"What do I need right now?" is a question I ask myself often throughout the day. When I notice symptoms of fatigue or anxiousness or a strong craving, I immediately get curious. Sometimes it's a call for more Vitamin D or stretches to release tension or more protein. When supplements and lifestyle adjustments don't do the trick, I go deeper. What would significantly improve the quality of my health right now? Time and again I come back to the same conclusion: I could use a little more Vitamin L.
At the heart of self care is Self Love. When I'm love deficient, it means I've lost an important connection to that compassionate, soft, forgiving place inside. I am way more kind to others and less generous with myself. Life loses some sparkle, and I start to look elsewhere for grounding and support.
So many of us spend energy looking outside of ourselves for love - maybe it's in the form of an addiction or looking to a partner to fill the void. We may pour our hearts into the care of others, but what we are really saying is, "What about me?" When we seek love externally, there are bound to be disappointments. The beauty of self love is that it's a closed circuit, a feedback loop that builds and builds on itself. The more I fill my sails with positive self talk and nurturance, the more resilient I am to the winds of change. The more I befriend those less than perfect places, the more I am free to shine.
So how do you get those turbine generators of love going? For me, it starts by taking a look in the mirror. Literally. Mirror work is the closest thing to a magic pill that can help build that relationship muscle with yourself. To begin, find a quiet moment and stand in front of the bathroom mirror. Look yourself in the eye, smile, and say out loud, "I love you." (It helps to say your name at the end). Repeat this a few times and add positive reinforcement like, "I love and accept myself exactly how I am." Feel a sense of gratitude for all the good things in your life. Notice how the weight drops in your shoulders or you feel a sense of relief. See what comes up. Don't worry if you feel like Stuart Smalley. Totally normal. Keep practicing.
Beyond the bathroom, feed yourself positive messages throughout the day, like when you're walking across a parking lot or when you turn your key for ignition. Catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and send up an I love you. Pause at any point to give yourself praise for a success or let yourself off the hook for falling short. This is not about ego boosting; this is about forging a genuine dialogue and partnership with yourself. At the end of the day, you always come home to yourself.
In nutrition we talk about certain nutrients and ingredients that help other nutrients work better. Black pepper to better assimilate the healing properties of turmeric. Lemon juice with beets to improve iron absorption. The same is true for self love - it is the undercurrent, the background music of your life that helps everything work better. No matter how many smoothies and supplements you try, your relationship with yourself is the true superfood. Give yourself what you need and the rest will follow.