by BrijBrand Contributor, Robbi Crawford

Self-care flows from a place of self-love – it’s an inside out job. And, it’s important for men and women alike.

If you don’t have a healthy and balanced love of self, it is my experience that no one and no thing is really EVER going to contribute to your joy and any happiness that you happen to experience will only be short-lived and devoid of any real meaning.

The self-love I’m referring to is not the narcissistic kind anchored in fear, insecurity and the exclusion of others.

Genuine self-love is pure, authentic, precious, joyful, generous, secure, inclusive and craves self-care.

Self-care is more than a massage once a month, going shopping for a new purse, shoes, smart phone or leather backpack.

Self-care flows from really loving yourself just the way you are; it’s rooted in self-acceptance; loving yourself for just who you are with all of your perceived flaws and weaknesses.

When low self-esteem is evident, it’s important to address causes versus simply responding to symptoms.

It demands that you be quiet, turn down the volume on friends, family, social media and society and turn up the volume on your own inner wisdom.

It involves taking a long and honest look at who you are being, what you are doing and why, which isn’t always easy.

First, see if you can identify some of the core negative beliefs that you’ve, no doubt, internalized for some time. Those beliefs that seem to be stuck in an endless loop in your head.

Can you relate to some of the statements below that you may be habitually directing at yourself?

  • I’m not good enough . . . 
  • I don’t deserve . . . 
  • My opinions don’t matter . . .
  • I don’t matter . . .
  • What I have to say isn’t important . . .

and so on . . . 

Moving beyond these core negative beliefs is a process.

Allow me to share a personal example to emphasize the point. Although I had spent years identifying and releasing many of my own core negative beliefs, there were still a few dust bunnies lingering in the corners.

I started engaging in a daily exercise of long hand, stream-of-consciousness writing, what Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way calls writing “Morning Pages,” and discovered that some thoughts around not being good enough were still lingering.

The “mental and emotional blurts” that flowed from my pen shocked me while writing one particular morning. I could not believe that I was still wrestling internally with this distorted thinking.

However, I was thrilled, because I knew now where to focus my attention to really release these particular distortions.

I had to once and for all believe that I was whole, not broken and in need of constant repair.

Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life suggests a mirror exercise that I decided to try. It was difficult but I persisted. I had to be able to literally look at myself in the mirror, deep into my eyes and say with pure love and respect, “I love you Robin.” Over a period of time, I attempted this several times.

The first time I was able to do this without looking away, without cringing and without tears flowing down my face from the pain was a truly joyful time! I will forever remember that feeling of release, the feeling of freedom.

I introduce both of these powerful techniques to clients and encourage them to experiment with them to move beyond unhealthy self-criticism to self-love.

There are other proven strategies and approaches to integrate self-care.

Incorporating positive affirmations into your self-talk is one approach that leaves some skeptical, but it works well for many when they also deeply feel what they’re affirming.

Another approach that works really well is asking yourself when you don’t feel good, physically or otherwise, “What am I doing that I really don’t want to do”? Or “What am I not doing that I really want to do”? When you ask these questions and allow for quiet time to just sit with them it often becomes clear.

Although a wonderful benefit of self-love is being decisive, every so often when you need to make a decision and find yourself unsure, simply ask, ‘Is this aligned with what I value and really care about, will this add value to my life, and will I be truly fulfilled’? Again, allowing some time to simply sit with this can provide a great clarity.

Self-care is the best gift you can give yourself.

Absolutely, go enjoy that massage, that new purse, those new shoes, that new smart phone, or that new leather backpack, but also incorporate and learn to enjoy solitude – just being still; a solo walk in nature; eating your favorite meal; spending quality time with people you love; reading a good book; taking care of your body through physical exercise that’s fun for you; and engaging in other activities that refresh, energize, enlighten, inspire, and make you and your heart smile.

It’s an inside job – self-care flows from self-love!

smallrobinavatarlightbackgroundRobbi Crawford, The Student’s Mentor, Author and Speaker is the founder of BrijBrand. Subscribe below so you don’t miss a post. Visit our website BrijBrand and get on the list. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. We’re here to help you get where and what you want. 

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