Self-Love Is Not Very Fun Or Easy

I swear, this will not be a post about bubble baths. I think the market is so flooded at this point with so many misconceptions about self-love, what it is, and what it looks like. It’s now a watered-down buzz word, and it’s unfortunate because it’s a very real thing that we should all be examining and putting into practice. But doing self-love the right way is just not very fun or easy, and no one really wants to talk about that. So I will!

woman in a bathtub wearing sunglasses

Photo by CRYSTALWEED cannabis on Unsplash

Over the years, I’ve learned that I experience major shifts and upticks in my self-love quotient when I perform deliberate actions in the name of self-love. And again, it’s not hopping into a bubble bath, although I am not bashing bubble baths in this article. It’s just that, it’s easy to hop into a bath, or go buy yourself something fun to cheer you up. It’s way harder to say NO to something that you want to say YES to. And it’s way harder to do something that disappoints another person. But these kinds of things, my friends, are really the game changers when it comes to self-love.

Below is a list of just a few things that I have been putting into practice lately, or at least I’m trying to. This list is in no way comprehensive, but I hope you find it inspiring, supportive, and helpful on your journey to loving yourself just a wee bit more!

1. Refrain From Behaving In Ways That Make You Feel Ashamed

I used to think fear was my number one, all-time dreaded emotion. I still hate it. It feels agitating and uncomfortable in my body, and it’s really hard to contain and process when I’m in it. However, since I’ve been dating over the last year and a half, I’ve recently adopted a new dreaded emotion. SHAME. I hate it so much, and I think it feels SOOOO much worse than fear. Shame is inescapable, and the only way through it is to forgive yourself, which is also incredibly difficult. It’s better to just not do the thing we know we’re gonna feel shameful about later. We can do all kinds of things that we feel ashamed of and forget we sort of have a say in the matter. We don’t have to keep performing shameful acts just because we always have. We can stop, in the name of self-love. And with each time we refrain from doing something that we historically feel shameful about afterwards, we fill up that self-love jar with just a tad more coin. And it’s really powerful and life-changing.

In case you’re curious, shameful acts for me, in the dating world, include: blowing up a guy’s phone if he’s ignoring me, sharing too much too soon with someone I barely know, and putting someone on a pedestal and acting accordingly. These are things I used to do quite often with men, and always felt TERRIBLE afterwards. The results were never good, and I always knew beforehand it was the wrong thing to do. But self-love takes discipline. Again, it ain’t fun or easy, but I can hold my head high now when it comes to the way I behave in the dating world. I behave more like a goddess attainable, perfectly imperfect, but pretty much kicking ass as I fumble like the rest of us. Because I forced myself to stop those behaviors. I did this buy projecting how I might feel afterwards, before I did the thing, and sometimes literally just sat on my hands until the urges passed. It works if you try!

black and white photo of someone putting their hand up to say no

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

2. Improve The Way You Talk To Yourself

I take a deep dive into the topic of self-talk in my article, “Really Listen To The Way We Talk To Ourselves.” And Wynne and I have a beautiful discussion about this topic in our podcast episode with the same title.

In general, just know that this is an ongoing thing. We’re never gonna speak to ourselves perfectly and lovingly at all times, and it’s a process that hopefully improves as we go. Unfortunately, the truth is that we probably talk to ourselves in a really abusive way most of the time. So just start taking a look at that. It’s hard and it’s not fun or easy, but really makes a difference.

3. The Choices You Make In Your Relationships DIRECTLY Affect Your Self-Love Quotient

If you put up with abuse, it’s because you believe you deserve it. So, saying no to abuse is like saying YES to yourself, even if you don’t totally believe you deserve to say yes. Self-love doesn’t come before the changes in your life. You have to change your life in order to improve the love you have for yourself. YOU have to do it for yourself, it can’t be done for you or given to you. And relationships in life are everything.

I think the range of abuse that people put up with is a bit frightening. We can all justify things and say, “Well, they aren’t as bad as they used to be.” Or, “At least I’m not being treated like that other person over there.” There are always going to be people who mistreat us. Not because we deserve it or because people suck. It’s just people. Many times, people who hurt us don’t even realize it. They’re just doing their thing, misbehaving, or just being themselves. But for whatever reason, it can hurt us and make us feel like crap. These things are inevitable if we choose to be around other human beings and not live on a deserted island. But we get to be the crossing guard of our own life. We say who is allowed in and who needs to get out. We don’t have to crucify someone or even judge them. But we do have to say no to behavior that feels really rough to be on the receiving end of. Trust your feelings. If you feel repeatedly crappy around a person, then it’s probably a no. Although, it’s for you to examine. But many times, it’s best to remove yourself from a relationship that isn’t serving you. Or, if the relationship has many other amazing and nurturing aspects, then have that hard and awkward conversation.

Just don’t sit around and wait for people to stop treating you like crap. They won’t, and it’s not even their job. It’s YOUR job to take care of yourself. It’s your job to say no. And it’s your job to literally ask/tell them (with your words) to treat you differently. It’s also your job to walk away if they can’t or choose not to.

This is hard. This is not fun. But this is a supremely crucial act of self-love.

walking away into the sunset

Photo by Egor Vikhrev on Unsplash

4. How You Feel About Your Exterior Matters

I know this one might be a bit controversial, because God/Goddesses made us all look so different from one another. And then society went and told us which things God/Goddesses got right, and which things they got wrong. It’s all so complicated and it’s all so personal. So, I’m not saying you need to go make yourself into something that you are not. All I’m saying is, sometimes when we feel like crap about ourselves, we feel worse about our appearance. Which then makes us feel even worse about our insides. And sometimes, we can feel pretty okay about ourselves, but just be dragged down by things we don’t like about our appearance. It’s very complicated, but worth examining.

I think the self-help/self-love world focuses a lot on self-acceptance. And I’m all for self-acceptance! But I think sometimes, it promotes avoiding dealing with our exteriors, because it can be so painful to face our physical imperfections and things we can’t do much about. But our exterior is simply a part of who we are, whether we like it or not. And we must make peace with it, and ultimately, learn to love what God/Goddesses gave us. They didn’t make any mistakes when they made our bodies how they made them. But we also have to recognize our contribution. If we are abusing our bodies and our physical appearance reflects that, then that’s on us. God/Goddesses are only so responsible. And again, it all comes back to how we feel. If we feel good when we look in the mirror, then fantastic, and proceed. That’s one less thing to worry about. But if we repeatedly feel not great about our appearance, action is called for.

For example, I have historically hated my arms. I hate showing them in public and I always just look at them and cringe. Then it hit me one day, “Hmmm, I can actually do something about this if I want to. I could start doing some arm exercises every morning.” I chose not to, ha! I mean, I did for awhile and then I was like eh, I’m done. However, just acknowledging that I wasn’t helpless over this thing I hated about myself, was so powerful and healing. There are always things we can do. We aren’t aiming for perfection. We just want to feel better.

It’s not for me to say what action to take. That’s an individual journey and it’s absolutely none of my business. But avoiding how you feel about your appearance weighs heavy on the self-love burden. And until you can tell yourself, I’m doing everything I can to work with what God/Goddesses gave me, then there might be more to face.

Thank you!

Sorry to end with such a tough love bit, but it’s just the way this article unfolded. I do hope this list is helpful and supportive, and I would love, love, love to hear the thing that makes you feel most altered on your self-love journey. What has changed you the most when it comes to learning to love yourself in new and improved ways? I can’t wait to read your comments! xo

(featured photo from Pexels)

35 thoughts on “Self-Love Is Not Very Fun Or Easy

  1. So many things in your post that hit a note of recognition, Libby…none more so than this re: point #4: …”we also have to recognize our contribution” to feelings about appearance and self-worth. Yep. This lines up so perfectly with my never-ending efforts to be a more conscious eater…eating for health…because there are both internal and external benefits in how I feel, how I perceive myself when I do so. Thanks for the encouragement…and the oh-so-relatable sharing. Hugs! 🥰

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh thank you for sharing that Vicki! Yes it’s such an intensely sensitive issue. Our appearance is this thing we don’t want to mean anything, but it does, because it is a part of us. And our relationship to our appearance is sooooo intimate! Hence, why I so appreciate your share about it. 😘😘😘

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I totally agree! I’m glad I said it even though I was/am afraid of some strong reactions that might come as a result. But I think it’s so spiritual to deal with our bodies and our appearance. It’s just as spiritual as every other part of ourselves that we need to heal and learn to love and take care of 🌺

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I keep coming back to your statement that self-love takes discipline. It really does. AS you mentioned, the way I talk and treat myself take a lot of work. I can’t just do it today and forget about it. I think the thing that has helped me is as you say understanding self control. Yes, I can work on my arms or whatever if I want to do so. If I don’t that’s fine too, but I need to recognize that I have power and discipline. It’s up to me. Great post Libby.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for such a great post, Libby! I especially like your point about taking personal accountability for the things within our control, which is truly so powerful.

    I struggled through my awkward teens and spent my early 20s practicing the “bubble bath” style self-love and self-acceptance, but the pivotal change for me was when I developed chronic illness in my mid-20s. With low energy and poor cognition, my physique and mental sharpness softened. However, I developed empathy for myself, learned to accept my body’s limitations, and came to appreciate my efforts and the tiniest victories. I wouldn’t wish that type of trauma on anyone, but sometimes being stripped of our identity (or what we believe to be our identity) helps us recognize and love who we truly are at our core, in spite of our flaws and imperfections.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree with the other comments, thank you for going beyond the ‘fluff’ of self care/self-love and focusing on the foundations of the relationship we have with ourselves. It’s a mirror that it’s very hard to hold up and be honest with ourselves. I found it ironic that I sat down to the reader, and your post, just as I opened up the fridge looking for something tasty … I knew chocolate and biscuits were calling me, but like you said, I took a pause and thought what do I need … came to sit down with a tub of fresh strawberries and had some cheese for protein which I decided is what I needed.

    As Brian said, we can’t make this decision once and that’s it, it’s many micro-decisions that we also have to make daily.

    Thanks for being brave enough to share this Bx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yessss all of this!!! And strawberries and cheese sound delicious! Although so does chocolate 🤣 And yes, it’s almost moment to moment and so personal. Maybe later you’ll need that bit of chocolate and that’s ok too. Thanks so much for reading and enjoying with thoughtful presence 🌺🌺💖💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure. Yes, I can treat myself with chocolate later if I choose, but I was so pleased that I was mindful with my choice now … and then your post was perfect timing 😍

        Liked by 1 person

  5. All the major yes votes for #3 especially! There is only one person you can change and that is yourself. Took me roughly 30 years to realize that, but thank god I did.

    “Trust your feelings. If you feel repeatedly crappy around a person, then it’s probably a no. Although, it’s for you to examine. But many times, it’s best to remove yourself from a relationship that isn’t serving you.” So, so true.

    The things we do, and the people we allow to rule our lives because we believe we deserve to be treated in a specific way are mind-boggling. So glad you are learning to love Libby and accept your worth as a human. That you do deserve without question 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Love this post, Libby! Tell it, Sister!! For me, #1 is so important – to live as if I have no more secrets. Which since I started blogging about all of them, is now true! 🙂 You’re right, it’s hard not to do the things your feel like doing but you know aren’t good for you. But when you stop – as you say, it’s powerful and life-changing! Love you, Goddess! ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oy yes #1 is soooo powerful and it’s just the thing they don’t tell us. That behaving “badly” is just gonna make us hate ourselves. I’m glad I’ve allowed myself to go there and perform shameful acts so I can experience the range of human emotions 🤣🤣 but yeah it’s doing nothing for my self-worth. Thank you for your courage to share your secrets, goddess! Love you as well and thanks always for your support! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Many great thoughts in your post. As for #4 I moved to Scottsdale two years ago and I’m freaked out by the plastic surgery I see. I know they are trying for self love and the fountain of youth, but once I was at a barre class and I saw all these plastic faces around me! There are so many things we can do to improve our appearance in our daily lives, without that!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As I ponder your post, I believe in the importance of # 2. What we think and say to ourselves greatly affects us emotionally and physically. Our brains become what we focused on – I am focusing on gratitude and happiness! All my best to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This blog was a GREAT read and you done a fabulous job writing it. A lot of these are hard for me and I’m learning but just as you say….it’s NOT easy but I also know through my life-walk anything worthwhile does not come easy. Thanks again this was a pinch me reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a great list. And the pointer about positive self talk – both external and internal – are so important to self love. Negative self talk can be such a deterrent.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really appreciate your vulnerability in being specific about the things you have felt shameful about (though I’m wondering how you blow up a guy’s phone) 😉. It takes a lot of courage to confess perceived shortcomings out loud, but I’ve always found that doing so seems to take sting out of it. It sounds as if you’re on a really healthy, healing path, and good for you! 👏

    Liked by 1 person

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