In going deeper into my own personal mindfulness practice, I’ve learned there are several foundations that create a strong, uplifting practice that can truly be relied upon to enhance our lives.

One of those foundations that helps me to go within and stay focused on my own inner work is the practice of self-awareness. Often one of the more challenging aspects of mindfulness, when we become aware of our own needs, desires, and who we are, we gently open a door to our inner wisdom that guides us in the direction of how to care for ourselves well and with a compassion that didn’t exist before.

Practicing self-awareness comes with taking a quiet but thorough look at ourselves through the lens of personal truth, which leads us on a journey within. Though that journey is not always easy, as I’m sure many of you have experienced for yourselves, it is truly one of the most rewarding paths my mindfulness practice has taken me on.

It is in this turning within and doing the inner work that leads to transformation and an expression of our best selves that we begin learning the practice of self-care. 

At times, self-care can look like setting boundaries with a loved one, as challenging as it may be. It can look like sitting in meditation for an extra 15 minutes one morning when you’re feeling extra stress or have a busy day ahead.

Self-care can include committing to your mindfulness practice daily as a way to consistently show up for yourself spiritually and emotionally, or writing down a daily intention in your journal each morning.

Self-care encompasses our emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical bodies, and in practicing self-care, we learn the many ways we can address our own needs and tend to ourselves with the utmost of kindness.

Self-care can present itself in a myriad of forms and lessons as we grow in compassion for ourselves and our journey, which ultimately leads to self-love. We learn to value ourselves highly and treat ourselves as we would treat someone we love - emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

As we learn to further lean into self-care and honor who we are and the space we take up in the world, we’re rewarded with a stronger sense of self-love and a more gentle approach to loving all parts of ourselves, including those we’ve pushed away in the past.

True self-love is an ongoing practice, a practice of loving our whole selves; our shadows along with our light. 

Self-love comes from a place deep within, accessed from a path of self-awareness, that mirrors the beauty we see in the world and reflects it back to us in our humanness, our tenderness, and our hearts.