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Self-Love, Self-Care + Anti-Racism

So you might be asking yourself, "What does self-love and self-care have to do with my anti-racism journey?” Well I would like to offer the following insights to help connect the dots.

The way we move forward towards dismantling racism starts with self-love and self-care on all levels.

Recently I had an experience where my self-worth was put into question. Without going into too many details, it had to do with moving forward on an opportunity that was being presented. Instead of giving myself grace and being curious about why I was feeling these feelings, I immediately jumped to feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth and low self-confidence. After sitting in those feelings, I was able to identify that I was feeling scared and unready/unprepared for the situation that had presented itself. I asked myself, “what do you need to do in order to feel secure, ready and prepared to grow?”

I realized that I needed to be able to clearly communicate my boundaries, my capacity and to check in with myself around my self-worth and self-love. This set me into a spiral for a short bit. I started to google, “self-love practices” and “self-care practices” to see if there were any that would resonate with me and that I could integrate (good old Google). I was directed to a variety of material, so I sat and read through some articles, memes and social media posts.

One particular one that I came across said something to the effect of, “In order to be able to show love to another person, we need to first be able to love ourselves. In order to love ourselves, we need to be able to show love to ourselves, take care of ourselves and to create and hold space for ourselves.” I could feel these statements resonate in my body. I took mental note of this one and carried on my quest to find self-love and self-care practices that I could integrate.

I later came across a woman by the name of Vanessa Mentor on Instagram (@vanessa_mentor_coach) and she described her concept of self-care so beautifully. She described self-care as having 3 different levels in a way that I had never seen laid out. This post was a big lightbulb moment for me.

The first level that Vanessa describes is called Basic Self-Care which she says, “Satisfies body and heart fundamental needs. Solid ground to navigate the day-to-day and manage stress with more ease”. This is the fundamental level where all of the acts of your love towards yourself are vital. Many do not see this level as being a part of self-care. A great deal of people struggle with this level because these practices weren't modelled for them or shown its importance. Examples of Basic Self-Care include setting time during our day to rest, setting up a daily schedule/routine, filling our bodies with nutritious foods, hydrating our bodies, moving our bodies, connecting with our spirit and connecting with other humans. Vanessa says, this is where your focus needs to be daily.

The second level is called Fun Self-Care which she says, “Improves mood in the moment. Food when you want a ‘quick pick me up”. This is the level where we can expand out from our fundamental self-care needs. Many people think that this is what self-care looks like and time and time again, this is where many people stay. This level typically costs some money and its effects are often fleeting. Examples of this are doing a face mask, painting your nails, having a bubble bath, eating dinner out with friends, or having a glass of wine. Vanesa says, these are treats and things you do occasionally.

The third level is where all of those concepts that we were equating at the beginning of this discussion (self-love/self-care/anti-racism), all come together. The third level is called Deep Self-Care. This level requires much more time, effort and intention. This level is where the deep transformation can take place. This level requires us to meet ourselves at a very deep level, so that we can meet others at a deeper level. Vanessa says this level, “Increases your capacity to stay nourished while caring for others and serving the world.” Examples of this are setting and keeping boundaries, resolving conflicts at first point of contact, acceptance of differences with others, decision making that honors and aligns with our values and principles, and honoring our gifts and purpose. Vanessa says, this is where you go when you want to live in integrity with yourself and others.

So you might be asking yourself, ‘What does self-love and self-care have to do with my anti-racism journey?” Well I would like to offer the following insights to help connect the dots. I really appreciated Vanessa’s concept around self-care because it helped me to understand self-care in greater detail. The way that she described the different levels helped to lay out what self-care can look like and what level of impact I can make depending on what self-care practice I choose. The most valuable lesson that I took away from her concept was how it relates to my anti-racism journey. In order for me to be able to make any kind of impact on the world around me (myself, my children, my family, or my community), I have to commit to meeting myself with deep self-care. That means that I have to commit to setting boundaries, speak my truth, foster my gifts and step into my power and purpose. It is only when I show myself love and care that I can begin to be able to do the same for others around me. It is in my authenticity that I can be of service. It is when I am secure in myself that I can hold space for honoring the differences in others and not feel threatened by them or feel fear towards them...and isn’t that what anti-racism is all about?

The way we move forward towards dismantling racism starts with self-love and self-care on all levels.

You can find Vanessa on:

On Instagram @vanessa_mentor_coach

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