Why You Should Stop Replacing Self-Love with Self-Care
How My Life Changed When I Switched from Self-Care to Self-Love and 50 Love Affirmations
Valentine’s Day is almost here, but how do we expand self-love beyond material things?
What is Self-Love?Self-care is a great way to maintain physical and mental health, but it only contributes to self-love. Self-love is an act of radical acceptance, embracing the aspects of yourself that don’t adhere to what society tells you to love, or things you can’t change.
When we fully love ourselves, life looks totally different. Loving yourself doesn’t have to mean being arrogant or never feeling insecure again. It is the intention and feeling of loving yourself the way you are, but also enough to grow and become the best version of yourself that you have visualized. Loving yourself means showing up for yourself, taking care of yourself and trusting yourself to not let insecurity and societal standards dictate your life.
The Difference Between Self-Love and Self-Care
What do we gain by shifting from a mindset of practicing self-care to creating self-love?
Working on loving and accepting yourself doesn't mean stopping self-care altogether. But, living in a mindset of self-love just means that your self-care becomes an act of self-love; instead of doing a face mask to prevent a break out, the intention shifts to loving yourself enough to take care of your skin. A bubble bath to decompress and relax is still an easy act of self-care, but it is also a solution to your mind and body seeking relief. So, you take a bath because you want to relax your muscles and be well-rested and clean.
The intentions you attach to your self-care under a mindset of self-love make the acts of self-care more impactful, instead of reactive self-care that feels more like putting a bandage on on a broken leg.
Instead of a list of self-care ideas, I wanted to share the different acts of self-love I do that are sustainable and contribute to showing intentional love to your body and mind.
Everyday Acts of Self-Love that Have Changed My Life
Loving my body
- Dry brushing has been practiced since ancient times, and it has many benefits such as exfoliating skin, increasing blood circulation, removing dead skin cells and more.
- Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic self-massage that can be done with warm oil from head to toe. When I first started practicing Abhyanga, I didn't feel like I was really getting much out of it. Yet over time, something changed. I began to look forward to this simple, loving ritual and slowly felt my relationship with my body shifting. This intimate self-love practice, has helped me truly embrace my body as it is and it feels good to really nurture and give love to my body in exchange for all it does for me. Not only is this a physically restorative habit, but it helps with having a more positive body image and cultivating feelings of gratitude for my body and the luxury of a daily self-massage.
- I'm taking longer daily walks. These have so many benefits, and whatever form of activity you take up to take care of your body, work in some fitness, or just to move around a little is an act of self-love! My walks are one of my favorite parts of my day because my body gets to stretch and produce some endorphins while my brain is free to think, wander or be still while I appreciate the nature around me.
- I've dedicated time to strength building. Working on my muscular fitness is a new intention of mine, but I have started shifting my activity to be more focused on building back strength I've lost over the years and muscles to support the type of travel and activity goals I have for the future.
- Lately, I've really been leaning into my wind-down routines. I've moved some of my morning routines to evening after realizing I need a longer wind-down. Now, I also get an earlier start to my workday because I have more availability in my mornings.
- I've started trying to get five to thirty minutes of direct sunlight when the sun comes up. The science shows this is one of the most important things you can do for helping your sleep: it helps with Circadian rhythms, regulates cortisol levels by giving a normal morning increase that goes down as the day progresses and helps with natural production of melatonin.
- I've also been trying to watch at least five minutes of the sunset outside when I can. It is a great way to help offset the impact of screen time throughout the day before I go to bed.
- I also have been dimming the lights at around 7pm and using candles as much as possible to create a more relaxing environment that encourages calmness and sleep.
Creating Time for Myself
I'm allowing time for simply thinking, visualizing, reflecting and journaling.
- I used to see time I allowed for simply thinking, visualizing, reflecting and journaling as a bonus, but it's become more and more of a priority. I continue to realize how much value I get from these few moments every day. Some days it's a quick five-minute, start-the-day reset. Other days, when I have a little more time, I sit and reflect, future script or journal using a prompt from the journal prompts pages in the JMB Living Journal.
- Looking at my vision board is the first thing I do to set the tone for the day as I intentionally feel excited about the journey to this vision and reaffirm to myself the steps needed to make it happen.
- When I allow space for reflection of how to make things better, I almost always come up with ideas.
- The same happens when I use journal prompts—some of my best insights come from letting thoughts flow to paper.
- This creative inner-exploration of my thoughts feels so good when I am rewarded with fresh ideas and inspiration by taking this time.
Making time for fun
- Fun for me can be flipping through cookbooks and cooking creatively on the weekends!
- This time of year, it's fun to also plan for fun later in the year: trips to visit family, a weekend kayaking trip, daydreaming about gardening and looking at seed catalogs.
- I also dedicate time to work on home improvement projects to add beauty to our space.
Intentionally practicing positivity
- The Mindset Shifts page in the JMB Living Journal is one of my biggest tools in practicing positivity. When I am especially struggling with internal negativity that I've noticed happens repetitively, I use these or look at previous ones to remind myself how I can change my thoughts to be uplifting and encouraging.
- I user affirmations everyday because they are such a great mindset tool. I say this all the time, but only because it's so true! Psychology is supportive of the impacts of affirmations and their ability to boost your mood and self-worth and more. Here's a few to try:
50 Love Affirmations
- I feel happy being me.
- Everyone finds me easy to love.
- I am beautiful, smart and fun to be around.
- I open my heart to falling in love with me.
- My body is beautiful just as it is.
- I am worthy and open to receiving an abundance of joy.
- I feel so amazingly incredible in my own skin.
- I am worthy of all the good things flowing my way.
- Love finds me easily.
- I love myself fully, and this feels incredible!
- Every day, I am more aware of my own, unique gifts. and let my heart swell with how awesome this feels.
- I am a goddess, glowing with beauty both inside and out.
- Just like everyone, I make mistakes, as I am learning, growing, and evolving.
- I believe in me.
- I am smart, capable and can do hard things.
- I nurture my mind, body and soul because I am worth it.
- I am unafraid to love with my entire being.
- I am good at relationships.
- I find it easier to connect deeply with others.
- I am open and ready for a relationship of a lifetime.
- I love and am loved more than I ever could have imagined.
- I feel incredibly blessed to be so adored by ____________.
- I am open to welcoming love in.
- I’ve found that it is safe and sweet to love deeply.
- My partner adores me just as I am.
- I embrace my sexuality, and all the juicy sensual feels.
- Giving and receiving pleasure is sweet surrender.
- I allow myself to let go and fall deeply, madly, and passionately in love.
- I open my heart to loving deeply, and being deeply loved.
- I find it easy to open my heart and let love in.
- I am ecstatic to have found the most amazing life partner.
- I am worthy of love and romance and my partner knows how to light my soul on fire.
- I’ve found true love and passion and couldn’t be happier.
- I cherish my family and friends and find ways to let them know this often.
- Family is where my heart feels at home.
- I am loved and supported.
- Being with my friends gives a special kind of happiness and I make space in my life for this often.
- Friends make my heart smile, and I find it easy to make new ones.
- Love and acceptance is right here. I am ready to let it in!
- I am so happy, I found my tribe!
- My people "get me" and this feels so good!
- I let myself be me in the sweet space of my real friends.
- Sometimes I find it hard to believe how much people love, respect and admire me.
- It’s so nice to have friends to share my hopes, dreams and desires with and who accept me just as I am.
- I attract fun, positive and caring people into my life.
- I am blessed to be surrounded by people who love and encourage me.
- Good people touch my life all the time.
- I am a good and loyal friend and am blessed with many friends I can say the same about.
- My warmth and compassion for others has resulted in deep connections.
- I open my eyes, my mind, and my heart, and allow gratitude to overflow from within.