Have a second to catch up? Great! Just get comfortable, grab a coffee or snack if you like and remember this is just between you and me.
Are you in a relationship but still feel incomplete or lonely? Have you been seeking someone special for months, years or a lifetime to no avail? Or simply allocating all your focus on other people, work and hobbies in an attempt to fill a void?
If you sometimes feel empty or that you are missing out on love it may be surprising to hear that you actually have control over this. With each life obstacle I encounter, I read and talk and read some more about the feelings, thoughts and fears experienced. Why? This exercise helps to better understand yourself and can guide you in the right direction. A reoccurring theme I keep stumbling upon is:
“The best way to feel happy is to LOVE YOURSELF”
it’s just now that I’ve come to realise that it’s one thing to think: “I love and appreciate who I am” but it’s entirely another to actually practice self-love and feel complete.
It’s like following the saying that actions speak louder than words. If you are capable of showing care and act in the best interest of those you love, it’s critical that you should extend that same kindness to yourself.
How to know if you are practicing self-love?
It starts with showing yourself compassion! Nope.. you aren’t perfect! You will make mistakes time and time again and life will deal you terrible cards at one point or another but the good news is that you have the key to surpassing every obstacle. By relying on external sources such as a love interest, friend, money, accomplishments to reflect your own value and to feel important or loved you put yourself at risk. The moment you actually feel that you are capable of providing all the love and care you need is liberating. Ready for this? Let’s start:
Be comfortable by yourself
We are social creatures and feeling isolated is something that is easily experienced in this day and age. When you are able to appreciate your own company without feeling bored or lonely, you are empowering yourself and don’t need someone else to validate you. Next time you are alone, rather than distracting yourself with anything and everything, stop for a few minutes and practice the following:
♥ Reflect on how you feel
♥ Remind yourself of your best attributes
I know, this task is not sexy nor glamorous but it has clear logic behind it. By setting time aside to check-up on your emotional state regularly you:
♥ Become more in tune with yourself
♥ Are in a position to address any incongruences between your heart and mind
♥ Can gradually replace negative self-talk with positive thoughts
It’s how you gain a clearer understanding of who you are and begin to fully appreciate how lucky you are to spend every waking moment with the best person ever: You.
2. Let yourself feel negative emotions
Don’t run from those feelings by soothing them externally or with temporary fixes. Nobody enjoys being angry, sad, upset, confused, etc. but it’s natural and healthy to feel those emotions and important to learn to cope with them. In fact when you feel this way, it’s a perfect opportunity to determine:
Why am I feeling like this? Does this feeling stem from my past? What can I learn or how do I deal with this?
Additionally, be patient with yourself. Negative feelings will take the time they take and won’t magically disappear overnight either. By dealing with these painful emotions, you are able to actually go to the source, take action and become a stronger and happier person. You can bounce your ideas off people you know and trust, find helpful resources or consult a professional but even with that guidance you have to trust that you know what is best for you.
3. Practice Gratitude
It’s not easy recognising and, even less, appreciating all you have when you aren’t in a good place. No amount of candy or potato chips can change that, shocking I know! However, trying to pinpoint at least once a day what you are thankful for, no matter how insignificant that thing is, can ease those negative emotions even if just temporarily.
For instance you could shift a thought like this:
“Alone and not feeling great this Saturday morning”
To something more along these lines:
“So lucky I get to enjoy a quiet Saturday morning and make my favourite 🥞 “
It may seem mundane but this type of positive thinking becomes more and more natural as you keep reaffirming it. It’s learning to find the silver lining, particularly during the hard times, because anything that can alleviate the “glass half empty” mentality is helpful. The idea is not to mask the negative emotions but to allow a bit of solace while you experience them.
4. Identify where your love stems from
I think this one is pretty powerful. I am using it in a more romantic sense but applies to any relationship type and it requires that you be honest with yourself. If you are with someone or want to be with someone, does/will the love you feel come from a place of love or fear?
A place of love means: you let this person into your life because you appreciate who they are, feel inspired and uplifted by them.
A place of fear means: you let this person into your life because they offer security and companionship but may not actually meet some of your basic needs. This is what can be qualified as settling and, often, stems from the fear of being alone.
Working on feeling complete alone allows the love you feel to come from the former, that is, a place of love. Which in turn, let’s you be very selective (as you should be) when choosing to let or keep anyone in your life. Always opt for quality over quantity.
It takes consistent practice and reminding to reach a state in which you know, without a doubt, that you are capable of relying fully on yourself and that you are your very own other half – you are whole. As a mean to embrace this mindset, I put this into action…
Week # 71 Challenge: Be spontaneous and take yourself out somewhere, anywhere you wish, alone.
There you have it, I dedicated one evening completely and utterly to myself. A night where you aren’t accountable to anyone and can switch up your plans based on your mood.
That meant attending a Hot Yoga Class.. nahh let’s make that my first cycling class ever – I think I survived but I am to this day not 100% certain!
Headed home for the most well deserved bubble bath ever…
Dressed up and then..
Unapologetically took myself out for dinner 🍴 😊
It takes bravery but what is stopping you from living an experience like this and connecting with yourself and, possibly, people you’ve never met?!
I was about to leave when the most unexpected thing happened…
I met 3 incredibly friendly and fascinating women and we just learned and shared about each others lives over a few drinks! It was the weirdest but coolest thing, you know who you are beautiful ladies 💕
Not ready or able to take on this challenge yet? Here are other steps you can take:
1 – Temporarily disconnect from technology
ex: Give yourself time away from your phone, ipad, laptop to be more aware of the present moment.
2 – Read self-empowering and thought-provoking articles:
3 – Listen to positive and relaxing podcasts or YouTube videos
4 – Connect and express yourself through music you love, I have these on repeat:
5 – Walk, stretch or do yoga
Hope this helps you redirect some necessary love and attention towards yourself so that you may recognise the fact that your other half is, and always will be, with you!