What Self-Love Really Means in Today’s World

On Episode 110 of Productivity Paradox this week, I sat down with marathon runner and body positivity activist, Dorothy Beal, to talk all about what got her started on her journey as a runner, how that led her to found the I Run This Body brand… and to the creation of the I Have a Runner’s Body and I Run This Body movement.

And I have to tell you, I absolutely loved our conversation and what Dorothy had to say about where her inspiration to better her health through running came from, and how she continues to persevere… even on the days when she admits she would rather stay in bed!

Our conversation had me thinking a lot about the idea of Self-Love–which is something we have talked about a lot on the podcast in episodes prior and in our community group on Facebook this month, and about ways that we can continue to cultivate Self-Love on the days when we need it most.

But in that same light… Many of you have raised the question, what does self-love really look like when so much of our self-worth these days seems as though it’s entirely based on outward appearances?

So today, I want to dial in on that by exploring what I think Self-Love really means in today’s world so that we can all move forward this year by focusing on what really matters when it comes to building up our confidence and self-worth.

Ready to jump in?

What Self-Love Really Means


You’re Not Comparing Yourself to Others—

Whether you’re a runner like Dorothy or you’re someone who enjoys scrolling through Instagram or Facebook on your downtime… When it comes to self-love, it’s important to understand the difference between the words ‘competing’ and ‘comparing’.

Self-love has absolutely nothing to do with comparing yourself to others, even if you’re someone who competes with others in some way or another (i.e. through marathons, contests, academics, and so on)… Rather, self-love is all about turning our tendency to compare ourselves with others on its head by recognizing that we are all different, physically and mentally.

Just because your body doesn’t look like someone you see on Instagram or at your local gym, it does not mean that you are worth any less.

Just because you did not score the highest on an exam or finish a task before the person sitting beside you, it does not mean that you are any less capable of rising to the top and crushing your goals than they are.

Give yourself permission to let yourself out of the comparison trap and start focusing on what really matters instead: Yourself and how you feel on the inside as you navigate the ups and downs of your journey, whatever it might look like for you!


You Accept Yourself Unconditionally—

It can be so easy to give control of the floor in your mind to the most negative voice inside, because for so many of us… Our own negative thoughts are those that we listen to the most, even when the rest of the world tries to hold us up to shine otherwise.

Let’s be honest: We can be our own worst critics, our own worst enemies… And it’s not hard to understand why. We can be so quick to compliment strangers on the street or to lift our closest friends up whenever they need a boost of confidence… but how many times have you offered the same service to yourself?

When it comes to self-love, it’s imperative that we learn how to accept ourselves implicitly.

Now, I understand that this can be so tough, because it can be incredibly difficult to turn down the volume of our inner-critic… but I promise you with a little bit of practice, it becomes easier and easier to silence the negativity even on the gloomiest of days.

Practice giving yourself a compliment in the mirror each morning when you wake up… What is one thing that you absolutely admire about yourself? Celebrate it!

And if you ever experience one of those days where you just don’t want to get out of bed, instead of complaining or beating yourself up… try to figure out where the unsettling feelings are coming from. What are your moods trying to tell you?

Meet yourself from a level of compassion and understanding on the days when you need it most, and you might be surprised by how easy it can be to continue to accept yourself unconditionally, just as you would your children, your family, or your friends!


You’re Showing Up for Yourself—

Goals big or small need require some momentum in order to come to fruition. And the same can be said when it comes to cultivating self-love!

If you listened to Episode 110, then you may have heard Dorothy Beal when she mentioned treating her health as a relationship with herself. And I think that’s such an important idea to clue into…

When it comes to self-love in today’s world, it’s important that we view it as though we are tending to a relationship—a relationship with ourselves. And relationships take a lot of work, don’t they?

If you’re willing to give your friends the attention they need to strengthen your relationship with them, and if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to keep your relationship with your spouse strong… Why not treat your relationship with yourself the same way?

No matter how you’re feeling on a particular day, and no matter what the journey before you might look like, self-love means that you’re making a conscious effort to continue to show up for yourself no matter what.


You Understand Your Journey Comes with Ups and Downs—

You’ve heard me say this a lot in reference to other topics (work, goals, and so on) but I think that it bears repeating here as well…

Think about how your journey in your body has unfolded over the course of your life so far. If you’re anything like me, I’m going to bet that if you were to draw a timeline of your life on a piece of paper that it would have a lot of highs and a lot of lows, right?

Life is full of surprises, setbacks, and disappointments… They’re part of what makes life so enjoyable in the first place!

So, when it comes to your journey with yourself, I want to encourage you to enjoy the ride as much as possible. As you’re navigating your relationship with yourself and cultivating self-love, trust that you’re going to be met with ups and downs… It’s totally normal!

On those days when you’re feeling lousy… Treat yourself to come extra TLC with a bubble bath, a long walk outside, or to a savory meal. And on those days when you’ve got an extra spring in your step? Celebrate them!


What are some of your favorite ways to show yourself some love? How do you show up for yourself on the days when you find your motivation is lacking? Share your ideas in the comments below… And be sure to tune in to Episode 110 to learn even more about Dorothy Beal’s inspiring journey as a runner!



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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton