I've been thinking a lot lately about this self-love thing that's all a-buzz and I think we're skipping over an important piece of the puzzle here. I want to zoom in on something that's not being talked about.
You see, I've noticed a common thread in the women I know, and that is that they don't TRUST themselves. Think about it - the very roots of our capitalist society are depending on you feeling inadequate and reaching outside of yourself for the answers. This is especially evident in the diet industry:
- The onslaught of contradictory trends in nutrition make it impossible to separate fact from fiction, creating a sense of overwhelm and confusion, which leads to a belief that you can't be trusted to figure out what's right for you.
- We've been taught that willpower is the name of the game and not having it means you're weak. How could you possibly trust yourself around food if you're "weak" and have "no willpower"?
- Labeling foods as "good" or "bad" gives them power over us, and takes responsibility away from us, which reinforces the feeling that we can't be trusted.
- The processed foods industry has highjacked our naturally occurring desire for sweetness, which now means when we crave sweets, we reach for processed and refined sugars, which we're told are "bad", so obviously our bodily signals cannot be trusted.
I could go on and on, but do you see what I mean? Now, consider this - how easy is it to show love to someone you don't trust? (I know, love is a verb and it should be unconditional, etc. But even at that, I'm willing to bet you probably don't practice that toward yourself most of the time, so bear with me while I dig a little deeper here.)
In any relationship, romantic or otherwise, one of the first things you look to is the reliability/trustworthy factor. Do they do what say what they're going to do? Do they demonstrate that they have your back? Check out Brené Brown's Anatomy of Trust for more about how you decide a person is trustworthy.
The bottom line is this - yes, I believe most of us can do a better job at loving ourselves. But demonstrating love is easier and more authentic when trust is in place. So, instead of jumping on the bandwagon and "treating" yourself because you're "practicing self-love", I invite you to consider the ways in which you can begin to cultivate self-trust:
- How do you set and honor boundaries that serve you?
- Saying "no" when you're plate (literally or figuratively) is too full
- Considering the impact of your decisions in the moment, as well as how you'll feel about it tomorrow, and next week, and next year
- How do you follow through on what you committed to yourself?
- Allowing the reward you promised yourself for your hard work
- Balancing your plate with leafy greens when you indulge in the pizza
- How do you approach yourself with non-judgment?
- Acknowledging your feelings about your body without berating yourself ("It's difficult to accept my changing body" or "I'm sad I don't feel good wearing my favorite jeans")
- How do you allow yourself the benefit of the doubt?
- "I'm doing the best I can with the tools I have"
Start small - remember, if the name of the game is "trust", you need to be able to do what you've set out to do. That means no grand, romantic gestures, or world-record-setting resolutions. Just something tiny, yet meaningful, that tiptoes you into believing "I trust myself".
P.S. Cultivating self-trust is going to be a big topic on the the Nourish & Restore: Elemental Goddess Retreat. If this post resonated with you, I encourage you to check out the details of the retreat at www.christabitner.com/retreatdetails. And, lucky you, Early Bird pricing is happening now so you can snag your seat (and your room) at the best price *score*!