How can we nurture self-esteem, self-compassion and self-love as busy mums? It’s so easy to lose sight of who we are among the nappies, feeding, tantrums and untidiness, let alone finding much to love about ourselves! It’s easy to feel that we are “failing”, that we are constantly dropping the ball or missing the mark. Don’t forget - we can be one of our hardest critics.
Growing our capacity for self-love (or self-acceptance if you find self-love too strong!) helps us believe in ourselves, forgive ourselves and silence the inner critic, comparisons and self-doubt. And when we believe in ourselves and accept ourselves fully, not only do we become stronger as parents, but we teach our children to believe in themselves too.
By tapping into the energy of self-love we can rekindle a deep connection with ourselves. Acknowledging and loving our magnificence, fragilities, mistakes and achievements. From this place of strength and self-knowledge, it’s easier to enjoy the journey of motherhood and take in the heartfelt, beautiful scenery, rather than feeling every bump in the road!
How to develop your sense of self-love
Make time for regular self-care
Self-care and self-love go hand in hand. To practice self-care there is a commitment to self-love, to accepting our needs, to not giving us a hard time for not doing more. Self-care keeps our self-love topped up, helps us reconnect with our true selves, so we can be strong, confident mothers too, able to share our love unconditionally with our families and friends. Each moment of self-care is a vote for self-love, a vote for believing in yourself.
Practice the heart of meditation
I reconnect with feelings of love, joy and kindness through the practice of yoga nidra. It is said that yoga nidra is the heart of meditation, of coming home to who we really are. The practice of yoga nidra is about welcoming, with openness and curiosity everything that is present, without judgement or the need to fix it. Through this we learn to welcome and love our full-selves. You can find lots of great yoga nidra meditations on the Nourish App.
Nurture that loving feeling
If you don’t have time to practice, you can check in with love once a day. Remember how it feels to love someone or to be loved - your child, your partner, your family, your friend, your pet (even your favourite coffee cup!). Fill yourself up with the energy and sensation of love. Experience where you feel it in your body - what qualities are present. Then, if it feels right, you can turn the loving gaze back on yourself. Try it a little and see how it feels. Don’t worry if it feels uncomfortable at first, but know that you can come back to it when you need it.
4) Write yourself a thank you note or send flowers!
Feeling gratitude towards others and external events has been proven to increase wellbeing, by focusing our attention on what we have rather than what is missing. How about we turn that gratitude back on ourselves? You can try writing yourself a thank you note, or card, with perhaps just one thing you would like to say thank you for. You might like to take the position of someone else in your family, your community, or a future version of yourself if it helps to get some perspective. If you feel very generous, maybe even order yourself a bunch of flowers with a thank you note to yourself!
5) Let go of whatever is no longer serving you
We can sometimes feel overburdened by everything we are carrying on our shoulders - it can feel suffocating, like we have no place to grow. Explore ways in which you might be able to let go of beliefs, relationships, habits, values, goals, unnecessary obligations that are no longer serving you. Are there some things that you can get rid of, whether it’s physical or metaphysical, to keep renewing yourself and giving yourself space to grow?
When we love ourselves, we are capable of so much more. With a little nurture, a small light of self-love can grow into an inner resource that we can call on to bring us strength and courage at any moment. Self-love is both a journey and also simply there, quietly humming away in the background and always present. There to enjoy!
About the author
Dot Zacharias is a mother of two, Integrative Adult Sleep Coach, iRest Yoga Nidra teacher and Co-Active Coach. Find out more via www.rest-fully.com.
On the Nourish app, Dot offers meditations to calm the nervous system, take a relaxing break, fall asleep and reconnect with yourself. Download the Nourish app.