What Self-Love ACTUALLY Means

Gretchen Hydo standing outside on a warm, sunny day, using her hands to make the shape of a heart.

Can you believe February is right around the corner?

The month of LOVE.

Soon we’ll be hearing (again) all about the concept of self-love.

And I’m here to call…BS.

Yes, that’s right!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely paramount to love yourself (just ask Maslow). But another post on social media about planning time to go to the salon, or an email giving tips on self-care, is frankly…overrated.

These are things we should be doing daily/weekly/monthly, not just once a year or on Valentine’s Day. And they’re not what we truly need to step into greater self-confidence, self-esteem, and love for ourselves.

So…what do we need?

What actually leads to these things is quieting our negative self-talk, saying goodbye to people, places, and activities that don’t (or no longer) serve us, and embracing our TRUE selves, not the versions we think society or those around us want us to be.

For me, this looked like the following:

  • Having a come-to-Jesus conversation with myself and realizing I need to slow down this year and really be present in my personal life and business. This includes not filling my calendar like I typically do, and giving my team more breathing room by not constantly being in launch mode.
  • Letting a lot of people go last year that I thought were my ride or die forever, but they just weren’t good for me.
  • Taking more days off to spend quality time with my family, like going on a spontaneous trip or helping my son with his college essay.
  • Reflecting on my labels and analyzing if the Gretchen I’m putting out into the world is the one that actually aligns with my core values, my likes and dislikes, and my vision.

How will you love yourself this year?

Remember, this means being kind to yourself and showing yourself compassion through the challenges that arise or when you make mistakes. Speak to yourself like you would a friend or family member. Sometimes that requires visualizing yourself in front of you and speaking love to them.

Exercise: Reflect on Your Vision

What do YOU want 2024 to look like? It’s absolutely okay to go against the grain, a.k.a. society’s or people’s expectations. 

Jot down your goals for yourself, along with what (or who) you need to remove from and welcome into your life to be aligned with your purpose and passions. Keep this list close to you, so when busyness, overwhelm, or discouragement creep up (or come like a tidal wave), it will serve as a reminder and allow you to become centered again.

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