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The Art of Self Love

A little inspiration and practical advice regarding the most important and meaningful love of your life…

YOU.

Loving yourself can seem like a vague idea, indulgent or even unnecessary. But it’s vital. Putting self love into practice and creating habits that fill you up is key to a fulfilled life. Daily self love will make you a better human, mother, wife, photographer… a better you.

It’s like going to the gym. (I think. I don’t go to the gym, so I don’t really know.)

I’m fortunate enough to have photographed amazing women who have become friends – mothers, entrepreneurs, single ladies, working ladies… all loving, nurturing, evolved humans who value the art of self love.

Today, I’m bringing you their BEST practical advice – 14 voices for the 14th of February – simple powerful ways to practice putting some loving on yo’ self!

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_005Kate Northrup
KateNorthrup.com

I Jedi mind trick myself into taking time for myself because I know other people will benefit. So I get the self love, ultimately, and everyone else gets a better me too!

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_008Alejandra Ramos
Food and Lifestyle Expert, AlwaysOrderDessert.com

When it comes to self love, I admit that there are days when it is easier than others. I think that’s true for all of us—we all have days when we’re just feeling amazing and totally on point, and then others when nothing seems to be right. It’s those trickier days when it’s even more important to treat yourself with love and kindness. I have a few little reminders that get me through those days.

1. I try to never say anything to myself that I wouldn’t say out loud to a friend. For example, I’d never say to a friend “ugh you’re such an idiot” or “your thighs look gross in those shorts,” so why on earth would I ever say something so horrible to myself? Our minds our powerful and we believe what we hear over and over again—whether it’s coming from an outside source or from our own thoughts. So many of us are so mean to ourselves in our head—a big part of self love is recognizing that, and taking steps to delete those ugly messages from our minds. It might seem impossible, but like anything else it’s just about building the habit.

2. I never deny myself an opportunity out of fear. Fear is an incredibly powerful force that robs us of the ability to live life fully. If I ever feel like I’m stopping myself from pursuing something, I check in and make sure I’m not doing it because of fear. Note that I don’t mean totally rational fear like the kind that protects us from danger, but the silly kind that keeps you from trying out for an opportunity at work, asking out a guy because you’re afraid of getting rejected, or wearing a bikini on the beach because you’re afraid of what people will say. That kind of fear serves no real purpose and to give it too much control is essentially a lack of trust in yourself and your abilities.

3. I don’t apologize for the things I love. I think there is way too much guilt in our society—we feel guilty about the food we eat, the things that turn us on, what we read or watch on TV, about taking vacations or even sick days, the list goes on. How many times have you called your favorite show “a guilty pleasure,” apologized for preferring something a certain way, or denied yourself a treat? Stop it—that’s nonsense. Part of self love is accepting that everyone deserves to enjoy things, and that those things are unique to every individual. I’m not saying it’s cool for you to sleep with your friend’s husband. (It’s not. Don’t do that.) But there is no need to feel bad about all the wonderful little things that bring you joy in life.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_001Rachel Rodgers
Business Coach & IP Lawyer, RodgersCollective.com

I think it’s important to do things that make you feel powerful and remind you of your greatness regularly. That might be different for different people, but for me, going to the gym and running, plus lifting weights makes me feel bad ass. And while I do it, I often listen to music, like rap and Beyoncé, that has lyrics where the artist is talking about how amazing they are. And I sing along and speak those same words to myself. I do this several times per week, and it really does make me feel powerful.

The other self-care thing I am committed to is bath time. Whenever I am stressed, feeling uncertain, have too many outside opinions swirling around in my head, I take a hot bath. And while I am in there, I just feel the hot water, relax and let my mind wander. It’s so peaceful, and I am so disconnected that it’s almost a meditation. When I come out of the bath, I always have clarity on my next move. Literally every single time without fail.

So I think in both cases, whether I am at the gym or in the tub, I am meditating on my own power, my own greatness. I dream my dreams and reflect on all of the past dreams that have come true and recognize my power to make my current dreams my reality, too.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_009Aimee Raupp
Author & Acupuncturist, AimeeRaupp.com

Practice kindness and compassion towards you. Being easy on yourself is the best form of self love. The best way to do this is to begin to hear the conversation you have with yourself in the privacy of your own mind. Once you begin to hear what you’re saying – witness it and then ask yourself: Can I be more kind to me?

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_002Jayne Jewell
Master Coach, JayneJewell.com

A few steps to self love:

One, every day even amidst chaos, take time for yourself – even 5 minutes to step aside do something small yet powerful for you: either list what you’re grateful for, get centered, or do affirmations… whatever it is for you.

Two, when creating your to do list – check it: are you on it? Most of us moms have “have to do’s” on our list that is about caring for others: our career, kids, husband, or the running the house. But do you show up on your to do list? Every week, make sure to do something just for you: either read a favorite book, have coffee with a friend, go to an exercise class – make it be just for you.

Three, look at the things you already do in life and give it new meaning. Something you do over and over again, but you don’t necessarily call it self love. For example, when I had my first born, my whole life revolved around the baby (of course, as it should) – I was exhausted all the time. But I took a bath every day no matter what. Even if it was just 10 minutes and sometimes with candles or a book. I looked at that and said: Whenever I take a bath, that means “I’m taking care of myself and giving myself love and I love myself.” Take something you’re already doing and give it the meaning that: “I take care of myself.” Every night that I read or do deep breathing, or every time I feed myself nutritious food. Something that you’re easily and effortlessly already doing – and make a declaration!

Lastly: This.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_006Erica Kramer McCabe
Studio Manager, Christa Meola Pictures

I let myself be ok with saying no to things that I don’t want to do and to not feel guilty for doing things that are just for me. Getting a massage or a pedicure is easy, but not feeling guilty that I took time just for me is the hard part. And I’m getting a lot better at it. Because if I feel guilty, then what’s the point?

 

Licia Morelli
Best-Selling Author, LiciaMorelli.com

Every week, I look at my schedule and set aside time for me – it can be one hour a day, every other day, or three times per week. I set the intention to take that time to do something that I want to do. It doesn’t have to cost money, but it feels indulgent, like read a book, go for a walk, or take a bath. It’s important that it’s not for anyone or anything else. So I’ll read a fiction book, not a workbook. I’ll take a walk alone, not with a friend.

And once a month, I make sure to have something scheduled like a massage or facial – again, something indulgent that’s just for me.

The most important piece is not to give. So if I’m going to a massage, I let them know that I’m not going to talk. The not giving at all is SO key. It’s a total game changer!

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_007Mirna Jose (featured on right)
Make-up Artist, MirnaJose.com

Don’t apologize for who you are or how you are. Once you’ve accepted yourself, including your flaws, the rest of the world will have to accept them too. Own your individuality.

 

Danielle Diamond
Mind/Body Wellness Expert, XenStrength.com

My best advice is to let go of what isn’t worth stressing about, and ask myself if it’s going to matter in 5 or 10 years. And if it’s not, I don’t let myself stress about it. The size of my ass- is it going to matter? If my kids leave their soccer cleats in front of the door, again – is it going to matter? If the launch of my new program doesn’t hit the goals I set- is it going to matter?

When people think about self love they usually go right to things they need to do: eat better, exercise more, get a massage. What I noticed was that letting go of things brought me more joy and peace than any scented candle or spin class.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_010Natasha Lakos
Creative Director, Natasha on Instagram

I ask myself how would I treat or talk to myself as a little girl. Probably inspired by my 7 year old niece, Olivia. I wouldn’t talk to her or expect things of her the way I sometimes do of my grown up self.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_000Jolene Smith Garcia
High Performance Coach, JoleneSmithGarcia.com

What if your primary responsibility was to operate at MAX POTENCY–bringing as much focus, love, joy, and flow-state to every moment as you possibly can?

(Even while witnessing injustice in the world, and doing something meaningful to change it.)

What inputs would your unique body, mind, and spirit require in order to operate at max potency? More: Hours of sleep? Blocks of unstructured time for creativity? Gracious no’s instead of people-pleasing yes’s?

Which soul-filling relationships would you lavish with attention, and which would you clean up or limit? What kind of self-talk would you allow inside your brain?

I dare you to aim for max potency. We need your most amped up contribution. Stop holding out on us.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_004Michelle Martello
Digital Strategy for the Modern Entrepreneur, Minima Designs

Spend time with people who are excited about life and don’t talk down about themselves. It’s one thing to poke fun, but if you’re always criticizing yourself (and others) it can really drag you down. A person’s energy is contagious – and you only get so much time on this earth. Spend it wisely with people who want to spend it with you!

 

Richelle Zizian Fredson
Director of Publicity & Book Marketing, Hay House Inc.

Practicing self-love is exactly that–a practice. Some days it’s much easier than others. I try and remember to treat myself with the same compassion I treat others–especially when things get tough. I think we can be so much better at being kind to others, but we must be kind to ourselves too.

I’m a Leo, so luxury and treating myself are NOT hard things for me–but I try and work it into my schedule. Most recently I’ve started doing acupuncture–it’s my non-negotiable. I plan it during the work week, and I make myself get away from the office to do it. It can be hard when things are really jam-packed in my day, but I’m always grateful that I stepped away to do something for myself. Honoring my body and treating it well are my favorite ways to practice self-love.

 

christa_meola_personal_branding_photography_003Juliana Morris
Founder, Be Your Own (S)expert, DrJulianaMorris.com

In our busy lives and with so many competing interests pulling us in many directions, it can be hard to take care of ourselves. We can’t, however, thrive and show up as we want to in our lives if we don’t make taking care of ourselves a priority.

Mind
Have a routine of making your environment positive. Make a collage of positive images and dreams/goals that motivate you and inspire you. Place it by your bed or in your bathroom so you see it when you go to sleep and wake.

Body
Practice words of affirmations about your body. Focus on your favorite parts and send love to the areas that you make a habit of avoiding or criticizing. Thank your body for taking care of you and for supporting you.

Embrace masturbation and self pleasure. Vary your routine if you self pleasure regularly so it feels exciting and fun. Watch yourself masturbate or use a different rhythm and pressure point. Give yourself 20 uninterrupted minutes to explore your body and see where you find pleasure rise within you. If you don’t have a positive relationship with self pleasure, change that! Commit to giving yourself permission to give yourself pleasure, be patient with yourself as you begin to find new parts of your body, and remind yourself the goal is to find pleasure and not perform or ‘achieve’ an orgasm.

Soul
Make a playlist of music that fills your soul. Play it loudly. In the car, in your kitchen, in your bathroom. Keep adding to it. Call it a fun name and let yourself get lost in the mood of the music.

Find a daily devotional that speaks to your spiritual beliefs or inspiration points. Read it at the same time every morning. Make the routine sacred and no more than 5 minutes so you have no excuse to skip it. Light a candle or drink your favorite tea as you read it.

You are worth this self care time and the reconnection with your mind, body and soul will sustain you ten fold. Enjoy and prioritize you!

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Wishing you lots of (self) love,

Christa