I Practiced a Summer of Radical Self-love. Here’s What Happened.

Radical self-love. What does that even mean? In this day and age, the word self-care gets thrown around a lot. People are always touting the importance of practicing self-care. I have written about the myth of self-care and how it’s not so much about actions as it is about intentions. It’s about honoring yourself, practicing empathy with yourself, being authentic, and putting yourself first. Most of all, it’s about loving yourself unconditionally. That is where radical self-love comes in.

What is Radical Self-Love?

Why I Decided to Practice a Summer of Radical Self-Love

My energy was zapped. My mood was all over the place. My nausea lasted all day long AND I was on lock down with a toddler. Needless to say, my mood shifted a bit in those months. As summer came and restrictions were lifted, my nausea waned, and I thought my mood would improve. But it didn’t. I decided that the pandemic, the pregnancy, and all of the life changes were a lot for anyone, so I should give myself some grace. It’s okay, this is hard. Let’s use this as a growth opportunity.

I felt so restless and unsure, I thought that this would be the perfect time (before baby number two made his appearance) to get myself back in a way. Focus on me and my needs a bit. Reclaim myself and my direction in life.

I have always been a doer and I derive most of my worth from doing, so not-doing was really hurting my sense of self. I knew that needed to be addressed, so I decided to embark on a summer of radical self-love. I was going to learn how to love myself; how to treat myself with worth, empathy, and compassion; how to honor my needs and hold firm to my boundaries.

What I Thought It Would Look Like

I set out this list:

2. Practice Brene Brown’s method of self-compassion: Kindness, empathy, common humanity, mindfulness.

3. Create and hold boundaries: Research, write about, then implement. (I was not sure exactly what boundaries were when my summer of love started.)

4. Have my own back by doing what I say I will do for me, and not indulging guilt and negative self-talk.

5. Have fun and do things for myself with the right intentions; not avoidance or numbing, but pleasure and honoring my values and needs. (This is where the list of activities came in.)

The first day of my summer of radical self-love, I went to the park, ate some frozen yogurt, swam in the river, and wrote my lists. I was ready. I was excited. I was hopeful.

Three days later I had a complete breakdown.

What Actually Happened

What this taught me was three-fold:

1. I needed connection with myself.

I learned to draw inward and ask, what do I need right now? And why? I thought I would get out and hike and find myself but instead I drew in, way in. I got really depressed and hopeless and then I finally took the steps to get help. I gave myself permission to not do anything, allowing my body and mind to collapse into the depression.

2. I had to learn to let go and be supported.

3. I had to learn how to set and hold boundaries in order to have integrity with myself.

Then I had to admit that I needed help. My boundary issue was that I put others’ needs before my own, and I needed to stand in my integrity, ask for what I needed, and trust that I was worthy of having it. This meant getting serious with myself about whose needs came first; mine or my families.

I really owned that lesson, which allowed me to say no to my need to constantly do, do, do. It allowed me to say no to my husband and admit that my time is as valuable as his. It allowed me to admit that I needed anti-depressants, and that it was a good decision for my family and my baby.

I had to realize that radical self-love meant having integrity with myself and standing up for my needs. It meant I could love my kids AND put my emotional health first. I had to accept and own that I was worthy of a better emotional state. I am enough and I can take the necessary steps to improve my life while being true to myself and my family.

Conclusion

In my summer of radical self-love, I learned that radical self-love looks different for everyone. For me, radical self-love was about admitting, accepting, and owning that I am worthy as is. It meant acknowledging that I was allowed to fall apart, and trusting that I was still enough, even when I felt broken.

Radical self-love meant putting my needs first. I learned that it was not about hiking and playing and doing things, but about accepting that I was still worthy of love even when I needed help. I learned to love myself by falling apart, identifying my needs, then meeting those needs in order to put myself back together. And then finally, I loved the HECK out of myself.

This was the nurturing I needed, and it was radical.

THE kick in the butt for high achieving women who want to take it to the next level (AKA Life Coach) amandarichey.com

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