Monique West, LCSW-R
How to Delightfully And Endlessly Fall In Love With YOU!
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
In a world with fixed expectations set around choosing the "right" career, maintaining a six figure income, ripping rock hard abs all while staying on brand with the latest fashion vogue; It has become awfully difficult to live in your own truth, OWN your imperfections and LOVE yourself completely and fully. It is deafening to hear your own voice in the cacophony of other people's opinions and standards on your life. Cultivating self love requires mindful and intentional actions. In this blog we intend to highlight some ways in which to set yourself free from self-judgment, self- sabotaging behaviors and self-limiting beliefs.
1. Learning to thrive in loneliness
When loneliness settles in we sometimes are tempted to entertain people that are toxic to fill a void. In loneliness we may over eat, binge watch mindless content, smoke/drink excessively or procrastinate important life goals. Forming a new relationship with loneliness means reframing what loneliness means. Loneliness is usually an indicator of needing connection, sadness and anxiety around being alone. We fight against loneliness or try to feed it or stuff it down. We get caught in the empty choke hold of loneliness instead of feeling strangled by loneliness consider asking your loneliness and yourself:
What do I truly need in this moment to feel a level of connection and wholeness? (For example: facetime with a positive and encouraging friend, look through pictures/videos with family and friends (avoid pictures/videos of exes) that inspires positivity, Journal, Paint, Join an online or in person support group, Craft, etc.)
How can I take care of myself in this moment that will advance my goals or leave me with a sense of fulfillment? (for example: In this moment of loneliness I can record the vlog/video I have been procrastinating, I can watch an inspirational video on YouTube or do an online course (online courses could include: photography, guitar, voice lesson, knitting, etc.)
Am I grieving any losses in this moment of loneliness? Losses may not be limited to death or illness, a loss may include sadness around a past break up or ex partner, regrets in not having the life you envisioned, yearning for a happier more exuberant life, wishing you were a different version of yourself, etc. You may consider in these moment labelling your truth through journaling, recording a voice memo, allow yourself to cry in order to purge your sadness, speak to a trusted friend or family member about your sadness/grieve or loss.
How can I be in service in my loneliness? Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media in an attempt to soothe your loneliness consider serving something or someone outside of yourself. Studies indicate that serving others or having a bigger mission outside of yourself will boost overall well-being and happiness. Volunteering/mentoring your time, money or energy not only improves other people's lives but it also creates a sense of belonging. Volunteering can encourage a sense of purpose, it also helps you keep things in perspective regarding your own situation and other peoples life's constraints. Studies also show that volunteering can boost your self-esteem as you slowly start to change your own outlook on life and becoming more of a glass half full type of person.
2. Are you Co-Dependent?
Co-Dependency is a term that is popping up on social media and is rightfully garnering more attention. Co-Dependency can be defined as prioritizing others' needs, problems or expectations over your own mental, emotional or/and physical health. In co-dependency your worth may come from other people rather than from internally. You may be co-dependent if you:
Prioritize others' approval and desires over what you need- or even recognize what you want or need.
Believe that you are selfish if you choose your needs over others.
Legitimize your worth or desirability through someone else's attention or affection towards you.
Feelings of resentment when others do not match your efforts or treat you in a way that makes you feel valued.
Feelings of indecisiveness and often unsure of your decisions and need other people to help you make life decisions.
Pin your worth on someone else's judgment of you.
Feel a sense of loneliness, loss and emptiness if you are not in a relationship or dating.
Unable to stay consistent with self care.
General feeling of unworthy, unlovable and not good enough.
Chronically self critical and engage in persistent self sabotaging behaviors.
Do you become angry, anxious or/and nervous if the person you are dating or interested in takes a long time to respond to your message or have to respectfully cancel/reschedule plans?
If you have answered YES to some or all of these questions you may be co-dependent. Take some steps in working through this codependency by:
Learning to take care of yourself - practice self care by setting a manageable routine for yourself - whether it is a daily 15 minute workout, nightly skin regime or 15 minute daily guided meditation routine. Make a commitment to do a caring act for self in a mindful way. As you are doing the routine say to yourself, "I am taking care of myself right now because I care (love) myself" or "I am showing up for myself right now because I deserve this time and effort to invest in me"
Identify negative thought patterns - the way we think about ourselves and our lives is heavily influenced by the way we think and experience the world. Identifying our thought patterns also known as 'cognition' is important in improving our lives and our moods. Examples of negative thought patterns could be: Discounting the positives, Catastrophizing, Jumping to conclusions, taking things personally, negatively labelling yourself. When you identify your thought patterns make an attempt to be compassionate with yourself and work thorough the negative cognitive distortions by challenging yourself into seeing another perspective. You can learn more about cognitive distortions by reading:
Identifying your Passions - Having a pattern of Co-dependency can etch away at your own self worth, direction in life and general sense of self. Begin writing your own story of co-dependency - where do you think it originates? The messages you received in your family about your own sense of self, belonging and attachment? You may have felt a sense of acceptance and love when you are overly helpful or caring and now as an adult you have mistaken being helpful with over-functioning for others to get love. You may have come from a household that did not honor or encourage you to use your own voice, in return you have ignored your own desires and over relied on friends, family and intimate partners to inspire a feeling of validation and self worth. Journal your story and begin to challenge yourself in writing out if you were to own your own life what would it look like? what would you be doing? who would be in your life? what would you be doing for work?- passion?- purpose?-play?
Suggested Resource: The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle
Krystal Mazzola M.Ed LMFT (Author) - Also available on audible.
https://coda.org/ Codependents Anonymous (CODA) - Virtual & In- Person Meetings available.
3. Tweaking the Eight Dimensions of Wellness- Working on holistic wholeness on all dimensions of your being is part of ultimate self love. The eight dimensions of wellness are:
Physical wellness is affected by physical activity, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep. Physical wellness improves your overall self concept and confidence. Physical movement has been known to improve moods and reduce toxic stress. Focusing on having a routine around exercise for example bike riding, yoga, Zumba, dancing to your favorite music at home, gardening, etc.
Emotional wellness identifies emotional wellness as an ability to cope effectively with life and build satisfying relationships with others. People with healthy emotional wellness feel more in control of their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Greater emotional awareness can reduce depressive and anxious triggers and spirals. Working through emotional issues can put to rest unresolved childhood traumas. Journal your emotions, seek life coaching or professional therapy to support your emotional health. Do activities that involve each of your senses: smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound. Listen to music, eat your favorite food, light your favorite candle, play with your pet, and watch your favorite movie or the sunset.
Intellectual wellness is when you recognize your unique talents to be creative and you seek out ways to use your knowledge and skills. People who pay attention to their intellectual wellness often find that they have better concentration, improved memory, and better critical thinking skills. Learn through podcast, take a free online class, listen to audible books, learn a language, listen to TED talks, record a podcast, play a musical instrument, etc.
Social wellness is a sense of connectedness and belonging. The social dimension of health involves creating and maintaining a healthy support network. Building healthy social dimensions might involve asking a coworker or acquaintance out for lunch, reconnect with positive friends, join an online support group, join a club or organization, volunteer, asking for what you need in relationships, setting healthy boundaries, using good communication skills that is assertive rather than passive or aggressive, being genuine and authentic with others, and also treating others in a respectful way.
Spiritual wellness is related to your values and beliefs that help you find meaning and purpose in your life. Spiritual wellness may come from activities such as volunteering, self-reflection, reading religious text, fellowshipping and worshipping, meditation, prayer, painting, creating or spending time in nature. Building a solid spiritual health will clarify values, a clear sense of self-confidence, have a connection that is greater than self and a feeling of inner peace. To improve your spiritual health, it can help to create a quiet space for solitude and contemplation or a place of curiosity and playfulness. Maintaining a playful, curious attitude can help you find experiences that offer hope, purpose, and meaning.
Financial wellness is a feeling of satisfaction about your financial situation. Finances are a common stressor for people, so being able to minimize worry about this aspect of your life can enhance your overall wellness. Good financial wellness can lead to greater sense of independence and empowerment. Options for managing financial wellness include having a household budget, starting a savings account with an automatic withdrawal schedule for savings. Taking a free online financial class, watch YouTube videos on financial wellness tools, save towards an emergency account, cut back or limiting unnecessary expenses, clean up credit card debt, donate to a meaningful charity, utilizing the library for free books and cooking meals instead of dining out. Try tracking your spending for a month to see where your money is going and set goals based on what you find. You can search online for budgeting tools and apps to help you save or track spending.
Occupational wellness is a sense of satisfaction with your choice of work. Occupational wellness involves balancing work and leisure time, building relationships with coworkers, and managing workplace stress. Occupational wellness involves balancing work and leisure time, building relationships with coworkers, and managing workplace stress. An occupational wellness goal might include finding work that is meaningful and financially rewarding. Finding work that fits with your values, interests, and skills can help maintain occupational wellness. Occupational wellness is having healthy work/life balance, examining commute and travel times that may impact quality of life and increase stress. Consider your office culture and determine how supported you feel; if you discover you feel a lack of support, seek out support from others close to you who can be positive and uplifting. Be mindful to incorporate recreational /self-care activities, creative ventures and social outings that can help balance out work stress.
Environmental wellness is related to the surroundings you occupy. This dimension of health connects your overall well-being to the health of your environment. This dimension of health connects your overall well-being to the health of your environment. Your environment, both your social and natural surroundings, can greatly impact how you feel. It can be hard to feel good if you are surrounded by clutter and disorganization, or if you feel unsafe in your environment. Pollution, violence, garbage buildup, and water conservation are some of the factors affecting environmental wellness. Environmental clog can affect our moods drastically. Think about your home environment also- feeling impacted by outdated décor, cluttered spaces and filth can throw your sense of balance and contentment off. Ways to manage environmental wellness include creating neighborhood watches, recycling, planting a personal or community garden, purchasing products with minimal packaging, avoiding littering, keeping clean organized work spaces at work and at home, and conserving by turning off lights and water when not in use.
Falling in love with YOU is an evolving process. Take the time to build a relationship with you steeped in self compassion and patience. Remember that self love is a practice over the course of a LIFE time.