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All You Need is Self-Love

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Movement & Motherhood

By: Kristin Colsky Gavin   |  February 1, 2024

Recently, I came across one of those word search blocks that said that the first three words you see will be your theme for the new year. I love words and puzzles, so I am always eager to try these out. The first three words I saw were “love,” “need,” and “self.” It got me thinking about our experience of self-love.

Love is certainly in the air in February, or at least it is on everyone’s minds. Valentine’s Day, while admittedly commercial and dreaded by some, reminds us to reflect on the love that we have in our lives. I feel so grateful to have a loving husband, son, family, and friends. This time of year has taken on a special meaning for me, as my son’s birthday is right around Valentine’s Day. Like many other mothers, my love for my son is something that I have never experienced before and on another level from what I could have expected. Being a mama has expanded my heart in ways that I could not have imagined before experiencing it firsthand. To not only give this love, but to receive it back from your child, is possibly the best thing in the world. There is simply no better feeling than having that child smile widely, run towards you, leap into your arms, and give you the biggest hug.

We often think about our love for our children, spouses, parents, siblings, and extended family and friends. These kinds of love are beautiful and unique in their own ways. But what about love for ourselves? Is that something that you ever think about and feel, and if so, how do you show yourself love? It is easy to think about the people in our lives that love us. Sometimes we tend to measure our worth by this love, or potentially lack thereof. We forget about the one person whom we have always had and will always have - oneself.  We need to love ourselves to show up how we want in the world, to be the happiest we can be with what we have, and to foster inner peace, self-respect, and confidence. We need self-love to truly love others, to have something to give, to celebrate the successes of others, to radiate kindness and compassion from within. 

So what are some ways we can show ourselves love? I have to mention movement, especially intuitive, joyful movement. In other words, really tuning into your body and figuring out what it needs each day. Maybe one day you are energized and crave a high intensity workout. Another day, you might be fatigued or feeling out of sorts, and a slow, mindful practice could feel more aligned. Either way, it is almost certain that you will emerge from a good workout with more confidence and self-love. Being able to listen to our bodies and what they need can help us balance activity, recovery, and rest, in order to show up as our best selves. 

Similarly, we can give ourselves some love by feeding our bodies nourishing food that will keep us feeling good from the inside out and resting when needed. Often as parents, we are so overbooked and overstimulated that it can be difficult to get the rest that we need, but allowing ourselves the permission to rest can be a gift not only to ourselves but also to our families and others around us. Other times, we are simply sleep-deprived, and hopefully we can see these times as seasons that will pass. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to view productivity in a new light, to let our lives (at least sometimes) take a slower pace, savoring the present moment, knowing that it is all we truly have?

In addition to listening to our bodies, It is important to honor the desires of our minds, hearts, and souls. Deciding to finally acknowledge and follow our deepest hopes and dreams, whatever they may be, can be an act of self-love. It could be connected to your role as a mother or father, your career, your interests, the place you live, or anything that you identify with. To live with intention, take those first steps towards your goals and to build the life that you really want, while simultaneously finding self-acceptance and meaning in the small moments of your day-to-day life. To listen to the voice inside, tune out what other people think and become your truest self. Tools that can be helpful include meditations, visualizations, and affirmations - or simply getting really quiet and letting your heart be free to speak

We talk a lot about self-care these days, and it will be different for everyone, but it can be an expression of self-love. Maybe self-care for you is any of these things I have already mentioned - it could be movement, nourishing food, rest, committing to optimizing your health, fulfilling work, creative exploration. Or maybe it is something completely different, something that brings out who you are and what you value. 

Now maybe self-love is not all that you need. But hopefully this February and throughout the year, while you express your love for your children, spouses, families, and friends, you can also feel and show yourself the love that you deserve. 

Kristin Colsky Gavin is a native of Sausalito and lives there now with her husband, John, and her two-year-old son, William. She is a UC Berkeley graduate and Pilates instructor with ten years of experience and her own business, Kristin Gavin Pilates. Kristin has worked with all kinds of bodies, ages, and fitness levels but has a particular passion for working with pregnant and postpartum clients. She is also studying to consult on nutrition for pregnancy, postpartum, and babies. Contact her at Website coming soon!

When not practicing or teaching Pilates, Kristin can be found swimming, practicing yoga, hiking the trails of Marin, cooking, writing, studying languages, traveling near and far, and spending time with her family. She started open water swimming several years ago and has completed the Alcatraz to San Francisco swim three times.

More from this issue:

All You Need is Self-Love Read >> 

For the Love of Science Read >> 

Keeping the Flame Alive Read >> 

The Gift of Love is in the Air - Literally! CO2 Levels in the Bedroom Read >> 

The Redwoods: A Community of Seniors Read >> 

You’re A Good Mama Read >>