Ayonna is a self-published Inspirational Author and Blogger who loves serving others through her writings, speaking, and through dance.
The Most Important Thing You Can Do
I love to write about self-love because it is the most important thing you can do, not only for yourself, but for another person. It does not matter if that person is your significant other, your child, a parent, a friend, or even someone you don’t know personally. When you have cultivated self-love within yourself you can pour out onto others unconditionally and without unreasonable expectations.
Making Your Self-Love Cake
You may ask yourself, how do I cultivate self-love? That is a very good question because the sad truth is many of us have never been taught or shown how to do this on our own. I don't consider myself an expert on this topic and I can only teach others from what I have learned. In this article, I will explain how cultivating self-love is like making a cake.
When we are preparing to make a cake, whether it comes from a box or we make it from scratch, there are certain ingredients we need to complete the cake and it may require more than one ingredient. This is the same concept when we are cultivating self-love in ourselves. Just as we need certain ingredients to bake a cake, we need certain ingredients to ensure we are complete and whole on our own—before we enter a relationship with anyone else.
We cannot expect someone else to give us what we are lacking within ourselves, so we must first add those ingredients to our lives first. When we have added our own ingredients to our lives, we don't put so much pressure on someone to live up to unreasonable expectations. When we put the proper ingredients in ourselves with self-care and self-love, we can love others unconditionally and without unreasonable expectations. I have prepared a list of ingredients for how I cultivated self-love within myself.
1) The first ingredient is to STOP the negative self-talk, because as we think so we are. YOU ARE and I AM are the two most powerful statements you can speak over yourself and others. Speak positive affirmations over yourself daily and when you do this your mind begins to turn off the negative self-talk. The negative self-talk which you have heard about yourself and the negative self-talk you have said to yourself. I have attached a picture of the self-love affirmation and what I did was typed these words into a Word doc. I then added some other affirmations I love about myself and the activities I love to do. I printed it out and taped it to my bathroom mirror and I spoke this out loud, three times a day for 30 days. I still have this printed on my mirror, but now I only speak it once in the morning after my morning shower. I also added I AM statements under the affirmation like I AM enough, I AM worthy, I AM love, and many others.
2) The second ingredient is spending time with yourself and by yourself, because if you cannot enjoy your own company how can you expect someone else to enjoy your company? You can’t! You need to know what you like and dislike and you need to know what makes you happy and what makes you sad. You need to know what you love the most about yourself and what annoys you about you. Take yourself on dates, go to the movies, take a trip on your own, treat yourself to dinner or whatever activities you enjoy doing. I love the movies, hiking, the beach, and traveling so when I took this year for myself I did those things for myself. I did not date anyone while I was working on my most important relationship and that is the relationship with myself. I knew that if I wanted to have a successful relationship in the future I had to love me for me, for everything that I am and everything I am not. There were many days I did nothing but spend time enjoying me, laughing at myself, writing, reading, sleeping, and creating a list of things I wanted for my life. This list also contains the type of partner I desire to be with in the future.
3) The third ingredient is service to others. When you can serve others without expectations, it not only allows your heart to open more to love, but it also allows your soul to grow. I am not sure how to explain it more than this, it just does things for you on the inside. Whether you are of serving a loved one or if you go and serve at a non-profit organization, I would recommend doing some type of service for others. It really does change you from the inside out.
4) The fourth and final ingredient is PURSUE YOUR PASSIONS!! Whatever you are most passionate about go after it and go after it without fear or worry. As the saying goes “Do it afraid!" Know that you will fail many times, but when you are passionate about it you will not give up on it.
The Completed Product
These ingredients are placed inside of you at different times on your self-love journey, so although your cake is not quite ready for baking, you have all the ingredients you need to make a delicious cake. When baking a cake, you add the ingredients and then you bake the cake, but the baking takes time. Self-love takes time because we have never been taught to love ourselves. This is something new that we are learning not only about love, but about ourselves.
I was not aware, but I have been on this journey since 2006, but started seriously cultivating self-love within myself in 2016. I said I was doing my self-love journey for a year, but self-love is a daily process and you should add your ingredients daily. You will eventually get to the point where you are whole and complete on your own and that’s when your cake is done baking. Once your cake has been baked you may or may not be ready for the icing, and because you took the time to bake your cake you will attract another baked cake.
Self-love should be your daily routine, because you are pouring out to others daily you should fill yourself daily. Again, self-love is not about constantly doing something, it is about putting yourself first. After you have completed your daily duties whether it’s taking care of your kids, your career, taking care of your home, or whatever you pour your time and energy into. Take time to relax and unwind, if that is listening to your favorite music while taking a long hot bath or watching a movie on the sofa, just take time to fill yourself again. You need to make this a priority in your life just like you would anything else that’s important to you. You are not only doing this for yourself, you are doing this for those you love because they cannot receive the best of you if you do not take time for yourself.
Self-love is the best thing we can do for ourselves — and when you do this for yourself, teach others how to do it, as well. The world we live in today is not in need of saving, but in need of love and this love will only come when we all love ourselves first. If we do not love ourselves, we cannot love others. People who love themselves have the capacity to love others, and this creates a chain reaction. It is my belief we should teach self-love in schools because we are taught to find love outside of ourselves, but the love we seek already resides within.
© 2016 Ayonna Suzie Suttles