A little self-love goes a long way… and no, I’m not talking about THAT kind of self-love, pervs (hello, my mom reads my blog–and she’s probably my biggest fan–HI MOM :))! What I am talking about is the ability to be your own cheerleader–your own biggest fan–even (and especially) when you feel like no one else is.
Easier said than done, I know. But I thought I’d share with you a simple yet powerful little exercise in self-love that I once tried myself while going through one of life’s many rough patches… and I gotta say, at the time it worked better at helping me reach a genuine and sustained sense of inner peace than any self-help book, meditation technique, or motivational speech I’d ever applied before had.
It was June of last year. I was somewhere into my fourth or fifth month living in Japan, and if what they tell you about the peaks and valleys of culture shock is true, I was right on schedule for the lowest point of the adjustment curve. All that wonderful stuff like isolation, loneliness, and alienation were hitting me good, and it didn’t help that I was spending vast amounts of my free time helping a friend back home plan her bachelorette party that I would be in attendance of a couple of months (but more than a few thousand miles) away. I was in Okinawa, but not really in Okinawa. All I had to look forward to was the thought of going home and seeing my friends in two months. Thus I didn’t really feel like a part of anything. And so I felt like nothing.
And then I came across this woman’s blog post.
After reading her account on dedicating love songs to herself, I decided to give it a shot. (**Please give her full credit for the following regimen in self-love… I am but a devotee!**) Yes, I know it sounds lame, but for one full week, I dedicated one sappy love song per day–a song that under its intended circumstances is meant to be directed from one person to another–to me, myself, and I. I set some ground rules: no vengeful ballads by British female neo-soul singers (though those can be good), or empowering Top-40 tunes about realizing one’s own potential (can sometimes be good), allowed. Nope, without a doubt, I made myself choose only those CAN’T EAT CAN’T SLEEP REACH FOR THE STARS OVER THE FENCE THE WORLD SERIES KIND OF LOVE love songs (aaaaaaaand I just quoted an Olsen twins movie). You know, the kind that, when you’re single, sometimes make you kinda wanna puke. But yeah. I made sure.
That Saturday through Friday, I selected wisely, making sure that every song I chose was meaningful. I got pretty serious about it, playing and replaying the track all day, repeating its lyrics in my head while thinking about myself. And somehow… with each new song of self-love I added to my iTunes playlist that week, I felt just a tad bit better. Every jam, every day, just a smidgen more positive. Not that it wasn’t painful, too–it was–I inevitably ended up choosing songs that I think I’d always wished someone else thought of when they thought of me, and thus had to face some harsh realities about the types of love I felt deprived of. However, through this activity in self-love, I started to see these songs in a new light. I sang them to myself and nobody else. I tried to see myself as that beautiful being in the songs that I still, to this day, hope another will one day see in me for real.
And it worked.
By the end of those seven days, I felt refreshed and optimistic. I was still super psyched to be taking a trip back home in a few of weeks… but until then, I was able to breathe again. And live again. And it was an amazing summer (spent both in America and Japan). Self-love mission: accomplished.
So if lately you’ve found yourself in a rut that you’re having trouble getting out of, try it… dedicate a love song or two to yourself. If you do it right, I assure you–by the end of it you’ll be thinking that these songs were written precisely for people to sing to themselves (and I won’t even call you crazy for that).
The following is my self-love playlist. If you’re interested, you can even listen to and download the tracks safely from box.net!
<3 Songs to Self
- Lupe Fiasco – Paris, Tokyo
- John Legend – Save Room
- Michelle Branch – Everywhere
- Zero 7 – Destiny
- Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams Come True
- Elliott Smith – Say Yes
- Sade – By Your Side
(Holy shit I just realized I must have done this for 8 days and not 7! Sorry!)
- The Cure – It’s Friday I’m in Love
Enjoy coming up with your own!