Bless Emma Watson for her a recent interview with British Vogue! In it, the actor said one thing she’s made peace with as she nears her 30th birthday is her current relationship status. “It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single]. I call it being self-partnered,” she said.
Single women all over the world breathed a sigh of relief, as there was even less pressure on them to partner up. Psychologist Carla Marie Manly sees merit the notion, and describes ‘self-partnering’ as focusing on the idea of being happy and complete as a solo individual. “A self-partnered person would feel whole and fulfilled within the self, and does not feel compelled to seek fulfillment through having another person as a partner,” she says.
That doesn’t mean someone who is currently describing themselves as ‘self partnered’ wouldn’t like to get married one day; it’s just that currently, they’re very happy spending time with themselves. In short, it seems Watson, and those like her, are experts at practicing self love.
Self love is a popular concept these days, but what does it really mean? It seems rather subjective, as it certainly means different things to different people, since we all have different ways of defining ‘loving ourselves.’ But there can be little doubt that self love requires some sustained effort. Our culture doesn’t really emphasize self-care – there’s more of a focus on participating in work, family and social life. But how can you do those things well if you’re not taking care of yourself?
Deciding to accept self-love in your life has positive repercussions in all areas of your existence, as well as in the lives of others. Isn’t it exciting to know that by doing good things for ourselves, we do good for others at the same time? So let’s get to work!
Here are ten steps to self love you can practice any time.
1. Slow down
The world we live in is anything but slow. Yet we must decide to slow down and understand that life can only be enjoyed if we do things slower. It’s like eating and tasting rather than just gulping down your food.
One good way to slow down is to use cell phones and social media a lot less – or even give them up completely for a day or two a week! These take us out of the moment with real life and real people, and put our headspace in an unreal, digital realm, leaving us with less time for ‘real life’.
Alternatively, take a walk instead of driving, give yourself a few minutes a day to do absolutely nothing and enjoy it, watch those you love a little more often and take the time to connect with those people you forget because they don’t “fit” into your busy schedule and lifestyle.
Slowing down brings the magic that surrounds us into clearer focus. We allow ourselves to feel things such as how precious, even grand, life is. Slowing down eventually plunges us into a state of gratitude. When we slow down, we become moved by the fragility of life, we say thank you more, and we see life with eyes full of love and wonder at every moment.
It also allows us to increase our state of consciousness – for example, to realize that the path we have taken so far is no longer suitable and that we should think of other avenues to regain the joy we have lost.
2. Take more responsibility
This may seem counter-intuitive. After all, didn’t I just say we should slow down more? Doesn’t taking more responsibility imply a busier life? The answer is no. I don’t mean take more responsibilities, I mean act more responsibly. For example? Deciding to shop responsibly means buying fresh, local, organic food and cooking it with ease. It makes all the difference to our health and well-being. The same goes for personal care products, household products an