I’ve been formulating an article in my head about self-love and was planning to give you a lovely little list of fairly expected things you could do to start loving yourself. But then I had an unexpected experience with my daughters that surprised me and made me realize self-love can be found in ways I hadn’t been thinking about before. Did you know self-love can be found outside of your comfort zone? It wasn’t something I’d really considered before, but recently I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Let me explain.
In January, my younger daughter was invited to an ice-skating birthday party for one of her pre-school friends. When she got the invitation, she was excited but I was immediately nervous. I knew my husband had other plans that day, which meant I’d have to take my two girls by myself.
Self-doubt started to creep in big time. I started imagining all the things that could possibly go wrong: crying (maybe me, maybe them), temper tantrums, injuries, and—worst of all—potential embarrassment in front of parents I don’t know. I have a tendency to ruminate on all the negative possibilities and work myself into a medium-sized tizzy before things I’m uncomfortable with. Can you relate?
Neither one of my girls had ever ice skated before and although I have a little experience, I was majorly lacking confidence and was feeling really nervous about my ability to help them, especially both at the same time. I almost backed out at the last minute but I didn’t want to disappoint my girls, so we went.
I posted about the experience on Instagramthe next day, and as you can read in that post, there were ups and downs but in the end all three of us enjoyed ourselves. We all felt successful and we all left wanting more. Amazing! I was truly surprised by the way the afternoon went. It was inspiring to see my girls persevere through something challenging and come out the other side loving it. They are a great example for me.
But here’s the thing: my daughters? They’re both quite confident already, and watching them taught me a lot about myself. I was the one who was worried and anxious. I was the one who was lacking confidence and afraid of being embarrassed if I fell on my face. I’m the one who could benefit from more self-love and I’m the one who felt pushed out of my comfort zone in this situation. My daughters’ self-love isn’t lacking. They never doubted that they’d be able to skate and they knew all along that it would be fun. And even more importantly, they don’t worry about the fact that things might not go “well”. I’ve learned from their example that true self-love isn’t worrying about whether or not things will go well. Rather, it’s knowing that it’s actually okay if they don’t.
Do you know what this experience did for me? It made me love myself a little bit more.
I left feeling like a good mom. I left feeling proud of myself. Not only for being able to stay upright on ice skates while supporting two children who were pulling me in two directions, but also for my patience with my girls and for handling a challenging situation all on my own.
More than that, I realized that trying new things and finding success in unexpected places can help me appreciate myself. I didn’t know that before. I had thought that playing it safe was the answer because failing feels bad, so not failing must be the way to feel good. But the truth is that when I just stick to what’s easy and comfortable in order not to fail, I actually feel bored and mediocre. What helps me love myself is trying something hard and getting through it.
This year I’d like to push myself more to have new experiences. With every new experience I hope to love and appreciate myself just a little bit more. My next step? Turning THIS article in for publication and allow people to read it. That’s even scarier than ice skating!
What do you think? Would you like to push yourself more to try new things? I’d love to hear from you and hear what you’d like to try.
Oh, and if you’d still like a lovely little list of other things you can do to start loving yourself, here you go:
- Create a self-love affirmation and repeat it to yourself daily. Make it something that feels good and attainable to you. If loving yourself feels like too much right now, try accepting yourself instead.
- Give yourself gifts. These might be material gifts but they might also be gifts of things like time or space.
- Treat yourself to 5 minutes of peace and quiet every day.
- Ask for help.
- Learn to say no. If you need help with boundaries, I highly recommend reading, The Disease to Please, by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D. It changed my life.
- Learn to say yes to things you love.
If you need more information or support with anything on this list, I’d love to hear from you. I’m here to help!