Recently, a friend introduced me to a charming little book: Madly In Love With Me by Christine Arylo. This literary gem follows her previous book, Choosing Me Before We. Both works inspire girls and women to practice the art of loving themselves well.
The art of loving ourselves well? What does that mean?
I’ll let Christine tell you herself:
(A little hint: self-love is very different than self-esteem.)
Did you catch that?
- 1 in 3 women will be in an emotional or physically abusive relationship by the age of 20 years old. This isn’t counting the toxic friendships we find ourselves in!
- 4 out of 5 4th graders have dieted. I doubt this has anything to do with health-related necessity. Girls, let’s take a break from counting calories and count (and restrict) self-criticism instead.
- 70% of girls (from a San Francisco survey) believe they are not good enough and not measuring up in the world. Sound familiar?
- 80% of women are so stressed out they suffer from adrenal fatigue. Can you relate?
Clearly we must create a new way together— for ourselves and for each other. We are too precious to struggle this way. We are too extraordinary to lack the kind of self-love that sets us free and launches us into a beautiful life. We are too worthy. Period.
So, how do we change things? How do we love ourselves well?
As mentioned in her interview, Christine proposes a 40-day practice of self-love. Research tells us we can change our brain patterns by introducing (or changing) a habit we practice for 40-days. When we can change our brain, we can change our life. (The reverse is also true.) The final pages of Madly in Love with Me invite readers on this daring and life-changing adventure. I’m in! Care to join me?
Echoing Christine and adding my own two-cents to the mix, here are a few places to begin the journey:
Set aside a moment each morning to ask yourself what you need to love and care for yourself well. Perhaps it will be to step-out of an activity or the busyness of life that day. Perhaps it will be a bubble bath to look forward that night. Perhaps it will be the task of distancing from a toxic relationship. Often we know exactly what we need but find a million reasons to ignore that still-small voice. Listen and do.
Ask yourself what your body is telling you. Are you feeling stressed out? Is your body manifesting physical experiences of pain or illness? What is your body needing? What is it telling you to create in your life? How is it nudging (or shouting) at you to love and care for yourself? Listen and obey.
End the day by evaluating your self-talk. Take a good long look at the words of your inner-critic. Christine calls this discipline an Inner Mean Girl Cleanse. Has she been gossiping, comparing, judging, unrealistic in her expectations, demanding perfectionism, and feeling unhealthy obligations (to self or others)? Get quiet and honest. Cleanse the impurities of thought. Replace criticism with loving and kind words. Listen and correct where needed.
Want more? We’re just getting started! Check out Christine Arylo’s website for more self-love practices. Better yet, I highly recommend getting a hold of her book Madly In Love With Me. I promise chapter 15 will not disappoint.
Want to make the journey fun? Grab a few friends and ask them to join you. Support each other together. (Girl power!) We’re all better for the ways we love ourselves and our girlfriends.
I can’t wait to discover who we’ll see in the mirror in forty days! Something tells me she’ll notice more love when she looks back at herself. I hope this daring adventure takes you to that beautiful place too.