Every day as a coach, I work with women on specific self-care practices to put themselves at the top of their own lists. I call it radical self-love, because, as you may understand all too well, it takes daily commitment to be as good to yourself as you are to your kids, your partner, your boss, your friends.
I am serious about this self-love stuff because every big transition – whether that is the end of a relationship, a job change, having another baby, or something else momentous – is an invitation to be more ourselves. The decisions we might have to make – which attorney to hire, how much to ask for in salary negotiations, if it is time to go back to work – are far easier to make confidently, calmly, and clearly when we know and love who we are in that moment.
If you are a person who ensures everyone else in the family has their annual check-ups but let years slip by in between your own exams, if you berate yourself for getting the last box of store-bought Valentine’s cards for your kid’s class or if you would nominate every woman you know for an Oscar, Nobel Peace prize, mother of the year or president of these United States but never dream of putting your own name on the ballot, then it is time for you to love on yourself. It is time to see, share and protect your worth.
No need to do a life makeover or even be in the middle of a milestone. You don’t have to make it daunting or stressful. Instead, make space for small daily practices of self-love that will add up to have a significant impact. Here’s how to get started.
Stand with other women, and for yourself
Take time to learn more about pioneers of equity for all women. Explore activists, asking yourself how their call to service, accomplishments, challenges, and perspective speaks directly to you. Start with 2021 big names Senator Tammy Duckworth,Tarana Burke, Swati Mohan, and Amanda Gorman. Don’t just absorb information; apply their wisdom. Write a letter to yourself or use your phone’s voice notes to record a message about the notable work you’ve done, the dreams you have, and how you are bettering this world for all girls or one playing Lego in the next room, what your hope is for all women or your beautiful self, or maybe what one small thing you can do today to lift up yourself where you have felt small or unseen. What can you uniquely give this world? This is your chance to claim it, shout it and read it daily on a bathroom mirror sticky note.
Be a radical beauty
Tune in to Sonia Valencia’s TikTok skincare and makeup tutorials that are so much more than serums and winged eyeliner. Sonia encourages (brashly and with lots of hilarious cursing that is NSFW or kids) women aged 40 and older to stop covering themselves up and instead, let their gorgeous skin shine through. She gets very real about aging faces, and why embracing them is a gift to ourselves and others. You are guaranteed to look at yourself in the mirror differently after watching Sonia show you why moisturizing your face to look as shiny as a “rotisserie chicken from Costco” will make you feel and look smoking hot.
Crank up the confidence
The words we say and hear have power, so commit to immersing yourself in music that reminds you that you are whip-smart, gorgeous, loving, and on fire in your own life. Turn it up, dance, sing like your downstairs neighbor can’t hear you. My power playlist includes Lizzo, Brandi Carlile, Megan Thee Stallion, Pink, Sa-Roc, H.E.R., and Demi Lovato. When you’re ready to wind it down, play some love songs that you now sing to yourself.
Ask for a mirror
A classic coaching exercise asks the client to reach out to ten of their friends and ask questions like, “What happens when I enter a room?” and “What are my best gifts and skills?” Let’s be honest, it is a cringey activity. But I promise it is worth it. Your friends (or colleagues or family members) will reflect back to you parts of yourself that you may have dismissed, devalidated, or maybe have not previously seen. Your courage to ask for this mirror, and their loveliness in responding is an opportunity to see how radiant you are (and then remind yourself daily...or 17 times a day).
Let your spirit soar
If it is tough to whisper sweet nothings to yourself right now, meditate on what your higher power, God, goddesses, or the universe believes you to be. Pema Chodron, Sue Monk Kidd, Anne Lamott, and Mallika Chopra have all written books on spirituality and affirmations to guide, inspire and reinvigorate how we see our divine selves.
Put your mouth where your money is
You might have all the dollars in your bank account, struggling to make ends meet, or land somewhere in the messy middle. How you view your worth can be connected to how you bring in, spend, save, and honor money. Explore the connection between your esteem and monetary value with money-wise women like a financial therapist and coach Amanda Clayman, money mindset mentor Denise Duffield-Thomas, and financial educator and writer Jean Chatzky. With every insight, remind yourself (yes, aloud!) how you’re valuing yourself with every financial choice you make.
Invest in yourself
The biggest boost to my business and to my belief that I can! I will! I am! has come in coaching and therapy sessions. While it took a big leap of faith to invest a bucket of cash in each of the four business coaches I’ve worked with, it has also been the practice of affirming that I’d make the money back (and then some) easily and (even more importantly) that I am worth the investment of money, time, energy and tending it requires. Their insights into my work, worth, and potential have been monumental, as have their insistence that I am accountable for seeing my goals through. Likewise, therapy has been a place to dig into the pains and triumphs of the past so grow and get better as I move forward. Find a coach or counselor who will be that positive nudge you may need.
The time for radical self-love is now. Why? Because we’ve already spent too much energy and time stuck, doubting, or downplaying all we have to give the world. Because we have decisions to make, challenges to move through with grace and ease, or maybe just good humor. Because big, beautiful, life-shifting things unfold when we affirm that, YES, they are meant for us. And because loving ourselves and believing our own worth are the greatest gifts that no one else can give us.
Jessica Ashleyis a writer, content strategist, and coach whose life’s work (paid, unpaid, and in endless school board meetings) is focused on empowering women through tough transitions with creativity, grace and maybe some cussing.