5 Ways to Love Yourself This Year
Having a healthy level of self-love is important for our happiness, physical and mental health, and overall well-being.
The biggest struggle in life is the struggle to know, embrace, and accept ourselves, with all of our faults and imperfections; yet our relationship with ourselves is more crucial for our happiness and self-fulfillment than any other relationship in our lives. This is because how we feel and treat ourselves effects how we relate to other people and to the situations we encounter on a day-to-day basis. Self-love grants us a healthy sense of self-confidence and esteem, it motivates us to strive for fulfillment, and increases our ability to manage difficult situations. Also having a healthy level of self-love empowers us to take control of our lives so that we can make good choices based in love, truth, and in support of our well-being. It's about respecting yourself, accepting who you are as an individual, and taking care of your needs and wants. As this is the second step to living a blissful life from the My Artistic Bliss - Twelve Steps to Bliss List, I thought it appropriate that I provide a few tips on how to love yourself this year and the benefits that accompany them.
Here are Five Ways you can show yourself a little love in 2014!
Number ONE: Empowerment
'Face Your Fears'
What are you afraid of? Heights? Taking risks? Public speaking? Failure? Rejection? Planes?
Free yourself from being held back by the chains of fear. No matter what you are afraid of, you have more to gain from facing your fears and conquering them, than you stand to lose from letting them go. While fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger that allows us to protect ourselves from legitimate threats, we are all too often afraid of situations that are far from life threatening, and consequently are ruled by fears that hinder our lives rather than save them. Bad experiences from our pasts can trigger fear responses in our present that are difficult to ignore, but by exposing ourselves to our personal qualms we can move past them.
So, how about showing yourself a little love this year by facing one or more of the fears that have been holding you back? Be courageous, and take a leap this year into self-empowerment!
Have a fear of heights? How about going on a zip-lining adventure? Afraid to take risks in love? Join a dating-site or go speed-dating. Afraid of public speaking? Go out for a karaoke night with a group of friends or take an adult education class on the subject. By acknowledging what you are afraid of and exposing yourself to that fear, you'll allow yourself the freedom to experience more than you have ever imagined. You may even have a great time in the process, and that which you formerly had feared may become or lead to something you love. Either way you'll come out on the other side a braver and much stronger you. Just be positive and believe in yourself.
Personally Speaking: One of my biggest fears is the fear of heights. I get anxious, my palms get sweaty, and I begin to lose my breath... sometimes I even hyperventilate. Despite the physical manifestations of my fear I know that I'm generally in no real danger when I'm somewhere a bit too high up for my taste, so on a regular basis I try to conquer this fear by doing things that challenge it. Most recently I did this by going snowboarding with my boyfriend and friends. My two biggest challenges on our trip: traveling up the ski lifts and standing at the top of the slopes strapped to a board (snowboard). Because I was able to not allow myself to be ruled by my fear (despite being afraid in the moment) I was able to have a great time learning a new sport and building lasting memories with the people I love.
Number TWO: Happiness
'Try Something New'
What is something you've always wanted to do, learn, or experience? DO IT THIS YEAR!
What type of life do you want? an ordinary one or extraordinary one? Trying new things breaks up monotony and grants us an opportunity to experience personal growth and self-fulfillment. It can help you to develop new skills and build up your self-confidence, self-esteem, and your overall happiness. It can open up new opportunities for self-improvement, new friendships and relationships, and grant you new chances for adding a bit of fun and adventure to your life. These are just a few of the benefits of leaving your comfort zone and trying new things. All that it requires of you is for you to setup the time to make it happen and the courage it takes to see it through.
So rather than saying to yourself 'maybe someday', how about saying 'I'm doing it this year, I'm starting today'?
Love yourself enough to make your dreams a reality. Take those dance lessons you've always thought would be fun, enroll in an art class, start a journal, go on a trip to somewhere new, rearrange your furniture, or take up a new hobby. Whatever it is you have wanted to do, but haven't, make it your mission to do that this year and experience the refreshing and exciting feeling that comes will trying something new.
Personally Speaking: This year in the name of 'new experiences' I plan to try my hand at (or rather 'feet' at) the high energy dance of salsa! I've always wanted to learn how to dance and think taking salsa lessons could be a fun experience. Also on my Something New List: zip-lining, traveling to a new destination, pottery making, and premiering my web-series, Design Bliss, later this month!
Number THREE: Love
'Spread the Love'
Have you ever heard the saying, 'Be the change you wish to see in the world'? I'm sure you have, it's a famous quote from Gandhi that has appeared on everything from mugs to t-shirts to journal covers. It has been quoted a countless number of time and so often, that it has become cliche but that doesn't tarnish the truth it holds. Everything that you experience on a day-to-day basis starts with you. It starts from the moment you awaken, 'til the time you go to sleep... so if you want to experience a more loving world, spread some love around. Try to see yourself in others and even share your love with those that make it a difficult task. It's easy to love those who love you back, true strength lies in being able to love those who don't.
Treat everyone that crosses your path with the same level of love and respect you would like to receive from them.
Rather than diverting your eyes from meeting those of a stranger you pass on the street, how about acknowledging the existence of your fellow man (and woman) with a simple smile or hello? How about asking people about their day and really allowing yourself to listen to their response? Make a point of practicing a basic skill we teach our children by using 'please' and 'thank you' to show respect and appreciation to others. Treat everyone you meet with a kindness that allows them to know they matter in this world. We get so caught up in our own heads and lives that we miss out on the power we have to make the world a more pleasant place to live. Just remember that you may be the first kind person that has crossed a stranger or loved one's path all day. So remember this: practice forgiveness, give freely, receive with gratitude, offer kindness and a helping hand to those in need, and allow yourself to care about others as brothers and sisters in this world.
Personally Speaking:This year I intend to continue to spread love at every opportunity through kindness, gratitude, and forgiveness on a daily basis. Additionally, I'm going to volunteer my time to a cause that helps brighten the lives of others using art and design in someway.
Number FOUR: Fulfillment
Setting goals is another great way to show yourself some love this year. What better gift than the promise of the future of your dreams? Goals provide our lives with purpose and direction, and help us to direct our efforts in a productive way. Many people feel as though they are drifting through this world without purpose. They work hard, but they don't seem to get anywhere worthwhile. The main reason for this is that they haven't taken the time to clearly think about what they want to gain from life, nor have they set any clear or formal goals to reach for it.
By living with clear intention and setting goals that make you reach for the sky, you'll be writing your ticket to happiness and fulfillment. Once you get there, your destination may look different than you had imagined at the beginning of your journey, but sometimes we're unable to see all that is possible for ourselves. So start simple. Start by thinking about what type of life you really want to live. Then create a list for yourself of the places you'd like to go, the things you'd like to try, and all that you would like to accomplish. For larger, truly life changing goals, try working backwards. What do you want to accomplish and where would you like to see yourself go in life? Write it down, then create a list of the baby steps it would take for you to reach those goals. Start today.
Personally Speaking: I have so many goals, and they shift and change over the years as I mature and grow as a human-being, an artist, and a designer. My major life goals consist of finishing my Masters, building a family, and building an empire around my love of design, art, and artful living. My smaller goals consist of writing books, traveling more, painting more often, reading for pleasure more regularly, keeping in shape, and repainting my toenails.
Number FIVE: Vitality
'Adopt Healthy Habits'
The World Heath Organization categorizes health as being "a state of complete physical, mental and social well being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity'. In other words, when we're talking about adopting healthy habits, we aren't just talking about adding salad to your diet or exercising a few times a week, we're talking about your whole health - mind, body, and soul. By adopting healthy habits for all areas of your well being - physical, mental, and social - you have the ability to optimize your vitality both outwardly and inwardly. Below are a few healthy habits you should make apart of your life.
Adopting Healthy Habits for Your Mind:
Get adequate rest - helps you to think more clearly and problem solve.
Do things that make you happy - dancing, watching movies, reading, cooking.
Laugh regularly - reduces stress and adds years to your life.
Play strategic games and with puzzles - keeps your brain young and helps with problem solving.
Read for pleasure - you know... like my blog for instance.
Start a Journal - keeping a written account of your day-to-day life helps you think through problems that arise.
Meditate - clears your mind
Adopting Healthy Habits for Your Body:
Practice health hygiene - brush and floss twice daily; wash your hands throughout the day, bathe regularly.
Adopt a well-balance diet - plentiful in fresh veggies, fruits, and lean meats; minimizing breads, grains, and dairy.
Eat real + organic foods - stay away from foods laced in pesticides, preservatives, artificial sugars, and man-made fats.
Drink Tons of Water - half your body weight in ounces is what experts recommend.
Exercise Regularly - walk, run, lift weights, swim, climb, dance, stretch, bike, jump, whatever moves you.
Sleep in the Dark - which induces melatonin and allows you to sleep more soundly and deeply.
Stretch Daily - reduces pain and stress, and increases balance and strength.
Breathe Deeply - reduces pain and help you to think more clearly.
Get Regular Checkups - if you don't keep an eye on your health who will?
Adopting Healthy Habits for Your Soul:
Listen to music that soothes you - music relaxes, inspires, motivates.
Enjoy the company of people you love - numerous studies show that social interactions keep us healthy and happy
Try something new that empowers you - builds your confidence.
Sing in the shower - or while you drive or cook, live with a lightness in your heart.
Remember what it was like to be a child - roll down hillsides, laugh out loud, get messy, eat with your hands
Express yourself with a passion of your choice - painting, writing, music, sculpting, cooking, baking, sports, whatever helps you to express yourself.