7 Ways to Enforce Self-Love When you Don’t Want to
#5 commit to curiosity and keep looking for answers until you find them
#1 — make a cup of tea
Or brew some coffee, go procure whatever soothing, non-alcoholic beverage you enjoy. Yes, water counts and water always works. Drinking naturally forces us to pause and a cup of tea or coffee has ritual significance in our harried lives.
In Britain and Ireland, “I’ll put the kettle on” means I love you and “Would you like a cup of tea?” can have the same impact as declaring one’s flame in the right context; it is human warmth in liquid form.
Conversely, turning down the offer of a cuppa can be an expression of annoyance or outright rejection, a metaphorical slap in the face delivered with a stiff upper lip.
Those who cannot feel the littleness of great things in themselves are apt to overlook the greatness of little things in others.
— Okakura Kakuzo, The Book of Tea
#2 — immerse yourself in something that makes you feel good
Whether it’s a hot shower, a bath, a book, music, poetry, nature, another language, a picture of your kid or your cat, or any combination thereof…
The idea is to palliate the absence of a hand to hold, of arms you can seek solace into, or of a listening ear.
You cannot be all those to yourself, no matter how hard you try so do what you can to keep distress at arm’s length until the moment passes.
#3 — acknowledge you can’t go it alone
If you’re seeking to remedy the problem by attempting to let others in and they are unconcerned, unresponsive, or both, at least you tried.
Seek comfort in having reached out even though you might have failed. You braved silence, rejection, and abandonment; fear lost.
It counts and it also takes the pressure off.
#4 — document your efforts to show yourself you’re not standing still
In the midst of distress, it often feel like the walls are closing in on you but they won’t as long as you keep moving forward through discomfort. It may get worse but it will eventually abate given enough time, gentleness, and trust in human resilience.
Even the smallest crumbs nourish hope so gather your crumbs as diligently as you can instead of letting the wind scatter them.
#5 — commit to curiosity and keep looking for answers
It is much harder to deal with what we cannot understand so keep asking questions until clarity happens.
Accept it may take a while and focus on securing stamina for the next step until it becomes a habit and giving up is no longer even an option.
#6 — understand where your emotions come from
Do you feel someone let you down and if so why? Is there a different way to look at the situation that takes you out of it, focuses on the other party, and unpacks their actions? Next, how can you convey your observations to them and is it necessary for you to do so or will it cause anyone more emotional upheaval?
If real love always speaks up, understand that it needn’t always use language to do so and that silence, too, is its own statement. And as much as you may be desperate for gentleness and reassurance, making more noise may not turn silence into music.
When the echoes you get are the barely audible beats of a very tired heart, you’ll need to figure out how to best to support it without overwhelming it.
#7 — sit with everything you feel without attempting to judge it
Let yourself be as emotions pour out of you otherwise hurt, resentment, frustration, and pain will fester until they take over your life.
If you can’t communicate with a person then communicate with the page but whatever you do, please resist the urge of shrugging your shoulders.
And resist the urge of falling silent as you tell yourself that it doesn’t matter; even if you don’t matter to anyone else, you should at least matter to you.
Small, self-directed kindnesses go a long way:
- make a cup of tea or drink something non-alcoholic
- immerse yourself in something that makes you feel good
- acknowledge you can’t go it alone
- document your efforts to show yourself you’re not standing still
- commit to curiosity and keep looking for answers
- understand where your emotions come from
- sit with everything you feel without attempting to judge it
No, the human condition is not a pathology and chronic depression didn’t give me savant superpowers, it just made me creative in the art of not dying. These are some of things I do to cope day in, day out, and how I keep my faith in our shared humanness intact, often against all odds.
While those simple gestures can never replace a heartfelt hug, they bring me greater ease however results may vary; all that matters is that you show up for yourself so you can keep showing up for others.
Self-love is a hard lesson to learn but since we’re all struggling with it, we might as well swap tips.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.