Finding Inner Strength: A Woman’s Path from Self-Neglect to Self-Love

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You got it from your mother?” Maybe you’ve said it yourself; I am talking about how you hold your mouth just like your mother when you get upset, or maybe you’ve got the gift of song like momma; whatever the case, maybe you see a lot of similarities between you and your mother. In my family, we say..she gets it honestly –meaning… she got it from her mother. It’s interesting how much we inherit from our mothers, not just the flattering stuff but we even inherit some not-so-flattering patterns. Today, I want to talk about the pattern of self-neglect. I know the rave of self-love is strong nowadays, and I am here for it because it is a good thing. I do think that if we’re not intentional, the busyness of life will cause us to slip back into the pattern of self-neglect.

It’s too easy to find yourself on the slippery slope of self-neglect. Women, mothers, daughters, wives, and female entrepreneurs, whatever your role, it happens and it can be difficult to recognize when we’re sliding into the self-neglect zone.  Self-neglect is a pattern that has been a challenge for women for decades, and it’s no wonder it is often inherently passed down from mother to daughter. It’s not uncommon for women to place great importance on meeting the needs of those around them. We often go above and beyond to take care of our loved ones, putting our own needs on the back burner. Sometimes, we may even feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. While it’s wonderful to be a caring and empathetic person, it’s equally important to prioritize your own happiness and well-being. It’s all about finding a balance that works for you and staying true to your needs and desires.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming mommas! Heck no, societal expectations, cultural expectations, and gender roles have played a key role in conditioning us to put others first. In the last two weeks, I’ve heard I’m empty; my well is dry, and I have nothing left to give. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there, and it ain’t cute for me or anyone around me. It’s not selfish to take care of ourselves; in fact, neglecting our own needs can lead to negative consequences that affect our mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Recognizing the pattern of self-neglect is the first step. What does that look like for you? For me, it’s getting so busy that I forget to eat or drink, which leads to me feeling horrible. I’m irritable with brain fog, which frustrates me; then my body aches, and listen, I’m in a funk.  Knowing your pattern and taking steps to prioritize self-care is essential. I’d say it starts with changing the way you think about yourself and changing the way you treat yourself, which isn’t easy.  Maybe you’re hard on yourself, maybe you have unrealistic expectations of yourself, or you’re so busy with external obligations that you rarely consider your personal priorities. Looking inward could help you to value yourself more. Here are a few tips that I found helpful for shifting the way you think and treat yourself.

Shift the Way You Think about Yourself.

Make Valentine’s Day a life theme. Start with You are worthy of love and respect just the way you are at this moment. 

  1. Embrace all your strengths and weaknesses; they make you unique! 
  2. Create your own definition of success, and keep asking what a meaningful life means to you. 
  3. Speak to yourself with positive, encouraging words, and build your confidence. 
  4. Offer yourself forgiveness, let go of the past, and turn regrets into opportunities to learn. 
  5. Dare to be yourself and compete with your last performance instead of living up to someone else’s standards. Run your own race.
  6. Look on the bright side and manage stress with a positive attitude. 
  7. Take that journey towards self-love, and remember, you deserve it.

Shift the Way You Treat Yourself

Do you walk the talk when it comes to loving yourself? It’s important to take care of yourself and build a positive relationship with your mind and body.

  1. Try to establish healthy habits like getting enough sleep, working out regularly, and eating a balanced diet.
  2. Hang out with people who lift you up and make you feel good. Build close relationships with those with similar goals and engage in deep convos with them.
  3. Do what you love and enjoy, and make time for it every day.
  4. Setting goals for yourself can give you a sense of purpose and boost your confidence. Make sure your goals are realistic and challenging so you can feel a sense of accomplishment as you progress.
  5. It’s also important to set boundaries for yourself. Know your limits and let others know about them in a direct and tactful manner.
  6. Speak up for yourself and ask for what you need. This is a big one! Know what you need and let others know specifically what they can do to meet that need, whether you’re looking for practical assistance like pitching in with the housework or just a friendly ear to listen while you sort out your feelings.

Loving yourself can help you to enjoy more happiness, overcome challenges, and build healthier relationships with yourself and with others. Make it a habit and new generational pattern to treat yourself with love, kindness, and respect.

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