Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about self-love, which seems to be the topic of conversation everywhere these days.
Make time to love yourself the life coaches and health gurus advise.
Take baths, read poetry, go for long walks in the woods.
I, myself, preach these very words. I define an act of self-love as anything you do that nourishes your soul. For me that can range from practicing yoga to drinking wine with my best friend on a Monday night while watching The Bachelor. There are so many ways that we can nourish our souls, and the best part is that our ways don’t have to resonate with anyone else. Honestly, I sort of like when the ways I choose to love myself seem odd or strange to others. It’s like I have this secret language that no one understands but me.
A few weeks ago one of my clients told me that she wanted to make it a goal for herself to explore her sexuality. Being a brilliant, determined, and opinionated young woman working as an engineer in a predominantly male office, she feared she was disconnected from her feminine energy. She had no interest in changing who she was in the workplace, but rather she wanted to discover ways to unveil her sexier side in her personal life. We decided that she should do some research and make a list of things that make her feel sexy. The list included wearing lingerie, taking Zumba classes, and even practicing being more confident in her own skin.
One of the ideas she came up with stood out to me. She told me she wanted to set out five minutes during her shower to mindfully shave her legs. For years, she explained, she had always rushed through the process of shaving her legs. “It was a task that I never really looked forward to doing, so I would try to do it as fast as I could, usually cutting myself in the process, just to get it over with,” she told me. But when she began reflecting on things she could do to make herself feel sexier, she had the idea to change her perspective on her daily shower routine. She challenged herself to look at the act of shaving her legs as an opportunity to slow down and make time to show her body the care and love it deserved.
After our conversation, I began thinking about my own shower routine. I realized that most days, I either take body showers skipping washing my hair altogether (the blow dryer and I have a love/hate relationship meaning I love the way it makes my hair look, but hate the amount of time it takes to make it look that way) or rush through the washing, shaving, and lathering processes as quickly as I possibly can. Up until our conversation, I hadn’t ever looked at a simple action such as shaving my legs as a way to practice loving myself, but now that my client had brought it to my attention, I began noticing all the little ways I can choose to show myself love throughout the day. It can be something as simple as blasting your favorite Adele song on the way to work, or writing yourself an I love you! email, or even taking the time to mindfully shave your legs in the shower. All of these acts nourish my soul.
Perhaps it is by practicing self-love in small, seemingly insignificant ways that reminds us that we are, in every moment, so very worthy of being loved.