The Truth About Self-Love: It’s A Verb, Not a Mantra

I am of the potentially unpopular opinion that “self-love” should be a verb, more of an actionable practice than a psychological mantra. For me personally, no amount of positive self-talk is going to help me overcome feelings of anxiety or negativity if the major components of my life are out of control. 

self-loveI never thought about self-love much at all until becoming a mother, to be honest, and it took a lot of trial and error to realize that it serves me better as a practice than a theory.

Now I find that what I call “action-based-self-love” is the lifeboat that keeps this mom from drowning in the day-to-day frenzy of adulting. It only works though, if you are practicing it the right way.

The kind of self-love that will help you thrive as a mother is a tougher kind of self-love than the feel-good, love yourself no matter what modern-day take on the term.

And while I pray you can always love yourself through all of life’s ups and downs, I encourage you to start practicing self-love as a verb and using it as a tool to take better care of yourself. 

But how exactly does one practice self-love in this way? Well, the best place to start is by taking stock of what’s lacking in your daily routine. Are you drinking enough water, are you getting enough sleep, do you give yourself adequate time to get ready in the morning, have set routines, eat your vegetables, move your body, date your spouse?  In short, are you treating yourself the way you would treat someone that you love? Now I know as a busy parent life gets hectic, but I can tell you from my own experience {and from talking to a ton of other moms} that forcing healthier habits and practices into your day to day routine will actually decrease the chaos, leave you feeling on top of your game and even improve some of the crazier areas in your life. 

If you can get in the habit of drinking enough water and eating a healthy, balanced diet, you will have more energy. If you can tune out the kids and put on a podcast while doing the dishes it will make the chore more enjoyable and less draining. If you can move your body and get active more often you’ll experience better moods, have more energy, and experience decreased aches and pains. If you can establish some routines, the amount of chaos in your day will drastically decrease.

self-loveSee, it’s a compound effect. The more you care for yourself, the easier the role of “mom” will become. If you think of it from a parenting point of view, you don’t let your kids binge junk food even when they beg, because you want what’s best for them even if it makes you the bad guy right? Now apply that same concept to how you make decisions for yourself and you will start to see the logic to this practice. 

So start by taking a hard look at where things are going off the rails, and then create some actionable steps you can take to gain control in those areas of your life. Don’t try to tackle everything all at once. Rank the struggles on your list and prioritize a few key areas you want to start with. What seems impossible, overwhelming, and just plain hard at first, will ultimately make life easier. And the beauty of it is that these tough changes will make you feel so much more empowered than any self-love mantra ever will.

And hey, I’m all for a spa day, treating yourself, or buying a new outfit that makes you feel incredible, believe me.

But I’ve learned the short-term pleasure of society’s version of self-love is nothing compared to the way life can feel when you are actively making loving choices for yourself every single day. 

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Hi, I'm Lexis, a soul-searching mama and wife running on caffeine and restlessness. I'm raising a wild toddler while working full-time for a land conservancy in Central Michigan. I'm at peace in nature and spend a lot of time hiking and exploring, curating adventures, and visiting new places with my family. True crime documentaries, live music, and gripping novels are my preferred forms of entertainment. A student of the human experience, I'm constantly working to master my mental, spiritual and physical health. Empowering other women fuels me so I share my life as authentically as possible over on my Instagram, @lexis_hansen. I'm grateful to Mid-Michigan Moms for the opportunity to share the humbling and beautiful journey of motherhood with you all!