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Loving self before loving others.

How do you love yourself? Or should we start with do you love yourself?

Can you love others if you don't love yourself? So many questions to ponder.

I want you to love yourself and others- and love well. Don't get distracted by the idea of how others love you. Remember, that's out of our control. (Refer back to the last two blogs about control and permissions.)

There are some practical things you can put in place to be sure that you are on track to love yourself well. Put your permissions in place. Practice being present in the moment. Treat yourself. Extend grace to yourself when you make mistakes or bad choices. Be honest with yourself. Don't compare yourself to others. Extend forgiveness to yourself and others. Practice gratitude. Journal. Be creative. Practice a hobby. It doesn't matter where you start, only that you do. Pick one of these or maybe you have another idea of how to start this path. Or, you are already on this path, keep going!!

Loving ourself is a powerful area where we can lead by example. Maybe you have children or grandchildren that are watching. Maybe it's your co-worker, neighbor, or family members. But I assure you someone is watching and when they see that you will have their attention.

If you are ready to do the work and are feeling unusually brave you may be ready to practice mirror work. It's where you stand in front of a full length mirror naked, yes naked. Take in the full beauty of who you are and of your body. This includes all the things that culture tells us are flaws or unattractive. Say out loud to yourself what you love and appreciate. For example, I have stretch marks. I got most of them during pregnancy. I carried three babies and the last two were big babies. I can look at those stretch marks and thank my body for stretching and making the space for these babies.

I hear you laughing at the absurdity of this but I promise if you start this practice you will experience growth. If this feels too hard, start somewhere else but work towards this as your goal.

If I asked you to say nice things to this little girl you wouldn't have any difficulty. So maybe that's where you start. Find a photograph of yourself as a little girl. Tell her all the things you love about her.

Back to loving others, we can't fully love them if we don't love ourselves.

"Learn to love yourself first, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you." ~John Spence

I love each of you. I think you are beautiful. Women are beautiful. I hope you see it too!

I also know this work is challenging in a culture that constantly tells us the many ways we don't measure up. I am proud of your courage and audacity to do this work!

Much love,


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