Today, I’m honored to present my interview with Rosie Molinary, who writes one of my favorite blogs about self-acceptance and self-love. (I’m sure you’re used to seeing links to her inspiring pieces every week here on Weightless.) Rosie’s blog is packed with practical tips and empowering insights.
So I’m excited that she’s sharing her wisdom on practicing self-love for our monthly series. Mara and I started this series to demystify self-love and take it from abstract to accessible.
Rosie is also author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance, another big inspiration for me. She helps women not only take softer, and more compassionate care of ourselves, but also to find our purpose, and live it honestly and beautifully. I am constantly learning so much from Rosie, and I know you will, too.
1. How do you practice self-love?
Now, I practice self-love by how I interact with myself at most every turn. I feel something in my body, and I respond to it as soon as I possibly can. I feel something in my soul and I honor it and respond to it in a way that allows my spirit to know that it has been heard. I think something and I honor that thought- by finding the answer to the question or sharing the idea or capturing it on paper.
Self-love allows me to understand that I have worth and that my whole being deserves attention. So paying attention is my greatest self-love practice. But has it always been this way? No.
When I was young, paying attention to everything and anyone else was my first priority. It was the ultimate in unselfishness, I felt, and I wanted desperately to be unselfish, to give, to have an impact.
Once, one of my high school students wrote me a note that said, “I fear that you might give until you give out.” Sadly, he was both wise and prescient.
I did give out, essentially “breaking” my body so badly that I could not return to teaching for weeks. I had refused to go to the doctor to get an antibiotic early in an illness because it meant my students would have a substitute for one class period.
When the emergency room doctor who saw me spitting up blood told me I could not return to my classroom for weeks, something clicked. I realized that giving until you give out is not the ultimate act of unselfishness.
Self-love is because it sustains you.
2. What book is a must-read for self-love, body image or a related topic?
The book that most inspired me to own my life was The Artist’s Way. It became my first tool in healing myself and living a life of passion, purpose, and self-love and self-acceptance. It is not intended to be a self-love book, but it really provided my passage ground into myself.
And that is just it, really, self-love is really about self-awareness and self-acceptance. If I could tell anyone to do one thing to help themselves move towards self-acceptance, self-care, and self-love, I would insist on journaling.
Getting to know you is one of the most sacred journeys and it changes everything because you can then move through your life more fully informed and aware.
3. What are your favorite ways to move your body?
I really love riding water in some way— whether it is surfing, paddle boarding, or kayaking. I also really enjoy yoga, stretching, and running. Twenty-four year old me cannot believe that I just wrote running but the truth is a solitary run with just me, my breath, my music, and my thoughts on a still morning makes my body and soul happy.
4. What’s one or two things you wish women knew about appreciating and loving themselves?
One of the best things I ever realized was that if I was obsessed (with my beauty and body) then I was fundamentally oppressed. If we are consumed with our beauty and body, if we are constantly engaged in body projects, there is something else not getting done. What are you not doing while looking in the mirror? That’s the kind of question that for me moved me forward.
A lot of times people think self-love is really selfish and small-minded and is about the self-esteem movement going entirely too far, but it’s not. It’s absolutely not.
We each have a purpose that is uniquely ours. If we are consumed by our bodies, then we are taking valuable time away from the work we are meant to be doing and the gifts we are meant to be giving to this world, from our mission.
If we are in the mirror, assessing, obsessing, critiquing, despairing, we are not doing the work of our lives. What are you not doing while looking in the mirror, lamenting your fate? Do you have that kind of time?
5. Who are your heroes?
Eve Ensler. I love how she uses her gifted voice for activism.
6. What do you think is your greatest obstacle in loving yourself?
We teach what we most need to learn, right? My greatest challenge is over engaging in a way that leaves me depleted— the core behavior that brought me to my knees in my twenties.
7. How do you work to overcome it?
One of the most important things I did in my twenties was find the right tools to support myself in exercising self-care and love. Some of those tools I use every day and some of those tools I pull back out when I feel myself veering off track. Find what works for you, understand if you need to use those tools every day or just when you need a course correction and give yourself what you need, when you need it.
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know?
The most common thing to do when you feel defeated is to pile on in your mind. I do suck; I don’t deserve anything good; etc. And, yet, that never helps.
The best thing to do when you are feeling down is to treat yourself like you would a dear friend or child. You would caress, you would love, you would encourage. If there was ever a time for self-care it is when you are feeling down.
I like to have a prescriptive list of ways to take care of myself ready to go at all times (and it can change over time, what made me feel cared for in my 20s is different from what I want today) that I can refer to when needed.
Right now, even if you aren’t feeling down, write a list of 10-20 things that you can do at almost any time to care for yourself. Refer to that list anytime you are feeling down to give yourself the much needed TLC to return you to yourself.
More About Rosie Molinary:
Author, speaker, and teacher, Rosie Molinary, MFA, empowers women to embrace their authentic selves so they can live their passion and purpose and give their gifts to the world.
Rosie is the author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina.
In addition to writing, she teaches body image at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, offers workshops and retreats for women, and speaks on self-acceptance, body image, media literacy, the Latina experience, and social justice around the country.
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Last reviewed: 20 Feb 2013