Love Yourself First & The Rest Will Follow
By Ashley E. Watson
If I were to ask you “What do you love?”, what is your initial gut answer that comes to mind?
My guess would be that it would mostly likely be your parents, friends, boyfriend, siblings, children, maybe your job. Maybe the first thing you think of when you think of love is your favorite food, exercise routine or flower.
But tell me, how long do you think it would take for you to think of yourself?
My guess would be that when I asked you that question you, weren’t even on your mind.
In our culture and in society, we are programmed to think that we experience love because of something that is outside of ourselves. We love objects, people, places. We start to think that the only reason that we feel love is because of what we see and experience in our external physical worlds.
We start to understand that “The only reason I feel love right now is because I am with this person/doing this thing/having this experience.”
Without realizing it, we train ourselves to experience the emotion of love as though something or someone meets or surpasses our expectations or fulfills a certain desire that we have.
But the reality is that the only way that we experience true unconditional love is if we first experience the most important love of all.... the unconditional love that lies within ourselves for ourselves.
So often as women we just forget about ourselves. We put us last on our own to-do list and then we wonder why we feel burnt out, exhausted and disconnected from ourselves and our dreams. We prioritize our children, our relationships, our careers all before making sure our own mental and physical wellbeing are taken care.
And before we know it, everything around us starts to feel like it is falling apart. The spark in our relationships start to dwindle, our job becomes irritating and frustrating and we feel like we are on this crazy hamster wheel where we can’t work hard enough or give enough of ourselves to make our external world better.
But therein lies the problem because we can’t make our external world ‘better’ until we take care of our internal selves and make the love for ourselves our priority.
To make our external worlds happier, brighter more abundant, we have to commit to making self-love and self-care is a practice. A daily practice where we make the commitment to doing whatever it is that we need to do to align our lives with what we desire.
Especially as a women, everywhere you look, we are bombarded on Facebook, Instagram, TV, magazines, that there are these women who look like they live seemingly ‘perfect lives’ with their perfect bodies, happy relationships and a to-die for amount of Chanel bags. And when they show their ‘Face-tuned’ smile, you think, “Why can’t I be like that? Why can’t I have that life?” and instead of activating the love within yourself, you activate the lack of whatever you feel like you are missing in your life. And you can feel shameful, guilty, jealous, frustrated and so behind everyone else in the rat-race of reality.
I hate to truth bomb you, but, the truth is that you can’t have their life, because you have to be you! You have your own life and destiny to live! And you job is to connect to your own dreams and give yourself the honor, and permission to be fully and unapologetically who you are.
But the trick here is that the only way to start down that road of your fulfilled destiny is to start loving yourself where you are right here, right now. Not waiting for the, “When I have a boyfriend, I’ll love myself” or “When I lose 10 pounds, I’ll love myself” but loving yourself right here, right now. You must make your relationship with yourself a loving and fulfilling one.
Start to become conscious of the words and comments you make towards yourself all day and choose to believe the positive and loving ones. Wake up 5-15 minutes earlier to meditate, exercise, journal, breathe, to spend some alone time with your own amazingness.
Know that when you are starting on this journey of self-love, loving yourself can feel a bit strange at first. But as you prioritize and commit to you, I promise, you’ll start to notice that you might even start to like yourself a little, and then you might start to love yourself a little and by continuing your self-care and love practice, over time you will start to feel an overwhelming sense of pure adoration and pride for the miracle that you are. And as that happens for you, I know and promise that your outside physical world will reflect all of the positivity you are yearning for and your dream life will be your reality.
Remember, you are so amazing and so worthy of the love that you offer the world. Love yourself first and know that the rest of your desires will follow.
BY ASHLEY E. WATSON
Ashley E. Watson, LCSW is a Psychotherapist, Empowerment Coach and Kundalini Yoga and Meditation Teacher who is passionate about supporting women in harnessing their courage to be their most authentic selves amidst the noise and pressure from society, family, and peers for “perfection.”
With a lot of love and laughter, Ashley help women release their fears and blocks to love so that they can live a life filled with love, joy and abundance.