With children returning to school and more of a structured routine in place, this time of year can be a time of reflection for many moms. I know it is for me.
I’ve heard September being called the second “New Year” and personally, I’ve always thought of it as a fresh start.
As much as I love summer (and this past one was extra special for some reason), I welcome the cooler temperatures, vibrant fall foliage, glowing candles, fuzzy sweaters, and pumpkin everything!
Being someone who enjoys learning, I’ve always anticipated the fresh perspective September seems to offer. It is far enough along in the year to appreciate how far you’ve come yet there is still time to grow and transform if you are open to being stretched out of your comfort zone.
I believe many of you may agree with me because when I posted in my FB group what type of challenge the members were most interested in, the Self-Love Challenge won out. I was so excited because I believe learning to prioritize self-care is a building block for all areas of health and wellness.
So, I’m curious, how do you define self-love?
I define self-love as prioritizing my needs in a balanced way. This doesn’t mean that I put myself in front of everyone else in a selfish way. It means I realize without meeting my needs on a consistent basis, I will be giving everyone else in my life mere scraps rather than the best I have to offer from the overflow of self-love.
What self-love looks like is different for everyone but I believe the overall themes are very similar. Some of the common themes I’ve observed include:
- exceptional self-care
For me, self-love looks like getting enough sleep every night, making time to exercise, having quality time to think and pray, reading a good book, getting my hair done, offering myself grace when I mess up, spending time with treasured family and friends, and eating healthy foods/taking supplements.
What does self-love look like for you?
- Do you enjoy going for a massage or getting your nails done?
- Do you enjoy going out on a date with your spouse or for dinner with a close friend?
- Do you enjoy solitude with a riveting book, a paintbrush, or a power tool?
- Do you enjoy shopping and finding the best deals on items you need/want?
Now there may be seasons in life where allocating a lot of extra time to your needs is more difficult. I completely understand these difficult seasons because I’ve lived them.
A few years ago, I was simultaneously caring for our 4-year old son who was battling cancer while taking care of my precious Dad who had Parkinson’s Disease. It was not an easy time. However, I would argue that it is during these trying periods that you need even more self-love to not only thrive but survive.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who notices the staggering negativity in our world. People are simply not happy. Let’s consider how society could benefit from our consistent self-love practices. If each of us took exquisite care of ourselves daily, what could possibly unfold around us?
Let’s use me as an example…
When I sleep well, I wake up refreshed, ready to take on the day. My mind is more focused on what I need to prioritize and accomplish. I have more patience for my family and those around me. I don’t overreact at the slightest annoyance or feel rejected by an imagined slight. I choose to give others the benefit of the doubt.
When I choose to eat whole foods, I strengthen my body by providing it with what it needs to function at its best. I also believe that eating high quality, nutrient-dense foods, rather than processed foods, helps strengthen my immune system and helps me maintain a healthy weight for my unique body.
I feel stronger, more confident, and comfortable in my own skin. I step out of my comfort zone and allow myself to be stretched more than I ever have. I inspire another person to do the same and we celebrate each other’s success.
When I spend quality time with God in prayer, my heart is awakened to His ways, His timing, His promptings. I realize the gift of all the blessings I have been granted which floods my heart with gratitude. I have more understanding and offer grace more quickly to others. I show mercy rather than judgment. I release envy and bitterness. I pray and lift up, rather than compare and despair.
These are just a few examples of what is possible when one person prioritizes nurturing, self-love.
Now, let me be clear, this is what I strive for on a daily basis. Do I always do everything perfectly on this list? Of course not, but at least I have a compass to guide me toward the life I want.
What do you think is possible if each of us committed to living this way consistently?
I see a ripple effect of love circulating around the world. This type of love could have a positive impact not only in this moment in time, but could potentially change the course of history.
I recall reading a book many years ago that suggested that one person can have an immense impact on the world. I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, but have you ever really stopped to consider what your part may be?
If you look back at history, you can find examples of individuals who either left a positive or negative impact on the world. For me, Jesus is at the top of the list of people who impacted the world in the best way possible.
He came to set the captives free and He did it with the most intense, self-less love humanity has ever witnessed. Interestingly, though, He practiced a form of self-love that is often overlooked. Although He gave so much of Himself to others, He also spent much needed time alone and ran to the Father to be refreshed.
Even the God of the Universe took time to care for His needs. Perhaps we can follow His example of how to spread love not only to ourselves, our family and friends, but also to an extremely thirsty world.
Leave a comment and let me know how you define self-love and how you plan to practice it today!
P.S. If you are interested in joining my 5-Day Mom’s Self-Love Challenge, register <HERE>. We would love to have you!