10 minutes on Duolingo (an amazing free language learning website/app). Other days I set a timer to dive into whatever articles spark my interest on essential oils, or anatomy, or vegan recipes! In this amount of time (20-60 mins) I read the things I would normally bookmark, make notes on the highlights, and sometimes journal creative ideas that get sparked. I like to consider everything I learn as a springboard for my own creativity. Do it now. Get into that thing you've been wanting to learn. You never know what beauty you'll find in yourself along the way!
4. Think, Speak, and Act Like You Believe in Yourself
It's not a joke, every form of expression within your control is a tool for you to create love and opportunity. Have you ever noticed your thought patterns on the days you feel down or needy? I know those are the days when I'm doubting myself, or even putting myself or the world down for something. When I notice that pattern and shift it into the positive I experience the affects in realtime. My whole perception of the world around me becomes brighter, and the way that I speak out loud does too. Clear, mindful speech is a whole practice of its own. It doesn't necessarily need to be positive either, if it feels too much of a switch, try being neutral! When you want to complain about things, check yo'self! Is there some other perspective you could welcome in and balance yourself out with? You'll also notice when you believe in yourself out loud, other people begin to believe in you too, opportunities come your way in the form of jobs, suggestions, friends with mutual interests who inspire you! That leads us to action. Act like you believe in yourself, make an effort to train and try that hike or that dance or that musical instrument that has caught your eye. Apply for that job, talk to that person, whatever it might be. Go for it! With skills that are new to you, you have to believe in your ability to learn and grasp, even when you start out at the bottom. And know that belief in your thoughts, speech, and action is a skill of its own. It will take your effort, your good humor when you mess it up, and your relentless jumping back in to try again and find your groove. It's a life practice, and it gets easier, but the journey never ends.
5. Look at Yourself & Feel Yourself Like You are the Most Beautiful Thing in the World
When you see your own hands holding your keyboard or phone, resting on your lap, or leaning on the table, love them. It might seem odd to you now, but imagine the first time you realized you have hands, and all the things they can do! Must have been sometime when you were a little baby growing, little by little, amazing yourself with all you can do. Somewhere along the way, we learn to compare, and we start focusing on what others are up to, and how we can keep up. So much that we forget to marvel at the beautiful experience of feeling and doing whatever it is we do! Now if you're picking up what I'm putting down, then consider all the body parts you have! You could make a daily practice out of recognizing all the marvelous abilities each part has. Monday choose an organ to love. Spend a few minutes thinking about what it does for you, how it keeps you living, or cleans you out. Tuesday pick a limb or appendage, and be specific - right arm, left leg, third toe on my right foot. What does it do all day? Look how strong it is! Wednesday pick a gland, learn about the hormones it produces. Use your creativity and make a month of it if you're inspired! Noticing yourself with intentional love, care, and gratitude will help you rewire your experience in your body, as it is, here and now, with all its quirks and talents.
All I can say is, I wish I could look you in the eyes, right now. I wish I could sit with you, yeah you, and hold your hands in mine. Smile at you. And tell you, how worthy of love you are. How worthy of your own love you are. And how you don't need anyone else to do it for you first.
In fact, maybe that's what love in relationships has been all about. It's been us teaching each other, unlocking for us, little secrets of our lovableness. Remember those pieces friends, from all the love you've ever had, let them be the gateways they are, to finding endless love for yourself, truly, madly, deeply.