One of my favorite things to do is find a movie I have never heard of before and focus all my attention to it. This led me to recently watching the movie “Coffee Shop” where I heard the words “love is a verb” for the first time. I am definitely late to this party because when I looked it up, I found that John Mayer has a song with the same name. There are also an endless number of blogs with this as their subject. This phrase is typically interpreted in action to another person. I can’t just say that I love you, I need to show you. In John Mayer’s words “When you show me love, I don’t need your words”. I 100% agree with this sentiment. You can’t just say that you love somebody, you have to do so actively. As I listened to the song and read through the blogs, I realized that when I first heard those words my interpretation was different. My interpretation was on a personal level, we need to feel that towards ourselves. It is common to be hard on ourselves, our biggest critics. It is easy to put others before ourselves. Too often do we say “yes” to things that we don’t really want to. I believe these actions come from not actively loving ourselves enough. “Love is a verb” means so much more than just occasionally doing something for ourselves. It is great to “treat yo’self”, I believe we should all do more of that, but we also must truly believe that we love who we are. I am promoting endless self-love. Often, we can get stuck in this loop of self-berating, this is really common when we make decisions that are out of our norm. We tell ourselves that we aren’t smart enough, thin enough, pretty enough, nice enough, strong enough to do something that we really want to do. We tell ourselves that we won’t make any real difference in anything. That what we do doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If you don’t have these conversations with your self ever, teach me your ways! For the rest of us, it takes a little more effort to lessen these thoughts. Self-doubt is common, but with a little bit of active love we can begin to change our habits.
I want to share a moment where a little bit of self-love took me a long way. Last year I was working a job that no longer served me. I wasn’t happy, and I spent a lot of time being upset, angry even. I loved my personal life, but the work life was making it difficult to be happy when I was home. I knew what I really wanted was to leave my job and focus on building my own business while I finished up with school. My loved ones supported my decision, nobody made me feel bad about it, but I felt bad about it. I felt bad about it because of the thoughts I was having about myself. I almost talked myself out of it all because I wasn’t actively loving myself. “I’m going to fail. I am not good enough to run my own business. I’m not smart enough to finish university early. It is lazy for me to not have a job.” These thoughts were constant. It took a lot of reflection to stop the negative narrative and realize that by allowing myself to take this chance I was putting my happiness in front of everything else and that was okay. I loved myself a little deeper and acknowledged that my emotions were important, and by doing that I made one of the best decisions that I have made in a while.
Loving yourself doesn’t have to lead to extreme decisions like the example above. It can be simple everyday things that bring you happiness and quiet the negative conversation that tends to pop up. I want to share a couple of things that I do to love myself actively on a daily level as well as options that I know work for other people!
-Write an inspirational quote on your mirror
-Allow 30 minutes in your day to do whatever you want to do (it could even be napping)
-Keep a list of 5 things you love about yourself in your wallet and read it often
-Create a “happy box” to help out in the not so happy times
-Develop a morning (or evening) routine that you really enjoy
-Treat yourself once a week (it could be as simple as a coffee from a café as opposed to home coffee)
-Say “yes” when you want to say “yes” and “no” when you want to say “no”
-Be honest with your emotions and share them with somebody if that will help (you are not alone)
-Buy yourself flowers
-Get artsy! Nothing like a little self-expression to get the love flowing.
-Make your favorite meal (even if that means Thanksgiving dinner in July)
-Wear leggings all day
-Learn something new (I want to learn how to keep bees, it doesn’t have to be something serious)
-Sing your favorite song (just listening works too)
-Wake up and tell yourself it is going to be a beautiful day
-Snuggle an animal
Actively loving yourself is the same as loving somebody else. Think of it as dating yourself, we save our best selves for dates. Allow your best self to be around all the time, everyday is a new date! An act as simple as giving yourself a moment to take 3 deep breaths is enough to reset, to begin again, and that is called self-love. It is okay to have rough moments and doubts, it is the act of how you work your way through those moments that makes the difference. Think of loving yourself as one of those romance movies where they stand on top of a building and proclaim their love to the world. Just this time you are proclaiming your love for yourself, the world will still take notice! Just remember, love is a verb.