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These days, we live in a world where self-love is literally everywhere. It’s all over your Instagram feed. It’s in your workplace when chatting with coworkers. It’s present at your yoga practice and most importantly; it’s within you.
Is self-love a face mask at the end of a stressful day? A soothing bath to wash away the insecurity you felt on that first date? Or maybe it’s heading into a therapy session ready to discuss your triggers. Self-love takes on many forms. It can be all of those things—or it could be none of them. But what all these activities have in common is care. The act of self-love is proving to yourself that you’re worth the effort and time that goes into your rituals, whatever they may be.
Finding self-love hasn’t always been smooth for me. I spent the majority of my life feeling like I wasn’t good enough, allowing my insecurities and anxiety to swallow me whole. My journey to self-love is still constantly evolving. I have days where I wake up feeling so free, so content with myself, so real. Other days, I wake up shrouded with self-doubt and swarming with insecurities. But now, it’s all in how I handle that anxiety throughout my day, and that’s where self-love comes in.
Whether you’re searching for a way to turn down the volume of that overly-critical voice in your head or want to start 2019 on an authentic note, here are some of the go-to lessons I’ve learned about navigating self-love.
Around this time of year especially—oh hey 2019—there is an overwhelming pressure to quickly change ourselves for the better. In years past, I’ve found myself directing energy to what others were doing—like committing to be more fit with a new gym membership—and it caused me to compare their goals with mine. They were always doing more, and I wasn’t doing enough.
2019 is the year of breaking that pattern! The more you focus on what others are doing, the less attention you give yourself. And here’s a little piece of advice: whatever you are doing is enough. Whether it’s taking five minutes out of your day to go for a walk outside and meditate, signing up for weekly classes at your favorite yoga studio, or making the choice to start therapy, these decisions are yours and no one else’s. You don’t have to accomplish anything according to any timeline, so give yourself permission to move at your own pace.
What if your “weaknesses” were actually your strengths? For me, I had been living most of my life thinking that my sensitive nature was “too much.” A burden for the people around me. It wasn’t until I made a choice to start therapy almost three years ago that I was introduced to the idea that vulnerability is my superpower. It’s how I express myself and connect with others, so why would I hide it? Instead, I leaned into it. The world needs more of us softies, let’s show them how compassion is done.
Just like self-love isn’t always a walk in the park, setting boundaries can be challenging, too. Establishing healthy boundaries is a way to make space for your authenticity to shine—and it’s at the core of self-love. For me, setting boundaries always seemed like a negative thing until I started actively doing it. It’s not fun to put them in place, and you need to get honest with yourself as to why you left those doors open for so long. But in the end, it’s worth the growth. Remember that bringing these boundaries into your life is about you. You have all you need to experience your authentic self, so start trusting the lines you’re creating.
We all fear the dreaded “F” word–failure. This whole “self-love” train feels smooth when things are going well—you’re in a healthy relationship, you just got a promotion, etc.—but when we mess up, it’s not so easy.
It’s a revolutionary act to not only make mistakes, but to talk about them. How will I learn if I don’t delve into why I made that decision? Failure is the fire that fuels my growth; it teaches me how to turn right instead of left, and where I should shift my focus for the future. That’s why self-love is something I consistently practice.
It’s not an accomplishment, a gold star, or something you finish. I’ll be learning how to love myself all my life. It’s essential to keep pushing, keep working at this ritual of self-love for the moments when I’m anxious, worried, or things don’t go as planned. This healthy habit acts as the roots of my inner self, helping me to steer clear of negative self-talk when times are tough.
Creating a safe space for your authentic self to flourish takes time, effort, and investment. Whether it’s something small like leaving a party early, or a big decision like setting a boundary with someone close to you, make the art of self-love part of your daily practice and remember that you are worthy of loving yourself fully.
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
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