When people hear self-love they usually picture long luxury baths, spa days, and chocolate cake. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good epsom salt bath… and chocolate cake… but what self-love really means is loving yourself so much that you have no other choice but to act in your own best interest.

Login to Pinterest, type in self-love, and you’ll come across thousands of articles giving you hundreds of ideas to practice self-love. What they aren’t telling you is the misunderstood world of self-love that looks more like self-parenting. If you are a parent (if not, you had them) you can understand the constant struggle of doing what is best for your children. Most often, that means making tough decisions, saying no, setting boundaries, and getting them to do the things you know will make their life better but they may not be in the mood to do. That is the foundation of self-love. Loving yourself so much that you have no other choice to act in your best interest will most often look like making tough decisions, saying no, setting boundaries, and doing the things you know will make your life better but you may not be in the mood to do.

It’s a tough pill to swallow and a far cry from the luxurious baths and chocolate cake, but it’s love. Our idea of self-love turns into the fairy tale dream that we idolize. It’s like looking into other relationships from the outside thinking it would be easier to do if you just lost the weight, had another partner, or had more money. Even the greatest relationships that look like they happen with ease, take work and a lot of self-parenting. Those relationships happen with ease because they are constantly acting in the best interest of the greater good. When it comes to parenting you’ll have days where you’re the bad guy, and that’s the case with self-love, too.

Self-love means letting go of things that don’t serve your best interest. That might mean letting go of toxic people, harsh language, and sometimes even the opportunity to make money. Making those tough decisions will feel nothing like a long luxurious bath or eating delicious chocolate cake. Saying no to things that don’t serve your best interest will involve letting some people down and admitting that you in fact, cannot do it all. Setting boundaries will involve many, many, many uncomfortable conversations. You’ll have to be open, honest, and willing to put yourself out there and get vulnerable enough to ask for (and then get) what you need. Doing the things you know will make your life better like making time for movement, making room for healthy food, and taking time to rest will all be things you may not feel like doing but do anyway.

Self-love is a lot like self-parenting. It can be uncomfortable, sometimes seem unforgiving, and thankless. But just like parenting, it leads to a love so strong and so rewarding that none of that stuff seems to matter anymore. Parenting is saying making tough decisions, saying no, setting boundaries, and getting kids to do what they may not feel like doing; it will also bring you greater love, joy, and belonging than you’ve ever known. Self-love is making tough decisions, saying no, setting boundaries, and getting yourself to do what may not feel like doing; it will also bring you greater love, joy and belonging than you’ve ever known.

Sweat & Smiles,

Melissa

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