“Your relationship with your self is the most important relationship you’ll ever have. It forms the basis for every other relationship in your life, making you the mother, sister, partner and friend that you are.
On that note, there is nothing wrong with being ‘self-centered’. I’m a firm believer in putting your oxygen mask on first. If you can’t breathe you’re no use to anyone else. That doesn’t mean ignore everybody else — just don’t ignore you.”
Those are Susannah’s beautiful and brilliant words from her post on the 40 lessons she’s learned in her 40 years. And I couldn’t agree more.
What does a healthy relationship with yourself look like?
To me, it means knowing that you matter. It means respecting and honoring yourself. It means “feeling at home in yourself and your life” or “feeling at home in your own skin,” as Christina said in our interview.
Self-love encompasses many things. Here’s a snippet:
Self-love is paying attention.
“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,” Rosie told me in our interview.
Self-love is honoring your dreams.
According to Tara in this interview with Mara: “Honoring the longings around how our heart wants to express itself and contribute in the world is, I think, one of the best ways we can love ourselves. For me, it has been a huge act of self-love to go for my dreams – writing and publishing my poetry, helping women unleash their voices through the programs I lead, and being in the media – from The Today Show to Huffington Post. Each of those is an act of love toward my authentic dreams for my life.”
Self-love is showing yourself compassion.
In our interivew, Marianne talked about being kind to her body and herself as a whole. “[I practice self-love] by meeting myself and my body – wherever I am – with kindness [and] by being my own friend, being a friend to my own body.”
Self-love is getting to know yourself.
As Rosie said, “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.”
Self-love is a spirit.
“…[T]he most important thing to say is that self-love is not a list of activities for me. It’s a spirit in which I try to consistently live. It’s a perspective from which I try to make decisions,” Tara said.
Self-love is a continuous journey paved with curiosity and discovery.
Anna described self-love as a practice and likened it to the practice of yoga, which isn’t about accomplishing a certain pose, but instead about finding a “deeper inner knowing.” She explained “This is what I want from my self-love practice – curiosity, openness to change, evolution, deepening, lifelong learning. As much as I wanted it to be an end goal when I first embarked on this journey, I now see the beauty in knowing it’s not.”
Self-love is not perfect.
Again, this speaks to self-love being a process (like anything else in life). There are days when I get really pissed off — at myself. There are days that kindness just doesn’t seem possible. So in those moments, I feel what I need to feel. Sometimes, I stop myself from unleashing my inner critic. Sometimes, I seek support from my close ones. Sometimes, I move my body. Sometimes, I remind myself that self-love isn’t about conditions.
Self-love is personal.
“Self-love is something you have to find your own way into. There is so much inspiration to be found in books, blogs and learning from others’ experiences. But at the end of the day, you have to go with what works for you. So take what’s helpful from others’ advice and leave the rest,” Anna said.
As I told Michelle in our interview: “Ultimately, self-love is having a continuous conversation with yourself. That might sound strange, but I think it’s constantly being in tune with and meeting your needs and dreams. It’s checking in with yourself throughout the day. It’s making decisions that honor you. In other words, it can begin with: What do I need right now in this very moment?”
What does self-love look like for you?