Self-Love journey
Photo Credit: Pexels

February tells us about all kinds of love. But one of the most misunderstood, is self-love! We all love self-care Saturdays, but the self-love journey is about a lot more than just that.


Global (04 February 2024) — February is the month of love (at least, in every commercial sense), but it’s also something even better: another month. Another month to choose yourself. Another month to learn about yourself. To try again. To try something new. To look inward a little more, and see just how much your outer world changes because of it. Another turn on the journey of self-love that might just be the most important turn you take.

The journey of self-love is a book that many have claimed to have written. But ultimately, it is not one that has any kind of typical format. The chapters are going to be inconsistent. The character-development doesn’t come when you expect it. And the big spoiler: it does not have an ending. So why would anyone go on such a confusing adventure?

Because unlike most books where the author writes a set story, in the self-love journey, the character can change it at any time through perspective. Self-love is one of the greatest tools we have in shaping how we see our stories.

There’s a lot about self-love that seems enchanting. Buying yourself flowers as if you were in a relationship with you IS a dopamine rush. Choosing your peace over people-pleasing too has a great ring to it.

But the reality of the self-love journey lies beneath all of this. And if this is a journey you’re going to go on, here’s what you need to prepare yourself for:

Your Self-Story Won’t Be an Easy Write

The self-story is, very simply, the story we are telling ourselves about ourselves. Constantly. It also happens to be one of the most important travel companions on the self-love journey; just like any great book should be.

But, if we are constantly telling ourselves we are not enough, useless, unlovable, broken or unintelligent, we are also telling our confirmation bias (a way our minds filter important information) how to view the events of in our worlds. What perspective to give these happenings. And through this, we might find ourselves picking parts of the story that fit (you guessed it) the toxic self-story.

So, what if we did the opposite?

It takes a lot of work to break out of years of beliefs and mindsets. But our minds are not set in stone masterpieces. If the self-story starts to change, so too do what our minds look for in the world around us to once again, affirm the new story and new beliefs. It doesn’t happen in a microwave minute, but with enough consistency, the change cooks.

Thought Check-Ins Count

How we speak to ourselves decides a lot of what we think of ourselves. And in turn, the way we view our lives. Which shifts the way we live our lives. This all begins with our thoughts. And not necessarily what they are, but how we react to them.

Taking all of our thoughts on as truths is a one-way ticket down the mountain slope. They are complex constellations, and fascinating at times, but by no means universal truths. Sometimes, they are not even our own opinions, but a voice of those who have influenced us for the better or worse.

We’re constantly being shaped by all the stimulus we absorb every single day, which, when you think about it, is exhausting in the ‘did I really just run 10 kilometres the wrong way’ kind of way.

One of the toughest parts of the self-love journey is to get to the root of how our self-story is formed, which is also an exercise, but one that runs in the right direction.

Thought check-ins don’t need to be long and elaborate. They simply mean allowing a thought to pass and instead of reacting to it immediately, taking a moment to check in, instead. Is the thought helpful or harmful? Is it helping you write the self-story you need to write? What purpose does it serve?

Of course, you can’t do this for every single thought you have. But for the big ones, the ones that evoke emotion, it can make all the difference because you’re taking your power back.

The Tea on Accountability

Let’s get out of our heads for a moment. Say we’re working on our self-stories and checking in on our thoughts. We’re replacing negative views of ourselves with accepting ones. Positive ones. Understanding ones. But what about when we take away the shame and fears and realise, objectively, that we were wrong?

Self-love is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for behaviours. In fact, the people who have been on the road of inner discovery for a long time know that the highest form of self-love is being able to be accountable without getting tangled up in spirals of emotional messes.

On the self-love journey, we have to give to ourselves what we expect from others. This means, if you expect someone else to think about their actions and make a matter right, but refuse to do the same for them because you ‘love and forgive yourself’ you’ve gotten the message confused. You can love and forgive yourself while still stepping up and making something right. You can set boundaries whilst taking on accountability and knowing that you too, need to respect the boundaries of others.

Self-Care Looks a Lot Like Being a Parent

Every part of the self-love journey is a form of parenting yourself. From unlearning the mindsets of others or your own self-sabotaging ways to making sure you eat your greens and take care of the body that’s housing your self-story and thoughts.

Being responsible for yourself is a huge part of self-love. What that means, isn’t simply doing what you want because it makes you happy. But doing what you need that will make your journey gentler and happier for the long-haul. Spa Days are great. But so is making sure you go on a walk for the day and making that a habit. Taking time for yourself is important, but keeping in touch with people, even on the days you don’t feel like it, also matters.

The self-love journey is balance. And oftentimes, doing what you don’t feel like doing if it aligns with your new self-story. If that story looks like someone who is healthy, has good relationships and is working toward their dreams, you’ve got to fill in the pages. And by mastering your relationship with your thoughts, you allow that story to exist without resistance.

All of these points alone aren’t the answer to self-love. But they are some of the right questions. And by starting here, in this month, in this time while flowers circulate and chocolate hearts fill up shopping cards, you’re giving yourself a gift no one else ever can.

Sources: GTG
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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