It seems like everyone goes on some sort of diet when January 1st rolls around.Read More
Plenty of factors informed my decision to leave New York City, but I will miss a few things about it. I’m saddest about the fact that I’ll no longer be living in such a walkable place.
“What would you like to order?”
“How do you want to celebrate your birthday?”
“What do you want to do with your life?”
Questions like these tend to sneak up on me and catch me off guard. They strike me with a flash of anxiety and I’m suddenly tripping over my words. This is because I can be terribly indecisive.
I recently joined a gym after a too-long exercise hiatus. My weekly personal training sessions with Jenn that kicked off my new fitness journey have been amazing, but I knew I needed to supplement the rest of my workout routine and give myself some variation that wasn’t running on the old treadmill in the basement. It was time for a change.
As my shiny new membership tag was scanned at the Croton-on-Hudson New York Sports Club, I was suddenly struck with a deep sense of fear.
You see, as a plus size queer person, I’ve never felt particularly comfortable at gyms.
In the age of crippling college debt and chaotic headlines, showing yourself love is harder than ever. It feels impossible to find inner peace in a world full of pressure.
Who can pursue passion projects when the rent forces many of us to have multiple day jobs? How can we appreciate our own bodies when society continues to support the idea that some of them are not good enough?
Capitalism sets us up to always want more, and this affects our mental well-being. We are not supposed to be satisfied with what we have and who we are; we must always try to be better, richer, known. If we’re not productive as possible, we’re useless. If our latest post on Instagram doesn’t get any likes, we are failures. It’s an endless loop that is exhausting.
Screw all of that.
In fact, I think you should screw that with a nice dose of radical self-love.
Practicing self-love in a significant way can be the ultimate middle finger to the societal constructs that aim to limit us, particularly for people of color, trans folks, differently-abled people, and women.
I believe that self-love is radical in various ways. It challenges the white patriarchal standards that define our culture. It empowers us to think about ourselves and other differently. It causes us to act out of kindness instead of fear or anger.
Don’t confuse radical self-love with basic self-care. This isn’t about brushing your teeth. Radical self-love is deeper. It is performing actions that are purely for your mind and spirit. It is selfishness that helps you own and celebrate yourself. This selfishness leads to you feeling your best in a culture that wants you to struggle.
I’ve been consciously practicing radical self-love for the past few months. It all started in March with a solo trip to Paris in the midst of heartbreak. That journey was a gift to a weary soul: it made me think differently about how I deserve to be treated by myself and others. It helped me believe that I have an inner-power that can guide me through dark times.
Since then, I’ve been striving to prioritize radical self-love. It isn’t always easy, but practicing it more consistently has continued to help me heal little by little.
I strongly encourage you, unique reader with lovely personal qualities, to consider how you treat yourself. What is the tone of your inner thoughts? Do you judge yourself? If you realize you’re kinder to strangers than you are to yourself, then maybe you should give radical self-love a try.
The best part about radical-self love is that it can be practiced in various ways. Acts can range from minuscule to grandiose. Your personality and interests will dictate what types of radical acts will be impactful for you.
Get inspired by this list of forty possible acts of self-love you can try. I’ve tried to include a huge range of activities ranging from physical to mental, free to expensive. Try one that immediately to speaks to you or maybe one that you’re afraid of. Practicing any of the radical acts of self-love could change your view of yourself and the world around you:
- Start a new journal and write down at least one good thing that happened daily
- Spend some time in nature, whether that be for a walk at your local park or a longer camping trip
- Compliment yourself every time you look in the mirror
- Prepare and eat your favorite meal
- Exercise with the intention of enjoying it instead of doing it because you have to
- Curate a list of your favorite inspirational quotes and look at the list whenever you’re feeling down
- Listen to your intuition and act on it – do what feels right rather than what is expected
- Turn on some up-beat tunes and dance
- Hang out with your pet or visit a friend who has a pet you can hang out with
- Express your feelings openly
- Sing with the car windows down
- Stay in bed when your body wants to rest – push that snooze button
- Book a solo vacation and do whatever you want once you reach your destination
- Meditate a little or a lot
- Visit a nearby beach, river, pool, or lake and take a swim – feel the water hold your body
- Say no when you want to and don’t feel sorry about it
- Donate clothes or items that have negative feelings attached to them – keep anything that brings you joy
- Sit outside when it is sunny and soak up the rays (with proper sun protection of course)
- Write yourself a love letter and read it
- Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers
- Turn off your cell phone for an hour, day, week, or longer
- Write down your regrets on a piece of paper and proceed to light that paper on fire in the safest way possible (or rip it into tiny pieces to avoid the pyro aspect)
- Give yourself a pep talk when you need one – think about what you would want a coach or mentor to say to you and say it out loud
- Pamper yourself with a massage, facial, or pedicure (maybe do all three if you’re feeling fancy)
- Stretch in the morning, in the evening, and whenever you want to in between
- Enjoy a favorite childhood movie or book
- Cuddle your pet or say hi to a friendly dog on the street (with permission from the owner of course)
- Talk to a therapist often or occasionally when you’re suffering, thriving, and existing
- Leave an encouraging post-it note for a stranger to discover and let the good vibes flow
- Cry unapologetically
- Learn a new craft and make art for yourself and others
- Buy yourself a scoop of your favorite ice cream and pay for the next customer’s order as well
- Look at old photos and feel the nostalgia
- Send a thank you letter to someone who has made a positive impact on your life
- Watch a comedy special or funny video online and laugh out loud
- Cease communication with someone who makes you feel bad
- Improve your sleep with a new pillow, mattress pad, or relaxing essential oils
- Give meaningful compliments to others and accept the compliments people make about you instead of shrugging them off
- Complete a nagging task that has been on your to-do list – feel relieved when it’s done
- Live in the present and do what you want now – not tomorrow, not this summer, not next year – now
Thanks for reading. Feel free to share your favorite acts of self-love in the comments – I’m always open to new suggestions to try!