The world is in chaos as people around the world panic over the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many of us are in a constant state of anxiety as we grapple with the unknown while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. We’re separated from our comforts as well as our connections.
While we continue to distance ourselves from loved ones and friends, this remains to be a good time to work on the most important relationship: the one we have with ourselves. Here’s how you can get started on your own journey to self-love, amid a global crisis.
How to Start Loving Yourself
We tend to look for validation from other people. Self-love calls us to look for validation within ourselves, and to find ways to create our own happiness. If we need a boost of confidence, we look for ways to create our confidence. If we want to feel valued, we have to look for ways to create our own value.
For those of you who are only beginning this journey, you might ask, how am I supposed to get started with loving myself? First, take some time to reflect and identify how you talk to yourself, and how you speak about yourself. Many of us tend to say negative things about ourselves, or make self-deprecating jokes. These tend to be harmful for us in the long run, and are rooted in a lack of confidence and self-worth.
So, how do you change that language? Once you’ve identified the kind of negative self-talk you have, think about how you would want others to talk about you, or your family, and reframe your inner monologue accordingly. This is a good foundational step that gets us started on talking to ourselves with respect, compassion, and tenderness.
The beginning of the journey to loving yourself can feel difficult and frustrating. At first, you might feel bad about yourself, and think you can’t do it, and you might find yourself falling into the same patterns. But this kind of change definitely doesn’t happen overnight, and while you’re undergoing this process, you have to be compassionate with yourself.
The process involves cultivating a new way of thinking and feeling. Sometimes, we get so bogged down by our own thoughts and limiting beliefs about what’s good for us, and what we can or can’t do. These are usually based on what somebody else has told us, or created for us. Many times, it leads us to feel guilty about doing good things for ourselves.
You have to start being kinder to yourself and appreciate that there is another way. You have a choice in deciding how you move forward, how you show up, and what you believe. There are no limits, except the ones you impose on yourself. These things are very fundamental to you, so unlearning old beliefs and patterns will take a long, slow process. But trust that in the end, it will feel good.
Ultimately, loving yourself means accepting yourself exactly as you are, exactly for who you are, without any conditions.
Channeling the Feminine
We are living in this system where doing and achieving is of prime importance—a very masculine energy, if you will. Now that everything is changing, we’re all being called to cultivate a more feminine energy—one is that more receptive, still; one that invites us to just press pause, see the forest through the trees, and get curious about what is happening.
It challenges us to make the daring move to slow down and take care of ourselves. Doing this isn’t selfish at all, as we might have been made to believe. Self-care gives us the capacity to be kinder to others.
When we allow ourselves to slow down, sink into the moment, be more mindful, and just slow down the pace, we also calm down our parasympathetic nervous system. It almost changes our physiology, or dials down our physical frequency to be slower, calmer, and more gentle. It helps us tune our attention inward, listen to what feels good to us, and be guided on what to do next.
Self-love in a Global Crisis
As the world continues to wrestle with the Coronavirus pandemic, there is also a growing anxiety epidemic rising globally. During a time when nothing ever seems to be going right, I’ve been asked, how do we help ourselves do internal work and make us feel like we’re still winning?
One of the most empowering exercises I know is a mindset hack that basically pushes us to reframe our perspective. If we can teach ourselves to see things differently, approach them with curiosity, then our inner world could also change.
The way we might look at things now is that the world is going to hell, our country is falling apart, and racism and sexism are rampant and leaving so many victims in their wake. But what if we flip the script on that see that we are actually in a time of massive change?
What if these times of change are simply a transition to move us from a system that isn’t working very well, where so many people are being oppressed, and where there is a lot of suffering? What if we flip that and see this as something that could, in the long-term, eventually lead us in a positive direction?
We need to have the courage to take off our dark glasses, and find a new pair that helps us see things differently. We can focus our attention on good news: how scientists all over the world are working together to find a remedy and cure for the virus; how many people are becoming more aware of the long-standing sociopolitical issues and are taking a stand; how in spite of the distance between people and the ones whom they love, the emotional connection and openness we have with each other is much stronger.
This crisis is a defining moment of our generation. We don’t know yet what’s going to happen next, and it may seem scary. But it’s only frightening because it could lead us to something incredible, and thus, something that will demand a lot from us.
This is a time when we have to truly love ourselves, and be connected to who we are and what we value. By being in this state—having the courage of simply being who we are, and not trying to please other people—we can do our part in making a difference. As individuals, we will be able to do our part in exacting positive change.