Every new year always feels like the right time for new beginnings, fresh starts, re-commitments, and renewing memberships. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I see it at my yoga studio — packed for January, then slowly dwindling back to it’s normal attendance. I see it on Instagram — picture posts of a colorfully staged juice cleanse, or the Clarendon filter over that neon sign from the trendy new barre studio that’s just opened up. And I get it. I do. I’ve re-upped my memberships, committed to brand new extracurriculars (book club, anyone?) and vowed to devote myself to more, more, more
But what about the things I haven’t quite finished from last years “goal-setting” sesh? What about the book I still have yet to finish? What about last year’s journey — the destination of which I still have (definitely) not arrived at yet?
Here’s what I’ve recently learned: Some journeys take longer than others; some journeys are infinite, and some journeys don’t have endings — there simply is no finish line. So even though a year has passed, and even though you thought you would be “there” by now, it’s 100% okay to still be finding your way.
I was supposed to have finished writing my book by now. (98,000 words later, I’m still working on it.)
I was supposed to be five pounds lighter. (I might be, though today I just don’t feel it.)
And no longer craving wine on weekdays. (I don’t know what version of me envisioned that.)
And have my pizza addiction in check. (It’s been 2 days, 4 hours and 37 seconds since my last slice.)
I was supposed to be head over heels in love with myself by now. (Everything always comes back to love.)
Self-love is the foundation for it all. When I’m doing a good job of it — taking care of myself, being gentle with myself, loving myself — My writing is in flow, I don’t care what the number on the scale says, and pizza loses its efficacy over me.
It sounds so easy. Self-Love. But if the last three years have taught me anything, it’s that self-love is one of those goals where there simply is no finish line. Self-love is an infinite journey.
1. Self-Care is Always (Always) The First Step.
There simply is no self-love without self-care.
We’re so conditioned to give love to those around us that we often forget to take care of ourselves.
Avoid the inevitable burnout by taking care of number one — that’s you. What do you need to do to feel the way you want to feel, every single day?
This can seem like a daunting question at first. But knowing the answers allows you to plan for love.
2. Set (or adjust) your priorities.
Refer to Step 1. How do you want to feel every single day? What do you need to do to feel that way?
Adjust your priorities accordingly.
3. Change your mentality.
Whenever I’m feeling down and out, my boyfriend forces me to tell him “whats up.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“My eyelashes aren’t long enough.”
Are some of my common complaints. To which he usually responds with:
“You’re writing a book. You’ve never written a book before. Of course, you don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re doing a damn good job of figuring it out as you go.”
“You’re not broke. You are your own boss, running your own business and you have a roof over your head (Thanks, Hayl!) and food in the fridge, and pretty stylish clothes to wear for someone who claims to be broke.”
“Your eyelashes are exactly long enough for exactly your eyes, but if you really want them to be longer, lucky for you, you have a BFF who can make all your dreams come true.”
The point is when you put your complaint down, flip it and reverse it (Yes, that was fully a GIRLS via Missy Elliot reference), you can actively change your mentality from negative to positive.
You don’t even need an S.O. to do it for you. (Though it can help hearing it from someone else’s perspective — go ahead, lay it on your bestie.)
4. Remember that comparison is the thief of all joy
And joy is like, a super crucial ingredient in the self-love recipe book.
Quit comparing yourself to strangers on the internet.
Quit comparing your accomplishments to your BFF’s.
Quit comparing your downward dog to the chick on the yoga mat next to yours.
Quit comparing your journey to anyone else’s in the entire world. Your journey is just that — yours. It’s time to take joy in it.
5. Be gentle with yourself
Always, always, always be gentle with yourself. You’re going to mess up. You’re going to catch your inner mean girl talking shit about you. You’re totally going to cave and order the pizza on a non “cheat” day. You’re going to forget to put yourself first.
It’s all okay. Allow me to remind you: this whole self-love thing, it’s an infinite journey and detours are 100% bound to happen. Be gentle with yourself when they do.
6. Know your worth.
I struggle with this one more than I care to admit.
I attach my worth to inanimate objects. I attach my worth to my creative output. I attach my worth to my resume and professional accomplishments. I attach my worth to the size of my jeans and the number of “likes” I get on an Instagram photo. I attach my worth to things that have nothing to do with my worth.
Like I said, I’m working on it.
But here’s the truth: My self-worth cannot be negotiated. My self-worth is not dependent on any variables or factors. My self-worth comes solely from within me.
Knowing your worth can save your life.
7. Invest in yourself.
Because, back to that thing I was saying about some journey’s being infinite. Self-love is one of those journeys.