Self-Love Sometimes Means Kicking Yourself in the Butt

If you know me a little, you know I’m an advocate for self-love. Through my journey of self-discovery becoming my own...

Self-love Sometimes Means Kicking Yourself in the Butt

If you know me a little, you know I’m an advocate for self-love. Through my journey of self-discovery becoming my own best friend, and discovering how to take gentle, loving care of myself has been one of the most powerful things I learned to do. I even wrote a workbook about it, that you’re free to download here. Yes, even this shameless self-promotion is the result of me loving myself more.

Self-love as a pathway to freedom

On a daily basis I teach women how to love themselves more. It’s one of the pillars in the life and business coaching work that I do. Self-love is the key to a lot of things: more confidence and trust in yourself, better boundaries, a louder voice. But even self-love has another side to it’s coin. Although in theory I’d argue there’s no such thing as too much self-love, in practice I’ve seen how misinterpreted self-love can be used as an excuse not to taking action.

That’s why I’ve come to believe that sometimes self-love means kicking yourself in the butt. There’s a time to cover yourself with a blanket of self-love, there’s a time to be compassionate, and gentle with yourself, but there’s also a time to stop hiding behind excuses and get things done.

Too much of anything is bad for you

A few years ago I took an 8-week mindfulness course. After the course was done we were all invited to a follow-up meditation weekend (an amazing experience that I really recommend, although not the subject of this post). During one of our final reflections a participant shared how since taking the course she had lost all drive to accomplish anything. In the past, she said, it was a vision of the future that drove her, and a need and desire to distance herself from her past. But now that she had learned to live in the present nothing seemed worth pursuing anymore.

I could see where she was coming from, having found the peace of mind that comes from finding your home in the present moment myself. But something about what she said was bothering me. The present moment was a beautiful place to live, but certainly not one that stripped me from my ambition, or passion to create.

With self-love I feel sometimes the same mistake is made. When I was first introduced to self-love a new world opened up to me. I finally started believing that I was enough, that I could make my own decisions, that I didn’t need to please everyone else around me all the time. It was good.

Don’t let self-love be ruled by fear

But then I was faced with a number of difficult choices. Challenges I had to overcome, things that made me uncomfortable that I had to do. To reach a goal, step out of my comfort zone, achieve something I wanted.

The self-love voice that I had been cultivated inside of me had started to grow stronger. Like a guiding light she started to give direction to my life, and even my business. So when those challenges came up she didn’t keep quiet but told me to be self-loving, to put myself first. She told me I didn’t “have to” do anything I didn’t really want to do, that it was OK to say no. And of course she was right. But then again not always.

Using self-love to expand beyond your comfort zone

Like mindfulness taken too literally can cause lethargy in the present moment, one-sided self-love can contract rather than expand your experience of the world.

Self-love doesn’t always mean going around the storm, or waiting it out. Sometimes the most self-loving thing to do is to step right into it.

I see this most when fear is concerned. A couple of weeks ago a client was faced with a difficult decision: stepping out of her comfort zone and achieve one of her biggest goals so far, or staying right where she was, inside her comfortable box. While I wanted to address her fear around this, she kept on saying that the most self-loving thing for her to do was to say no to this opportunity. Since it brought on so much anxiety, clearly this must not be the right path for her.

The problem with this is that self-love had nothing to do with it. Deep down she knew this goal was all she ever wanted. And that’s precisely why it felt so daunting to her. The *real* self-loving thing to do was not to listen to her fear, but to feel it and do it anyway.

That’s what she did eventually.

There’s more to self-love than love

Too often we think of self-love only in terms of it’s gentle qualities: compassion, softness, care, love. Those of course, are at the heart of any self-love practice. But I believe that discipline, perseverance, courage, responsibility are also expressions of self-love. Even the most precious, and life-changing ones perhaps.

I’d love for you to think about the areas of your life where you could invite the softness of self-love in, but also the parts of you that could use a little more disciplined, or courageous self-love.

You might be surprised of the results.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this below. So let me know x

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