Cathy: What about self-care and self-love? I’m Cathy Vartuli from The Intimacy Dojo.

Liz: I am Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych.

Caroline: I’m Caroline Carrington from Jewel in the Lotus Coaching.

Yoni: And I’m Yoni Alkan from ElementsofSexuality.com.

Cathy: And no matter what we talk about and all the skills you can have, if you don’t have self-love and self-care, it’s really hard to implement those things. I know like I know a lot of techniques to approach people sexually and talk to them but if I’m feeling really low, if I haven’t been taking care of myself or I’m not loving myself very much, it’s going to come across really awkward or I’m just not going to have the resources to be present with somebody.

Liz: I think one of my friends said to me and I think this has been a big message for me the last several months, we accept love we think we deserve. If you feel like you don’t deserve anything better than someone who treats you poorly, you’re never going to step forward and demand something better. If you don’t feel like you demand – like you deserve someone who treats you really well, who honors your autonomy, who values you, you’re not going to find that person. You’re going to settle for someone who you think you don’t – you are not enough for them and they’re so much better than you even when they’re not treating you in a way that works for you.

Yoni: I think it’s also important to know what you want from yourself and from others and find your place, find what’s good for you and what’s not. And in order to do that, you got to try.

Cathy: Yeah. It’s awkward at first. It’s like if you haven’t done it, it’s like trying to lift weights when you haven’t lifted weights before. It’s like, “Oh, this is so hard. It’s going to take me forever.” But a little bit of practice over and over, “I’m beating myself up again. Let me stop. Let me appreciate something about myself. It feels so awkward.” And the next time it’s a little easier. You actually build neural pathways in your brain.

Caroline: Right. There’s a practice I’ve actually started in the last few weeks. As opposed to going through the day and like thinking about everything that happened, I actually take a couple of minutes before bed and just let me give myself a little pep talk about all the awesome things that I achieved that day. And sometimes it is, “Oh, I slept 8 hours,” which is huge, right? Or, “I did some exercise today,” or, “I completed that thing that has been on my to-do list for the last six months,” whatever it is. But being very affirming to myself and kind of being my own cheerleader.

Cathy: I like that. And I have to sometimes do small things because I’m like, “Oh, I did not win the Nobel Prize today.” But obviously I feel, “No. OK. I was kind to someone. I got that thing done that has been on my list. It only took me 5 minutes but it has been there for a year. Thank god I got it done.” Like the smaller things that we sometimes forget to appreciate.

Caroline: I think that word “kindness” is key. Being kind to ourselves and taking ourselves off that perfection pedestal.

Yoni: Yeah.

Liz: Yeah. Go ahead.

Yoni: One of the things that dancing taught me in my life is the concept of patience and it’s all a process. These things take time. You can be super talented in dance specifically. You can be super talented and learn everything really quickly. There are things that will not click until you log so and so many dance floor hours. You have to dance and dance and dance and dance until you get it.

So, that’s where I learned that lesson of I’m in a process. This is where I am right now. I have a long way to go. But I’m happy where I am right now and knowing that it will only get better. I need experience. It is really important.

Liz: And I fall into this trap in a lot of like expecting myself to be better than anyone else. Like I would never have the same expectations than someone else that I have on myself because clearly, I should be able to establish a highly successful business in less than a year after moving to a new city all the way across the country with no contacts, that’s – god! What’s wrong with me? Perfectly reasonable, right?

And so, I think that a lot of times when you’re noticing that you’re not measuring up, it’s time to check those standards. Like where did you get those standards from? Are they even realistic? Could anyone meet that standard?

Cathy: Would you ask your bestfriend to do the same thing?

Liz: Right. If your bestfriend come to you and said, “I feel like such a failure because XYZ,” would you look at them like, “Why?” Right?

Cathy: Yeah. And I think you’re talking about the awkwardness. I’ve had – I’m going to try to reframe it because I was brought up with a perfection model, I think we all were, where if we are really good, talented people, it would be super easy and we just like get it instantly. And yeah, there are some things that are like that but most things when we’re outside our comfort zone when we are growing were going to be awkward.

And so, it used to be I felt like I was a failure if I felt awkward. Now, I try to remind myself, “Wow! I had courage. I’m doing something that’s new to me.” That’s actually a really good thing. So this awkwardness even though it feels uncomfortable is actually a really positive sign that I’m making a difference.

Caroline: And the reality is even when you’re super talented and living out your dream and your total passion and you are made for this, I was watching documentaries on Beyonce recently, they took six years as Destiny’s Child even to get a record deal. Six years. And then they lost it twice. She spent her whole lifetime working her ass off. And she is one of the best in the business, she is phenomenal.

Cathy: But on Facebook, we don’t see the struggle.

Caroline: Right. We missed the struggles.

Liz: Exactly. We see everyone else’s polished, perfected, photoshoped lives and compare them to what we know of our reality.

Cathy: Yeah, comparing our insides to everyone else’s outsides.

Liz: Yeah. Compare your inside life to someone else’s outside life and that’s not realistic, right? Even Beyonce isn’t Beyonce. Even Kim Kardashian isn’t Kim Kardashian.

Cathy: Yeah. And I think that one other thing you can do is find the thing you hate most about yourself and look at it more deeply. For a long time, I was convinced because I was heavier and a big woman that no one can ever love and I’ve been told that many, many times. And just kind of reconnecting to my body and going, “Well, it’s pretty amazing. I have more fat cells than Cosmo says I should have.”

I still get to love the fact that my body can enjoy pleasure and hug friends and there are all these things. When I started connecting with that, the thing that you hate the most, maybe the biggest source of change that you can make when you start looking for things you can appreciate about it. And again, you can start really small.

Yoni: Yeah.

Cathy: So we hope this helps.

Liz: Yeah.

Cathy: We’d love to know what you think. What are you struggling with around self-care and self-love? Leave comments below.

Caroline: Maybe you will inspire us with your comments.

Liz: We’re always looking for new tips.