Self care isn't just drinking water and going to sleep early. Self care is taking a break when things become overwhelming, saying no to things that you do not want to do, allowing yourself to cry, asking for help from those around you, doing things that make you happy.
This Valentine’s Day let’s make it all about you!
1. Begin with Celebrating YOU.
Today is your day. You are your very own special Valentine.
No matter what you think of today or what our culture thinks of today, or what anyone else thinks about it, the fact is that it’s a day for celebrating LOVE. So start by celebrating all of the things that you love about yourself.
Make a list of everything that you’ve done, that you’ve created, talents that you have, people that you’ve helped.
This is not a time to be humble – you’re only writing this to yourself, so no one will think you’re bragging. Even if it’s something as simple as “I love to sing in the shower” or “I always remember everyone’s birthdays” or “I take care of my dog”, write it down.
Don’t stop until you’re feeling great about yourself.
2. Give Yourself a Special Gift
Whether it’s the dozen red roses you’re wishing someone would send you, that box of chocolates you love, or the perfect card you imagine your perfect guy giving you, give yourself a special gift that celebrates the uniqueness of you!
The beauty is that you can give yourself exactly what you know you want, so there’s no chance of disappointment.
3. Pamper Yourself
No, it’s not selfish to pamper yourself in an extra special way today – it’s the very least of what you deserve!
If it’s getting your nails or hair done, spending some time at the spa getting a massage; whatever makes you feel extra special, go ahead and treat yourself.
Remember, today is about YOU!
4. Spend Time with the People You Love
Whether we’re talking about friends or family, old ones or young, whoever it is that you enjoy spending time with that make you feel better just by being nearby, make a point of reaching out to them today, even if it’s just in the form of a phone call.
The point is this is about connecting with people who help you feel good about yourself.
Sometimes it’s all about the company you keep.
5. Write a Love Letter to Yourself
It’s amazing the power words can have on how you feel about yourself.
Imagine what you would say to yourself if you were the man or woman of your dreams who loves you for everything you are and sees you only for your true self. The one who loves you unconditionally in spite of any imperfections that you see in yourself. And even loves you more because of them.
Then write down exactly what he/she would say in a love letter he/she wrote to you.
Because one day he/she will.
6. End the Day with Some Music and Water
I know. It’s the classic “have a warm bath” approach to treating yourself like a queen.
But here's the secret: it really works!
Turn on some beautiful music. You know, the kind that moves you. The kind that stirs your soul.
Then spend some time soaking in a warm bath, complete with some calming fragrant bath salts, and you’ve got the perfect prescription for a beautiful end to a day that’s all about you.
Happy Valentine’s Day. To you.
And while doing these, remember that whatever you want to make of the day, it’s all yours to decide how to spend it. Because regardless of what anyone else says, Valentine’s Day is all about what you make of it. How you choose to celebrate it is entirely up to you.
So, remember today, the only kind of love you want in your life is the real thing, and it starts with you.
There are several things that cause us anxiety; public speaking, mortality, and rejection. But there is another common anxiety-fueler: the fear of what others think. While it can show up in many forms—like, curbing us from speaking our truth, deciding what we do (and don’t) post on social media, and factoring into big-deal life decisions like which jobs to seek—it often holds us back from going after our most sincere goals. Or worse, it can prevent us from being our authentic selves. But before learning how to not care what people think, it’s key to first understand why so many of us do care.
Put simply, we are wired to crave a sense of belonging and safety. Humans have always felt that belonging to a group make life less dangerous. Our primitive brain is still connected to that idea that we need to belong to a group and stay in their good graces in order to survive.
While this need to be liked and accepted may have served humans way back when, it now often robs us of our freedom to be ourselves. When we are so focused on being liked or on what other people think, we can step away from our truth and lean into performance. We censor ourselves. We water ourselves down and become consummate chameleons in order to be accepted.
If any of this rings true for you, keeping you from the life you truly want to be living, here are six tips for learning how to not care what people think, once and for all.
1. Remember that what others think isn’t your businessAlthough it may seem like external thoughts can have a major effect on our inner workings, that’s really not the case. Rather, it’s merely our perception that gives them power. With this in mind here is a strategy for learning how to not care what people think: remind yourself that their thoughts are their own and have nothing to do with you. Furthermore, the only way these thoughts can impact your life is if you let them.
2. Know that your value is not contingent on being likedEmbrace the fact that your value is not determined by how liked and accepted you are. “It’s not my job to be liked,” I tell myself. “It’s my job to show up in my authenticity and deliver the contribution I came to deliver. Some people will like what I have to offer, and others will not, and that is real and normal. It has no implications on our value as human beings. So, if someone likes you or what you’re doing, great. And if they don’t, that’s fine, too—you do you, regardless.
3. Define your valuesLiving your life according to what others think of you is a recipe for an unhappy and exhausting life. Instead, define your own set of values. Get clear on what’s important to you, not other people. Focus on who you want to be, not what others say you should be. From there, we can align ourselves with friends and groups that share these values versus attempting to fit ourselves into a box that doesn’t reflect our truest expression.
4. Find the core wound and write a new storyThere is usually an old story, subconscious belief, or an emotional wound that drives the worry of what others think. Reflect on this during a meditation or in your journal to help you better understand why it is that you, personally, care what others think in the first place. Think of your earliest memory of not being liked or accepted, how it made you feel, and what you most needed in that memory.
Once you’re clearer on that core wound, belief, or story, you can write a new story for yourself. Write it out in a journal. For example, if your old story is that you need to be liked to survive or be worthy, then you can write out examples of times when you weren’t necessarily accepted and still flourished.
5. Forgive yourself and shift your mind-setOvercoming the fear of what people think is certainly not something that can happen overnight. It requires practice and a whole lot of self-forgiveness. We all get caught in our fear stories from time to time. It doesn’t make us wrong or broken. When that fear rears its ugly head (and it will), forgive yourself in that moment and then choose a new thought and way of being. Shifting your mind-set in this way will give you the motivation you need to do what you’re holding yourself back from accomplishing.
Adapted from an article by Kamalyn Kaur
Self-esteem: it’s how we evaluate or appraise our own sense of worth. When we are suffering with low self-esteem, we are more likely to:
>> Give up our personal power and the ability to influence others.
>> Feel insignificant to others, constantly seeking affection, attention, and acceptance.
>> Lack a sense of virtue or feel plagued with an inherent nagging sense of not being a good person, morally or ethically.
>> Often feel unloved, unappreciated, and unwanted, or that we aren’t good enough or worthy of love.
>> Be easily dominated by others who we perceive as being more powerful and capable than we are.
If we can relate to any of these feelings, then we’re often more likely to resort to certain behaviors in an effort to numb out the pain and escape to a world that allows us a temporary release of our suffering and problems.
One of the ways in which people escape is by dating or staying in relationships with partners who might not serve them. They could be unhealthy, toxic, controlling, or emotionally distressful, however we stay because we feel a false sense of security, validation, and feeling “wanted,” which gives us an artificial boost of self-esteem.
If we feel that we aren’t good enough, we will stay in relationships that aren’t good enough for us. If we feel we don’t deserve better, then we will settle with what we have, rather than fighting for better. If we feel that we aren’t entitled to be happy, then we will stay with people who don’t make us feel happy.
If we want to attract a healthier relationship, we have to change our relationship with ourselves by improving our self-esteem. Here are six ways to flip our mindset and begin restoring our self-esteem. 1. Create an attitude of gratitude.
We live in a society where it is easier for us to find faults and flaws within ourselves, but when asked what we like about ourselves or what we do well, we are often met with silence. At the end of each day, list three things you did that you feel good about. By focusing on what we have done, rather than what we haven’t done, we are creating positive momentum and training our mind to look for goodness rather than identifying what we think is lacking.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
We are all individual—unique and special in our own way. There is no such thing as being 100 percent perfect, but we are all perfect in our own way and that is what we should celebrate. Instead of focusing on what others are doing and putting everyone else on a pedestal, feeling that they are better than us, we have to shift the focus away from them and onto us.
We must be mindful of bringing our attention back to how we are doing and what makes us unique. Consider what skills, qualities, or characteristics you have that make you different from others. How do others describe you when they first meet you? You might not be perfect, but we all have a something that will be appealing, attractive, and fascinating to others!
3. Accept and cherish compliments.
Instead of deflecting, dismissing, or ignoring compliments, accept them with a big thank you and a genuine smile. Think of each compliment as a boxed gift with a big bow on it. If someone gave us a gift, we would consider it rude to ignore the gift, return it, or reject it instead of receiving it. Then why do we so regularly do the same with compliments? We might be worried that the person isn’t being genuine or truthful, but that is not our place to judge. Accept the compliment—without judgement.
4. Surround yourself with goodness.
Spend time with people who make you feel good. If you have a negative influence or person in your life, step back and be aware of how you might be letting them drag you down. When life feels like an uphill climb, we can’t afford to be pulled down by someone else’s negativity.
5. Stay active.
Regular exercise is a great way to get our endorphins flowing. If we feel healthy and are happy with how we look, we will begin to feel better about ourselves as a whole. Start with a short walk every day, and gradually increase the length or branch out and try other forms of exercise that help you feel accomplished.
6. Spread the love.
It amazes me to see how much we can boost our self-esteem just by being kind. Try giving one person a compliment each day or doing one nice thing for someone who needs it. Not only will we feel better about ourselves, but we will begin to feel the positive karma of our efforts.
Low self-esteem can often be the spark plug for self-destruction within relationships. By implementing these six tips into our lives, we can attract healthier connections into our lives and also create a healthier relationship with ourselves—which is the most important relationship of all.
I spoke to my daughter the other day and we were discussing our thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions. We agreed that we don’t need to reinvent ourselves every year, and that’s why we don’t do New Year’s resolutions.
It’s curious, our approach to resolutions—as they usually involve creating more structure in our life—which can be good and useful. But rather than setting resolutions, I am setting a resolve to release. A wonderful thing happens when we let go. Something rises up to greet us that is more honest, and more sustainable than our willpower—our basic goodness.
This year I’m committing to that.
It always amuses me when, at the end of a year, people are hating on the year like it was some malevolent foe who just ruined their lives. Boo! 2019, you sucked! Only, I remember the same attitude getting passed around at the end of last year: Boo, 2018! I have to think—maybe it’s not the numbers on the calendar that either soar or suck, it’s us, individually and collectively.
2016 was rough, right? One of the most divisive years amongst us that I can remember. The election brought a bunch of gunk to light that drove a split—not only through us as a nation—but amongst friends and family as well, and our choices, as a country, echoed throughout the world. Will 2020 be another year like that? It’s another election year.
A new decade arrives, and the world’s troubles continue—our personal troubles continue—and our basic goodness remains. And that can be used as a powerful force for change when we allow ourselves to relax into it.
Despite the ever-popular New Year’s resolutions craze, now is not actually time to reshape ourselves with aggressive self-improvement. Now is not the time to apply strict, often unsustainable regiments to our minds and bodies—adding endless things to our to-do lists.
Now is the time to make friends with ourselves. Welcome our lost inner orphans and communicate honestly and deeply with our souls, and all the parts of ourselves that we often don’t like.
The parts of us—feelings, desires, and needs—that are deemed less acceptable in our family and societal systems, we often reject. That can be a subtle, insistent suppression, or it can be quite aggressive. You’ve probably heard this before: What I see in you is a reflection of me. This is true for both what we see and what we don’t see—our own blind spots, so to speak. And it is often the parts of ourselves that we don’t like, that we attack in others.
The aggression that gets enacted internally also gets projected outward onto the world. This is why befriending ourselves—and learning to accept all of our feelings, needs, and desires—is so important!
Resolutions to better ourselves often come from a subtle place of aggression: I’ll like myself better if I lose 10 or 20 pounds. I’ll feel more worthy if I can manifest more abundance or a new romantic partner. I’ll finally be happy if I can just take that exotic vacation that I have always wanted. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to experience any of these things, it is important to feel into why we want them.
Do we want to lose weight because it will feel good to move more and express ourselves more healthily through our physical form, or are we trying to fit ourselves into someone else’s standard for what our bodies should look like?
Do we want more prosperity because we love our work? Because offering our gifts is a joy, an honor, our vocation, and we need to pay the bills? Or because we think those numbers on our bank account statement are going to provide us with more than financial security? We think that somehow they will give us emotional security too.
Do we want partnership with another human being because we love communicating, we love sharing energy, experiences, food, sex, fun, joy, care, and occasionally (yet respectfully) arguing, or because deep down we think another person will be able to assuage our loneliness?
Do we want that dream vacation because we love exploring new places and going on adventures, or because we have bought into the notion that paradise is always somewhere else, not here and now in this tender, human moment?
This moment matters.
Tune into you for just a moment. Notice your breath. Notice your body and its sensations. Notice your thoughts. Notice your feelings. Notice you. You will not change because a new year has been born. Underneath all the ideas of who you are and what you think you want is something that is truly permanent: your inherent worth and basic goodness.
What would it be like, I wonder, if we all committed to dissolving the lies, confusions, and adaptations that simply obscure our fundamental nature? We would truly be walking not only into a new decade but a new and more beautiful world, together.
This year and all those that follow, let’s relax more. Meditate more. Get into nature more. Move more. Let’s make choices that support life and each other. Let’s shop locally when we can.
Let’s laugh more, love more, rise in protection of life more. Let’s give ourselves even more to this brokenhearted, beautiful world and watch it—and each other—heal.
May our thoughts, our words, and, most of all, our actions be of benefit.
A journey to establish boundaries begins with raw and honest self-awareness. Often what we do is not born of conscious thinking; it is habitual and hard-wired.
Have you ever had a string of moments where you have genuinely questioned the motives of your actions? These are directly related to boundaries and are indicators if they are too fluid, too rigid, or non-existent.
A lack of strong and healthy boundaries has been linked to childhood trauma, although trauma at any age can be a factor. Boundaries are directly linked to self-esteem; the more boundaries we have, the greater our self-esteem is or will become once we start working on them.
In some cases, if we were raised by parents who expected us to be the savior or made us feel that putting ourselves first in any way was a selfish act, we started off on the wrong path to living a life that brings internal happiness. We have possibly become people-pleasers or retreated in fear of not being able to connect in a way that uplifts instead of drains.
What are boundaries?
To sum it up succinctly, boundaries are protection of our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial well-being. Aspects that we have defined, uniquely to ourselves, that do not allow situations or people to compromise us. By creating and upholding boundaries, we do not develop feelings of resentment, bitterness, or see ourselves as less than we are.
If honesty is something we value and it is defined as a boundary for us, we are less likely to form or maintain unhealthy connections with people who lie or deceive. If we value nurturing our own emotions and being responsible for them, our boundary will be not allowing others to make us responsible for their emotions.
These are a few boundary-building techniques:1. Learn to get comfortable saying no
This is possibly the hardest thing for someone to become comfortable with, especially if they believe that pleasing others is more important than pleasing themselves. Saying no is often followed by a sense of unwarranted guilt.
You need to make yourself fully aware in those moments that prioritizing yourself and your needs is an act of self-love, and someone who respects and loves you will ultimately understand. You do not need to over-explain or even, in some cases, offer an explanation. No can be a full sentence—if you allow it to be.
2. Start small and build
Boundaries are something that take time and patience. You won’t be able to establish them overnight, and it will take practice within the relationships you have currently. Each time you are presented with a new opportunity to honor your boundary and you don’t, don’t berate yourself.
Show yourself compassion and keep trying until it becomes a habit and you begin doing it with little thought. A habit is formed by consistent behavior, and it grows. You don’t start by running a marathon; you start by training a little each day.
3. Foster reciprocal relationships
No boundaries can lead to overcompensation in an effort to maintain relationships. We fear losing someone, and we give and give and give until we are depleted. We have to be clear with ourselves on what we are willing or able to give.
We need to remind ourselves that as important as giving is, it is as important to have the grace to receive. Give and take is key. An imbalance can create enormous tension in our relationships and, ultimately, destroy them.
4. Learn to let go
Do not cling to situations, to jobs, to people. If something is clearly not working out, you need to take what you have learned and move on. That requires being honest with yourself. We often struggle with the picture we have in our minds of what we want versus what they actually are.
Use what you have defined as your boundaries to assess if something or someone is adding to the quality of your life or taking away from it. Letting go is portrayed as a heart-wrenching and an almost impossible task, but it is a simple act when we are grounded in our worth. When we know who we are and what we want, letting go becomes easier—because why would we settle?
5. Lovingly assert yourself and handle the backlash
We often associate assertion with aggression. If we are confronted with people lashing out, particularly to our boundary, we feel we must retaliate. We are known a certain way and a backlash is to be expected. We must prepare for this; it’s inevitable.
The best way to handle it is to remain cool, calm, and collected. Lovingly express your feelings, and, if someone persists with negativity, walk away.
Keep in mind that people can only meet us as deeply as they have met themselves. It’s often not us and our boundary that is the problem. They may be triggered into seeing something unflattering within themselves.
Our focus needs to be on ourselves and living a life of authenticity which will ripple through our relationships in healthy and positive ways.
We will each arrive at our “domestication” crossroads in our own time. Here are some thoughts to guide you in figuring things out:
It has become clear that if we date only in our “zip-code,” we find a lot of comfort and alignment as we cultivate something homegrown. The problem is, people are dating outside their ‘zip-codes’ more often than not. Unless you take the time to understand the culture and subculture of where your partner learned to love, the outcome could easily be painful and disastrous.
There is a gap between understanding our domestication of love, and loving with such discernment, because the way we are normalized conditions us to survive within just that particular geographic location.
But this isn’t irreversible. We are capable of unlearning, just as we are of learning. As long as we are open to growth, this cycle never ends.
It is interesting that in this era, we care deeply about where we buy what we buy. Is it ethically sourced? Where is it made? Where does our food come from? What about our clothes? Our chocolate? Our soap? Yet we don’t seem ever to question: where did we learn how to love? Because surely, a love that’s made in sweatshops doesn’t feel the same as an artisanal love. Love expressed in North Korea doesn’t look the same as love expressed in North Dakota.
Understanding where we come from helps us build a more solid identity. The same goes for love. Where and how we learned to love, along with its expressions, shape our relationships, And it’s often the unsaid, assumed feelings and meanings that derail the relationship.
Until we map out where we learned what we learned about love, we will always be swimming in somewhat of a confused sea. Until we figure out the origins of our love, we continue to carry the consensus of what love is, according to our immediate physical environment, and forget to find out where our partner learned to love.
This is a formula that works regardless of who this person is – which includes friends, family, ANY one at all.
• Stop holding this person responsible for your happiness, or sense of security. As an adult that is YOUR job.
• Let go of your focus on them and examine yourself. Get very clear on your values and what you require in your Life.
• Heal within yourself the traumas you have that cause you to attach and make excuses for staying in toxic relationships. Find a good therapist who specializes in this area.
• If this person has an indecent character, stop wanting or expecting any change from them. Instill a No Contact or Modified Contact policy in regard to them. Do what you need to legally, to heal and move on.
• If this person has a decent character, STOP arguing with them and tell them lovingly and truthfully what you require from them to continue a relationship with them.
• If they don’t wish to meet these needs, bless them and lovingly release them so that you both can be free to live a life that is aligned with your separate truths.
• If they do agree to step up and incorporate the values you have, see if their actions match the words – words alone are cheap.
• If they are trying to become your values, be honest. Is this something that they are enjoying and benefiting from? Are they doing this only because of their neediness and fear of losing you, but really resent having to be different?
And finally, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be true to yourself no matter what anyone else is or isn’t doing.
When you are authentic, you can say ‘No’ to who and what is not working for you. You are empowered to connect with and co-generate with the people and things who share your values.
By calmly and clearly using the formula above, you have the confidence and self-awareness to leave a relationship if things become toxic.
1. Stop complaining and appreciate how lucky you are every day.
2. Embrace loneliness and reinvent yourself in the process.
3. Say goodbye to the people that don't bring positive energy into your life.
4. Turn off the TV and set Internet controls.
5. Pick one skill you want to cultivate and put all your effort into developing it.
6. Commit to the goals you set and never look back.
7. Sweat every day to boost your mood.
8. Fall forward. Learn from every mistake you make.
adapted from an article by Justice Bartlett
At the center of that journey is me: my desire to know myself, give love, engage in mutuality with others, and cultivate the space I need to grow into who I really am, while uncovering my gifts and offering them to the world.
A big part of navigating all of that has been learning how to extract toxic patterns from my life and set healthy boundaries with myself and others. Notice I say extract patterns, not people.
People are inherently pure. People are inherently love. People are doing the best they can and trying to choose the experiences that they, themselves, need to grow.
People are not inherently toxic, but sometimes the energy and choices they are aligning themselves with can be. Though they might not see it that way, and who am I, really, to make that call? I do not know what experiences they may need for their own soul growth. All I can say, without recrimination, is that the choices, substances, and energies that some are entangled with feel toxic to me.
And that is where the bottom line lies, for me. I cannot in good conscience and accountability to myself entangle with those energies. I will not foster connections based on misogynistic dynamics or distorted by substance abuse or bullying. Love the person yes, indubitably, and realize people must embody the choices they make. As people with individual agency, we all choose to bring certain behaviors through our bodies and into our realities. To deny the effect that our decisions have on others is shortsighted at best, and can be selfish, abusive, or even dangerous at times.
The point of relational boundaries is simply this: creating a distinction within the experiences of wholeness. There may be one energy, but it is manifesting through a billions of people.
Consciousness—whether we’re acting in a conscious or unconscious way—is full of variety, choice, and possibility, none necessarily better than another, just different.
Individuation is key on our journey into being a fully realized, loving, powerful, capable expression of that consciousness, and that means judicious use of our capacity and right to say both yes and no—to patterns, activities, substances, behaviors, and sometimes the people who are choosing to embody them.
Health, at all levels, is a direct by-product of individuation. We are not extensions of anyone or anything. We are whole individuals, and a profound part of our experiences here in this world is our right to choose what and who that journey needs to include. Sometimes that means we limit our time with certain people; sometimes that means we walk completely away.
This does not mean that we cut off love from ourselves or from another—it means that we choose to let that love move in a way that is healthy for us and allows us to honor ourselves.
A healthy relational boundary is me taking accountability for how I feel, allowing others to have their experiences—no matter how unappealing or even awful those might appear to me, no matter how badly I may want to reach across time and space and choke or embrace them. I go back and forth on that one; I’m still human. Boundaries are not stagnant lines drawn in the sand; they are living breathing energetic agreements that truly allow individuation, communication, and compassion to flourish.
Real compassion is me being responsible for my own feelings and experiences, and ultimately my own happiness. I cannot be held responsible for anyone else’s feelings or experiences. I can take responsibility for how my behaviors affect another and I can choose how to respond to another’s behavior toward me, but I cannot protect. I cannot save. All I can do is love. And for that love to be authentic, it has to begin with me. I must honor love in the way that I need to feel full, whole, and happy within myself and my agreements.
Choosing congruent agreements is a powerful expression of choice, and I will continue to feel my way into how that manifests, moment to moment and day to day. They cannot become stagnant or static. Agreements need to shift and grow with us and must be constantly negotiated and modified. Continued communication, as a living function of agreements, allows us to heal, change, and grow—both together and separately. This will mean navigating joy, as well as discomfort.
Discomfort is a part of living a dynamic life, of being human. Living a life of happiness means that no matter what happens—comfortable or uncomfortable—I attend to myself and my needs with care and grace. As I do so, I become the best version of myself and my joy expands, as does my capacity to give and show up for myself and others.
I know when I say no to certain dynamics or leave a situation or relationship, it is with mutual respect for all involved and with the intention to grow in authenticity and dignity. I know when I say yes to something, it is with wholehearted enthusiasm.
It is only with dynamic, healthy boundaries that happiness can truly take route and flourish—and our life can become a living expression of compassion.