Why on earth is it so difficult for us women to nurture ourselves? We are so very capable of giving love to everyone else around us but when it comes to spreading the same comforting compassion to ourselves, we seem at a total loss. Saying mean things to our bodies, minds and souls somehow seems so much easier. We have absolutely no trouble calling ourselves ‘fat’, ‘lazy’, ‘not good enough’, ‘a total failure’, ‘ugly’, ‘greedy’, or ‘unworthy’. It seems so weird. I am seeing so many incredibly amazing women every day who cannot see how truly beautiful and magic they really are. And yet, I can relate. Giving myself some true self-compassion is something that did not come easy to myself either. But I am proud to say that I am getting better at it. Even more exciting, the more I practise self-love, the bigger and brighter my world becomes.
Ladies, it is time we exchanged beating ourselves up with an authentic, healthy dose of self-compassion. Here are my 5 favourite ways on how to do so.
- Exchange negative self-talk with positive one.
Every time you catch yourself saying something mean to or about yourself, hit the stop button. Replace your ‘I will never be able to do this’, ‘I am fat’, ‘I am too stupid’, ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I don’t deserve this’ with ‘it is okay to make mistakes’, ‘to go slowly’, ‘I am worth telling myself positive things’, ‘I am grateful for everything my body does for me’, ‘I know I am doing the best I can at any given moment’, ‘I am enough’, ‘I and my body might not be perfect but this does not mean we do not deserve to be loved and nurtured’. Find words that resonate with you and feel authentic to you but by all means stop talking yourself down and instead start giving yourself credit for the imperfect miracle that you are. If it seems too far off for you to find some loving words for yourself just yet, try to at least put a ‘not’ or ‘no’ in front of every negative expression you would have used. You will notice how over time you will get better with this. The more you practise and rewire your self-critical self, the more loving and kind it will become.
- Do at least one nice thing for yourself every day.
Your first thought might be that you don’t have any time in your crazily busy life to do something lovely for yourself. You might think how selfish this would be. You might feel that there are so many more important things in your day that need to be taken care of before you could even consider giving yourself a break filled with self-love. I feel you. And trust me, I have been there. But I also found out the hard way that doing something nice for yourself is anything but selfish. It is a necessity. It is the only way you can keep spreading your love and light while nurturing everyone else. Those little acts of self-care I am suggesting here you do daily, do not have to be super time-intensive or expensive. I am talking about sitting down with a beautiful, soothing cup of tea, meditating for 10 minutes, feeling the bliss of one sun salutation, reading a few pages in your book, doing a face mask or taking a relaxing bath. You will be surprised by how much more re-vitalised you will feel and thus get done by incorporating into your life those little ‘pockets of giving-love-back-to-yourself’.
- Nourish your body with love.
It is not a secret that the more stressed we become, the less healthful our lifestyle turns. We stop packing our fridges with wholesome fresh foods and instead start to buy packaged foods, order in or eat out. We begin to crave foods loaded with unhealthy fats and sugar. We consume more alcohol, stay up longer and our sleep quality goes down the drain. We forget to drink enough water and keep our blood sugar stable with sufficient snacks but instead live on one too many cups of coffee per day. The result is: we are feeling wired but tired. Too lethargic to move. Working out or moving the body seems almost impossible. Maybe in another life. Arghhh…such a horrible cycle to be in. How would it be if instead you committed to nourishing your body with love, that is feed it with healthy-licious, beautifying wholefoods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes, healthy fats and protein. Could you imagine being mindful about your body’s needs again? Eating when you are hungry and not because you are stressed, tired, frustrated or unfulfilled. I am talking about rediscovering forms of movement that bring you joy and re-connect you to your inner moving child. Would you be open to view your sleep as something sacred again? Something that rejuvenates you from the inside out. Would you be prepared to give your broken sleep the appropriate care to heal your metabolism and increase your energy? If you are thinking to yourself now what a wonderful life this could be, it is time to change gears from unhappily stressed to self-caringly loved. And yes, this love starts from within and with YOU. Time to start treating your body the way it deserves. Time to give back to YOURSELF what YOU deserve.
- Drop perfect.
This can be hard one – especially for all those perfectionists among us like me. But if I can do it, you can too. Trying to be or do everything perfect(ly) does only two things. Number 1: it sets us up for failure because in the end nothing is truly perfect. So, in this sense perfect rather is an excuse to either not do it at all and to keep hiding your magic light or to keep telling yourself that you are not good enough. You will have to agree that both are not very empowering or positive ways towards reaching your potential and living your best life. To say the least. The second thing perfect does is: it makes you procrastinate because you keep trying to make it or be better for forever … endlessly. My solution: By allowing yourself to be perfectly imperfect you give yourself power back to actually step out of your comfort zone and grow. You are adopting a doer attitude instead of not giving things a go at all. This means your world will be moving instead of staying stuck and yes, you might not always be on the winning side with everything, but at least you have tried and are now one experience richer and stronger than before. And so much closer to living your dream life and purpose. In terms of finding your healthy happy place going imperfect can make all the difference between sense-less yo-yo dieting or beating yourself up with workouts you hate and nourishing your body with what it truly needs to thrive via delicious wholefoods and feel-good movement. Are you ready to re-define yourself with all your little flaws and quirks? Trust me it feels scarily amazing!
- Learn to say no.
Learning to respect yourself and own needs so much that you are prepared to let go of any habits or ways that harm you, is a bit like flexing a muscle you might not have used in a while. As a result, this particular muscle might feel very weak and seems almost impossible to be used. The good news is that the more you do, the stronger it gets. It is pretty sad when you think about it. But all too often, we rather overstretch, overexert and overwhelm ourselves than having to say ‘no’ to someone. Even though saying ‘yes’ all too often means we cannot fully or truly give ourselves to whatever or whoever we said yes to. Plus, as mentioned before, this saying ‘yes’ very clearly takes away from all our healthful, radiant glory that we are. So, how about re-introducing some polite clear boundaries in your life again. Boundaries of time, place, emotion, service and many other kinds which will protect your wonderful, precious energy as well as the spark and feelings of the other person. If your saying ‘no’ really is a ‘yes’ to your own health and vitality then using the ‘n’-word is as important as eating your vegetables or getting those 10’000 steps into your day. I am a very visual thinker. So whenever I require to say ‘no’ to someone in order to look after my own well-being, I picture myself lying exhausted on the ground all fours outstretched, green in my face, with big circles under my eyes, my skin all puffy from dehydration, being a total hormonal, stressed mess. This less picturesque reminder that endless overextension is totally not sexy, really uncool and does not serve anyone, works wonders for me every single time. If I am serious about being the best version of myself and looking after my health, this certainly does involve saying a big fat ‘yes’ to my own needs and a clear but kind ‘no’ to whatever or whoever would push my healthful limits over the top.
Adopting ways to nurture and nourish your precious self with positivity and love, like everything we take on new, might feel odd, overwhelming, selfish or like you ‘are-not-doing-this-right’. Trust me however, if you take little continuous steps to practise self-care and love every day, the win will be all yours. In the beginning, you might only notice little changes, like you might have stopped beating yourself up over not eating the ‘right’ things but instead genuinely enjoy feeding your body with delicious wholefoods. You might have stopped telling yourself off for not doing your all-taxing body-transformative workouts but adopted a much more efficient way for you to feel amazing in yourself. Walking often, picking up those weights or spending time on your yoga mat might suddenly feel like love and no longer like punishment. You might notice how you have exchanged feelings of unworthiness with more confidence. Feelings of stress and total overwhelm might have made room for more joy and balance. Yessss, all of these are little, wonderful signs that your life is expanding and that those little love notes you are regularly treating yourself with are totally no waste of time but instead your total superpower to living your best, most radiant life. Gorgeous, keep on self-nurturing the miracle that is YOU. You totally got this!!!