A Year of Living Elegantly
Love yourself deeply.
Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.
Do you struggle with this?
Why is it always the hardest to love and respect yourself?
I talk to so many women who feel that they should be last when it comes to their families’ needs. Their life revolves around their families, friends, sometimes even strangers.
While I do applaud their generosity, I do feel that the overwhelming guilt from giving and showing themselves love is too much to bear, so they avoid any love and focus on others.
The question I ask them is “Do you think if you saw a lonely woman stressed, clearly overwhelmed and in need of a hug – would you ignore her?”
And the answer is almost always the same – “well, I would go and talk to her, maybe give her a hug!”
I respond with, “So if you’re willing to show her love – then you should be willing to show love to yourself?”
When they hear this, it makes them think about their lives.
I’m holding up a mirror and cleaning it so they can recognize that the lonely woman is often themselves.
An elegant woman, while being generous, selfless, and helpful will know that she needs to love herself. And not in a shallow meaningless way, but truly one that she can look at herself and feel the love.
In this 12 part series, every month I look deeply at what makes an elegant woman so, well, elegant.
The reason I am doing it once a month instead of bunching it all together is because I want to give you the time to work on each trait. The three to four weeks to implement it daily. By doing this slowly, the end of the year, you’ll have collected 12 new ways to live life fully.
This post contains affiliate links and if you purchase anything on these links I may receive a small compensation.
How to Love Yourself Unconditionally
You need to know how to love yourself first before truly understanding how to love others.
As humans, the word unconditionally is a difficult concept to wrap our heads around. Parents have this immense love for their children, we hopefully have it for our husband and family. But do we have unconditional love for ourselves?
Before you quickly answer “yes”, take a few minutes to really think about how you treat yourself.
If you struggle with this I can comfort you by letting you know you’re not alone. We are so used to self-loathing, talking ourselves down, comparing ourselves to others – practically destroying our love.
Then we expect ourselves to just as easily pick up the battered pieces of what is left and force a smile to show others how much we love our lives and ourselves.
Who are we kidding?
Nobody. But what I do know is that we aren’t the ones truly suffering from this. It’s never too late to take those shattered pieces and put them together.
Slowly and meticulously one piece at a time.
Being present with each piece.
Spending as much time as needed, never rushing yourself – accepting them for what they are.
Allowing yourself to enjoy, hate, be angry, cry and take it all in. To always be there for the good and the bad.
This is love.
To always be there for the good and the bad.
The unconditional love that we all crave.
That we all desire and long for.
Sometimes the self examination is too terrifying that we distract ourselves, we tend to ignore it. We are perpetually searching for love, even though it has been inside us all along, just needing the right tools to bring them out.
Unconditional love is right there. It’s always been there – but how?
How are you able to sincerely love yourself unconditionally?
1) Get in touch with your artistic self.
This piece of you always wants out. You always want to express yourself. When we are children we allow our artsy self to dictate who we are, what we say and how we spend our free time.
But then we grow up.
We put different expectations on ourselves.
Art is now something we do IF we have free time, instead of living our lives beautifully and with passion it is just becomes practical.
Sometimes we even stop letting our artsy selves do anything in fear of being weird. Other times we don’t allow it because as adults, we see it as a waste of time.
We tend to forget what moves us – we almost forget who we are.
We focus on is work, money and yes these are important and necessary, but there is more to life. It’s the young hearted excited, naive, optimistic and open version of us that gets pushed so far back we almost don’t recognize them anymore.
The artistic self is the one willing to get back up when we fall. It’s not scared of looking funny or stupid but just excited to do what we love and express emotions.
Show love by allowing yourself to be truly who you are with no reservations.
2) Write, and don’t stop writing until you know it.
This is similar to the first point because it could still be considered an art.
Just pour out your raw emotions, let it all out.
What are you scared of?
What are you looking forward to?
What bothers you?
I find that this really gets my deepest frustrations out and I feel rejuvenated afterwards. It helps me to spill my guts, release all the tension and pent up emotions. It’s a restart!
However, sometimes I uncover a secret door I never realized existed. By writing continuously and not stopping to read it, edit or fix it, allows the brain to explode with feelings. It gives me free rain. When I write, I find that one issue which I’ve been tiptoeing around or trying to pretend isn’t there.
After being able to release whatever it is, I’m able to look in the mirror and know I’m no longer lying to myself. It’s a deeper connection I have, to the real me.
There’s a deeper meaning to most things, allow yourself to feel it. Whatever it is.
The reason I want you to write it out is for a couple reasons. One, being that most likely you’re too intimidated to talk to anyone. You always hold back. The feelings recede back inside.
And second, many people are visual people and symbolic. By physically seeing the words written down on paper, it’s no longer as scary. You’ve taken the power away from the problems. The symbolism is that with the words, you are able to throw them out, light them on fire, or dispose of them.
The unconditional love you will find in writing is one that brings out your true self. Just a word of warning, don’t expect magic the first few times you write. Plus, you’ll be conservative because you might feel embarrassed. So be prepared as it may not happen on the first writing session.
Let out all your inner demons and get closer to who you really are and want to be.
What are your true goals in life, what deep passions you have.
3) Come to the Realization
You know what I’m talking about how we promise ourselves that when we make “this much money” or “get the promotion” or “meet your soulmate”.
We’re perpetually in a state of waiting for something.
It’s like we never think what we have is good enough so we make different goals, adjust our dreams.
Once we reach them, the emptiness is still there.
The hope of feeling like “we belong” or “we made it” never came and we are left feeling more confused than ever before.
So we do what we know best and that is to make more goals. Strive for something else. Doing this makes us bitter, angry and the hatred starts to make a stain on our bodies and souls.
Life take its toll.
But what if we just came to the realization that you don’t need that much money, the promotion or meet that person?
What if the realization was that your life is amazing as it is right now.
That you are enough as a person.
Your money, your job, doesn’t describe you and your life.
Your passions, your excitement for life, your love just for being you is what living your best means.
You come to the realization that all you need is just enough – not extra.
You will begin to unconditionally love yourself when you start loving where you are and what you’re doing right now.
Any thing else will breed resentment, jealousy, feelings of failure and other negativity.
Love who you are now.
Love what you’re doing now.
Love where you are now.
This is your path.
You’re not finished, you’ve just begun and be excited for where your path leads you.
4) Don’t be a victim in your own life
Sounds a little harsh I suppose, but I see this so much!
It’s like when bad things happen, they just crumble and fall apart.
Listen, bad things happen to good people.
You might not have had any control over the bad things that happened, but how you react is what you control.
Feeling bad for yourself will be your downfall.
It might feel good, even necessary in the beginning.
People are rewarding this detrimental behavior by giving you the attention you’ve been craving. This can be very confusing because you think that this is love.
You can’t be further from the truth.
True love, unconditional love doesn’t come from manipulation, guilt or feelings of inadequacy. It’s hard to love yourself when you feel stuck. Or that who you are and what you’ve done is disconnected from yourself.
Your life is comprised of your thoughts, feelings and experiences.
What you make of them and how you feel about them will determine how you live your life.
Do you immediately blame others for how you turned out?
Is anything your fault?
Do you own up to anything?
What I’ve found in people who are victims in their own life is that they are constantly searching.
Searching for happiness, searching for Mr.Right, searching for the fairytale life that they deserve.
And you know what kills me?
Is that these women are the ones that seem “to have it all”.
But it’s never enough.
They aren’t happy enough, rich enough, living an exciting life enough.
This is precisely why they will never love themselves unconditionally.
They’re waiting, waiting on others, on outside variables to change. It’s never them that needs to change.
It’s only through being honest with yourself, that will lead to gushing endless love.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of negativity, but the only thing that comes of it is negativity.
And there is no room for negativity in pure love.
How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Know How
We all have had different lives.
Some with more stresses, some with more luck. Our memoirs all include things that get us excited, happiness and many, many tears. That’s life.
Hopefully most of us have been lucky enough to feel love from parents, some of you don’t have parents still here on this earth, and some might be estranged.
The way our parents express their endless love will have an impact on how we look at ourselves.
This is the foundation on which we grow.
What do we do if our foundation is a crumbled mess?
What if every time we try to plant ourselves down and grow, the ground starts to crack and no matter how much we want it, the crash seems inevitable?
How are you supposed to love yourself?
Please let me preface this with saying, you are loveable.
You are a beautiful woman who deserves acceptance no matter what part of life you are in.
You are deeply special with something amazing to offer the world.
Whether you choose to believe it now is up to you, but loving yourself is about:
1) Accepting yourself
2) Realizing your life’s potential
3) Developing a deeper relationship with yourself
4) Believing your beauty
5) You’re not living your life for any one else
1) Accepting yourself
You simply can’t change certain things about who you are and your past. Don’t let this extra weight hold you down.
Release it. Let it go.
Not because I’m telling you to, not because it’s the right thing to do – but because it’s a gift for you.
I’ve heard before that you can’t let anything or anyone in if there is no room.
Allow yourself in.
Accept yourself as you are.
You are wonderful.
2) Realize your life’s potential
Sometimes when I think about life, I get overjoyed.
A blanket of true bliss and excitement covers me. I can’t wait for the next day to come.
And don’t let it fool you, because I don’t live an exciting life. It’s actually quite far from it.
But I can imagine my life’s potential.
I can visualize the amazing moments, accomplishments and milestones I’ll reach.
It gets me excited just thinking about them.
One of the reasons I think that this potential helps you love yourself because you get to see how wildly smart, courageous, brave or risk taking you are.
Most of the time when we see our role models that we yearn to become, the characteristics that we admire are the ones we actually possess ourselves.
We might not know it, but it is there wanting to break free.
That’s why we find them so inspiring – because we can see a piece of ourselves in them.
See the potential, let it become your reality.
3) Developing a Deeper Relationship with Ourselves
I’m not sure what it is, but I feel like I can’t be on the computer without seeing a post for self love.
The reason I’m a little frustrated is because I find them incredibly shallow.
Baths, hand massages, music, meditation, as much as I love treating myself to a hot bath and massages, I feel like it’s sending the wrong type of message.
It’s all fluff.
No matter how many baths you take you’ll never truly get to know who you are. You need to get to your deep core.
Ask the difficult questions.
Say the things that you know you’re hiding.
Be brutally honest with yourself. It will be hard in the beginning, there might be tears, but anything worth doing will never be easy.
Share your deepest secrets, regrets, dreams, wishes and hopes with yourself, and don’t lie.
Allow yourself to know the real you.
4) Believing Your Beauty
We live in a very shallow and narrow world where the idea of beauty is limited to a couple thoughts.
It bombards us on a daily basis since we were young enough to look at ourselves in the mirror. By the time we reach adulthood we’ve been exposed to thousands of images that have been altered, changed and look nothing like the person.
But that’s acceptable even though it’s detrimental to our well being.
We aren’t told enough that we are beautiful just as we are. Instead we are sold products that promises to make us beautiful and increase our self confidence. If we cover ourselves up and change our appearance, then that’s when we can feel that we matter.
It’s ironic that society is telling us to accept ourselves as who we are. We are in a changing age where everything should be accepted – no matter how we decide to live our lives. But don’t be blind, don’t be naive because for the majority of us we still don’t feel accepted or beautiful.
So how are we supposed to love ourselves unconditionally even if you have no idea where to begin. Start by believing your beautiful, by knowing from the deep recesses of your heart that you are breathtaking. One of a kind.
Please let me tell you that it’s not. You might have never been told that you are, maybe not enough to let it sink in. If this is you, I want you to practice a few exercises.
a) Start with one change a week
Try listening to music that makes you feel something. Not just to dance, but feel utterly moved. Let yourself experience the different beats, ups and downs.
Close your eyes and see the music dance in your imagination. It gives you a different appreciation for life. Seeing this opens your mind and your heart. You might be confused about how this will have your love yourself – the idea is to transform your ideas. You’ll see beauty everywhere, including yourself.
Change one thing every week and slowly you’ll see the difference. It will astound you. It’s a meaningful process that will make you realize truths about yourself.
b) Spend time in front of the mirror
Sounds a little weird, maybe a tad narcissistic, but you need to see how beautiful you are.
See how others see you.
Your smile, your smirk, your resting face etc. That way when you’re out talking to someone or out in public you know what compliments you. This gives you the reassurance that you’re beautiful.
When you get used to seeing something often enough, your mind starts to like it or find it attractive.
Think of when you hear a song for the first time, you don’t care for it, but the more you listen to it the more you like it. Get used to seeing yourself in all your different states.
c) Only watch and listen to things that truly make you feel better
This is something that I’ve had to always remind myself, which sounds really stupidly simple, but we too-often do this to ourselves.
For example, watching some YouTube videos can make us feel inferior, less beautiful, it opens up a part of us that wishes for something else. For me, if I’m not careful it can really put me in a funk.
I would be perfectly fine, then browse Instagram, and one picture can distract me into a rabbit hole of 30 minutes and I’ve lost my motivation. I feel defeated and wished that I could change my life, have a bigger chest, longer hair, nicer house, etc, so I could have what they have.
Just saying that this is a buzzkill.
Perhaps you feel differently and never struggle with it, but for those that do, keep reading.
It came to a point where I was leaving my computer feeling depleted of joy.
So I stopped.
I promised myself to only watch or listen to things that made me feel like a better woman.
Things that were inspirational, I wanted to feel unstoppable.
So, stop sabotaging your beauty, don’t allow anything or anyone to doubt your self worth. I’ve applied this for a while now and I’ve never felt more sure of myself.
The excitement for life, my confidence has increased and without sounding cocky, I feel beautiful.
You owe it to yourself to stop allowing negativity in your life.
5) You’re not living your life for anyone else
All our lives we are trying to please someone else.
Our parents, our friends, society in general.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be too influential. To the point where your life is purely dictated on others’ ideas. For some people, it’s not a big deal, they don’t feel that other’s thoughts restrict them.
However, for the many, to disappoint a loved one can be hard. But as I’ve grown and experienced some loss (like many of you) you start putting things into perspective. Now I’m not talking about being disrespectful to others or completely disregarding what others say but you only get one life.
One life experience.
This is not an excuse to be rebellious, lazy, stupid, mean or make careless decisions.
It also is not YOLO, where you can follow trends that can backfire in your life.
You’re living your own life.
How will living your own life help you love yourself unconditionally?
Remember that this is a process. You look at yourself as a work-in-progress and there is never a fully finished version.
There is always tweaking.
Think of yourself as a masterpiece, the artist is never finished.
This process simply allows for a deeper understanding of you.
How do I Build Myself Back up?
Perhaps you want to love yourself again like you did before.
You’ve reached a point in your life where everyone that used to rely on you now has begun their own lives.
Maybe you had a terrible breakup that left you emotionally scarred. For me, I lost my daughter that ignited a need to find something in my life.
You could have lost your spouse, your parents, your child, or a pet. Maybe it was your job.
It doesn’t matter what you lost, but if you need to build yourself back up, then please read this.
Let me first start with a little pep talk.
Regardless of your situation, of what happened or didn’t happen – you deserve to love yourself. You deserve a second chance (or a third or fourth) and let today be the day you allow yourself that opportunity.
I want you to know that even right now you might feel as though life is too hard.
The shining bright light has faded into a dip speck – it will be okay.
Nurture yourself, feel beautiful, see the joy in life.
That little speck will get more intense with the more care and attention you give yourself.
You’ll find yourself walking up excited for the day, smiling more at everyone, seeing the potential in everything. Things that made you feeling defeated is something you laugh at now. With more love for life and people, the more you have for yourself That little speck that was barely visible is now shining so intensely that you can’t look straight at it. You will get there again. I promise.
But you need to make a promise to yourself that you know you’re worth it to try.
We usually need to build ourselves back up because either a piece of us, or all of us, got destroyed. We might have allowed such destruction or it was completely out of our hands. Frankly, it doesn’t matter because it leaves us feeling very vulnerable and fragile. The best and most wonderful part about being human is our incredible resilience. It’s in all of us, even you can and will bounce back and be the woman you have always wanted to be, and more!
1) Start by writing down your thoughts
Write down your feelings, thoughts, fears, dreams, passions and anything that you’ve been thinking about. I find everything to be less of a big deal with it’s down on paper. If you’re like me, I feel like I could drown in my own head with all the thoughts, good and bad.
Write it all.
Sometimes even my fears aren’t as terrible as I presumably thought which then puts a smile on my face knowing I’m making a bigger deal and making it worse than it is.
2) Accomplish something
Nothing makes you feel amazing like getting something done.
Want to clean your closet? Do it!
Write a book? Get to it, but might I add, start with a few short stories because you can get a more immediate gratification. It won’t take you as long to get it done and feel amazing. Usually I am against instant gratification, but in this scenario I find that it works better. Do something that can be easily finished in a couple of days.
3) Write down anything negative and then let it go
If you’re not much for symbolism then skip this part, but for those that do love it, then I found this really helpful.
Write down everything that has been on your mind. Things that you don’t like, people who have hurt you, etc. Then look at them, let all the frustrations sit on that piece of paper and then when you’ve finished that light it on fire.
Watch it burn and disintegrate into nothing. This really helps to let it go.
You don’t have to be the person that holds all of those feelings and thoughts every day. You have the ability to be a free person and release all of it. The future of your life is in your hands.
Building yourself back up takes time and it can really transform your life wonderfully. It is about finding a new version of you that wants to get out but you haven’t let her escape.
She is beautiful and lovely and you owe it to yourself to just let what’s holding you back.
Boring is Fun
Learning to love yourself and be confident and forgiving yourself is how you can embrace an elegant life.
It brings out the best in you and allow you to live your life as amazing as it can be.
But I realize how most of our live’s experience can prevent it. To a degree we are all broken and in need of love and care to piece us back together. That doesn’t mean it is impossible.
One thing I want you to take away from this read is that you are already beautiful and loved!
You have the potential all inside of you.
It’s a matter of truly allowing yourself to accept your past and present and see the bright future.
The Beatles had it right, all you need is love, but first it needs to come from within.
You deserve to love yourself.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of the 12 part series, “A Year of Elegance” today. There will be a new one every month for the year of 2020, so by the end we are all living a little better, more excited for life, and especially more elegant!
Have a great rest of the day and see you soon!