Do you love yourself?
What does it mean to love yourself?
It means forgiving yourself for having a bad day (or two). Having bad days does not make you a bad mum.
It means giving yourself room to fail. You don’t have to be perfect. Who can ever be? The important thing is to keep trying and to keep learning from mistakes.
It means scheduling breaks. To slow down. To relax. To not react at life so much but to take a step back and think about what you really want.
It means recognising that your sense of self-worth lies not in your children, nor in your marriage, nor how much you’re able to juggle every ball that parenting throws at you without dropping a single one. It lies in the person that you are today, and how much you try to choose kindness and love even when you don’t feel like it.
It means letting go of resentment, regrets and hate.
It means pampering yourself from time to time. (Perhaps a spa treatment or a pedicure, or just a simple brunch with girlfriends on a Saturday morning, or even romancing a good book.)
It means cultivating strong, nurturing friendships with other women.
It means forgiving those who’ve hurt you in the past. It also means forgiving yourself for your past failures.
It means never thinking that you’re not good enough.
It means respecting yourself and recognising your own strengths and weaknesses.
It means feeling free to express your needs to your spouse, and ask for help or understanding or time-off.
It means not feeling guilty when you take time-off for yourself.
As mums, it’s even more essential that we learn to cherish ourselves, because our role calls us to love and cherish others. If we don’t know how to care for ourselves, we actually have very little to give…
You can love yourself more starting from today.
1. Do something for yourself. Get a new hairstyle or hair colour. Pick up a new skill or hobby. Make time for yourself, even if it’s for a cup of coffee downstairs, alone. Gather with friends and check out new cafes or the best new chocolate cake in town.
2. Make time to fulfill a dream. Mums have dreams too, and these dreams don’t disappear just because children happen. And we also know that dreams don’t just turn into reality over night. If you’ve always wanted to start a business or initiative, you’ve got to brainstorm, plan, and take steps towards it.
3. Schedule regular me-time. I have to highlight the word “regular” because I think that’s the real challenge for mothers. We tend to feel so responsible for everything that goes on at home or at work, and it can be difficult to let go. My hubby encourages me to schedule time-off (especially when he notices that I’m grumpier than usual).
4. Read. I’m one of those who starts with a book and then gets distracted by life or other responsibilities and I let go of it. If that’s you too, and if there is still good reason to pick up that book, then do it. If you don’t have a book that’s calling out to be read, look around for one or ask for recommendations from friends.
5. Surround yourself with positive people. I’ve thankful to have a circle of like-minded female friends whom I always confide in and who will always believe in me. It’s not imperative that they be female, but it’s imperative that they be positive. Plus, their only interest should be to build you up and be a support for you (of course, this is a two-way street).
6. Tell your mate how to best show love to you. Dr. Gary Chapman, in his book, The Five Love Languages (How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate) identifies five main ways that people express and receive love.
- Words of Affirmation – Encouragement through words (verbal or written)
- Quality Time – Focused and intentional time spent together
- Receiving Gifts – A thoughtful gift as a gesture of love
- Acts of Service – Doing something to meet a practical need for the other person
- Physical Touch – Hugs, rubs, kisses, and touch that conveys warmth and affection
If your mate doesn’t know which language is yours, tell him and give him ideas on what you would love to see him do for you.
7. Eat healthy, stay active. Being physically healthy is more than just a feel-good thing; it helps to improve mental alertness, and increases our overall quality of life.
8. Be thankful for the little things. Keep a little notebook of thanksgiving. Note down the little triumphs and milestones you see in your own life. That way, when life gets tough, you can look back at these and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.
Loving yourself is loving your family too. They are the first to benefit when you are well, inside and out.
You are definitely worth it.