Struggling with Self-Love? : 10 Must-Read Reminders


Positively-Present-Self-Relationship

 

To live your most positive and present life, it's essential that you love who you are. But loving who you are can be quite a challenge at times. Truly conquering self-love is incredibly complex. It’s not just about positive affirmations or breaking up with that guy who treats you like garbage (though those are great starts!). It’s about investigating and assessing every aspect of your life — and continuing to do it all the time, for the rest of your life.

When it comes to self-love, we're all works in progress, so I've rounded up some of my favorite reminders about self-love to keep in mind. If you're struggling to embrace who you are, check these out for some inspiration (or bookmark them for a time you might need them!). 

 

YOUR FEELINGS, NO MATTER WHAT THE REASON, IS VALID. 

You might have it pretty good (and if you're alive and reading this, you probably have it better than a lot of people), but just because you're not suffering from the worst thing in the world doesn't mean that your pain isn't valid. Loving yourself means allowing yourself to experience pain without judging yourself. Sure, other people might have it worse, but self-love means giving yourself permission to feel what you feel. (This doesn't mean you should necessarily act on these feelings, but allowing yourself to feel them is an act of self-love). 

 

YOU WILL MAKE BAD CHOICES, AND THAT'S OKAY. 

We all make good choices and bad choices — that's just part of life. Refusing to accept the bad choices you've made (either through denial or by beating yourself for having made them) isn't a great way to show yourself love. Acceptance of yourself and others is one of the most vital aspects of self-love, and that acceptance includes embrace both the good and the bad choices you've made. The point of making a bad decision isn't to serve as a painful reminder you return to again and again; it's an opportunity to learn and make more positive choices in the future. 

 

YOU CAN CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON BEST-CASE SCENARIOS. 

When was the last time you imagined the best thing that could happen? Most of us imagine worst-case scenarios, which is totally human nature. We imagine these things so we can prepare for (and hopefully avoid!) them. But what would it be like if you chose to focus on best-case scenarios? Would you really be less prepared or is that just something you tell yourself? At the very least, you can choose to focus on the best-case scenario in addition to the worst-case possibilities. Your attitude, whether it's positive or negative, impacts the way you think and act, and embracing optimism is a self-loving act.

 

YOU'LL NEVER 100% KNOW WHAT OTHERS THINK.

One thing that all-too-often gets in the way of self-love is making assumptions about what other people are thinking. Even if you know someone else extremely well, you can never know with 100% certainty what s/he is thinking, and making assumptions about what others' intentions are can actually sabotage your own self-love. Assumptions get in the way of relationships with others and those relationships impact the one you have with yourself. Whenever you find yourself assuming what others are thinking, remind yourself that you only know for sure what's in your own head. Creating clear communication with others will make it easier for you to love yourself.  

 

YOUR ANGER IS A SIGN OF FEAR OR PAIN. 

Everyone gets angry from time to time, and that's perfectly okay (see #1!), but it's so important to keep in mind that your anger stems from a place of fear or pain. Anger is a symptom, not a disease. Knowing this can help you better understand what you're truly feeling. Your knee-jerk reaction if you feel angry is probably to think, "I'm mad!" but a great way to show yourself self-love is to dig a little deeper and find out where that anger stems from. When you do this, you not only gain a better understanding of the current issue you're dealing with, but you also gain a better understanding of yourself. 

 

YOU DON'T HAVE TO ANTICIPATE WHAT WILL HAPPEN. 

Did you know that you can just let things happen? You don't have to analyze everything or worry about what's coming next or anticipate what other people are going to do. In fact, spending too much time prepping for the future (or dwelling on the past...) stands in opposition to self-love. Being present is a challenge, but when you give yourself the freedom to stay in the moment, you're showing yourself a true kindness. It's not easy to shut down a worrying mind, but keep in mind: it's not your job to imagine the future. You deserve to be here, and enjoying, now.  

 

YOU AREN'T OBLIGATED TO LIKE EVERYONE. 

This probably isn't news to you, but you're not going to like everyone (and not everyone is going to like you). Once you embrace that fact, you release yourself from a lot of unnecessary stress and heartache. So many people spend time trying to like or be liked, instead of realizing that not everyone is meant to be linked to one another. This isn't to say, of course, that you shouldn't treat everyone with kindness and respect, but doing so doesn't mean you have to be BFF with every person you meet. Show yourself self-love by reserving your time and energy for those you care about most. 

 

YOU'RE ALLOWED TO SAY "NO" WITHOUT AN EXCUSE. 

"No" isn't a four letter word, contrary to what many people think. Learning that is one of the absolute best acts of self-love. We've all given only so much time here on Earth, and you reserve the right to use that time how you see fit. Every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else. And the same goes for the reverse. Every time you say no to something you don't want to do (particularly if it's something that's not good for you!), you're saying yes to yourself. Be mindful of when (and why!) you say yes, and use that self-awareness to make more self-loving choices. 

 

YOU CAN'T RUN FOREVER FROM WHAT HURTS. 

If you've ever tried to run from your pain, you're probably well aware that this is true. You might be able to run, but if you don't deal with your pain, heartbreak, frustration, anger, or whatever other emotion you're experiencing, it'll come back later (and often in an unexpected and unpleasant way). Dealing with what hurts is one of the most difficult aspects of being human, but facing difficulties head-on is an excellent way to treat yourself with the love you deserve. It'll be painful, for sure, but avoiding it will only amplify the pain. 

 

YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF THE STORY YOU TELL YOURSELF. 

You can't control everything that happens to you, but you can control the story you tell yourself about what happens. Everything we experience gets filtered through our minds into a story we tell ourselves. The story is often more important than the actual experience, because it stays with us and impacts future experiences. Our minds are imperfect — memories can be inaccurate, emotions can be heightened, and the facts can be distorted — but we can choose to make the most of whatever information we have, taking lessons from the hard times and embracing the good times. Choosing the story you tell yourself is one of the ways you can show yourself love.  

 

Self-love doesn't always come easy, no matter how much you strive to make it a priority in your life. If you need some additional inspiration or motivation, check out some of the resources below! 

 

PPGTL-Footer Love-Self-Footer Find-Self-Footer Stickers-Footer


 

 


5 Surprising Life Lessons Dogs Teach Us

  Positively-Present-Dog-Advice


On more than one occasion I've written about how our pets can teach us so much about staying present (see: A Pup's Guide to Being Present), but lately I've encountered even more amazing ways that pets (and, in my case, a sweet little pup named Barkley) can inspire and enlighten us with their unintentional wisdom. 

Anyone who has a pet is probably well aware that our amazing creatures are filled with a wisdom that often escapes us humans (perhaps because they have less to think / worry about than we do!), but we sometimes fail to tune in to the essential lessons they can share with us. In addition to teaching us to be more mindful (since, for most pets, that's just their nature!), pups can also teach us a few more life lessons, like... 

 

PRIORITIZE REST + RELAXATION. 

If you've ever played outside with a dog on a hot day, you've probably noticed that many of them will take a time out and find some shade when they get too hot or tired. (This, of course, isn't true of all pups, so make sure you're looking out for your four-legged friends, too!) Animals instinctively know when they need to rest. We, as humans, have this instinct too, but we often ignore it in favor of getting more crossed off our to-do lists. Take a tip from your pup, and consider how you can make rest and relaxation more of a priority in your life. It might not sound productive, but the more rested and relaxed you are, the better you'll be in every aspect of your life. (Bonus points if you make an effort to create a coziness for yourself, like some pups do in cozy crate!)

 

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU VALUE MOST. 

Speaking of prioritizing, pups are pretty great at doing it when they need to. Just put a treat in one hand and a ball in the other, and you'll quickly learn your pup's priorities. Even the most ball-loving dogs will typically choose the treats. Like dogs, we only have so much time and attention in every given day, and we need to be mindful of where we place our efforts. Take a moment (right now, if you can!) to jot down the three most important things in your life, and then reflect on how much time and attention you're giving to those areas. It's not always going to be easy to choose (after all, dogs ideally want the ball and the treat), but if you don't mindfully focus your attention, the things you value most might not receive the attention they deserve. 

 

LOVE WITHOUT EXPECTATION. 

When it comes to human love, expectations are incredibly difficult to avoid, but the fewer you have, the better off you (and your relationships!) will be. This isn't to say you shouldn't have standards. You shouldn't settle for less than you deserve (in love or in life!), but having standards is different than having expectations. Expectations, however well-intentioned, often lead to disappointment. And disappointments often build on one another, leading to resentment. Dogs, unlike most people, don't love with expectation. They might occasionally (always) want something from you (food, a walk, a cuddle, etc.), but they don't love you based on whether or not their expectations are met. Learning to love like that can be life-changing. 

 

ESTABLISH YOUR BOUNDARIES. 

Every dog I've ever owned has set clear boundaries when it comes to what they don't like. These boundaries (and the way they are expressed) varies from pup to pup, but most dogs are good at letting you know with their body language what they do and don't like. People, on the other hand, are sometimes shackled by the chains of politeness. Rather than asserting clearly what we don't want others to do, we often tiptoe around topics or soften our tone so as not to offend. While you shouldn't feel the need to shout your boundaries from the rooftops, you should be aware that it's okay (and even necessary!) to make your boundaries with others clear (even if that might mean a little growling from time to time...). Here are some tips for setting boundaries if you're not sure how to do it. 

 

STAY ENDLESSLY CURIOUS. 

One of the absolute best lessons we can learn from our canine companions is this: stay endlessly curious. Puppies are such great sources of knowledge and mindfulness because they are into everything. They notice things, pick up things, stick their noses in everything. Older dogs, too, often take note of new changes in their environment, and pups of all ages are quick to notice (and often introduce themselves to!) new people or pets. As people, we're often busy and stressed, and some of us might not even think we have time to be curious. But curiosity is one of life's greatest gifts, and it doesn't stop giving if you're open to experiencing it. If it's tough to do, pay attention to what your pup pays attention to. You'll be surprised at how much you can learn from looking at the world from a different point of view! 

 

This might not be the first time you've read some of these insights, but don't discount the value of revisiting wisdom (especially when the source of such knowledge comes in an adorable pup-shaped package!). The more often you reflect on life lessons like these, the more likely you'll be to actually take them into account in your day-to-day life, and taking ideas from the screen to the real world is where true wisdom comes into play. If you're lucky enough to have a pet, you're lucky enough to have a little guru by your side, a constant reminder than there is still so much to learn, and even the smallest of beings can impart wisdom in our lives. 

 

 

  STUdio-Pet-Company
Today's post was sponsored by STUdio Pet, a company making beautiful, high-quality crates that fit right in with the look of your home. Dogs need a sanctuary to call their own, but most indoor kennels are not something you are excited to display in your home. STUdio Pet provides the highest quality crates that are sturdy enough to withstand any dog, yet stylish enough to fit anywhere in your home. Our extensive history in the manufacturing industry coupled with our passion for animal welfare ensures a quality kennel that will last a lifetime. All products are manufactured in the USA.


Wireless Wonderland: Managing Phone Use to Stay Present


Wireless Wonderland
Alice, referring to her experiences in Wonderland, in  Disney's Alice in Wonderland.
Also: me, every time I fall down the internet rabbit hole.  

 

Do ever feel as if you're in a different world when you're on your phone? Do you ever feel as if you've somehow fallen into it, like you've gotten sucked into the alternate reality of what's happening on the screen? 


Recently while watching Disney's Alice in Wonderland, it occurred to me how fascinating — and accurate — it is when people use the term "internet rabbit hole." How often have you gone on your phone to search for something and looked up from the screen a while later, surprised at how much time had passed since you'd unlocked the screen? How often have you said to yourself, "I'll just look at [Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / etc.] for a sec," and then found yourself in a lengthy cycle of app-checking? If you've ever experienced these, you're certainly not alone. Most people with a smartphone have probably had these experiences. 

 

Wondering where you stand in terms of phone addiction/use? Here's a Smartphone Compulsion Test to check out. (I scored 14/15.)

 

One study found that 89% of Americans check their smartphones “at least a few times a day," and 36% admit they’re “constantly checking and using” their phones. For those ages 18-24, that number is closer 50%. Even if you're not in the "constantly checking" group, all you have to do is look around to see that a lot of people are. This is not news, of course; many Americans (and others) are attached to their phones, some of us quite literally addicted. And it's no wonder! These devices provide us with some of the best aspects of life: connection to others, information and up-t0-the-minute news, entertainment and games, external validation, and so much more. It makes sense that we're drawn to such incredible devices. But when they become the focus of our lives, when we spend so much time in them that it's almost as if we're living parallel lives in real life and online, we have to step back and consider what this means for who we are (and who we want to be). 

 

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