“What do you need?”
On the days I find myself on the therapy couch overwhelmed, overworked, anxious, and spinning, my therapist comes back to this key question. Most of the time I want to throw my arms up and say, “You’re the therapist, I don’t know…tell me, tell me what I need!” But the reality is I have these answers within myself if I slow down and take some internal inventory.
Taking internal inventory and acting accordingly is the most basic way I show myself some love. It’s an active, ongoing process. Self-love for me looks like paying deep respect for my basic human needs. How am I sleeping? Am I nourished? Hydrated? Moving my body because it feels good to move my body? Am I connecting with loved ones? Self-love might be scheduling an additional therapy appointment or taking a long walk, and it might look like taking a day off or speaking to yourself like you’d speak to your little Kindergarten self. When I operate from a place of self-love I am able to meet my own needs with a spirit of compassion.
Self-love is an ongoing and imperfect pursuit. In fact, part of my own self-love journey is realizing there are days and circumstances where I can’t get all my needs met, and I can try again the next day.
I used to think that working toward self-love was somehow selfish. How dare I pause and meet my own needs? I have deadlines to meet, friends and family to check on, and goals to check-off my never-ending checklist. In reality, pausing and taking that internal inventory is far from selfish. In these inventory moments of self-love, I can discover what I need to do to re-fuel, re-energize, or even rest so that I can show up from a nourished place. And I’m not just talking nourished by nutrition. When I operate from a place of self-love, I seek nourishment physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Without the nourishment of self-love, I cannot flourish. And I spent too long trapped by the weeds of an eating disorder to hold back this flourishing and thriving any longer! It’s time to pause, take internal inventory, and act accordingly. You are worthy of self-love. You deserve to flourish!
Alie B. is an optimist, actor, and disability inclusion consultant. She has performed on tour, off-Broadway, and regionally. When not onstage, Alie B. works with arts organizations, businesses, and educators on building a more inclusive world for people with disabilities. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida. For more, visit www.aliebgorrie.com (Instagram @aliebg)