The ABC’s of Self-Love
Ahhh, January. It’s a month that represents new beginnings. If your inbox or social media feeds look anything like mine, you’ve probably been bombarded with a deluge of messages about how to jump start the New Year. From diet and exercise strategies to style and clothing tips, your head is probably spinning with “new” opportunities to make positive changes to your look and your life. In the past, I was the queen of New Year’s resolutions, dutifully planning all the ways I’d change whatever wasn’t working – physically, emotionally and psychologically. (Funny how the beginning of a new year can make us feel more “flawed” than we actually are.) This year, however, I’ve decided to take a more balanced approach, as I plan for 2018.
Sure I’ve set my intentions for the year. And yes…some of those intentions include tangible actions to work toward my best look and my best life. (Rest assured I’ll share them in a future blog post – smile.) But instead of just making a list of areas for improvement, I’ve supplemented it with a second list. This year I’ve taken a page (literally and figuratively) from Marie Claire magazine and decided to re-create my version of their “What I Love about Me” column. I realize it may have been a while since you picked up an actual magazine (as opposed to digital content). However, if you’ve ever read through an issue of MC, I’m sure you remember the feature.
Month after month they showcase a handful of women who share what they love about themselves. They may focus on a particular feature or physical characteristic, but they always I.D. something that they want to highlight, rather than minimize or hide. While they focus on appearance, I realize that, for me, this is a practice that goes beyond – the mirror. And what better time than now to take a moment for this kind of reflection.
So during this month, I am taking inventory of both sides of my personal balance sheet – meaning not only those things that I’d like to work on or work toward, but also those attributes that I embrace with open arms. I think it’s a kinder, gentler and more balanced way to approach the New Year. It addition to calling out the steps I have yet to take, it also acknowledges the strides I’ve made.
Care to walk down this path with me? Using the ABC’s of image, here are a few categories to get you started.
Appearance: I love my ________________ (fill in the blank). Even though we tend to focus on our challenge areas, we’ve all got assets. It’s just a matter of owning them. Take a few minutes to objectively and lovingly look in a full-length mirror and acknowledge those characteristics that make your look unique. Do you have a sparkle in your eyes, a mega-watt smile, luscious lips, great curves, legs that go on for miles, a va-va-voom bust line, spirited hair (that’s me), and/or other wonderful qualities? Once you acknowledge your assets, you can make clothing and accessory choices on a daily basis that honor and accentuate the positive. By the way, if you can’t see this for yourself, you are not alone. Simply ask a good friend, close relative or significant other…and then respond in kind.
Behavior: l am proud that I _________________ (fill in the blank). What do you do that enriches the lives of others? Do you mentor someone at work? Volunteer your time? Donate old clothing? Approach out-of-towners who appear lost and ask if they need directions? Babysit to give friends or relatives some needed time off? Give to a charity? Pitch in before being asked? Think about all of the random acts of kindness you perform on a daily or weekly basis, when no one is watching and pat yourself on the back for doing something just because it’s the right thing to do.
Communication: People can count on me for ___________ (fill in the blank). Are you a good listener? Do you hear both sides of a story? Do you have a wonderful sense of humor? Are you an expert problem-solver? Are you willing to challenge the status quo? Are you compassionate and non-judgmental? Do you lend support when needed? Are you respectful in your language? Do you make others feel comfortable? How you interact with people is an important part of who you are and the effect you have on the lives of others. Treasure those qualities that others have come to count on.
While you may start this list in January, I would encourage you to think about your wonderful qualities outstanding attributes all year long. You might even decide to set aside time to do this at the start of each month instead of just at the beginning of the year. Who knows – this just may be the best New Year’s resolution you make.
Here’s to wonderful you…and an amazing 2018!