Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Self Love

I speak to youth and adults often about self love. People feel uncomfortable talking about it most of the time. Youth usually associate self love with bragging or being cocky. Adults sometimes make jokes about masturbation or justifying unnecessary, expensive purchases that cheer them up. However, the self love that I am talking about is true love; really being love yourself. On Sunday when I wrote about the "Golden Rule", I was opening up the door to what this practice could look like for most people and why it should be adopted in the first place. 

Self love is different from being selfish. Self love is love that allows for grace, assurance, confidence, restoration, forgiveness, spiritual rest, letting go, and most of all...transformational, life-giving growth.  

The way I have come to understand self love is through the periods of my life when I practiced it and when I didn't. Those experiences exposed me to the successes and failures that come with self care or the lack of it. 

For those of you who still are not sure what self love can look like, I am going to show you how I organize these truths so that you might be able to join me in the practice of living into the fullness of the Golden Rule. 

Physical

My friend allowing himself sleep.
I believe that in order to truly become love to others we first have to become love to ourselves. One way to begin doing this is by taking good care of the bodies that we live in. Joel and I have noted throughout our relationship the biggest (and nearly only) arguments we have gotten into have come about because we were lacking one of these needs below. You could add hormones into this mix too if you like, but mainly these are the culprits of our miscommunication and bad moods. When I am hungry I can't even think straight. When I am tried I am not processing information. How can I expect to love other people well when I am not well?
  • Sleep- Between 6-8 hours
  • Eat Well
  • Exercise
  • When you are sick just STOP 
  • Rest
  • Take vitamins
  • Utilize Preventative care- chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga, annual physicals and screenings, dentist visits, wear sunglasses, wear sunscreen

Mental

Our minds were created to create.We were created to be curious. We are command to seek and find. Ask and the answers will be given. These brains were given to us for growth and development. When we limit ourselves and don't explore the possibilities we hold within us, how can we imagine them in others? How can we expect to share wisdom if we are not cultivating wisdom? How can we expect our lives to become better if we are not able to address our own behaviors and grow from transforming them time and time again? If we do not model these values of growth and imagination, we will stop seeing it among our youth. 

    Me learning the banjo
  • Try Something New- I am teaching myself to play banjo.
  • Travel
  • Read Books
  • Research Ideas
  • Hang out with people who are different from you
  • Rest-turn off the computer, turn off the music, turn off your cell phone, just rest in the quiet for a moment. Disconnect.
  • Speak only love to yourself- don't bully or condemn yourself, show yourself grace and love.
  • Choose to experience goodness
  • Choose worthiness
Joel writing music

Spiritual

 Our spiritual state is our life force. Your Spirit is the source that taps you into God's great pleasures and creations. When our spirits are allowed time to grow and connect to the power that binds us all together then we are free to live a life fully blessed by God's provision. 



  • Create something- paint, draw, invent, write, build, cook, design,write music, dance, plan a party, decorate, etc.
  • PLAY- the word "recreation" could be read as "re-creation" as you re-create yourself, relationships and experiences through play. Re-create joy over and over again.
  • Pray
  • Meditate
  • Rest
  • Say no to "doing" life and yes to "being" life
  • slow down
  • be mindful
  • experience beauty right now 
  • clean up, get rid of junk
  • tell your story and then retell it differently
  • connect to an old friend
  • make a new friend
  • be vulnerable
  • listen, really listen
  • feel all of your emotions, claim them, live them and don't be ashamed.
  • worship
  • commune with others and with God
  • Be part of one thing at a time
  • talk to a counselor- if you have had any reason to see a counselor do not hesitate to go. Chances are only a few visits will make a world of difference. This a gift to you.

Joel and his brother playing in Little River
 Self care, like all things, is part of a delicate balance. These practices should not take over all of your free time. What I am proposing is that self care is the yin to your neighbor-loving yang. As much as you love others, love yourself. As much as you say "yes" to other people, say "yes" to your own needs. If you can practice both of these things in full then you will become the fullness of love. When you are restored in love then pouring love out will not be the goal or the burden because it will simply be what is happening. When you are full of love then that love becomes life, the way of life. This is the self love that I am talking about and this is a way of living that I believe is life fully alive.