Good Morning Monday –
Affirmative Thoughts for a Great Week
Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you all had a GREAT weekend relaxing, recharging and refreshing self and spending time with those that give you energy. I hope you are ready and raring to go toward a GREAT week! To prepare yourself, take a deep cleansing breath inhaling for a count of 8; hold your breath for a count of 2; and then exhale for a count of 8. Do this as many times now or when you need to throughout the week to help you prepare yourself to be calm, centered and focused.
The focus of my message this week is all about Self-Love and Self-Appreciation. Many times in life, we focus on appreciation, love and gratitude from an outward perspective. We recount all of the things (external to us) for which we are grateful. I never thought about it in this way until I had a conversation with my daughter, Bryn, surrounding the topic of gratitude. She said to me, “Mom, it is easy for me to write a gratitude list about what I am grateful for when I think about the “things” I am grateful for; but, if I turn my thoughts inward and think about what I appreciate and am grateful for about myself – it is HARD and I struggle to put the list together.” My first reaction to this conversation was sadness. Then, upon deeper reflection, I came to the realization that probably most of us struggle in the same way. We may like or even love ourselves when we think we are doing things that are “like or love worthy”. However, when we are having challenges in our life or possibly behaving in ways that do not meet our “high standards” for self, do we love ourselves then? What is the message we send ourselves during those times?
Self-Love and Self-Appreciation is an “Inside Job”. We need to begin to realize that self-love is foundational and sets the tone for every other relationship that we have in our lives. Self-love then is not a destination, but a practice that we institute to live a happy, fulfilling life. So, how do we begin to create a habit, a practice in our life for self-love and self-appreciation to flourish?
Let’s start with a common vocabulary for what I refer to when I am talking about self-love. The definition I use for self-love is that it is an unconditional feeling of love, caring, appreciation and acceptance of yourself. It is fully accepting yourself so that no matter what you do, you always love yourself (you may not love the behavior), but you love yourself unconditionally as a human being, with the same depth, strength and intensity at all times. This is a lifetime’s work.
Ok, so how do you begin on this journey to love and appreciate self? Well, a good place to start is to LISTEN TO YOUR INNER VOICE – What is it telling you? Is your very own self talk positive and affirmative or is it negative and critical. Remember – the thoughts we think and the words we speak create our world and our experiences. What we believe about ourselves and our lives comes true for us. So, if we find ourselves thinking and saying things that are negative – then we must CHANGE IT – CONSCIOUSLY WE CAN CHOOSE A NEW THOUGHT. We must TAKE CONTROL OF OUR INNER VOICE.
Remember – the things you hear in your head have probably been there much of your life. Don’t be disheartened! These are just thoughts and thoughts can be changed!
So, once you become aware of your inner voice – Pay Attention! The next time you catch yourself saying something not positive – Stop Yourself and say, “CANCEL”. Once you have canceled the negative thought, say a NEW thing to yourself. Even if what you say, at the time, is hard to believe, eventually you will begin to believe the affirmation and begin to grow feelings of appreciation and love for yourself.
Finally, I came across an interesting article entitled, “Self-Love Must Come First: How to Love Yourself”. The writer used Gary Chapman’s Book, The 5 Love Languages, as a foundation for creating a practice of how to learn to love yourself. Below are some examples she used. Review and if there are some within the lists that resonate with you; try them out!
Words of Affirmation – (Think Self-Love): Practice daily affirmations. Journal strengths about yourself for which you are grateful. Keep your self- talk positive. Turn down the volume on the inner critic. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
Acts of Service – (Do Self-Love): Prepare healthy meals for yourself. Create a clean, organized home environment. Schedule regular health care well-appointments. Groom yourself with love and care.
Receiving Gifts - (Absorb Self-Love): Buy only what you love. Don’t allow things in your closet that don’t bring positive vibrations. Purge items that don’t give you joy. Gift yourself with an experience on your bucket list.
Quality Time – (Be Present with Self-Love): Set aside time for daily mindfulness, meditation or deep breathing exercises. Make time for leisure and hobbies. Prioritize sleep and exercise.
Physical Touch (Feel Self-Love): Release toxins by taking a hot bath with Epsom salts. Moisturize your skin with lotions. Give yourself a spa treatment. Get a massage.
At the end of the day, the more you practice self-love the stronger message you send to yourself that you deserve it. This is a journey that takes dedication and practice. It is not vain or selfish to love yourself and make happiness a priority – it is necessary. You cannot love and appreciate others, if you do not love and appreciate yourself.
I will leave you with a closing thought: “Note to Self: I Am Going To Make YOU So Proud!"