Self-love, affirmations and the importance of practising love for yourself with Mel Gleeson
Love: it’s that four letter word we use to show our appreciation for our loved ones and to describe the things we enjoy. So when thinking of love, it’s often the love we have for others and our favourite things that come to mind, and not the love we have for ourselves.
Prioritising self-love and your own individual needs is an important part of your overall wellbeing and, knowing that you can’t pour from an empty cup, practising it allows you to show more love to others too. We chatted to endota Founder & CEO Mel Gleeson to uncover what self-love means to her, and her tips on how we can better practise it to further enrich our overall wellbeing.
According to Oxford Languages, self-love is defined as:
The regard for one’s own wellbeing and happiness.
Having good self-awareness and valuing your own wellbeing and happiness are helpful tools when it comes to practising self-love. Self-love is about recognising and practising the actions and thoughts that contribute positively to your life, so that you can continue tapping into these to better fulfil yourself from within.
For Mel, self-love means, “I am happy and healthy. It involves showing myself respect, feeling grateful to experience this life I am living and understanding I am part of creating this life for myself.” Self-love is personal and the way Mel views this inspires us to also take control of our own individual version. How you think of self-love will be different to others but the benefits of wellbeing and happiness are things we can all enjoy everyday.
It’s all in the journey
The ability to receive love from yourself is a wonderful thing, yet is one that can take practice - and that’s okay. There’s no right or wrong way to go about this, as it is a very personal experience, and one completely unique to you. Your self-love journey can involve changing your mindset or prioritising yourself and carving out the time in your day to do so. The most important step is taking some time to think about what self love could look like for you and how you can start to practise it.
“Start now as there is no greater time than the present. Don’t wait for the someday to roll around or to find a time when you won’t be too exhausted. This is particularly true for women, who are often great givers and nurturers but are less versed in receiving. We need to learn to better receive and give to ourselves too. I have learnt not to be guilty for the time I take for myself by understanding that this time is not selfish, it is instead vital to my own wellbeing so that I can show up for myself just as much as I do for others.”
Doubt is common when first accepting a journey of self-love and time can often be a factor that feeds into this doubt. Life can be busy with work, family and other commitments, often leaving you feeling as though there’s no time for yourself or that you can only take the time when you’re feeling burnt out. If you’re experiencing these feelings, imagine how it will feel to take even five minutes for yourself and how you will then feel around other people. Taking as little as five minutes of your day to do something for yourself (such as writing down what you were grateful for that day, taking some deep breaths or applying hand cream or body lotion) may seem small, but making self care achievable is the best way to start.
“Self-love and self-acceptance have both become easier as I have gotten older. I now value taking time for myself as I realise that if I feel well, rested and happy, then others around me also benefit from this as I am a better contributor to the communities in which I live and work when I feel this way. I have learnt and am still learning to take time for myself more regularly and not just when it’s absolutely necessary.”
After the initial steps and that all important leap into loving yourself, it’s necessary to remember that a journey is not linear and likely has no definitive end. With an ever-changing world and factors that contribute to our lives, your journey with self-love will likely keep evolving.
The practice of loving self
Think about what makes you happiest in life and what or who makes your days that much brighter. For Mel, it’s the beach with her husband and family, holidays with family and girls trips away, yoga, pilates, meditation, reading and learning, and spending time with endota therapists in spa. While these may be similar or vastly different from your own, you can see that these are mostly achievable in day-to-day life. And that’s the key. Start small.
Reading a few pages of a book before bed, on your morning commute or during your lunch break is a great way to start small and an easy ritual to integrate into your day. You see, setting aside small chunks of time to perform activities, or micro-rituals, can turn self-love into a habit rather than a far-fetched practice.
Self-love micro-rituals you might like to try include:
- A sound healing or meditation before bed
- A morning cup of tea or coffee
- A walk
- Applying skin and body care
- Practising gratitude
- Enjoying a nourishing meal
- Moving your body
- Listening to music
- Relaxing in a bath
- Lighting a candle or diffusing essential oils.
Another self-love micro-ritual you may like to try is channelling the power of positive words through affirmations. Reciting affirmative phrases can help shift your mindset and perspective, while welcoming positivity and limiting intrusive thoughts. Try repeating one of the affirmations below a few times out loud, or find one that you feel connected to. You may like to recite your chosen affirmation while applying your skincare to really connect the power of loving with prioritising yourself.
Once you start adopting small practices, it’s much easier to allow love to flow freely through your body and commit to other acts of self-love. Such as setting aside an hour every month to relax with an in-spa facial or massage, or another treatment or activity that helps you connect with yourself. It serves as an opportune way to tune out from the outside world and tune into your own needs. Or learning to talk about yourself with love and forgiving yourself when you don’t.
Learning to love yourself and who you are as a person is to be celebrated. Remember to be thankful for the journey you are on and the love you can give yourself in any way. Whatever your acts of self-love look like, it’s the positive impact they have on your happiness and wellbeing that are the most beneficial. Remember, everyone's version of self-love will look different. To learn more about how different individuals show and receive love, read about the five love languages here.