We live in this modern-day society where it’s become so incredibly popular to join the “self-love” movement. We see the word thrown around everywhere online and in social media, yet we are still struggling with feelings of emptiness and depletion. The question always boils down to this: why are we as a society still struggling with this concept? We’ll spend endless days getting a mani-pedi, taking trips to the spa, or attending fancy yoga retreats to feel some sense of inner peace. Often it doesn’t work — or it temporarily works and soon we are left feeling like we need to make another purchase or indulgence to satisfy this need, endlessly working for that next escape to feel more temporary relief.
Often we are missing the boat on “self-love,” doing our best to try and fill ourselves up but never really feeing balanced and satisfied. Self-Full™ is a new concept that better explains how to correct the misconception of self-love. A self-full approach means learning about internal connection and awareness so that we can better meet our own needs. This means honoring the emotional voice inside and tending to it, while telling our critical self to take a much-needed hike. It’s not a bottomless pit of expensive experiences but rather a way to relate to ourselves differently and really focus on what fills us up spiritually.
If we don’t start with an internal awareness that connects our feelings to a deeply compassionate voice that takes care of our needs on a daily basis, we’ll always feel empty, seeking some way to fix this. Being self-full means we can take care of ourselves first, really listening to our needs from the moment we wake up. It means taking 10 minutes of our day for deep breathing as we reflect and commit ourselves to tend to what’s going on inside. It also means being brave by taking the steps necessary to feel more full in our own life. This could mean practicing healthy boundaries and learning to say “no” more.
An exercise that can be helpful is closing your eyes to picture where your energy leaks are: your job, your children, money, your fears? Notice what is draining you the most. Write it down and visualize where you’re being pulled off center. Ask yourself why: is it out of guilt or an extreme sense of responsibility? Are you giving too much in your relationship in hopes to receive more love? Being self-full is not suggesting you stop being a good parent, quit paying attention to your spouse, or quit your job. It’s asking where the leaks are that throw you out of balance. Where do you need to make adjustments? Giving yourself permission to make small adjustments goes a longer way than waiting till you get to Tulum, Mexico to finally relax. Once you make your adjustments, think of simple ways you can fill yourself back up. Picture yourself pouring life force back into yourself, and ask yourself what that is. Often this comes with positive self-talk, breathing, or simple acts like taking your shoes off and feeling the grass on your feet for 15 minutes. These are all things that come from your own ability to fill and attend to yourself, rather than being dependent on someone else or an expensive experience.
Don’t just jump on the bandwagon and believe you have to take a yoga retreat or a fancy spa day to feel good. While those things can be wonderful additions, we can’t use them as a primary means to the end of solving the problem of depletion in our life. We have to make a daily commitment to attend to our inner world, connecting to ourselves in small but largely impactful ways. Learning to meet our own needs first is not being selfish. Selfish is when we are only thinking about ourselves, lacking empathy. Self-full is when we stop and take care of ourselves in this deep inner way so we can fill up and flow outward with our energy.
Gain some awareness of where you are over-extending yourself, or maybe even what you need to let go of. Taking on more so you can earn more money and get to a better vacation is not self-love. It’s backwards and we can’t live our lives for that external fix. Instead, we have to stop, slow down, and fill up now, everyday, with small self-full acts.
Jessica Baum, LMHC is the founder of the Relationship Institute of Palm Beach, psychotherapist and creator of the Self-Full™ method — a therapeutic path to personal wellness and freedom from codependence. Jessica’s own personal core belief is centered around the importance of connection, both to oneself and the outside world. She believes the crux of most personal struggles can be attributed to a lack of true understanding and personal connection, and that it is this sense of disconnection that ultimately leads to pain. Learn more at www.RelationshipsPB.com and www.JessicaBaumLMHC.com or follow her on Instagram at @jessicabaumlmhc.