56 – Self-Love Essentials for Smashing The Patriarchy this Valentine’s Day

This special Valentine’s week episode is dedicated to smashing The Patriarchy by tapping deep into the well of your self-love. Because if you want to live your vida mas chévere, if you want to design your best childfree Latina life, you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself.

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How do you get that? Listen in for practical tips on how to prioritize self-care rituals, savor moments of joy, and release negativity so you can reach the point where you are actively, intentionally, and fiercely in love with yourself.

Because if there’s one thing The Patriarchy hates, it’s when women love themselves fully. Especially if those women are childfree Latinas.

3 takeaways from this episode are: 

  1. Self-love is crucial for designing your best life and living la vida más chévere.
  2. Neglecting self-love has detrimental effects on your self-esteem, relationships, and personal development.
  3. Actively pushing past the discomfort of learning to love yourself combats social conditioning, and can start with bite size moments.

Bonus takeaway: being in love with yourself means you’re never alone on Valentine’s Day!

Join us as we navigate the journey to self-love, celebrate our unique Latine identities, and embrace the power of self-empowerment through self-care. This episode is a loving reminder to all childfree Latinas that self-love is not only essential, but a radical act of revolution.

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In this episode

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Transcript

[00:00] Buen dia mi gente, and welcome to La Vida Más Chévere, the only Spanglish podcast for childfree Latinas y Latinas trying to dismantle the toxic cultural bullshit we all grew up in so that we can live our best lives instead. I’m your resident childfree Latina and host, Paulette Erato. On today’s episode, we’re turning our focus inward and we’re becoming las reinas that we were meant to be.

[00:26] We are intentionally and actively showering ourselves with love, mis amigues, because it’s February, which means among other things, that it’s the month of love. And the most important love all of us can have, that we can give, is the love for ourselves. Okay. Okay. Before you skip out to another podcast, hear me out.

[00:50] I know the idea of self-love and self-care can be cringe. But in order to design your vida más chévere, you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself. And this can be a work in progress. It’s not something you need to solve today, but it’s definitely something you can start today. The toxic cultural bullshit we’re dismantling today is the idea that you’re not worthy of love.

[01:17] Ever wonder where that came from? Is it maybe because our capitalist society wants you to believe it’s something that you have to earn? That a product you have to buy can make you feel good about yourself? And if you spend your hard earned money, but still don’t like yourself, well then, you’ll try something else that’ll cost you even more money!

[01:36] Because through this lens, you are the problem. But mija, you know damn well that you are not the problem. Society’s toxic ideas are the problem. The patriarchy is the problem. Capitalism is the problem. Someone is laughing all the way to the bank on this propaganda. Some mediocre white men are raking in dollars and cents over making you feel bad about yourself.

[02:03] So that you’ll spend money to feel good. But guess what? You don’t have to do that. Do you remember guest Rena Martine who said, I say a lot, think of how many industries would collapse if women started loving our bodies tomorrow. But think of how many industries would collapse if none of us were striving for perfection.

[02:22] By the way, Rena also talked about her book on that episode, and it’s out now. I’ll have links to buy it in the show notes, but also let me know if you want her back on the show to talk more about the book.

[02:35] What we are bringing back this month is self-love. For one, it annoys the hell out of the patriarchy when we love ourselves, as you heard Rena say from her episode.

[02:45] But also because self-love is sexy and sexy is just another word for attractive, confident, and inspiring. I wouldn’t be living up to my muse’s name if I didn’t at least inspire you to love yourself. To that end, all month long, we’re celebrating Self-Love Sundays on Substack. It’s filled with self-love tips, tricks, and ideas for applying it to your own life.

[03:11] Plus some radical moments that might make you rethink the approach to your own life. Some of that we’re going to cover in this episode, but you can get even more out of it through the Substack. For example, as a precursor to Valentine’s Day this week, this past Sunday, subscribers received a list of 10 ways to love themselves.

[03:31] Do you want that too? Then you can find a link to join in the show notes. Just click the link, add your email, and boom, you’ll even get a gift in your inbox for the effort.

[03:42] I should mention, I also have a lot of episodes that touch on some of the specifics I’m going to mention today. Don’t worry. I’ll have the full list of the ones I mention in the extended show notes at pauletterato.com/shownotes. And by the way, anytime you can’t find something I mentioned in the description of your podcast player, I do include a link to the expanded show notes with the episode number, so check those out when you can.

[04:07] Let’s kick things off by defining self-love. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as regard for one’s own well being and happiness, simply accepting yourself as you currently are, flaws and all. You can also think of it as prioritizing yourself and your needs.

[04:26] It’s a really nice place to live here where you love yourself. Speaking of places, self-love also extends to building out your environment around you in a way that supports you. You know that saying, your house is your sanctuary. If your body is your temple, and we’ll talk about that in a bit, then your home is where your temple goes to relax and unwind.

[04:51] I mentioned Valentine’s Day or what cynics like to call Losers or Loners Awareness Day. And yes, there are some unsavory aspects to it. Like it’s a celebration of a Saint who was martyred, but has somehow turned into a big consumer holiday. We hate that. Maybe you’re even feeling some kind of way about it yourself.

[05:10] Look, love can take a lot of different forms, and the one for yourself is the most important. Because I can tell you from experience that after 34 ish Valentine’s Day that were mostly spent single, I was never alone on those days because of the relationship I have with myself. If you’re a cynic, that might sound like horseshit, it might be hard to hear, but it’s true.

[05:37] You heard my guest Monica on the last two episodes talk about her relationship with herself and how she combated loneliness. Amigues, she’s got an entire TEDx Talk about it, so you know there’s a lot of validity to this concept of loving yourself. Now here’s the kicker, self-love and self-care are often tossed around like they’re interchangeable.

[06:00] Here’s how I think of it, self-care is self-love in action. Yeah? Great. So what does self-love look like for us Latinas on the daily? Let’s break it down. This is going to be structured in three parts. What self-love looks like day to day, how neglecting yourself shows up in your life, and some tips from the audience for how they do it.

[06:24] Vale? Vale.

[06:26] Every day is an opportunity to love yourself. I know, it sounds totally cheesy. That’s just a toxic cultural norm that has lodged deep inside your psyche, trying to make you feel weird about liking yourself, because it wants you to buy things to fix yourself instead. The beast is mad that you’re DIYing your self-love instead of buying Acme X product or whatever.

[06:49] Because there’s nothing to fix here. You get to love yourself in spite of what capitalist gods would have you believe. Your well being actually starts on the inside, not in the anti-aging aisle at Target or at Ulta. Though, please do pick up sunscreen next time you’re there. Your skin deserves some love and protection too, no?

[07:09] Let’s talk about moments of joy. You get to have these whenever you want, but I would really love for you to begin each day with a moment of joy. Did you know that you can start your day that way? I know. It’s so easy to open your eyes when you wake up and immediately grab your phone and just start scrolling, looking at emails or whatever.

[07:30] But what if you didn’t? What if instead you took a little bit of time, it can be, you know, as little as a few minutes, to just welcome in the day? Think about it. What sounds better? Taking a deep cleansing breath before you open your eyes or doom scrolling through crusty eyelids? So, how can you find your moment of joy to start the day off right?

[07:55] What is something you can add to your daily routine to kick it up a notch to a daily ritual? Here’s a short list of ideas for creating a slow and loving moment of joy for yourself. A lo mejor it looks like a cup of cafecito. while you watch the sunrise. You know how much I look forward to my morning tea latte.

[08:16] That’s my morning ritual. And I’ll leave you a link in the show notes for my favorite frother because that thing is so good. Or an easy stretching routine before you get dressed while you’re listening to soothing music. Maybe you’re one of those people that likes ice plunges. I don’t know. Or, while you’re washing your face, slow down so that you’re really getting into all those pores but more so that you’re touching your skin and reminding yourself that you are beautiful.

[08:46] Do you journal? Episode five of this podcast is called Journaling, a Toilet for Your Brain. It’s about letting go of all the negativity inside your mind, the kind that your inner critic absolutely loves to dine out on. And in doing that, you know, flushing out all of these nasty thoughts, you make room for all of the great ideas you are going to have today.

[09:08] Imagine if you had the ability to come up with amazing ideas, but your brain couldn’t appreciate them because it was holding on to all of these trash thoughts instead. More about this later. So what could you change today to make it a daily morning ritual that would allow you to savor these little moments of joy?

[09:29] And also find ways to insert these moments of joy throughout the day, especially if your mornings are rushed. Take a break and walk outside, inhale some deep breaths or even just chair dance. Do you have hobbies? Are you able to get to them often enough to feed your creativity? I hope so. Again, this is about your well being, and if you’re not feeding the physical, emotional, and mental parts of you, are you really loving yourself fully?

[09:59] Next, let’s talk about that fabulous body you’re walking around this world in. I know, this one’s a sticking point for a lot of people because nuestra cultura has done a really good job of making us feel bad about our bodies. But las reinas, they take care of their body like it’s a temple. Regardless of how you feel about your body, your body is marvelous.

[10:22] It carries you around every day. All the achievements you’ve made, all of the paths you have explored throughout your life, you have done that in this body. Isn’t that incredible? Can you believe some people would deny themselves love by ignoring their bodies? No, you wouldn’t do that! Because this body of yours is sacred.

[10:49] So how do we show love to these amazing bodies we occupy? I’ve got three ways for you right now, movement, nourishment, and rest. This also means listening to what your body is trying to tell you. Moving your body and nourishing it is a form of self-love that leaves you feeling radiant from the inside out.

[11:12] So how are we doing that? Here’s some ideas. Practice gentle stretching or yoga to inject mindfulness into your routine. Prepare a nutritious and colorful meal so you get lots of fiber because healthy poops are a sign of self-love. Get outside for a walk in nature or a jog around the park. Say hi to some doggos that you see out on the street.

[11:38] And finally, make sure you rest when you need it. We’ll get back to all of these things in a little bit. And last but not least, be very cautious of what you feed your mind and your soul. Diving into a good book by one of the Latina authors I’ll have in the show notes, or tuning into a podcast like this one that empowers you?

[12:00] That’s all good. Surrounding yourself with uplifting content that resonates with you y tu cultura is a beautiful act of self-love. On the other hand, you may have heard me talk about a diet of consumption. It’s not just what you put in your mouth, but the stuff that you read, the stuff that you watch, the stuff that you listen to.

[12:21] There’s a lot of trash out there. I mean, we call it trash TV for a reason. It’s like junk food, which is totally okay in moderation. It’s not full of much nutrition, so it’s not feeding you, but it does feed your insecurities. I know that trash TV is appealing because it’s all about manufactured drama and train wrecks.

[12:42] As a species, we love shit like that. It doesn’t mean it’s great for us, though. If you’re using it as an escape as opposed to an aspiration, then okay. We could all use a little escape once in a while. I mean, hell, I spent all of January reading romance novels. There was not much great literature among them, but that didn’t mean they didn’t provide me refuge from dealing with what was a very difficult month.

[13:06] I read 24 of them in 31 days, so yeah. What can treating your body like a temple look like for you? Here is another short list. Listen to a motivational podcast like this one, or a TED Talk during your commute or your workout. I’ll have a couple of links in the show notes to TED Talks given by La Vida Más Chévere guests.

[13:30] Engage in a hobby or a creative outlet that brings you joy, like reading romance novels. I’m pretty sure my whole first 12 episodes were about enjoying your hobbies. Finally, connect with a friend or a loved one for a heartfelt conversation, or even just a virtual cafecito. Your community is as important to your well-being as the love that you have for yourself.

[13:56] So if you’re in need of support, lean on that community. All of these options are really just a way of incorporating self-love into your daily routine, catering to different preferences you might have in that day. Or different interests you might have in that period of life.

[14:12] So now let’s chat about the effects of ignoring self-love.

[14:16] Spoiler alert, mis amigues, it ain’t pretty. When we neglect self-love, it’s like dimming our own light, and we don’t do that here. We’re all about shining our light brightly. So dimming your light is the complete opposite action that you should be doing. Because when we do that, we start doubting ourselves, comparing ourselves to others.

[14:40] And you know, Comparisonitis is a disease that steals our joy. I have a podcast episode about that, number 30, called Comparison is the Thief of Joy. And then your inner critic, that bitch becomes louder than the neighborhood rooster. And let me tell you, after living in Puerto Rico, I am done with the fucking roosters.

[15:00] Look, no shade to my boricuas, but I don’t like birds. Especially roosters, and especially in the middle of the night. And I don’t like letting my inner critic get too loud with the negative self talk. Talking badly about ourselves? Fuck that. So, how do you know if you’re neglecting yourself? Some of you are like, no, Paulette, I’m taking really good care of myself.

[15:22] Okay. Yeah, sure. Let me ask you some questions. Do you skip meals and then get tired or hangry later? Or let your energy meter run on empty and start feeling burnt out? Are you drinking a lot or otherwise indulging in some vices you know, aren’t super great for you? Like too much trash TV? Do you, you know, hold it when what you really need to do is go take a piss, but you just gotta get this one last thing done.

[15:50] Do you put yourself down or have trouble accepting compliments or shrink yourself down so you’re not so visible? Have you been avoiding some of the people that you otherwise love? Are you getting enough exercise? Do you keep neglecting your own desires, dreams, or goals because, pues, there’s always mañana?

[16:12] Or, do you just not believe that they’re worth pursuing? Did you answer yes to any of these? Alright, let’s take it from the top. Number one was skipping meals and letting your energy run out. Skipping meals, punishing yourself by denying yourself food, is disordered eating. If you’re an intermittent faster and eat only during a certain window, okay, fine.

[16:33] But letting your energy run down like a car out of gas, isn’t it, babe. No te hagas eso. If we love ourselves, we also don’t ignore our need for rest and relaxing by pushing ourselves to exhaustion, to burnout. You hear me say this all the time. Rest is required. You are a human being. You are not a machine.

[16:56] So you have to rest. One of my favorite resources on this is the Nap Ministry, which is about making sure that Black women in particular, but all us women of color take the damn nap! Get your rest, sit down and let somebody else take over that burden. Conversely, overindulging ain’t great. And that’s number two.

[17:19] Overindulging, especially in bad habits like heavy drinking or smoking, isn’t a good look. And I’m not saying don’t drink or smoke. Actually, yeah, don’t smoke. That’s a really nasty habit. And it makes you smell bad. Plus it ages you really fast. Getting drunk every night? That’s not great for you either.

[17:37] It’s not gonna make your skin look good. It’s not gonna make your liver look good. But also, don’t go too far in the other direction, where you don’t allow yourself to have any fun at all. This is about moderation. Unless you struggle with addiction, in that case, please seek medical advice and help.

[17:53] Speaking of medical help, you’re going to need some soon if you don’t allow yourself some relief regularly. You got to poop and pee when your body wants to poop and pee. Listen to your body, when it needs food and when it needs to dump the food out. Number four was about putting yourself down. If you’re shrinking yourself, I’ve got another episode for you.

[18:14] Ana Del Castillo spoke about this on the episode called Choosing Yourself is Sanity. It was about not pretzeling yourself to become a version that is easier for someone else to take, that it’s a more palatable version of you for other people. No, we don’t do that. Just like we do not dim our light. When we love ourselves, we do not talk badly about ourselves.

[18:36] We do not put ourselves down. We do learn the power of saying thank you and how to accept a compliment without diminishing ourselves. Number five was ignoring the people that we love. Ignoring self-love can also take a toll on your relationships. Ever find yourself snapping at someone that you love for no reason?

[18:57] Yeah, that’s the lack of self-love talking. When we’re running on empty, again, just like in number one, it’s really hard to show up as our best selves for those that we care about. How are you going to show up for them when you can’t even show up for yourself? Isolating yourself from supportive relationships or avoiding seeking help when you need it for maybe some struggles that are getting a little out of control, maybe some mental health issues, maybe some physical issues?

[19:23] Don’t do that. If you can’t lean on your community for support, are you at least seeking help elsewhere? Number six is about exercise. Lacking self-love can also look like neglecting regular exercise and physical activity. Remember movement is one of the core tenets of loving your body. I’m not saying go to the gym and do that 315 pound deadlift with me, unless you want to.

[19:47] You are always invited to join me at the deadlifting platform, but spending too many hours sitting and doing nothing is not great for your body. We just talked about how your liver is not going to look good, but your bones are also going to end up with holes in them if you don’t take care of them. The antidote to that can just look like simple movement every day.

[20:08] Also, ignoring medical checkups and neglecting to address your other health concerns, that’s not a good way to love yourself. Get your annual checkups. Go to the dentist twice a year. By the way, when was the last time you changed your toothbrush? Has it been more than six months? Maybe now’s a good time to go to the store and get yourself a new toothbrush.

[20:27] They’re very inexpensive, and it’s a simple way to provide self-care to your teeth. Because as it turns out, dental problems can lead to all kinds of other systemic breakdowns in your body, like heart attacks and diabetes. Did you know that? I’ll leave you a link to a scientific paper about it in the show notes.

[20:45] But also, makeup. Did you know that makeup expires? You should be throwing that stuff out. I don’t care what it cost you. If you bought it during lockdown, please throw it out. It is long gone and it is not doing you any favors. Finally, number seven, let’s also not forget about our own dreams and our goals.

[21:06] When we don’t prioritize ourselves, when we’re not giving ourselves the loves, we’re essentially putting all our dreams and goals on the back burner. Avoiding activities that bring you joy and fulfillment because you’re not feeling worthy or you feel undeserving? What would help you combat that? Oh, right.

[21:24] Putting yourself first, taking care of yourself. Just tiny little ways so that you remind yourself, wait, I am worth it. I started the year by telling you about the word of the year and how you can use it to set your intention for the year through this thought exercise, right? That is to help you turn your dreams into goals and further fuel your goals to make them happen.

[21:47] But instead, if you’re forgetting about yourself, if you’re not putting yourself first, if you’re not putting your dreams and your goals first, you’re simply saying, I’m not worth it. But guess what? You deserve to chase those dreams with all of the amor propio in this world. So, those questions I want you to sit and ponder on.

[22:07] What these examples are illustrating is how ignoring self-love can manifest in various aspects of your life, leading to negative consequences for both your physical and emotional well being. Mm mm mm.

[22:20] You know, I did a whole episode on self-care, and since self-care is self-love in action, here are some self-care tips from the community.

[22:29] I asked my social media followers for how they routinely love themselves. So let me give you some ideas from that little experiment. Oh, check this out. No joke. I just went into my Instagram archive to find the list of answers I got that day. And on the day I’m recording this, two years ago, so in 2022, before I even launched this podcast, I posted something that said, Perfection is a form of self torture! How apropos.

[22:58] So the question to my followers was, what is your favorite routine self-care moment? That meant it’s not something they went out of their way to do. It was just something they naturally do to take care of themselves. Here are their answers. Basking in the sun was one response. Yes, get that vitamin D, but also don’t forget your sunscreen, especially on your face.

[23:21] Sun damage ain’t cute. Another response was journaling and a walk. Again, getting outside and getting those trash thoughts out of your head. I talked about this. Again, that episode is number five, journaling a toilet for your brain. Another friend said sleep, just plain rest, nothing on your mind, free from stress, sleep.

[23:43] . See, they recognize that rest is required. My wine drinking friend said, reading and gardening while enjoying a glass of wine. Again, in moderation. Also, the benefits of gardening are wholly underrated. Just having plants in your home is a nice boost to that environment we were talking about earlier.

[24:05] And if you want a list of easy plants to take care of, let me know. I became a little bit of a plant lady last year. Another person said going to bed early, so keeping in with that rest and sleep trend. But also playing the piano. Yes. Indulging in a hobby that brings her joy. That’s so important. Having a creative outlet nourishes the creative side of you.

[24:29] And we all have one, even if you don’t think you do. Go back and listen to episode two. It’s called Are You an Artist or Are You a Scientist? Another friend said praying, journaling, and reading. So prayer, if you’re not religious, can also just look like meditation. Journaling, again, getting the trash thoughts out of your head so you can make room for all of the ideas that you’re going to have today.

[24:53] And reading, a way to escape the grind and get into a story. Reading also teaches us empathy as humans. So I highly, highly, highly recommend reading some good fiction. Finally, the last response was puppy cuddles. That’s one we didn’t cover. My mom actually talked about this on the episode we did together when I asked her who her favorite grandchild is.

[25:17] She gets very upset when I say that, but it’s always an allusion to my brother’s dog, Chewy. She loves Chewy so much. Oh yeah, Chewy. At this stage in my life, this little four legged furry guy just opened up another dimension in my heart that I, it was unknown to me. Animals, if you’re a pet person, are great for that.

[25:42] I’m not a pet person. I’m as petfree as I am childfree, but I get it. Even though I don’t like having my own animals, I do get very excited seeing doggos out on the street, especially huskies. Have I ever told you the tale of my favorite husky, Wyatt? If not, I’ll stick it in a future Substack post. Oh, I love Wyatt.

[26:00] Pets definitely help add companionship to your life. Like I mentioned, I have plants. That’s the living, breathing entity I take care of, my plants. So thank you to all of my listeners and followers who weighed in on that. I thought that that was really beautiful. And these are, they’re all actionable tips that you can take.

[26:19] You the listener can take today pretty much, unless you don’t have a dog. You can’t have the puppy cuddles right away, but you could go to a shelter or visit a friend who has a dog or a cat. Or adopt a plant. All right, let’s recap. Here are the key takeaways I want you to have from this episode. self-love and self-care go hand in hand.

[26:38] And while they’re often used interchangeably, self-care is self-love in action. It’s the action that shows your self-love. And love can be passive, but I want you to love yourself actively, intentionally, and fiercely. Otherwise that passivity can turn into nonchalance and then to taking yourself for granted.

[27:00] So self-love is an intentional practice that prioritizes your well-being. Daily acts of self-love are possible by incorporating small but meaningful acts into your daily routine. This is essential for nurturing your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, whether it’s taking a rest, having some physical activity in or out of the bedroom, feeding your mind with uplifting content, any or all of these actions together contribute to a healthier relationship with yourself.

[27:32] The consequences of ignoring self-love are pretty icky. The various detrimental effects include hits to your self esteem, increased self doubt, strained relationships, stalled personal development, and really doing the bare minimum to keep yourself alive. You deserve better than that.

[27:51] Ignoring your needs, deprioritizing your dreams, minimizing yourself, dimming your light, all of this hinders your ability to design your vida más chévere. Creating your best life means choosing self-love despite the challenges and distractions that might arise from time to time. Prioritizing self-love is essential. Embracing your imperfections, giving yourself compassion and engaging in activities that again, nurture that mind, body, and soul are vital steps towards cultivating a deeper sense of self-love and empowerment.

[28:26] If you want to live your vida más chévere, if you want to design your best life, one that is worth living, you need to have a healthy relationship with yourself. You need to love the person in the mirror. And I know when I put it that way, it sounds so cringey. You’re like, Paulette, no. But guess what? That discomfort you’re feeling, you need to push past it so that your comfort zone can grow to include love for yourself.

[28:51] As a bonus, the patriarchy really hates it when we love ourselves. So let’s smash the patriarchy with some self-love and jump on Substack if you missed out on the 10 different ways that you can love yourself. And get ready for more this weekend on self-love Sunday, and that’s a burrito. Do you got something to say about this week’s episode?

[29:10] DM me on Instagram @PauletteErato. And if you’d like to be a guest on La Vida Más Chévere, check out the guest form on my website at pauletteerato.com. All of these links are in the show notes. While you’re at it, can I ask you a favor? I’d really appreciate your helping spread awareness about the podcast, so could you please share it on your socials or even send it to a friend?[29:31] New episodes come out every other Tuesday. You can enjoy them with tacos or burritos. Muchísimas gracias for your support, y hasta la próxima vez, cuídate bien.

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