Written by: Jolyn Maniaci, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Self-love. It’s not fluff. Yet, as it has become a buzzword and its popularity increased, its understanding has not. Love is one of the most overused, under-clarified words in our language—which is great for fluidity and casual table conversation; but not great for building relationships or businesses. Being an entrepreneur is tough. Building your business requires you to put yourself “out there,” living out of your comfort zone…Which is exactly the place where your wounds and rough edges are going to get rubbed; where the insecurities are going to get embellished and emphasized. And if we don’t have self-love, we are going to face plant, give up, or do the two steps forward/back dance indefinitely.
The way out is through. The way the tough keep going when the going gets tough (without burnout!) is by learning to love themselves through the process, through the funks and sticky spots, and into the flow. Self-love isn’t fluff; it’s essential.
So what is self-love?
LOVE, in general, is the inclusion and synergy of these 3 elements: fondness, affection, and gratitude.
Fondness is having a preference for someone or something, which generally comes from having familiarity with the same. In general, we like what we are familiar with, which requires exposure.
Affection is a willingness to be vulnerable, display kindness and intimacy. (We often reserve this for other people.)
Gratitude is an appreciation for being or having and receiving the same without any barrier; no strings or conditions attached. It is the recognition that the being or existence of someone or something is a contribution to your life. And, it is an alchemical agent that can even change brain physiology.
Self-love is simply applying this to YOU.
To do this, we need to set aside time to “expose” ourselves to ourselves, to get to know ourselves. We must be affectionate and kind—kind words, kind touches, sweet gestures with an open heart. We need to put ourselves on the gratitude list and appreciate our contribution to creating our lives and businesses. When we do this, we grow in self-esteem. Self-respect follows, and it becomes easier to make healthier choices for food and company; to follow through with actions that will create greater outcomes, even if we have to endure a little more time or inconvenience in the meantime. We become a priority, and we can contribute and show up for others without burnout because we are sourced from the within.
Unfortunately, for most of us, love has been conditional—we like ourselves when we perform, look a certain way, or achieve a certain outcome—or it’s reserved for someone else. However, when something is “stuck” in our lives or businesses, we need more love, not more criticism, pressure, or trying.
So how do you “do” self-love?
The relationship with ourselves is often based on outdated information or neglected and needs to be restored. Therefore, there is no way to get around the requirement of a little effort and time. Below are a few suggestions to maximize your time to get the best results.
First, take some time to review your standards—the “deal breakers.” Because we often know more about love in a relationship with someone else, start there. What are some of the “lines in the sand” that, if crossed, means reconciliation or reparation is required, or it’s over? Then take a look at that and see if you meet your criteria or where you might need to apologize and/or take corrective action to reconcile with yourself.
Next, take some time to be with yourself without distraction and get curious about what lights you up and brings you joy? Joy is amazing “fuel” for process and progress, and it is actually more of what makes you unique than any problem you think defines you. Joy is what we came to experience and bring, and it makes the process of learning and growing—which can be painful at times—easier to handle and fun in between.
Finally, if you don’t already, get to know the why behind what you do. Is the success you are going for based on you? If it’s not, if you aren’t in it and behind it, that’s a big reason as to why the success you’re looking for might not be flowing the way you’d like. A little time to get in touch with what success means for you will go a long way.
You will know you are “doing it right” because self-love feels good. It’s light and expansive. There is quiet in your mind, peace in your heart, and ease in your breath. Feeling good is actually the reward in itself and worthy of the endeavor; however, the wealth it attracts makes it all the more inviting. Give it a try.
Here are a few other ideas for self-love that don’t cost much time or money:
1. Smile in the mirror-like you would do to someone else. And receive it. (You wouldn’t criticize anyone else’s smile for smiling at you, so don’t do that to you.)
2. Dress up. Give you some attention and highlight your beauty. It’s not about getting anyone else’s attention. It’s about doting on you and walking around feeling pretty and confident.
3. Create a sanctuary, a space or place that is organized, pretty, comfortable, quiet, where you can go and feel safe.
4. Nature is the best example of abundance and free from judgment—take a walk, hug a tree, smell a flower to connect with nature, and let her rejuvenate you.
5. Journal to get to know you, get familiar with you—you become more likable to yourself. See what you’re telling yourself (it makes sense incomplete in your head, but when it comes out, you can see the holes, the inaccuracies or incompleteness or meanness of it and correct it). You can see what you like and use it to daydream and put some creativity into the future you are becoming, claiming, creating, and looking like and feel like to have it.
6. Meditation—quiet time to let your feelings come up. Let you have your feelings without reacting or trying to make them go away. Connect with your body and the messages it is giving you (your body gives you messages through emotions).
7. Say Yes/No based on what feels good, not what makes sense.
8. Brag book—it’s like a gratitude journal to celebrate YOU—choices you made, responses that have changed, compliments you received, etc.
9. Pick a love song and sing it to you. This is something we do in the 90 Day Relationship Remodel. We often know how to love someone else, so this is one way to give love to ourselves.
10. Ask, “What would unconditional love do?” This is one of my favorite tools that created a great deal of change for me and my business. Basically, if you don’t know something, ask. We know conditional love but are less acquainted with unconditional love. So ask, and the awareness for new possibilities on new ways to respond or handle things will show up.
Jolyn Maniaci, Executive Contributor, Brainz Magazine
Dr. Joylyn Maniaci is an expert in communication and relationship dynamics; creatrix and founder of the HAPPINESS clinic. Combining her personal experience of childhood abuse, eating disorder, depression and suicide with her training in naturopathic medicine, psychology, improv comedy, (and more) she developed her Future-Forward Focus coaching technique that makes happiness the marker and measure of success. She has developed innovative coaching programs, such as the 90 Day Relationship Remodel, Venus In Motion, Improv It to Improve It (Marriage Improv). She gets results—for individuals, groups, and couples—because she keeps the focus on the future and the most important thing in the world (and the relationship with whom all others depend): YOU! This self-described “word nerd” can identify why you feel out of touch and unhappy and give you to the tools to be confident in yourself, happy, and know without a doubt that things don’t happen to you, YOU happen to things.