It is such a gift when a new Wise Introvert email subscriber takes the risk to fill in the box in the opt-in form that says, “I wish I could…[blank]”.
I don’t take it lightly, and I left the box optional in the form so that women truly had a choice as to whether to share that wish with a stranger [me].
I believe that, when you voice your desires, wishes, and intentions, there is a shift in energy and awareness that holds great power.
This week, I’d like to share the following introvert wish:
“I wish I could…be seen and be true to loving myself first and always.”
My first response when I read this statement was a heart-felt and totally aligned feeling of, yes, me too! In truth, I was inspired by the woman who would make such a bold statement.
Then my mind started whirling and hesitation started to creep in. Which makes me wonder, what gets in our way of making the daily choices that would turn such a beautiful and powerful wish into reality?
Here are some of my thoughts:
“First and always”. That’s the part that draws out the guilt (for me anyways). Sure, we can practice loving ourselves, but at some level, aren’t we still taught that other people or commitments should actually come first most of the time?
I know that, especially as a mom, then as a solopreneur, spouse, daughter, sister, friend (think of all the roles we play) – it is a challenge in daily life to consider loving myself first and always. That would be selfish. Irresponsible. Careless. so the little habitual voice of reaction says…
The first example that comes to mind is what choice I make when I’m starting to feel tired, despite having planned for my energy needs, and I know that I need some solo time to regain my energy (and my patience, calm, clear mind etc.).
Many women still feel guilty in that situation if we don’t put others first…even when we know it’s the start of a downward spiral.
In those moments (I believe “should” is a big warning sign to dig deeper), we need to create some kind of touch point as a way to remind ourselves that guilt is not necessary, useful, or welcome.
Instead, we can look at the situation in terms of what is actually necessary, and then, decide whether it’s necessary that it gets done by us, at that specific time.
We don’t have to be everything to everyone else at the expense of ourselves. Give yourself permission to not be needed. To not be perfect. Give yourself permission to show up and take a stand for YOU (as intently as you would for someone else).
Ultimately, you decide: Do I matter enough?
We’re busy (and we keep being told that it’s a good thing). Calendars fill up quickly with a range of commitments. If we wait too long to see where we can fit ourselves in, it won’t happen.
So if loving yourself first is a priority, time (and other resources) must reflect that. Part of this is understanding how much time and space for solitude you require in order to have enough energy to be your best. Then it’s a matter of proactively scheduling that time in where it makes sense to YOU (not as an afterthought).
If you’re an entrepreneur, that could mean adequate gaps in between clients. If you’re a stay at home mom, that could mean actually taking time for yourself (not the dishes – unless that genuinely reflects loving yourself) when the kids nap.
What do you want and need? Commit to ensuring that the time, budget, and support is in place so you can intentionally practice self-love.
Always is a strong absolute. That takes some serious commitment and sense of self-worth. It calls on solid personal boundaries, high expectations, strong character, genuine self-acceptance, and, ultimately, courage.
It might be easy then for comparison and self-doubt to creep in. At some point, maybe many times, you may have been told (or otherwise led to believe) that you’re not worth it. That you’re not good enough. That you’re defective in some way. That you don’t measure up.
Call BS. Trust your wisdom. Embrace your value and power.
Accept that “loving myself” takes practice – by making conscious choices to challenge your thinking and take action on a daily basis. Believe that, while it may not always be easy, it’s worth it!
Because, as Brené Brown shares from her research on shame, self-love is “a prerequisite to loving others” and “we cannot give our children what we don’t have“.
All the more reason that Loving Myself First and Always is such a powerful wish. PERHAPS NOT TO IS SELFISH. Wouldn’t that be a shift in thinking!
If you haven’t read Brown’s books (especially The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly), I highly recommend you do! While you read, keep your journal by your side to record all the great quotes and AHA moments!
We’re all different, so I’m curious. What does it mean to YOU to love yourself [first and always]? What would that look like in your own life? And what’s getting in your way?