The HCSB team is busy getting excited about our Intimacy Begins in the Kitchen virtual cooking classes this year! We are over the moon about our new Galentine’s IBIK, for just us girls! Girl time is vital whether you’re married or single. You must remember to focus on yourself too. There is no shame in self-development, and it’s quite necessary to maintain healthy relationships of all kinds with those around you. We often interchange self-acceptance with self-love. Although both are similar and crucial to achieving true wellness, they are not the same. 

Self-acceptance is being aware of your characteristics, strengths, and weakness and choosing to accept yourself unconditionally. Self-acceptance is the realization that you’re either accepting yourself or judging yourself in all things, and you make a conscious effort to extend grace to yourself. 

Self-love causes you to go into the nooks and crannies of your life, face your demons and have a plan to be a better person, releasing you from your baggage and pain. You work harder to find and maintain peace here. 

You may have heard at one time or another to “just smile” or “think positive thoughts.” While people give this advice with a good heart, it’s often presented the wrong way. Smiling or thinking on positive thought is not necessarily going to change your life; it will improve your health. Growing up, my mom used to tell me, “Fake it ’til you make it!” There is a scientific reason behind this phenomenon. 

When we talked about kindness, we discussed the effects of cortisol. It is a chemical released into your bloodstream when you’re stressed. The more stress you experience, the higher your cortisol levels go. This leads to inflammation in the brain and the nervous system. Studies suggest cortisol also causes chemical imbalances. It makes it harder for you to recover from other stressful situations and creates that dark cloud feeling you can’t shake-fatigue

Additionally, the lack of love for yourself creates barriers. The harder you are on yourself, the harsher you’ll tend to be towards others and vice versa. When you’re overly critical or always comparing, you are subconsciously building barriers, boxing yourself in, you’re cutting yourself off from vital social interaction. Your brain craves the serotonin and other chemical reactions that occur in warm, positive interactions. A single hug releases oxytocin, making you feel more warm and happy and less stressed. 

The journey to accepting and loving yourself can be challenging. The first step is telling yourself you’re worth it until you believe it. 

Accept Yourself:

  • Cut out negative/toxic people
  • Take note of your strengths and own them
  • Keep track of your accomplishments (no matter how small) and celebrate them
  • Make peace with your weaknesses, don’t let them define you
  • Create affirmations
  • Think of adverse situations in a different light

(Find one positive thing about every situation, especially if it’s stressful. Where there’s a will, there’s a way)

  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Take time to feel your feelings, then move on

Start Loving Yourself:

  • Be patient with yourself
  • Give yourself grace
  • Be kind to others, but don’t let kindness kill you
  • Deal with your traumas head-on
  • Cut off emotionally draining/negative/abusive people(narcissists and gaslighters)
  • Seek the source of your joy (Don’t base it on circumstantial things like people or achievements)
  • Pray and meditate
  • Protect your peace
  • Take responsibility for your actions (past, present, and future)
  • Take care of your health first; don’t wait until the last minute
  • Learn not to take criticism or rejection personally
  • Know what you believe, but remain teachable
  • Set goals with action steps to accomplish them
  • Take your affirmations to heart; sincerely believe them

By following these steps in bite-sized chunks, you will be amazed at how empowered you feel, even on a bad day. Your confidence will skyrocket, and you’ll be so much better prepared to deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly in this world. Especially after 2020, we see plenty of headlines focusing on the negative. Those who silenced that negativity and found their personal positives made what appeared to be the worst global year their personal best. It’s essential to recognize the beautiful things we still have and what we’ve gained. Make 2021 your year!

You are uniquely remarkable,

Sakinah B.

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