Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action. The questions are meant to “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.
This week’s Phoenix is Adrienne:
How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Recently, I was scrolling through Pinterest and I ran across a photograph of a white ceramic coffee cup. The inside of the cup was empty with the slightest coffee stain lining the bottom of the tiny cup. In a very simple font the words “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first” were emblazoned across the picture.
As I was reading those words I realized that I had, somehow, become that coffee cup — a solid, sturdy vessel, but sadly, temporarily empty. I was sitting at my desk in my tiny, cramped office space feeling completely drained. Since then, I have been thinking about and steadily working towards how I can go about refilling my cup.
I’ve come to recognize that to love myself first means recognizing that it is not selfish to take time out of my day to care for my needs. Allowing myself to get to the point where I begin to feel empty or drained not only hurts me, it hurts those whom I work with, and love. Before I can support others, I have to first make sure that my cup is full.
What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)
I think refilling my cup starts with the little things I do throughout my day that bring me happiness. I have started making time to wake up an hour earlier than absolutely necessary so that I have the time to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch Live! with Kelly and Michael before going into work. I come home from work in the middle of the day to cuddle with my adorable dog, Corn Dog. I eat dinner with my partner and we talk about our day. And every evening, I look out across the flat Minnesota land and I can see a wind turbine that is located about a mile away from my residence. I think about how the turbine converts energy from the wind into electrical power. Isn’t that remarkable? At the end of each day I hope that I, like the turbine and a full cup, have converted my energy into powering myself so that I may share with others.
Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?
The biggest obstacle and challenge is myself and my tendencies. I am inclined to believe that it is selfish to think of my needs before those of others. I tend to overextend and tax myself to be the best at my work. I am the one that, if unchecked, will empty my cup.
To overcome this challenge, I started making lists. I had a list of all of the things I had to get done at work in order to feel okay about myself. I had a second list of tasks that I used to mark down responsibilities that were not as urgent or pressing. Another list was of all the things I had accomplished. This was my “smile list” because reading what I had accomplished always made me smile. Examples included marrying my soulmate, getting accepted into a doctoral program, and having a stellar chocolate chip cookie recipe. My final list was my “hope list”. It included all the things I hope for in life not related whatsoever to my career. This list includes having children, going on a cruise, and designing a new tattoo. These lists made me feel like I had some control and balance in my life. They let me see what I’d done, what I needed to do, and where I wanted to go. I still use a variation of these lists, but I have been utilizing my Passion Planner, which is an agenda that has a built in goal-setting and to-do area in it.
Another key step that I have taken is to be more responsible about seeking the help of health professionals. One could practice all of the self-care and self-love in the world but if one is not physically or emotionally healthy, such practice would be all for naught. I have found that taking steps to seek care and support has been invaluable for allowing me to better help and serve others. As a professional tasked with supporting others, it is easy to forget that we are human and sometimes need support ourselves. I think recognizing that sometimes the greatest self-love is knowing when you need to reach out and ask others for help. Self-love does not mean you have to do it all by yourself. Sometimes self-love will include reaching out to friends and family, and sometimes it may mean reaching out to a pastor, a counselor, or a doctor.
What have you learned from self-love?
For some, I think self-love might be easy. For myself, I know that this journey to accepting all of me has not been easy. It has been hard work. But I have come to realize that the journey, the fight, of self-acceptance and loving myself has been worth it because I am worth it.
Don Miguel Ruiz said, “You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either.” I go back to the same cup I started with. Let’s replace the concept of self-care with self-love in this analogy: “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Love yourself first.”
Thank you, Adrienne, for sharing your LYFF story. You are definitely a Phoenix rising!
Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.
Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories. Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.