What is Self Love?

Last year I was honoured to help a wonderful friend (and author of Not From This Planet’s upcoming release, Burglar to Buddha) to publish a book that he had compiled, called Self Love Now. Simon had asked the question – Why is Self-Love important at this time in humanity? and the book contains answers from 54 visionaries, and is beautifully illustrated.

Working on the book with Simon got me thinking. What is self love anyway?

Some would say it’s setting boundaries in relationships. Others might say it’s eating healthily. Or buying yourself treats. Or saying no to things that don’t serve you.

I think it may well be different for everyone. For me, self love is acceptance. Of my body, my flaws, my finances, my relationships and my current situation. And it’s not a one-off deal. It’s a daily occurrence. Every time my body changes, I need to accept it all over again. Love it completely again. Whenever my home changes, (which is way too often) I have to accept it again. When my relationships evolve, grow or die, I have to accept those new changes again. Self Love is not berating myself for making mistakes. Self Love is knowing that I am doing the best I can every day in every way. Self Love is never speaking an unkind word against myself, even in jest. (still working on this, self-deprecating jokes are deeply ingrained!) Self Love is a quiet joyfulness. It’s my trust in myself to cope with whatever transpires. Self Love is knowing that I am worthy and deserving of love, abundance and joy, regardless of my productivity or creative output. Self Love is knowing that I have my own back. That I am the sole creator of my own happiness. It’s taking responsibility for my emotions, and not blaming someone else for making me feel bad.

The thing about Self Love, is that it is limitless, it is abundant, and when it is felt in every fibre of your being, it spills out from every pore, and shines on others too. And it is effortless. To truly accept and love yourself is to release all resistance. And when resistance is gone, so is effort and struggle.

So tell me, what is Self Love to you?

Crossing the Line

I’ve recently been reading books on boundaries. Mostly on the lack of them, and what that creates. This subject interests me because I feel I haven’t got established, healthy boundaries in my life, and I know that it is not having a positive effect on my relationships, my health and my finances. There are many reasons why  people do not have healthy boundaries, and these range from their upbringing to having low self-esteem and self-worth.

In intimate relationships, having no boundaries means that you often find yourself going without what you need or desire, because you have not established clear expectations or rules. And even when you find your unspoken boundaries being crossed, you find it difficult to say anything, and so let it slide. This can create a lot of resentment or anger that will no doubt build up until it comes out in an argument, at which point, your partner will be surprised because they will have been unaware that they had crossed the line or upset you with their behaviour. It can also mean that you allow your partner to do things that you would not normally find acceptable.

In friendships, having no boundaries means that whenever your friends call, you’re available. Whatever time suits them to meet, you’re free for that time. You fit into their schedules, they do not fit into yours. Mainly because people with no boundaries often have no schedules and no routine, so they fit in wherever they need to and go with the flow. While going with the flow can be a good thing, if there is no structure at all, you will find that absolutely nothing will get done.

In health, having no boundaries means that you will accept food you are offered even if you don’t want it, or people will find it acceptable to comment on your diet. Having no routine means that exercise is often not in the picture, and you’re so busy running around catering to everyone else’s needs and demands, that you have no time to take care of yourself properly.

In finances, having no boundaries means you will accept lower rates of pay, or not charge enough for your services, or will be too relaxed on clients when it comes to payments, or being disorganised when it comes to invoices, doing your taxes, or making sure you have enough cash flow. Having no structure means not keeping track of income and outgoings, and getting into debt more easily.

I have had many of the above issues in my life, and it is only recently, becoming aware of my patterns, that I realise I need to make some changes to improve my life in every way. My only issue is this – I haven’t had boundaries for most of my life. I have no idea what it feels like to have boundaries, to express them clearly and to enforce them when needed. I have read a lot about the lack of boundaries and the problems this causes, and even about the actions to take to create new boundaries. But it feels like I would need to have a personality transplant in order to become a person with clear boundaries. I don’t find it easy to create new habits, and to have set routines and structure, so this feels like quite an epic journey to embark on.

I am excited to see what changes from having this awareness, and from making whatever changes I can to ensure I don’t allow my new boundaries to be crossed.

One of my concerns in becoming a person with boundaries is that I may appear to be mean. In that I am likely to say ‘no’ more often, in maintaining my boundaries. I will also be less available and will ask others to fit into my schedule rather than just automatically fitting into theirs. It feels as though there is a fine line between being mean and being sensible, and it is something I am going to have to experiment with over the coming weeks. Many people without boundaries are people-pleasers, wanting to do whatever they can to make others happy and to gain their approval.

If you have any stories to share about this, or if you have any magical suggestions to becoming a boundaried person, I would love for you to comment below!

Do you think it was effortless in the beginning? Do you think I found it easy?  Do you think it all worked out perfectly? Of course not. But I had faith that everything would begin to harmonise, and that it would work out perfectly in the end.