Updated: Mar 1, 2022
Words are powerful.
Words can evoke feelings in us.
They can lift, inspire and encourage. They can also put down, deflate and demoralise us.
Read the following phrases and think about how they make you feel:
‘Self - love’
‘Self - care’
‘You must love yourself first’
‘Until you love yourself, no one else will love you’
‘If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you?’
What did you feel? Did you nod along in agreement? Did you cringe?
These can all be very loaded phrases that do not help us reach the place of self-acceptance we wish to find. Maybe you felt awkward, or guilt, at the thought of self-care, or like loving yourself before anyone else is an impossible task?
These phrases will evoke a different feeling in each of us, depending on your own perspective, but I would encourage you to think about how phrases and words can make you feel.
Remember you have the intelligence and power in you to reframe.
Let's challenge some of these statements, I love a little rephrase to help something sit right.
- Instead of self-love, how about ‘self-compassion.’ Isn’t that a little softer? Show yourself the compassion you would show a best friend. Don’t we always give the best advice, but seldom listen to our own? Talk to yourself as if you are your own best friend because, FYI, you are!
- When you think of a day of self-care, how about, ’I like time to be and rest,’ or ‘what can I do that fills me with joy?’ Remind yourself that self-care is just a way of saying ‘I need some time for me now, so I can be there for you.’
When my diary is getting full, and I look at it and feel overwhelmed, I put in a ‘K’ day in my diary. A day, where I do not plan anything, and I just let it unfold.
Very often our feelings of self-worth are linked to our productivity, but it is just as important to do nothing, rest and just be. After all, this is how meditation works. By ‘just being’ we allow our minds and bodies to get into ‘rest and digest’ (the parasympathetic state) and this is where we can do our healing, building strength in our immune system, and letting the miracle that is the body, function optimally.
- Instead of 'you must love yourself first,' how about 'let’s try and give ourselves just as much loving compassion as you would your best friend.' (That’s you remember)
- How about the phrase, ‘until you love yourself, no one else will?' Whilst there is some truth in this, yes, we need to see ourselves as the loving compassionate person we truly are, I don’t like it all wrapped up in this one little loaded phrase.
I say, we're all a work in progress. Progress doesn’t always mean forwards, it can be one step forwards, two back. Progress for you may be going round in circles. Progress for you may look like a brick wall. Progress maybe acceptance and forgiveness. Progress may be staying right where you are for now.
Please don't feel like you must get to the point where you look in the mirror and say, ‘I bl**dy love you!’
If you do, good for you!
Acceptance is the key here. I’m not keen on the ‘fake it till you make it’ idea here or needing to be ‘at your best’ to be lovable. How about we accept ourselves ‘as we are.’
So, if you look in the mirror and say ‘you’re alright, you are, just as you are’ then that’s pretty good in my book.
The Gift - A poem by Karen Bradley
We wait and we wait,
We wait to grow up,
We wait as children for our birthdays,
We wait for Christmas presents under the tree,
We wait to leave school, college, maybe university.
We wait to leave home, to make our own decisions and our own choices,
We wait to make money, to pay our own way in the world,
We wait for the perfect job,
The perfect partner,
The right time to marry,
The right time to start a family
And so, the waiting goes on.
Until one day, we wait to retire
And ultimately to leave this earthly place.
But what if we didn’t wait?
What if we only had today?
What if we enjoyed the journey and didn’t just think about the destination?
What if we experienced every birthday as a blessing?
Every Christmas as a time to feel gratitude for all that we have and forget all the wants and desires?
What if we went for everything, we were afraid to go for today? Right now? Rather than waiting for the perfect timing?
Do not wait
Act now, for if not now, when?
Wear the clothes you’ve been keeping for “best” today.
Tell someone you love them the very next time you speak to them, don’t hold back
Do whatever it is you’ve been longing to do.
Impatience is our need and desire to get to the next step, the next place, the perfect, ‘fill in the blank’
Patience is about realising that everything happens just as it is meant to, at the perfect time,
For all that we have,
All that is real,
Is the gift of now.
And so it is.
So, the next time a word or a phrase doesn't sit right with you, don't accept it, change it. Remember you have the ability and power to reframe so that it does suit you. Don't wait, change it.
With Kindness and compassion,