With Self-Love day (Feb 13) and Valentine's Day (Feb 14) upon us, I wanted to take a moment and send all of you mamas, and mamas to be, a bit of love.
Self-Love is a path, a practice and a choice. It is the foundation that gives one an inner strength and connection in the heart, body, mind and soul.
- Christine Arylo
The terms self-care and self-love are often used interchangeably. For example, “I am learning to love myself and am making ME a priority by going to get more massages, or mani/pedi, or an afternoon at the spa, or insert your own method of relaxation here”. I know I was using these words interchangeably until recently.
In reality, self-care and self-love are NOT the same thing.
I have been following Christine Arylo for the past few months and am enrolled in her year long program called the Feminine Wisdom Way this year. Christine is like the self-love queen, and has been studying this and teaching it for the past decade! She has opened up my eyes on so much already, and so let me share a little bit of this wisdom.
Self-love is not the same thing as self-care.
The confusion of these two terms, and to some degree the use of these terms interchangeably stems from, in part the fact that in our mainstream society today, the term 'self-love' is often seen as something taboo, scary, and maybe even a little dirty. The definition of self-love on dictionary.com uses words like 'conceit', 'vanity', and 'narcissism.' Well, no wonder we tend not to want to think of ourselves as having strong self-love, or put another way, being in love with ourselves.
Self-care is a term we are more familiar with, and often more comfortable with. We all want to take care of ourselves and know how to take care of ourselves. We read books, get massages, set intentions and new years resolutions, go to yoga, eat our veggies, etc, and yet most of us still struggle with self-care! Most of us do a great job of self-care sometimes, a vacation here, or an afternoon at the spa there, but more frequently, we find ourselves just holding on, trying to maintain some semblance of self-care in the midst of the busyness of our overwhelming lives.
I can tell you that I have been in this place for many years, even though self-care (and what I thought was self-love) have been on my mind for a while. My mind was telling me that resting, relaxing, playing and having fun were not as valuable as working hard, being productive, and caring for those around me. My mind was telling me that these were things that I deserved after doing all the other things...
But, there is another way. You don't have to choose one or the other (taking take of YOU or taking care of others), you can choose BOTH! I always tell my mama clients that they need to put their oxygen masks on first, well, I need to do the same and am slowly moving forward on this path....this path to true self-love.
Okay, so let me get back to the task at hand - the difference between self-care and self-love.
Are massages and manicures a form of self-care? YES!
Is self-care a part of self-love? YES!
Does self-care = self-love? No
Why? Because self love is so much more than self care. I have recently been reading Madly in Love with Me, by Chrisine Arylo and am currently enrolled in her year long Feminine Wisdom Way group. And one of the things she teaches is the self-love tree.
And self-care is ONE branch (out of 10) of that self-love tree.
The self-love tree is made up of 10 branches and the roots of 'self-worth'. Just like with any tree, you want the entire tree to be healthy and strong, which means that all the roots and branches must also be strong and tended to, nurtured. The self-love tree is made up of:
Self-Awareness & Honesty
Self Compassion & Self-Forgiveness
Self-Respect & Self-Honour
In order to truly love ourselves, take care of ourselves, and put our own oxygen mask on first, so that we can then take care of and love others, we need to tend to and nurture all the branches of our self-love tree every year. Most people have some weaker branches and a few stronger ones. I Invite you to visit Christine Arylo's website (www.pathofselflove.com) or click here to get the self-love tree to learn more.
Truth be told, when I started learning about what self love really is, I will admit that I noticed many of my branches were lacking. I had some stronger branches like etc, but a lot of weaker branches.
This year one of my intentions is to nurture and grow my self-love branch of PLEASURE. And no, that does not mean what you think it means….although that could be part of it. I am going to make an effort to do things that bring my JOY more often...I am starting with once a week, but ideally by the end of the year I will have upped that to 3-4 times a week and one day I will be doing it daily!
So let me ask you this.....
What if you leaned into giving love to and expressing love for yourself....choosing to love yourself in all its forms, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly for the rest of your life?
"Choosing self-love is like taking a powerful stand for yourself and saying no! to accepting the energy of hate, abuse, neglect, shame, fear, and guilt, whether that energy comes from within yourself or from anyone else. And it's saying yes! to receiving and giving love in its many forms - to receiving love from and giving love to yourself first and, as a result, sharing the overflow of love with those around you."
- Christine Arylo in Madly in Love with ME.
I invite you to choose one branch of self-love to focus on this year. Choose it today on Self-Love day, or choose it sometime over the next few days, but choose it! And stick with it!
I would love to hear which self-love branch you are choosing to focus on this year, so hit reply and let me know! Or better yet, proclaim it to the world, today on self-love day, and tag me (@kailietswellnesss) so I can see and cheer you on!