Self-Love & Self-Care: The Difference

 In Blog

A dear friend
I realised a couple weeks ago, in talking to my dear and long-time friend Tanya, that there is a difference between Self-Love and Self-Care. We were talking about how we speak to ourselves; on the inside. And she said something about that being about expressing direct Self-Love in how you talk to yourself. Which is subtly different from Self-Care which is more about the things that you do for yourself that nurture and about how you are able to hold healthy boundaries in relationships with others.

What Self-Love feels like
Overall, I think that Self-Care is an easier thing to enact than Self-Love. With Self-Care we can ‘do’; we have a bath, go on a retreat, eat healthy food, we remind ourselves it’s ok to say ‘no’ (or ‘yes’ 😊), or to speak up when we are not OK with something. With Self-Love we create an environment for ourselves; within ourselves, that is conducive to feeling loved, accepted, free to be, free to love, free to give and receive. If you have ever felt that open-hearted, unconditional inner smile when looking upon a child or pet, you’ll know what you’re after when it comes to Self-Love.

What impedes Self-Love
What separates us from this experience of love are the walls we have built around ourselves and the sometimes rigid beliefs and expectations we have about who we should be. The root of these can be found in our past; in our childhood or in experiences we have had as adults. Within ourselves we might actually be quite stern and even critical about our perceived short comings. And just as if someone else had actually said something judgemental to us, we have an emotional response to being treated without kindness. It is hard to be who you are or be where you are when this kind of self-talk goes on as a matter of course; it can create a deep underlying sadness and even distress. So imagine what kind of attitude or words you can aim at yourself that will make you feel ok, safe, loved, liked, understood, capable empowered and free to be who you are. Often these words most need to be said when we’re feeling less than happy, so that means being aware of your feelings and responding to them kindly.

Saying the magic words
If in life you want to step out and IE join a walking group, be aware that it is better to tell yourself that ‘people will like you’ rather than ‘I’m not sure if anyone is going to want to talk to me’. The first one imbues confidence and a ‘can-do’ attitude and the latter creates fear and self-doubt.

So when you talk to yourself, notice what you say and the inner tone of your voice towards yourself and notice your feeling response to it.  If you’re feeling fear or anxiety try different words and a different tone. If you’re feeling relaxed and happy or enthusiastic you must have used your magic words and tone!

Write down on a piece of paper the following…
Non-Magic words: 10 x  Unhelpful, unkind or critical things you say to yourself and for each the feeling it creates.
Non-Creative Thoughts/Ideas:10 x Beliefs or expectations you have about how or who you should be and where these beliefs or expectations come from
Likes & Enjoyments: 10 x Things you enjoy doing or something you daydream about doing or creating
Magic Words: 10 x Statements that support you in doing or creating that (You can do it! Your’e loved.)

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