Recently, Pope Francis publicly acknowledged that numerous nuns in the Catholic church have been systematically sexually abused, many for years. This abuse has come at the hands of an unknown number of priests and bishops. As a former nun myself for many years, I was horrified by this revelation, and that it has taken so long for the church to acknowledge it.
If prime time TV can be believed, Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to love; it’s an oasis of flowers, hearts, lace and warm gestures to thaw the chill of a February that seems like it may last forever. Unless you’re alone, that is. Then its purpose is to be mocked and rejected from the comfort of baggy sweatpants and ice cream straight out of the container.
But I would like to offer an alternative: no matter your situation, why not dedicate the holiday to falling in love with yourself? There’s a lot to be said for the happiness that comes with the peace and acceptance of yourself and your surroundings.
That doesn’t mean you’re agreeing that the here and now will be your everything forever, just that you are making the effort to be your own best friend – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.
In honor of February 14, here are 14 ways from MindBodyGreen to practice self-love.
Love Yourself By Practicing Acceptance
You are perfectly imperfect. Learning to accept yourself is the most important step to self-love. Stop comparing yourself to others and embrace who you are.
Love Yourself By Decluttering Your Space
Living or working in chaos can deeply affect your mood and create a feeling of chaos within. Getting rid of that pile of clothes you’ve been meaning to donate, or that stack of papers you’ve been meaning to organize is refreshing.
Love Yourself With A Little Pampering
Taking care of your body shows you have respect for the amazing temple your soul inhabits. Take a hot bath, slather on your favorite moisturizer and get some extra sleep!
Love Yourself With Proper Nourishment
Replenishing your body with water and fresh foods is a loving gesture. You are what you eat, so avoid the garbage and fuel up on the nutrients you need.
Leave Yourself Love Notes
Try writing a positive note or listing your goals as a reminder on your mirror so you can’t avoid it. It’s a great way to wake up each day.
Surround Yourself With Love
As we grow older, we start to value our time and friendships differently. The energy of your inner circle is contagious, so it’s important to surround yourself with uplifting and positive people.
Love Yourself With A Show Of Gratitude
Does your inner dialogue tend to focus on the negative? Finding things to be grateful for on a daily basis can go a long way towards changing that.
Love Yourself By Letting Things Go
Recognize that you are not the world’s savior. You can show kindness and compassion to others, but not to the point at which it detracts from your other responsibilities. Sometimes, you just have to let things go.
Learn To Love “Me” Time
Even taking just an hour every now and then can help to recharge, reset, and re-energize you. This is not only important for your own well-being, but for those around you as well.
Love Yourself By Turning Off The Screen
Between our phones, computers and TVs, our minds are constantly being stimulated. All this screen time can distract us from reality and from ourselves. Take time at the end of the day without gadgets to get back in touch with yourself.
Love Yourself With Positive Affirmations
Begin each day by acknowledging something positive about yourself. All the little things we overlook truly make a difference. Focusing on the positive moments in your day can transform your mindset.
Love Yourself With Forgiveness
Instead of harping on that mistake you made, learn to forgive yourself. If you’ve never failed, then you’ve never tried. Think of all the things you learned from each mistake you’ve made in life. Embrace your imperfections and learn to forgive yourself.
Love Yourself By Having Fun
When’s the last time you danced? Or sang at the top of your lungs? Allowing yourself to be creative and let loose will boost your spirits and remind you that life isn’t just about work. There can still be some playtime in there, too!
Love Yourself By Learning To Say “No”
You can’t be everything to everyone and that’s okay. People will respect you when you stand up for yourself, and your relationships will flourish because of it.
So whether you plan to celebrate with a fancy dinner or bingeing your favorite TV show on Netflix, remember that a little love goes a long way – and doesn’t have to be limited to Valentine’s Day.
Staying inside your comfort zone is, as advertised, comfortable, and doesn’t require a change of mindset. Unfortunately, it’s also a way to stagnate personal growth and prevent you from achieving your best self. Pushing your boundaries and finding new experiences is the best way to shake up your mindset, but it can also be stressful and anxiety-inducing.
Fortunately, if the problem is in your head, the solution likely is too. Motivational psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant says that an individual’s in-going mindset has a huge impact not only on how we anticipate and experience new situations, but also in what we do – and don’t – say and do.
It’s almost time for the New Year. Will you be sad to see it go, or are you in the majority who happily see the old year go and welcome a blank slate for 2019?
This is also the time of year when we’re flooded with “look back” lists – your top 1o photos on Instagram, your most popular artists and playlists on Spotify, the best (and worst) movies at the box office. It’s easy to let these be your markers of the year you had, but if you dig just a little deeper for a moment, you can find some meaningful self-reflection.
Self-reflection is an opportunity for personal growth. It can help you learn from your experiences and feel more in control of the choices you make moving forward. If you’re not careful, negative self-talk can easily disguise itself as reflection – so try to keep your thoughts positive and helpful. It may not be easy, but practice makes perfect.
Work-life and career coach Eileen Chadnick has twelve easy exercises to guide your self-reflection journey – six for looking back, and six for the year to come.
In light of Thanksgiving, I wanted to share how giving thanks can be beneficial and positively impact yours and others’ lives.
You may have been taught to say thank you as a small child, but what you may not have realized is that saying those two little words can have a profound impact on your daily outlook.
It is important to help others feel socially valued, giving them the opportunity to feel your appreciation for their contribution. Letting friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances know you appreciate them can also be beneficial; it can help you keep a humble, grateful perspective in your day-to-day life. This positive give and return relationship can benefit you and those around you by helping develop stronger bonds with each other. A 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, reinforces this notion after they found that participants who performed higher on their gratitude tests were more empathetic and less likely to hold grudges.
Those who live life day by day may not think about how their thoughts and actions can affect them day-to-day. Especially when dealing with stress, negative thoughts may easily creep in. However, what if the thing that is holding you back from being empowered is how you are mentally talking to yourself?
A person’s perception of you that is negative or positive can be a powerful force, but it is up to you to accept or reject their comments and start believing and repeating their ideas. We are often our own worst critics, but only you have the power to control how you feel – despite what some people may believe.
Personal improvement is one of the longest and ongoing parts of our lives. It is essential we invest in personal improvement and work on it every single day. One of the most necessary aspects of personal improvement is to develop inner strength.
What is inner strength? As The Daily Pioneer explains, “Inner strength, also called atmabala, is the strength of the soul. It is the core strength of a person, while mental strength is simply the strength of the mind. And we know that we, souls, are different from our minds. We have minds, which we use for feeling, thinking and willing.”
Failure may be a part of life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. When you work hard, put your all into something and it doesn’t work out; that can be heartbreaking. From a misstep to a failure, it’s important to learn from each outcome.
As I state in my book, Exuberant Women Don’t Age:
Failure is only a temporary shift in direction.
Failure is the honest assurance that you are a
success for trying and for taking chances.
As you learn through your day-to-day experience,
your failures turn into success.
Like I said, you have to learn from failure to find success. What can you learn from failure? Keep reading to find out.
Did you know that July is Picnic Month? This offers a wonderful excuse to go out in the great outdoors. Unfortunately, many of us don’t get to go outside very much, let alone play outside.
Between work, family and obligations inside homes, there’s rarely a free moment to get a breath of fresh air. While you may be busy, it is important that you spend time outdoors for your health. Keep reading for reasons why.
3 Health Benefits of Going Outside
- Mental Health
As reported by The Huffington Post, a Stanford University study found that walking for 90 minutes in nature, compared to walking in the city, made a difference in mental health. A Stanford study also, “Found that those who walked in nature experienced less anxiety, rumination (focused attention on negative aspects of oneself), and negative affect, as well as more positive emotions, such as happiness.”
Saying no can be one of the hardest things we do. Many of us want to make people happy and do what we can, but sometimes we simply need to tell people no.
While it may make you feel bad, there are actually positive and even healthy benefits to saying no more often. What are these benefits? Keep reading to find out.
3 Benefits of Saying “No”
- Valuing Yourself
If you feel stretched thin and can’t take on one more thing, you are doing a disservice to yourself by saying yes to the next thing. Saying no is a form of self-love and self-care. There’s a chance you won’t enjoy what you’ve just said yes to or participate fully; by being more selective about what you agree to, you’re able to do what you actually want to do with a full heart.
- Making Better Decisions
Another wonderful part of saying no, is it will help you make better decisions. According to Theo J Ellis, “You make a conscious decision and weigh it up before you blurt out your answer. Doing that consistently will force you to make smarter, better, wiser decisions. You’ll weigh up the value of each request based on what’s true to you and what makes sense.”
When you’re not overwhelmed, you have the time to make a well-considered decision and feel strong about your response.
- Saying No is Brave
It’s often intimidating to respond directly to someone with a no and look them in the eye. As intimidating as this may be, it’s a brave act because you are standing up for yourself. Live Happy wants you to remember this: “Consider each time you say no, without a hedge or explanation, to be a brave act of self-respect.”
4 Tips for Saying No
You may need some help saying no, even though you know it’s important. Here are some tips from Entrepreneur that can help you out when you’re in need:
- Do it Fast. If you have to tell someone no, do it as quickly as possible. This way, they aren’t waiting on you and can move on with their needs or plans.
- Don’t Lie. You don’t have to come up with an elaborate excuse to why you’re saying no; just be honest.
- Provide Alternatives. Bring up someone who might be able to assist in what you’re being asked to do if possible.
- Ask for a Reschedule. If it’s something you want to do but you don’t have the time, see if plans can be changed for another day; this way, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Are you ready to face the world? Saying no is challenging, but the more you do it, the more you take care of yourself, improve your decision making and become more brave. How do you handle saying no in your life?