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10. Self-love: the lightness and darkness and 6 tips to start practising self-love today

Listen on Apple Podcasts here.

Listen on Spotify here.

In this episode, I discuss:

  • what self-love is

  • the research-based benefits of self-love

  • the lightness and darkness of self-love

  • 6 practical tips to start practising self-love today

  • why you need to let go of self-hatred to embrace true self-love

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Mindful Soul Collective Podcast, a safe space for your healing.

I'm your host Shorina, a counsellor, well-being coach, multi-bus owner and mum.

I'm here to talk all things mind, body and soul.

You can expect conversations on mental health, mindfulness, mindset, healing and whole body wellness.

I've completely redefined my relationship to myself and to my life.

And now it's your turn.

Hello and welcome back to the podcast.

Today's episode is going to be your surrounding self-love.

And before I get into the content of today, I really wanted to start off by saying that

what I'm going to be talking about today isn't just the lightness, you know, the fluffy

self-love that you hear about.

You know, you hear people say, oh, we should practice self-love. So you go and get a massage, you get a facial, you get your nails done, you have a bubble bath, you know, you go for a beautiful walk on the beach. That sort of self-love I think is really important.

And don't get me wrong, I do that stuff. I love it. It makes me feel incredible. But then there's also this other side of self-love, which is I call it the darkness of self-love. But I don't mean that in a bad way. I just mean it's not as easy and fluffy to do, which I will get into in this episode and kind of give you my definition on both of those.

I guess I'll start off with my definition of self-love.

Self-love to me is feeling complete acceptance of the person that we are. It's about being kind and loving towards our self, no matter what the circumstances are. It's about creating awareness and honoring where we're at with the resources that we have. It's about allowing space and energy for us to grow as individuals. And I believe that self-love motivates us to do better and be better every single day. With self-love we'll make choices that nurture our overall wellbeing. And when we're in a place of experiencing that self-love, everything else seems to just fall into place.

Self-love is not selfish. Self-love is about taking care of our needs on all levels. So physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs, spiritual needs. If we want to be happier, healthier and thrive in our life, which we all want that, then we need to know how to practice self-love.

And I know for some of you, again, you're thinking about that fluffy self-love, that light self-love, and I want to give you some evidence and I guess research-based reasons as to why you should practice self-love. And that is the benefits of self-love have been proven to better our mental health and less than anxiety. It provides a higher self-esteem and higher self-acceptance. We will feel stronger determination and motivation. We will notice increased self-awareness, better sleep, a lot better recovery from stress. And overall, we will have a more optimistic outlook on life.

And not that I feel like I need to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway, self-love is something that all genders should be practicing. Self-love is not just for women, it's not just for girls or teenagers. Self-love is for all genders, all ages, every single person. If you're listening to this, you need to be practicing self-love.

Some signs that you may not hold the greatest self-love right now are you may treat your

mental and physical health poorly, you might be incredibly hard on yourself, you might seek approval, love or attention from outside of yourself, you may care about other people's opinions more than your own, you may not be able to forgive yourself for your past or things that you've done or said, you may excessively people please, you may talk negatively about yourself often and you may have unhealthy relationships.

So as I said those, I'd love for you to just take 10 seconds right now and consider what

tood out to you and why. And maybe nothing did and that's amazing, but still take that 10 seconds and reflect on what you think your self-love practices and overall self-love feels like in your life. I think that self-love is a topic that is everywhere lately and to be honest, I love that it's spoken about so much, but I also think that again, a lot of people only speak of that light and fluffy side of self-love when really there's a lightness and a darkness.

So I'm going to touch on both of those now.

The lightness of self-love is the beautiful soul nourishing things like getting massages,

getting a hair done, taking bubble bath, beautiful long walks outside, it could be journaling and catching up with our girlfriends on a Sunday for a couple of drinks.

But then there's a darkness to self-love, which again, like I said before, darkness

doesn't mean it's bad in any way. The darkness for me in self-love is the stuff that doesn't come to me easily. It takes a little bit more work and effort and to be honest, it doesn't always feel good. So it's those things like saying no, it's setting boundaries, it's doing shadow work, getting therapy, getting outside of your comfort zone and letting go of shitty habits and shitty routines.

I love the light self-care. I practice that kind of self-care every single day with so much excitement, joy and honestly, I rarely skip it. It feels good. It's like a magic in its own form.

But we aren't practicing true self-love unless we also incorporate the dark self-love, the

stuff that feels uncomfortable and icky and hard to implement and work through. So I make sure that I'm practicing the dark self-love too. It doesn't feel like magic when I'm doing it, but it is magic in its own form. So we need a balance of the darkness and lightness of self-love. We need them both.

If you're feeling like maybe you need to practice a little more self-love, whether it's a light

stuff or the dark stuff, or maybe both, don't stress. I'm going to give you a couple of practical tips you can take away from this episode.

But before I do, I wanted to let you know that when I began my mental health and wellbeing journey, my goal was never actually to love myself. I was in a really, really dark place. And honestly, that felt hard for me, I really didn't believe that the answer would be to love myself. So instead, I focused on feeling neutral about myself. When I woke up, my only goal was to be aware of what was happening and that I wanted to feel something different. My journey to self-love, where I am now, really started with self-acceptance of where I was then, of the circumstances of my life then. And then the thoughts and beliefs I had and from there, I was able to go deeper. And that going deeper was things like a lot of therapy and a lot of actually feeling. You know, I lifted that rug up and I let this shit out and I had to deal with it. And there was a lot of anger, there was a lot of crying, there was grieving and there were so many days where it felt really heavy and hard. When you're in the depths of life, starting a self-love journey can feel unrealistic. And if I'm honest, it can be unrealistic.

So if you're in a place where all of this sounds ridiculous, that's okay, I get it. Instead of setting the goal of loving yourself, start with the goal of feeling neutral. The self-love can come later with more ease. Though, I do encourage you to keep listening. And if you're ready and would like tips on increasing your self-love and embracing those practices, then keep listening.

So the first tip I would love for you to do is to take care of the basics. If you go back to episode three and four of the podcasts where I speak about the core pillars and basics of our mental health and wellbeing, I give a really in-depth explanation on them all, but overall, really briefly, it's just make sure you're drinking enough water and having nutritious meals. Move your body, get quality sleep, get fresh air and sunshine every day, as well as having a support system and healthy habits and rituals.

The second tip is to practice gratitude. And I know it can be really tricky to find gratitude when you're in a negative place, but that's when you need it the most. When you can find the positives in life to appreciate, you're going to be in a much better mindset to shift your relationship to yourself. It's okay to want some things to be different in our life, but if you're listening to this, you have things to be grateful for. You most likely own or at least have access to some kind of phone or computer to be listening to me on the internet.

You have access to a free resource to improve your relationship to yourself, like this podcast. And if we go even deeper, you have the ability to actually hear me and absorb this information with your ears and mental capacity. There are always things to be grateful for. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes and notice them.

The third tip is to recognise how you're feeling. Please stop discrediting your feelings and putting them under the carpet. Your feelings, your experiences and you matter. Take the time to determine how you're actually feeling and let yourself feel that. Be sad, be angry, be happy, let yourself feel the entire feelings well and be okay with experiencing any emotion that comes up. Let's all just collectively agree right now that we're done invalidating our feelings. Please.

The fourth tip is to create a bliss list. And I will mention that I didn't create this bliss list, although I'm not sure who did. So if anybody does know, let me know and I'll start crediting them. I'm not sure where it actually begun. But yeah, this tip is to create a bliss list and do two to three things off of it every single day. So bliss list is a list of 100 things and bring you happiness. They could be big things or small things. They could cost money or be free. There's no right or wrong. But I am going to warn you that it may be harder to think of 100 things at once. So take your time. Start the list, come back to it, take a little break, come back to it again until you get those 100 things. Don't give up on the number. It's supposed to be hard. It's meant to make you dig deep. And this tip in particular, this tip is purely that light, fun, beautiful self love that we want to do.

That's the stuff like massages, facials, getting my nails done for me anyway. Your bliss list might look completely different. And that's cool too.

The fifth tip is to set boundaries. Now I could do an entire podcast episode on this and I probably will. Actually, I probably could do a podcast episode on all of these tips. It can be really hard to find self love when the people around you aren't respecting or honoring your needs or wants. So we need to start saying no more often. And you don't need an excuse. You don't need a reason. You don't need to say anything other than no. It's safe for you to say no to going out for drinks with your friends just because you don't want to.

It's safe for you to say no to a second date just because you don't want to. It's safe for you to say no to working overtime just because you don't want to. It's safe for you to say no for anything you don't want to do or anything that feels wrong or misaligned. Remember big, beautiful hearts need to have big, beautiful boundaries.

And the sixth and final tip for this episode is to ask for help. Life can get messy. It can get sticky. It can be chaotic and sometimes it can just be too much. But you don't need to do it on your own. Reach out to your friends and family. Reach out to a professional to ask for help or support. They say that it takes a village to raise a baby. But I think it takes a village to care for anybody, baby, toddler, child, teenager, adult. We all need help sometimes.

So please don't ever feel embarrassed, ashamed or scared to ask for it. And I have one thing to end on.

You don't find self love through self hate.

If you want to truly embody self love, you need to stop your self hatred. And that means you need to let go of the nasty comments you say to yourself. You need to stop breaking promises to yourself. You need to stop refusing to accept compliments. You need to stop nitpicking in the mirror and not prioritizing yourself and your health. And you need to stop letting people treat you poorly. When you can stop that self hatred, you can come to a place of neutrality where you can then learn self love.

But you cannot love yourself wholly and truly while you still actively hate yourself.

Being yourself love again is a process. And I say again, because we're all born with a look at any kid, any toddler, any baby. They don't have any of these things that we carry as adults because they're just born into the world being themselves. They wake up, they know what they want, and they go for it. Babies have like the best boundaries in the world. So that's what we need to start prioritizing ourselves to. It will take time. But I promise you, it will be the most rewarding thing you ever do. I hope this episode was helpful.

And if you feel like you need to dive a lot deeper into this self love, whether it's the light stuff or the dark stuff, please reach out because my dams are always open. If you guys need any additional resources, I can provide them. And I am open for clients pretty much always as well. So head to the episode notes as links to everything there. And yeah, I

hope this was helpful.

If you love today's episode, please share it with a friend. Please leave a review. Those things really mean the world to me, my business, my community, and ultimately help my impact, which is really important for me. So lots of love, lots of support.

And I will speak with you next week.


With love & support,

Shorina | Mindful Soul Collective

Counsellor & Wellbeing Coach


Click here for a quick and easy list of shortcuts to all of my resources and info on services.

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