Love Yourself First

I came across a quote this morning that beautifully touched on a common theme in my college students : "So many years of education yet nobody ever taught us how to love ourselves and why it's so important." It is striking to me how few of my clients understand this concept of self-love. You can be loved by others to the very depths of your soul, but this love doesn't take the place of the responsibility that you have in loving yourself.  Self-love takes practice just like any other skill. 

Here are a few small steps that my students are taking to love themselves:

1. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing that I do is think about 3 things for which I am grateful.  And if I can't come up with anything, my tried and true is always to just be grateful for a new day and the opportunity to try again.

2. My self-talk is atrocious and ever since you told me that we have over 60k thoughts a day and the majority are negative, I was mortified.  Seriously?  So, whenever I feel myself going down a negative path (which is often!), I bring it back to: what is the next best thing that I can do for myself, right here and now? 

3. I am playing the piano again.  Only a few times a week but it is enough that I am feeling connected to more of my creative side and that has given me something more pleasurable than focusing everything on my academic load. I miss my music.  

4. I am doing a media fast because my anxiety is heightened when I am connected to social media right now. I need a break. 

5. Although I am finding that there is a never ending to-do list in college, I am making time for my friendships. Just last night I had a group of girls that I am just getting to know come up to my dorm room and hang out for a few hours.  We listened to music and just got to know one another better. So good for my spirit and something that I have really missed from high school. I felt a little guilt but it was so worth it. 

6. I raised my hand in class today even though I was terrified (I even put my hand down at one point but the professor saw me and called on me anyway!).  The professor treated me kindly, and best of all? I didn't feel stupid. And all the sweeter was that by asking the question, I understood the concept better in the end. 

7. I ate at Chipotle with my friends last night and instead of over-indulging, I was more aware of how the food tasted and took my time. I wasn't beating myself up and devising a way to go workout to work off the excess food like I normally do after eating. It felt strange, but kinda amazing at the same time.  

8. I am no longer hanging around with a friend that is not a positive person in general. Whenever I was around her, I didn't feel the freedom to be myself and I was always apologizing for things that I was saying or doing which were only exacerbated by my awkwardness in her presence.  

9. Instead of working out to lose weight, I am now trying to focus my thoughts about exercise on wellness and taking care of my body and myself.  Nothing over the top either.  Maybe 30 minutes of cardio and weights and I'm out.  It feels great and it's so much more doable than trying to fit in an hour (which I rarely find the time to do anyway and then I would skip it all together).  

10. I'm not a small talk kind of person but I realized that I needed to be open to more surface exchanges early on with potential friends and then allow the depth to occur more naturally. I now have a group of 10 guys that I hang out with that are awesome and it feels great. Remembering that my close friendships from high school didn't happen overnight, but over 4 or more years, was a good reality check, since I desire to have those kind of friendships right now. I am trusting the process and it's a lot more enjoyable and not as stressful. 

Namaste, dear ones!  ox #loveyourselffirst