Today's post was written by Judy Clement Wall, a fellow blogger who is putting the final touches on her novel, Beautiful Lives. She blogs about the perils of life, love, writing and cheesecake at Zebra Sounds. And you can also follow her on Twitter. Today Judy's sharing with us some tips on how to love yourself -- even if you feel like you're too busy to take the time to really dive into self-love. Her tips are easy, accessible, and worth giving a try.
On January 5th, I publicly declared 2011 my year of loving fearlessly. I do that. Publicly declare. It’s a way of inviting the universe to help me toward my goals.It’s been one (exhilarating, astonishing) month since I made that announcement, and my love project has a momentum all its own. It’s becoming a big, beautiful monster of a creation, and most of the time I feel I am more holding on than actively steering its course.
So I guess it makes sense that I’ve become preoccupied with love. It’s like I’m excavating it, uncovering love, one impulse, one gesture, one meaningful connection at a time. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a lot of conversations about what love is, how we long for it and run from it, fight and surrender to it, celebrate and resist it. Love is complicated. And simple. And heartbreaking. And miraculous.
I think maybe out of all the loves in the world – familial, romantic, platonic, unrequited, unconditional, unexpected – the most complicated of all is self-love. It shouldn’t be. I mean, there’s only one person involved. It should be the easiest love of at all, but it’s not. No one knows our faults better than we do. No one judges us more harshly. And even if we can get past all our glaring imperfections, self-love feels, well, selfish, doesn’t it? In the course of our busy lives, there is so much to do and so many people to tend to. Who has time for self-love?
But the truth is we do have time. We must. We live in a fast-paced, info-packed, high-octane society where locating our own significance is sometimes the biggest challenge of all, and feeling lost in the jostling crowd is the norm. The least we can do in the midst of all the crazy is show ourselves a little tenderness. And It doesn’t have to be elaborate or time-consuming. I made a list of five things even insanely busy people can do to feel the (self) love.
5 Ways to Feel the (Self) Love
1. Hug someone. The excellent thing about hugs is that they are as good for the hugger as they are for the huggee. Research shows that hugs lasting at least six seconds optimize the flow of mood-boosting chemicals.
2. Send a text. My Love Project started with a text I received one day when I was cold and frustrated and bitchy. “Judy, you are beautiful,” it said, and just like that, my mood was transformed. I grinned. I felt loved. I texted back, and my friend felt loved too. It’s a lot like a hug; the love flows both ways.
3. Give yourself a guilt-free pass. For fifteen minutes, give yourself permission to eat something delicious, read something funny, daydream, doodle, wander… guilt free.
4. Write a letter to yourself. Let you know you care.
5. Breathe. Stop. And. Breathe. And in that space between inhale and exhale, love the imperfect, beautiful, messy, magnificent jumble-of-awesome that is you.