Showing up for yourself has a whole heap of different meanings. But knowing how to show up for yourself isn’t always easy. Especially in a society and time where we’re being pulled in every direction and have a hundred and one things on our plate on any given day. It’s so important to dedicate time for yourself – and not just basic acts of self care.
Today I wanted to steer clear of self care – you can find PLENTY of blog posts about self care – and instead talk about how to show up for yourself. Which focuses less on bubble baths and lighting candles and more on really digging deep and finding out who you are, what you need and how you can show up for your own damn life without regrets.
Don’t get me wrong, I love bubble baths and all your typical self care activities. But after years of practice, I’m pretty clued up on what makes me feel good and what makes me feel like a heap of shit when I need a bit of extra self love and care.
So, how exactly DO you show up for yourself?
Is there any special trick or magic potion you need to use? Absolutely not. Showing up for yourself is all about honoring your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs and showing yourself the respect you deserve. It’s not always easy and there’s likely going to be obstacles in the way but here are some tips to get you started.
Let’s look at some practical ways of how to show up for yourself. You are your #1 priority after all:
Make choices that honor your needs when they arise
I think this is above all else, the most important element of how to show up for yourself. And really, everything else is more or less a byproduct of honoring your needs. Sometimes this might mean cancelling plans because of a bad mental health day. Or eating a healthy dinner because you’ve had takeaway for the last 3 nights in a row.
Your needs fall under four important categories; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and any one of those can be disrupted when we’re not truly honoring what we need. Of course this isn’t possible 100% of the time but when it is possible, it’s one of the most effective ways to show up for yourself.
Say yes to the opportunities that you want and deserve
Ah, the comfort zone. This is one that I’ve worked on quite a bit over the last few years but also know I need to continue working on. My anxiety had me stuck in a very rigid and quite frankly, boring, comfort zone for a very long time.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with a comfort zone. If we’re honoring our emotional needs then perhaps a cup of tea, in bed with your dog and favourite box set is exactly where you need to be.
But I think we can all honestly say, hand on heart, that we’ve sometimes turned down opportunities for a variety of reasons. Whether that’s because another area of our life has taken priority or because you didn’t feel like you deserved the opportunity or didn’t feel like you had the skills for it.
I’ve definitely stepped out of my comfort zone this year in terms of my blog, photography and the opportunities I’ve accepted. I feel like in that way, I’ve really shown up for myself. And I feel all the better for it! For me, one of those things was outfit photos – something I’ve never been comfortable with.
But I was kindly sent this dress, perfect for Autumn, Winter and definitely over the Christmas period which obviously required some photos. I took these myself, with a make-shift tripod and honestly, I don’t hate them! So here I am, with my pale skin and wobbly bits, loving life for stepping out of my comfort zone.
The dress itself is SO comfortable. Like I said, perfect for the upcoming seasons but any time of year really. It could definitely be dressed up or down and I love the off the shoulder design you can have with it too. ANGELEYE sell a lot of really unique and striking pieces, including stand-out Wedding Guest Outfits too!
But say no to anything that doesn’t serve you
It’s great to step outside the comfort zone and do things that scare you. But saying no is just an important. Not everything is going to align with us. Nothing everything benefits us in how to show up for yourself.
Learn to say no and not feel guilty about it. Easier said than done, I know. But once you learn how to do that, it is so empowering.
Take time for yourself every single day
My favourite way to do this is through Yoga. But let’s face it, you knew that by now! Rolling out that mat is the only time of the day where I feel 100% like everything in that moment is me and my needs. Nothing else matters when I’m in a downward dog or flowing through Yoga poses.
And whether I do a 50 minute high energy practice, some restorative Yoga or a 10 minute meditation, I know that that time is precious. Find your THING and do something you love single day, for however long time allows.
Show yourself the same love and compassion you’d show someone else
Damn this is a tough one isn’t it. How many times have we given someone else a compliment then looked in the mirror and ripped ourselves apart? As someone that’s always suffered from pretty severe self esteem issues, I know how hard and impossible this can be at times.
But it’s important that we at least try (more on why we should try in the next point). This could be starting with the smallest thing, like not judging yourself for taking a mental health day when you need one, like how you wouldn’t judge your best friend for doing the same thing.
Honor your achievements; however big or small
By celebrating all your achievements, it shows that you’re honoring the fact that you’re trying. And we can’t ask any more of ourselves than to simply try. So regardless of what anyone else thinks, be proud of that thing you accomplished. Even if it’s simply getting out of bed when all you want to do is lie under the covers.
I wouldn’t wish anxiety on my worst enemy but the main thing having severe generalized anxiety disorder for so long has taught me is to ALWAYS be proud of your achievements. There was a time where going into the corner shop was the scariest thing in the world for me.
So you can bet your bottom dollar I celebrated like I’d won an Oscar every time I managed to do that! Learn to define success on your own terms.
Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel
This is similar to the first point about honoring your needs and acting accordingly instead of physical actions, this time we’re looking at emotional actions. We live in a world where there’s always so much to do, all the time. It’s no wonder we bottle up emotions so much – there’s no time to do anything with them!
But that’s where we need to flip the script and regardless of how busy we are, make time to feel what we need to feel. A good example of this is my Mum, who in August, lost her Dad (my Granddad). For weeks, she was so busy with funeral plans, sorting his things, making calls and arrangements, that the sadness didn’t really hit her until long after he’d passed away.
Get comfortable with yourself
And finally, one of the most important points, I think, is getting comfortable with yourself. Accepting and loving your own company is a great way to show up for yourself, I think! And the notion of getting comfortable with yourself really can mean a whole bunch of things.
Take yourself on a date or go on a solo travel adventure – like one of my favourite bloggers, Absolutely Lucy has dedicated years doing. Find a hobby to do on your own. Get comfortable talking about your needs and feelings. Experiment with your body, invest in sex toys, figure out what you love. The possibilities are endless.
At the end of the day, the person you’re going to be spending the rest of your life with, is you. You need to get along with yourself first or it’s going to be a very long and bumpy ride.
Knowing how to show up for yourself isn’t something you can learn over night. It’s a process and it will change, like the seasons of life change. So it’s important to know that what works for you now, might not work in 6 months time.