What my Bad-Ass Cat taught me about Real Self-Love.

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“Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.” ~ Brené Brown

~

Self-love is a phrase tossed around so often now that it’s become somewhat of a cliché.

So let’s talk about what self-love actually means.

It’s not just two new age words that are used to make us sound spiritually enlightened. It translates to pushing ourselves to do things that we may dislike, like eating healthy/not drinking/exercising/cleaning the house, because these choices can bring health, clarity, and satisfaction to our life.

In essence, self-love is doing things that may be uncomfortable in the short term, but bring a long-term payoff. It’s accepting ourselves for who we are, and not who we think we should be.

I have a cat, Aspen, that’s been with me for eight years. We recently welcomed a dog, Solo, to the family. Aspen was none too pleased with our new addition, and her greatest act of aggression was destroying our succulent plant. She wanted to make her disdain for our newly adopted family member known and remind us that she was, in fact, still here.

Did Aspen stop eating when the new family member arrived? No. Did she stop meowing at us once Solo found his way to us? Nope. Does she still meow at the bedroom door nightly? Yes.

Aspen is practicing self-love. Because being kind and treating ourselves the way we deserve to be treated is self-love.

When Solo joined us, Aspen had to change up her playtime routine and seek higher ground, where Solo couldn’t reach her. Having time and space to exercise is important to her, so she made adjustments. Exercise can reduce our stress and anxiety, and making room in our lives to do this is a form of self-love.

Taking time to rest is another important self-love practice. Aspen ensured she didn’t go without her usual nap time when Solo came on the scene; she just had to move her napping spot to a more inconspicuous location so as to not be disturbed by her new sibling.

Healthy eating is another great form of self-love; it’s like giving your body a big hug. Once Solo began eating Aspen’s food straight from her bowl, she put Solo in his place and made it clear to us that she would no longer be eating food that Solo had put his nose in. We quickly moved her food to higher ground to accommodate her.

And sometimes, self-love means being an asshole—as cats can be at times. It means being nasty or difficult, but then recognizing our actions, owning our mistakes, and loving ourselves through it all. It’s recognizing that putting ourselves first is not a selfish act.

Even with a huge life change, Aspen was able to proclaim her needs as an act of self-love, which meant we were able to continue meeting those needs. This helped make Solo’s transition into the family less bumpy for all of us.

~

author: Jennifer Safar

Image: Author's own

Image: @ecofolks/Instagram

Image: Pixabay

Editor: Nicole Cameron

6.6

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

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akhshelton Feb 23, 2019 8:05am

Awesome Jen!! Ready to read more, keep going, you got this!! Love you!!

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 8:21pm

    Thanks, ‘Manda for the encouragement. Stay tuned, more to come! Love you too!

Jennifer Edwards Feb 22, 2019 8:44pm

I love this!!! Thank you for writing this!

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:04am

    Thanks, Jennifer! I had great inspiration from my fur babies! They’re both a handful, but I love what they’re able to teach me daily.

angelonecari Feb 21, 2019 6:02pm

Proud over here!!!!

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:05am

    Thanks for all the love and support Cari Ann! It means so much to me! Muah!

Suellen.reid Feb 21, 2019 5:41pm

So enjoyable, and Aspen looks just like my cat Sam. Thanks for the thoughtful article.

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:07am

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Suellen! Thanks for reading and supporting me! 🙂

Janice Dolk Feb 21, 2019 1:25pm

Edit my comment to read, “all 3 of us work on self-love.”

Janice Dolk Feb 21, 2019 1:24pm

Jennifer: I wish I could give this 10 hearts! My cats, Ofelia and Hamlet agree. All 2 of us work on self-love. Thank you.

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:08am

    Aww, thanks for the love, Janice! We’re all a work in progress over here too!

jennifer.ocarroll Feb 21, 2019 11:41am

Love the perspective of self-love through our pets. Yes, we must love ourselves first! It goes a long way. Great article.

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:11am

    OC! You know this subject is near and dear to my heart! Yes, love ourselves first!! Our pets are great teachers!

sam_dillon Feb 21, 2019 11:34am

Good for you Jennifer. It made me feel good to see you love your pets so much

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:12am

    Thank you, Sam. Glad my article was able to give you some warm and fuzzies! I do love my fur babies, very much!

krisseek Feb 21, 2019 11:18am

Great article and great perspective!! I LOVED it!!! XOXO

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:14am

    My day one supporter in this endeavor! It means so much to know YOU LOVED it! 🙂 XoXo

nsimmons725 Feb 21, 2019 10:58am

Loved it! Excited to read more !!!

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:15am

    Thanks, sissy! Excited to write more! 😀

connie Feb 21, 2019 10:51am

Hilarious and thoughtful! Great insight to preservation of what God has given us! Loved it!!!!!

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:16am

    Thanks, mama, for your support! I’m glad you got the humor!

honorlynn Feb 21, 2019 10:50am

Excellent Jennifer!

amyryoder Feb 21, 2019 10:48am

Well said! Good job! I related very well with this

    Jennifer Safar Feb 23, 2019 7:17am

    Thanks, sissy! Glad you related and enjoyed it! XoXo

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Jennifer Safar

Jennifer Safar is a vision board enthusiast, a lover of words, and a writer. Her interests include healthy cooking, listening to music, adult coloring books, reading, and writing. She aspires to influence her generation with positive and uplifting messages of hope. For more, check out her blog.