Embarking on a journey to self-love
About 10 years ago, after I hit rock bottom, I had the biggest realization of my life - that at the root of my skin & health issues was not knowing how to love myself.
Being highly sensitive, I've always had a tendency to be extremely self-critical and harsh towards myself.
And if you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP) or can relate to this, you'll understand that HSPs have the capacity to think and process things very deeply, almost often to the point of over-analyzing or ruminating excessively.
So I’d often find my inner critic *silently* spewing hateful words around, judging others, comparing me to others, telling me I wasn’t good enough, or complaining that I was “too sensitive.”
I was also a workaholic running like a mad hamster on the wheel and only resting when forced to (i.e. at the brink of exhaustion and burnout).
I wasn’t aware of any of this at the time, that I allowed my high functioning anxiety to run my life, informing me there's always more needed to be done. So that was my primary measure of success until I became aware how unhealthy and dangerous my mindset was.
Inspired action after hitting rock bottom
Since hitting rock bottom meant that I had nowhere else to go but up, I realized I needed to figure out how to love myself. Sounds easy, right? It can be if you know where to start, but I didn’t. I didn’t have a clue about how to start loving myself.
So, with the guidance of a life coach as well as my therapist, I set out to begin my journey to self-love and since then...
I’ve learned to treat my body and my overactive mind with kindness and compassion
I’ve learned to talk to myself the way I would talk to my best friend, encouraging her and reassuring her that she is loved and worthy of love.
As the months went on, I began to feel more comfortable being in my body and even started to take notice whenever my inner critic attempted to take center stage.
I was becoming more mindful of my internal behaviors and actions.
Learning to love yourself isn't always easy
I’m not going to sugar coat my experience and say that it was easy.
It was extremely difficult, trying, and painful at times. I can’t tell you how much resistance came up, especially whenever I made progress in my healing journey.
My inner critic’s voice would get louder, “Look Patty, I know you’re exhausted but you’ve just got to get this done before you can rest. That way you can move on to the next project. And on to the next. Otherwise, you’re just going to be an anxious mess!”
For years, I let my inner critic run the show...until I had no more energy left to listen. It took a lot of support from my coach and therapist to learn how to respond to my inner critic, to gently assure her that everything would be ok.
Eventually she learned to calm down and now even disappears for weeks at a time. Sometimes, I’ll even throw her a farewell party ;)
Becoming more mindful and aware of your body’s needs
Growing up, I thought that loving myself meant putting myself first, which was unfathomable because that, to me, meant being selfish.
Now looking back, I realize that nothing could possibly be more selfless.
Because loving myself allowed me to fill my cup. And coming from a place of fullness, I could effortlessly help fill the cups of others.
Falling in love with your skin
I’d always been good about moisturizing after a shower, but it was often done haphazardly; I’d mindlessly slather on oil in an effort to run (literally) out of the bathroom to get to work
Rather than honoring my body as a temple, I treated it like a machine, feeding it with fuel (ie food) just to get by just so it could keep humming along
So I set to work on changing that, learning to become more present with my bare skin and taking time to nourish my body with simple, yet luxurious oils
And now, moisturizing my body has become a sacred ritual
It’s become one of my favorite parts of the day: applying oils to my body, slowly and intentionally, while thanking it for all that it does for me.
Practicing the languages of self-love daily
Slowly I began to engage in other self-love activities, exploring different languages of self-love which is based on Dr. Gary Chapman’s work: The 5 Love Languages®
I started off with creating quality time with myself, taking part in activities that I loved.
Activities like gardening, cooking, journaling, and exercising to feed my heart & soul and cultivate even deeper feelings of self-love.
Now I make sure to practice the languages of self-love every day:
Gifts, touch, words, acts of service, and quality time.
Are you tired of letting your inner critic run the show, keeping you safe but small?
Are you wondering how the languages of self-love can transform your own life?
Check out my free “Language of Self-Love Guide” that you can download now.
This guide includes a quiz and tips to help you understand your primary language of self-love!
P.S. Would you like personalized support for integrating the languages of self-love into your life, so you can enhance your unique & natural beauty? Schedule a free Gorgeous Skin Assessment with me today!