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14 DAYS OF SELF LOVE: Bella Minded Valentine

So are you tired of hearing about how much you should love yourself? You hear it from all of these self care advocates and gurus on the importance of self love. However, do you hear much about how you go about it? I remember posting “Can You Be Yourself And Not Know Yourself?”, almost four years ago with the same sentiments. You can preach to someone about the importance of loving themselves but it’s like spitting in the wind if they aren’t sure what it truly means and how to go about it.

I looked up what was defined as “Self Love”, and like many of the definitions, it referenced about having high regards or appreciation for yourself. But one particular definition stopped me instantly in my thoughts to address it on my public platform. Wikipedia’s definition is as stated,

“..Self-love, defined as "love of self" or "regard for one's own happiness or advantage", has been conceptualized both as a basic human necessity and as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness, synonymous with amour propre, conceitedness, egotism, narcissism..”.

Let me bring this back into context because I don’t want anyone to think Wikipedia is on an anti-self awareness campaign. They actually went further into explaining how this theory of self love being synonymous to vain, ego, narcissism, etc, has actually evolved into an intricate conception of life. It was triggering nonetheless. It made me recall times when I’ve heard directly or indirectly how admiring oneself is a negative thing. For instance when I blogged about Sha'Cari Richardson and the public feeling as though she should “humble” herself. Even though we’ve established that humbling yourself is having or showing yourself as someone of low importance.

The irony of being taught subconsciously to look for outward acceptance rather than self acceptance. In so many ways they’ve tried to sell us that loving ourselves is a form of negativity with negative outcomes. But we are here to change the narrative subconsciously and consciously.

For my 14 Days of Self Love Challenge we’re going to pour into ourselves past the obvious self care rituals of hair, nails, and makeup. Understanding this is still important when it comes to self love, but I know we can go deeper because that's where the root lies. In these 14 days we’re going to pour into our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional self; and as a result we can learn how to trust ourselves, know ourselves and become patient with ourselves. Within these 14 days you should see and feel a difference and that will be the motivation for you to keep going.

I'm choosing to do the following to dedicated everyday as a day I choose myself in some shape or form. You're welcome to use my list for inspiration or create your own. Because it's two weeks, I'm going to repeat what I did for the first week. My list isn't in any particular order:

Day 1: Drink Only Water

Water is very vital in our life but it was very significant in me learning how to pour into myself. The very first thing I did when I started my weightloss journey was drinking nothing but water everyday. I made it my goal to drink at least 8 cups a day to get in the habit. Your physical health effects a lot with your mental health and vice versa. Water is detoxifying, helps with being bloated and your digestive system.

Day 2: Deep Breathing

Well if you've been reading my material than you know how much I advocate about knowing how to breathe. I'm actually starting a series in March called "I Can Breathe Life Into Me", which goes into the basics of meditation and breathing. Breathing helps with anxiety, depression, asthma and blood pressure just to name a few. It's a lot going on the past 3 years and me learning how to effectively breathe has been instrumental. Start with waking up and before getting out of bed do a 1-2-3 breathing technique where you inhale for 1 count, hold for 2 count and exhale for 3 counts. Increase the counts if you've mastered 1-2-3. Try doing this 3 times out of the day, periodically

Day 3: Yoga/Stretching

I like yoga because it isn't just physically beneficial but it's mentally refreshing. I always feel relaxed and clear headed after I do yoga. In my opinion Yoga is a form of stretching so if you don't want to get into the specifics of learning yoga, just start by doing some basic stretches. Stretching helps in becoming active physically. It also helps relieves stresses and related issues. You gain more flexibility and range of motions, which is beneficial if you suffer with body aches and back pain. Try stretching first thing in the morning when you wake up or right after you do your deep breathing. Then try stretching again right before you go to bed for the night.

Day 4: Green Smoothie

In honor of treating our bodies as a temple, on this day I want to make sure I am what I eat. I love green smoothies and it's a great way to make sure we get our daily nutrients from our fruits and vegetables. Green smoothies can be a nice way of detoxing because it's great for your digestive by cleansing the body. It also can curve your "not so healthy" cravings by keeping you fuller for longer. If you don't want to make your own smoothie, they have premade smoothies that you can purchase frozen or ready to drink. Try drinking a smoothie in between meals as a replacement for a snack or before your meals.

Day 5: Start Journaling

Journaling is a great outlet to get all of the weight that you carry from childhood traumas, daily stresses of life and when you don't have anyone to confide in. Journaling has been helpful and I actually need to do more of it ( hence why it's one of my ways of pouring into myself) because sometimes you have to get those ideas and thoughts out somehow. You'll be surprise how writing your thoughts can help you put things in perspective. It's as if the answer was there all along. Journaling allows you to reflect and see the triggers that affect you. Trying journaling at the end of your day then after a week go back and read what you wrote.

Day 6: Take A Walk/Grounding

Contrary to popular belief walking is one of, if not THE best physical activity. I realized this when I compared my stats of burning fat vs burning calories on my Fitbit. Every time I was in my fat burning zone it was when I walked my daughter to school, or if I did a few laps around the neighborhood. Walking is said to help with mental health stability and it's a great way to connect with nature. Taking a walk outside allows you to get earth's natural vitamin D (the sun) and fresh air from the trees and plants. This can give a calming and clear experience. Try going a nature trail, walk around your neighborhood, or avoid parking close when you're running errands.

Day 7: Be Still/ Meditate

The constant influence of having to chase the bag, get to the money, and hustle and bustle is taxing. It's important to be still sometimes so you can reflect, be aware and observe. You can't know you next move if you're never still enough to plan or prepare it. I take to meditation but I understand if it can seem overwhelming at first. So it's okay to try to take 5 to 10 minutes to sit still, in silence and just be with your thoughts. Or just observe the people and things around you for understanding, appreciation, gratitude, and compassion. Take this day to smell the roses and be in the moment not of the moment.

I'm hoping I've got you all motivated and ready to start the first week open and receptive. You can follow the same steps for the following week or you can add some new things. Are you ready? What are some things you're going to add to your challenge?

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