A frequent topic on our Bali retreat is about the importance of self love. I truly believe that growing a sense of self-love and developing a loving relationship with oneself is perhaps the most important gift you can give yourself – and certainly long lasting. But the actions that are required to make this happen can feel quite challenging. It’s another one of those things that’s easy to say and hard to do right?
With Valentine’s Day here, the media focus is often about romance leaving many feeling a little off. The difference is someone else or external romantic events are never going to fill any long lasting happiness or self acceptance gap but self love will and it’s sustainable. Given that, why don’t we spend just as much time investing in growing this ability, as much as we do on cultivating romance?
This dedication to self-love is something that I have seen huge benefits from in many friends and guests. As women we are programmed to value concepts like selflessness and generosity over self love. We think that by giving our absolute ALL to others was the right thing to do – and in believing this we miss a vital piece of the puzzle. The truth I’ve learned is to serve others we first need to serve ourselves and to look inward and practice loving our own unique spirit.
After a few early mistakes with romantic relationships, I realised that before I could love someone else with the full capacity of my heart I needed to turn the focus back on me and do some work to examine, accept and practice nurturing myself. I grew up in New Zealand where there was an overwhelming culture of just getting on with life and not spending too much time thinking about yourself, so at first, practising self-love felt quite indulgent and has been an ongoing struggle.
Seeing the benefits of focussing on this has lead to huge gains and its why I want to let you know that it’s ok to put yourself at the top of the list and that by doing so you’ll experience happiness beyond what you thought was possible.
I want to share three of the things I’ve learned to do for myself to increase my sense of self-love that in turn has added so much happiness to my relationships. As a result of these simple things I find I’m more resilient, happier, more motivated and able to give back to my partner and my child with the full capacity of my heart. By entering a relationship with a strong sense of worth and happiness also enabled me to meet the love of my life (at 41 years of age) after years of detours and road bumps along the way!
Turn up the volume of your kind thoughts and mute the negative ones!
We’ve all heard of the term ‘negative self-talk’ and I discovered that the choice to mute this pesky voice in my head was one of the first things I needed to do on my journey of self-love. It was as if there was a critical teacher living inside the back of my mind. She was there telling me off for every mistake I made and setting high expectations that I would struggle to meet. The key for me was to mute this negative voice and replace it with kind messages. When I started using self-affirmation and encouragement instead of criticism I found it easier to begin accepting myself. A simple way to do this is to practice positive affirmations each morning in the mirror. There is real power in the positive messages you tell yourself – you don’t need to rely on positive commentary from others, start with yourself. The more frequently you hear something, the more you will believe it. Give it a try if you don’t already and notice the difference in your mindset.
Pamper yourself like the precious gem you are!
I’m lucky enough to spend time in beautiful Bali where the cost of pampering is lower than it is in New Zealand and Australia. Regardless of where you live though, pampering is a must do and there are ways to make it a priority without having to spend the earth. Whether it’s simply recognising that you’re tired and giving yourself a long sleep in – or taking a hot bath after a long day at work or a barefoot walk in nature. Here at our Escape Haven Bali Retreat, I make sure I take time out for massage and ayurvedic treatments whenever I can as do our team and love starting my day with a walk on the beach with my Bali dog rice. The simple act of prioritising my own health and letting others care for me has shown me the real benefits of self-love. I walk away from those times feeling stronger and more able to run the business – so the cost is well worth the return.
Define your own standards of beauty – inside and out!
One thing I’ve learned is that self-love can happen now. There’s no need to wait until you’ve lost that extra couple of kilograms or perfected that tan, or fixed your hair. Tell yourself you are beautiful exactly as you are today, NOW in this very moment. Of course, you’re not perfect – but nobody is! But by changing your standard of beauty you can nurture and carry yourself into a place of self-acceptance that will attract others to you and leave you feeling happy, joyous and free. It can feel hard at first but with a little practice, you can stop trying to be different and start loving yourself for your own unique qualities. By focusing on loving yourself on the inside first and then the outside – you can build a sense of self-esteem and self-regard that will get you through the most challenging days.
Our goal on our Bali retreat is to enable all the women who visit us to really shine. We want women to sparkle, to understand and believe that their self-worth and beauty is inherent to them rather than defined by society. We want to see others embrace themselves and be able to use their own unique and special gifts to fully express their energy in the world – and we want to be able to love others with the same honest, wholehearted attitude too. It’s within us all this potential to become our very best, glowing versions, I hope the three tips above, help with that journey.
Escape Haven Bali Retreat, supporting women on year making wellness experiences.
We invite you to come and experience for yourself our award winning Bali yoga retreat. If it’s time to fill up your cup and shrug off all the roles that you wear and all the balls you juggle in your busy life, we’d love to pamper you. From transformational yoga and meditation classes, to exhilarating surf lessons in the warm waters of Bali, fun fitness in our tropical gardens to restorative healing and pampering sessions, how much or little you do is all up to you.