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How Well Do You Love?

How well do you love? What kind of question is that? Most of us would say we are good at showing love and giving to others. We all have our inner circle of family and friends that are important parts of our lives. I don't doubt that they feel loved by you. BUT how well do you LOVE YOURSELF? We spend a great deal of time ensuring we are accepted and behave in a manner that is not offensive or rude, yet the hardest critic we will ever face is ourselves. Many of us devote very little time to fostering self-love.

Whether we did not receive positive support as a child, or life events have drained us of self-confidence, we can still learn the skills to give ourselves grace and exhibit self-love. This starts with changing the inner conversations we have and cultivating opportunities to feel joy and pride. Our inner conversations are the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour thoughts that drive our life. They are the way we respond to disappointment, stress, and struggles. Is there a negative spin on your thoughts and beliefs about yourself? Let's change that! Affirmations are a great first step to changing the tone of your self-talk. Find a few affirmations that resonate with you. Post them in common areas of your life (bathroom mirror, car dash, your computer, etc.) Create a ritual of speaking these affirmations to yourself. I find out loud works best for me.

There was a point in my life when my self-esteem was impacted by the small word "yes." I had developed a people-pleaser attitude and always said "yes" to anything people needed help with. From running an errand to covering a shift, or participating on a committee I did not have an interest in. I was exhausted from all the "yes" work I was doing! It left me rushed to complete tasks, and take care of my family and home, and often robbed me of spending time with those I loved. This life I had devised was creating anxiety and making me feel inadequate. My focus was not balanced. I felt I was failing in the areas I wanted to succeed in the most! All the things that brought me joy received the least of my attention.

THINGS HAD TO CHANGE! And they did, but through conscious effort. My mantra became, "Let me get back to you on that." I started vetting all the things I normally would just say yes to. I started to question; does this fit into my schedule, do I really want to do this, and what will I lose out on if I am busy with this. Taking time to question my actions made a huge difference in my life and how I prioritized the things I value the most.

This simple change was also paired with an internal conversation that shifted to a joy-driven, self-loving approach. I found when I started to affirm a love for myself and have conversations that reassured me that I am worthy, I am valuable, and my happiness matters, I felt more balanced. I knew that the energy spent on others came from a genuine desire to give from my heart. My heart felt fuller knowing that I was sharing the same love I was fostering for myself.

I will end by saying, self-love takes guts! We have all experienced moments we are not proud of. We each know what it feels like to make mistakes and have regrets. Self-love requires us to understand we are not unique in hardships and heartaches. It is a commonality of all humans. Fostering self-love is the tenacity to dig deep and create the opportunity to overcome. Every day is a fresh start. Let the next chapter in your life be filled with self-love and a kind inner voice!

Joy and peace, Chris

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