Self-care as a pathway to self-love

self love-body wisdom-personal growth

This week, I'm happy to share a guest post I wrote for The Sacred Plate.    The Sacred plate is an online community to encourage girls and women of all ages to align, support each other and share their individual wisdom to find balance, healing and meaning in the sacredness of their plates.

So many women are at war with their bodies.

And I've been the endless fight against emotions, weight gain, acne, warts, freckles, cellulite, split ends... the list is endless.

"I don't want to feel this right now."

"I hate how I look in this."  

"If only I were... taller/shorter/thinner/curvier..."  You get the idea.

In the past, I turned to food, alcohol, or shopping to calm and distract these thoughts, as so many women do.

"If I eat this ice cream, at least I'll feel better for now and won't have to think about how crappy I really feel about myself"

I had days where I picked out the part of my body I would do anything to change.  It would consume my thoughts.

And then as soon as I could let go of the thoughts about my body, the thoughts turned to my personality:

"Why can't I be more outgoing?  Funnier?  Louder?"

The thoughts all added up to:  There must be something wrong with me.

It's been a long road for me to find a deep level of acceptance and self-love.  What I see now, is that it didn't happen all at once.

It was the little actions I did again and again that led to my own radical self-acceptance.


Now I guide other women on that path to find self-love.

However, through my work, I've learned, no matter how much love and encouragement I funnel to my clients, I cannot make my clients love themselves.  That has to come from them.

So where to start?

The first step is awareness.  Ask yourself, "Where are these thoughts coming from?" "Is it the tv shows I'm watching?  Am I surrounding myself with people who talk negatively about themselves?"  "What was my mother like when I was growing up? - was she the kind of woman who gave to everyone but herself?"

Once you have the awareness, you can take action.

Stop buying the magazines or watching the tv shows that always end with a carton of ice cream in your lap.  Listen to inspiring TED talks or Super Soul Sunday instead.  Make new friends in yoga class.  And remind yourself, "I'm not my mother/sister/best friend from highschool/etc..  I can do this differently"  

Then you can create a new reality.

I believe it's impossible to feel stuck and depressed for too long if you are consistently:

  • Eating whole, organic foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking baths
  • Meditating
  • Giving yourself enough time to rest
  • Having meaningful connections and relationships

I started with small, consistent actions of self-care to discover love within and for myself.

Here are some of my favorite self-care techniques I use for myself and suggest to my clients:

1. Take an epsom salt bath

The salts will relax your muscles and draw toxins out of the skin.  You'll come out feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to cozy up with a book or fall asleep.

2. Read affirmations while you're brushing your teeth

I have a poster hanging on my bathroom wall that I read while I'm brushing my teeth, putting body butter on my body, or going to the bathroom.  It is a constant reminder of I AM ETERNAL LOVE.  Or I AM FORGIVEN.  You can find more of my favorite affirmations in my 4-day Self-Care Reset.

3. Drink herbal tea

When I feel a sugar craving, loneliness, or simply want to do something nice for myself, I make a cup of tea.  Try my favorite Tulsi Cinnamon Rose, it is luxurious.

4. Let go of FOMO - the fear of missing out (and go to bed early)

Because sometimes the night at the bar would be no where near as nourishing as staying in, cooking a delicious dinner and falling asleep by 9 pm.

5. Practice yoga and meditation

This is where I learned to be with myself as I am.  I realized, there's nothing wrong with me, and there's nothing I need to change.  I show up to my mat as I am and can let go of self-judgements and negative thoughts.

In the beginning, it will probably not be something you want to do, and that's okay.  If you're coming from a stressful lifestyle or have a lot of negative thoughts rolling around in your head, it will probably feel unfamiliar and maybe downright uncomfortable to take these steps.  You may even do anything to avoid it.

But from my experience, freedom is waiting for you on the other side. When you PUSH THROUGH and make these small actions of self-care a priority, you will no longer be at war with your body.

It is so much harder to be at war with your body when you are consistently and lovingly taking care of it. {tweet it}

After awhile, you may not even be able to live without your self-care routine.

When you are taking loving and consistent steps to take care of your body, you may no longer be able to pull an all nighter.  It may be harder to take on more than you can handle at work.

But it will be easier to say "No thank you" to the cookies your friend offers, because you'll realize, "I just love myself too much to do it." 

And all of these small actions will lead to to waking up one day, looking in the mirror and thinking, "Wow. I genuinely love myself." 

At least that's what happened to me.~

In the comments, I'd love to hear, what small act of self-care will you take today?

With love, Meredith