Over the past (almost) eight years of running this site, one thing has become glaringly obvious to me: it's very difficult to stay positive and present if you don't love who you are.
This truth has become so vital to who I am and what this brand, Positively Present, stands for, and that's why I'm making it a priority in 2017. Though I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, the start of a new year is a pretty great time to reflect on the past year, re-evaluate where you are now, and redirect your energy to where you'd like go in the next twelve months.
It was as I was doing my personal reflection and re-evaluation toward the end of the year that I realized just how absolutely essential self-love has been to me in 2016 — and how much more I actually need of it in my life. I talk the talk, but I don't always walk the walk.
And I know I'm not alone in this. Almost every one I know struggles with self-love in some form. We all want to love ourselves, most us claim to, but we all struggle to actually do it fully. Maybe we love our work, but hate our bodies. Or we love the way we look, but hate how we act in relationships. Self-love is hard because it's all-encompassing. To truly experience it, you can't just love parts of yourself; you have to love it all. I believe we all struggle so much with this because we don't think about it enough. Over the past couple of days, I've been putting this "Year of Self-Love" into practice by asking myself this every time I have a thought or take an action:
Is this a loving thing to do for myself?
Sometimes asking this question changes how I act. (For example, maybe eating the entire large bag of M&M's isn't the most self-loving act. I pour a handful and put the bag back.) Sometimes asking it doesn't. (For example, maybe I'd be loving myself a bit more if I limited the amount of negative political commentary I'm reading on Twitter. I still scroll and scroll.) But even when asking that question doesn't change my behavior, it makes me stop and think — and that pause before acting is an important first step for making better, more positive choices. Maybe if I ask myself that enough every time I open Twitter, I'll start to limit the amount of time I spend on there. Or maybe I'll unfollow some of the more negative accounts. (In fact, I'm going to go do that right now!)
The important thing about this question is that it causes you to be more conscious of what you're doing, what you're saying, and how you're thinking and feeling. So many of us (myself included!) spend so much of our time operating on autopilot, doing what we've always done because it's been okay so far. But, I don't know about you, but "okay" isn't really what I'm going for in my life. And I believe self-love is the very best way to avoid the default path, to create a life that is way better than just okay.
I've got some really exciting things coming up in 2017, and I can't wait to dedicate this year to loving myself more —and help you do the same! To start, let's keep asking ourselves that question — "Is this a loving thing to do for myself?" — as often as we can. It might not change every action we take, but awareness is the first step to making this the best, most loving year yet!