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Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body, and Soul > Articles

Loving Yourself More: It's Not a Selfish Thing, but a Self-Aware Thing
By Janice Lynne Lundy

I've banned the "S" word from my vocabulary. I hope after reading this column you will too.

"Selfish" . . . it's what women are often called when they take time for themselves. And it's the primary reason, I believe, why so many women do not take good care of themselves-or give themselves what they need to feel healthy and whole. We're afraid of being perceived as selfish.

And why is it that when we manage to get beyond the "S" word and do beneficial things for ourselves, we automatically assume that someone else will be deprived or neglected. Women have been tremendously dis-served by this perspective-that we can take time, spend money, or indulge in self-care only if:

  • we have done all our other work
  • no one else needs us at the moment
  • we have extra money to spend

Beneath the surface of each of these faulty notions is the belief that we, and our personal time, are not as valuable as others'. We seem to need to convince ourselves that we are worth it; that we are worth our time, money, and personal attention. I'd like to invite you to change your thinking about this and to explore and cultivate self-love in a bold new way.

Our journey takes off when can begin to say "Yes!" to ourselves more often; give ourselves permission to receive the same loving regard we give to others. Without the "S" word cropping up. Or its evil twin, "Guilt," paying a visit. Would you like to try? I hope so because you are worth it, and you-just as much as anyone else-deserve your own loving-kindness.

For the next 21 days, practice showing more love to yourself in these simple, yet powerful ways. It takes 3 full weeks to create any new habit and self-love is no exception. Make consistent time for yourself and you'll be well on your way to creating a more loving relationship with YOU!

  1. Say no to taking on more responsibility.
  2. Take one-half day a week to do exactly what you want to do.
  3. Spend at least 30 minutes each day by yourself, with no one tugging at you.
  4. Be a little girl again and play!
  5. Take up the hobby you've always wanted to or revive an old one you've let go.
  6. Stop rushing. Do things like walking, bathing, shopping more leisurely.
  7. Allow other people to clean up after themselves and make their own decisions.
  8. Turn off the TV, cell phone, computer; spend time in the quiet and enjoy your own company.
  9. Do something to cultivate female friendship.
  10. Eat at least one outrageously healthy meal each day.
  11. Get outside and let Nature nurture your spirit.
  12. Sleep when you're tired.
  13. Stay away from people who demean or demoralize you.
  14. Buy yourself flowers.
  15. Trust your own choices.
  16. Talk lovingly to yourself.
  17. Quit one bad habit.
  18. Give yourself permission to feel all of your feelings.
  19. Take yourself on a date and go somewhere you've always wanted to go.
  20. Eat something truly decadent without guilt.
  21. Become passionately self-aware of what you need in any given moment to be relaxed, happy, and healthy and give yourself that!

"Self-aware"-now that's an "S" word I'm more than happy to embrace! And it's a very good way to reframe any thoughts or feelings that might arise to sabotage our emerging self-love.

After 21 days, because you will have created many self-loving habits, I can just hear you giving voice to self-love whenever a well meaning other questions what you're doing-or tries to sabotage your self-care efforts:

"Yes, I am being quite self-aware, thank you, and it feels really good."

Stay strong, persevere, be passionate about your journey into love, and, in time, others will appreciate you more. Why? Because people who love themselves more, become more loving and magnanimous toward others. And who doesn't want to be more loved by you?

Funny, how life works. We give our true self what it needs and everybody benefits.

About the Author:
Janice Lynne Lundy is the woman behind Buddha Chickô and the creator of "The Mindful Makeover Kit," an audio learning program that can transform any woman's life from stressed to serene. She is an educator, interfaith spiritual director and retreat leader, and the author of six personal/spiritual growth books for women, including Your Truest Self: Embracing the Woman You Are Meant to Be. Visit her at http://www.janlundy.com/.

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