The Importance of Self-Love & How to Cultivate It

How often do you take care of yourself? Are you kind to yourself? Do you love yourself as much as you love your best friend, your siblings, your parents? Or do you spend your time looking after others? Taking care of everyone else? Happy to give, but uncomfortable in receiving? In this story, we dive deep into the importance of self-love and the steps you can take to cultivate it. 

It was my 35th birthday, and I was lying on my closet floor crying. The closet was dark and felt like just the right size to hold all of my pain. I was reeling from the heartache of realizing that nothing external would make me happy.

When I was driving home, from the business that I owned to the dream house on the dream island, brimming with my three kids and my husband of 13 years, father of my children, in my dream car,  I was miserable.

Every dream fulfilled that promised a better future was utter rubbish. That night in my sad state, I started a fight with my husband, and he left the next morning, on my birthday. I had a weekend full of festivities planned, and there was no time to be this sad.

Plans I had made weeks before seemed senseless because my whole world was collapsing. Just as it started to look neatly put together on the outside, the inside started crumbling and finally, I didn’t have the energy to pretend like it was together.

I just wanted to stay in my closet and feel all my feels.

I owned a restaurant that needed my attention, I was a mom of three kids and I was being looked at by Food Network for a show. I had to figure out my relationship. How could the life that had promised me happiness led to this?

On that closet floor, I made an agreement with the universe. I would show up, I would be led, I would stop controlling my life,  I would only do things that brought me happiness. This was enough to have me open that closet door. I tiptoed into the thought that I would create my own happiness. I walked out and declared my life. It is not what brought me my life but it gave me enough illusion to persevere.

I had a call with Lewis Howes, the host of the podcast, School of Greatness. The podcast wasn’t as popular as it is today, so when I reached out to him, he got back to me.

I sent him a long letter, side note ( Why do we feel comfortable divulging things to strangers and not our loved ones) the letter professed every fear I had in me after listening to his vulnerability in an episode early on.

You see, I was freaking out.

Earlier that year, a producer from the Food Network had discovered me when they ate at my cafe, and they wanted to put me on camera. My ego thought this was amazing, but it also brought up all my insecurities. Like people were going to see that there were cracks in the surface of the shiny marble counter I portrayed. 

Related: What is Impostor Syndrome & How Can You Manage it? 

I was listening to podcasts trying to figure out why, when everything was taking off, I was spiraling down. On one particular episode, his guest Chris Lee was talking about how to uplevel your life. I took eight pages of notes on that podcast. I just wanted to dive deeper.

So I wrote Lewis an email and sent a picture of my notes. To my surprise, he responded, and we set up a call. The call was tonight, and I was ready. Hey, Universe, I’m listening. The call was amazing. I felt heard and the best part was that I was going to do a program. Lewis had done in LA with Chris that had changed his life.

He told me the answers I was chasing after were within me and Chris had a way of asking the right questions. I made it through my birthday. I was on a plane to Los Angeles two weeks later in a conference room trying not to show my nervousness as I clenched the side of the chair with my hands.

What happened in the next few days, which lead to the next few weeks to the next few months, was nothing short of amazing. I found somewhere to meet myself. To meet the girl that had been crying out. I listened to her. I met her; I created a new plan with her. I took every course I could get that year. And slowly but surely, I CHANGED.

I started to see who I was and who I wanted to be and how that didn’t match up.

I saw my patterns and what did and didn’t serve me.

I started to make changes and amends to those in my life.

Self-help changed my life and filled me with enough to feel like I got this. I got this thing called life, you guys!

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” —John C. Maxwell

Everything was going well. I didn’t get the show, but I knew it was for the best.

I started to map the life I wanted.

I made my inner circle strong.

It was good until it wasn’t. I started returning to old patterns, and life has a way of showing up when you leave the conference room, and I knew I couldn’t be there all the time. I still had responsibilities and children.

Related: 50 Tangible Ways to Practice Self-Love

I started to take care of me.

I started mothering myself.

SELF CARE for me is meditation, body care, eating the right foods, having the right friends, yoga, and a list of 1000 other things.

Sometimes one at a time and sometimes in desperation all at once. I don’t have a specific mediation or recipe, but I just show up and take care of me. This led to SELF LOVE.

When you are living your life and taking care of yourself, it’s easy to fall in love with you.

I said I was mothering myself, and you know how mothers love. I started being easier on myself. I started calling myself out on things that were not serving me or my new life.

The more I take care of me, the more I love me, and organically, it grows into SELF RESPECT. I am respecting myself, caring about my thoughts, my hopes,  my dreams.

I am investing time in me. 

Life still shows up; I have issues; it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. I love people, I am vulnerable, and I have this big heart, that still gets hurt. However, I now have a recipe that gets me back into the land of HAPPINESS. WHEN IN DOUBT OF YOUR WORTH OR THIS WORLD, START WITH SHARING YOUR FEARS WITH SOMEONE (a stranger or a friend)

INGEST POSITIVE INFORMATION (programs, books, and podcasts) AND RETURN TO SELF CARE, AND SELF-LOVE AND YOU WILL BE BACK TO SELF RESPECT. RINSE AND REPEAT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Side note. Remember, nothing external will bring you happiness, so find it by creating a life that makes you happy.

photo source | adobe 

READ NEXT: Here’s Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish, but Essential

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