As we approach the end of January, many of us have given up on our New Year's Resolutions. Enthusiastic goals to lose weight, exercise more, eat better, and other self-improvement ideas are often discarded before the month has even finished. My "Dry January" ended with a glass (or 2) of spiced rum after a particularly long and harassing day. For whatever reason, New Year's Resolutions just don't seem to stick, often leaving us feeling guilty, ashamed, or downright depressed when we fail to meet our goals.
With our resolutions, we are trying to improve ourselves or our lives in some way. All admirable goals. But when we are chasing after something or working towards a goal, we are not really living in the moment, are we? Instead, we are focused on some imagined point in the future when we will be thinner, stronger, healthier, or wealthier. Instead of acceptance, we are focused on improvement with the assumption that we are not enough, or not doing enough, or do not have enough. It creates a feeling of lacking.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to improve ourselves or our lives - except in the way we think about it. I suggest that rather than using terms like "self-improvement" (which suggests there's something wrong with us) we consider it an act of nurturing and self-care - that we nurture our bodies and our spirits with acts that ensure our well-being. But this can be a stumbling block for many people. Too often we give lots of love and care to others, but neglect ourselves. Some of us even feel guilt when carving out needed time for ourselves! But just like the airplane rule of putting your own mask on first, we also need to look after our own well-being first. This is not selfishness. We simply cannot properly care for others when we are depleted physically, mentally, or spiritually.
This can be easier said than done. When I quit smoking, I used a little mental trick that helped me. Whenever I had the urge to light a cigarette, I'd imagine myself passing that cigarette to a loved one. Would I want my son or daughter to light that cigarette? My granddaughter? Of course not! The thought was abhorrent to me. So why in the world would it be okay for me to light it? Am I not worthy of love and nurture? Of course I am. And so are you. You can use this same trick to help you reach your self-care goals - consider the love you feel for others, then recognize that you are equally worthy of such love & nurture. And then take good care of yourself!
I've created a Self-Love Intention Candle to help you reframe your thoughts from "I am lacking and need improvement" to "I am worthy of love and nurturing". It is a soy candle scented with Rosewood, with specially chosen herbs and crystals to invoke self-worth and forgiveness. Whenever you are able to carve out time for some self-care, you can use this candle - as part of your morning routine, while relaxing in a bath, or while meditating are some suggestions. You begin by taking a few slow, deep breaths to relax and ground yourself. Before lighting the candle, lift it to your nose and draw in its scent. Consider all the love you feel for others, and then recognize that you are equally as worthy of that love. Then set your intention. Some examples of intentions are: "I will learn to forgive myself", "I am worthy of love", and "I will embrace who I am". Then light the candle as you meditate or go about your self-care rituals.
For the next 7 days, (until July 25th) this candle is on sale for all subscribers to Jezebel Apothecary emails. Simply use the code "SelfLove" at the checkout to receive 20% off.