Josephine Bredsted is a creative consultant and founder of Legue, which is a self-love movement. At Ro Copenhagen, we believe that self-love is an important key to creating inner peace. Self-love may sound simple, almost banal even, yet we still underprioritise it as soon as everyday life starts rolling along. That's why we need to be curious about ourselves and the changes we want to create – because what does self-love really mean and how do we maintain it?
To learn more about this, we started a conversation with Josephine Bredsted, who talks about the consequences of forgetting to take care of yourself. Read on to find inspiration for a healthier life with more self-love.
My personal turning point
Six years ago, a personal journey started inside me, although at that point I wasn't even aware that it had begun. I had just made the decision to leave a job because I felt I wasn't thriving in it. On paper, everything looked perfect, and I was actually really good at the job, but I felt unhappy. I had a constant feeling of having to play a role to fit in.
The decision to leave my job was in many ways an important step in the direction towards finding greater self-love. But as you probably know all too well, it's very easy to fall back into old habits at the start of a period of change. So it didn't take long before I ended up in a similar job where I was met with the same feelings and challenges. However, I could feel that something inside me had changed slightly. I could no longer compromise on situations I previously just went along with. For the first time, I started working with myself. Until now, I had suppressed the person I really was in order to fit into my surroundings, in the hope of receiving the love I desperately sought. A new chapter had started on my journey, and it was all about self-love. I would work towards finding peace in being myself.
“The love I was looking for was right here with me”
I began to examine various spiritual practices such as: yoga, breathing exercises, body treatments and coaching. Through these, I wanted to achieve deeper contact with myself. By working with my body and mind on a daily basis, with meditation and movement, I found something very special ... namely, a smaller inner voice, also called my intuition, which knew exactly who I was. I would describe intuition like a feeling or fragrance that reminds you of something really familiar. It’s like diving into an atmosphere that feels very safe. By directing my focus from the outside world to my inner world, I became really aware that the love I was looking for was right here with me. That’s why self-love has become my life practice for a better life. I wish that everyone could discover that what we are looking for is already right here with us.
“You can't make a list of self-love rituals”
From my perspective, self-love has nothing to do with routines or health. Self-love is much more than just drinking a delicious smoothie for breakfast. Because if you drink that smoothie based on an ideal of wanting to look like or be a certain way, it has nothing to do with self-love.
Self-love is about meeting yourself with unconditional acceptance and love, regardless of where or who you are. It’s a cognitive way of working with your self-image, where you meet yourself in a loving presence.
If meditation gives you the space to meet your thoughts with softness and without judgement, then it’s a good self-love practice for you to do. But if it’s just another item on your TO-DO list so that you can live up to the perfect illusion, then it isn't self-love! That's why you can't make a list of self-love rituals. There are many different actions that can help you cultivate openness and love: being close to your children, warm baths, 10 minutes of silence in bed when you wake up, being close to nature, being creative or dancing. In reality, it is only when you reach in and take note of yourself and are honest with yourself that you find your self-love routines.
I found my own self-love rituals by trying out lots of different practices and then assessing which ones I did purely out of a sense of duty, and which of them inspired me to more self-love.
"I'm a morning person”
When I had a job with a lot of responsibility and long days, I started my day with regular morning routines. It was difficult to find the time to connect with myself during the day, and as I'm a morning person, it seemed obvious to get up a bit earlier and spend the morning setting a good intention for the day. To me, self-love has never been something that came naturally to me. It’s a muscle that I had to spend a lot of time training before I could feel the love grow. It’s much easier for me to turn to self-hatred and low self-esteem – both characteristics that make it hard to create healthy relationships and a good life.
So I began to start my mornings by moving my body. Doing some nice stretches or whatever I felt I needed. It was my way of releasing the state of the night and getting my breathing going. Then I sat in silence and meditated. It could be a meditation I made up myself or a guided meditation that I listened to. Then I took my time to eat breakfast. I don't have any children yet, and I know what a luxury it is to have time for myself! To get all of this done before I went out the door, I had to get up at 6.00 every morning. At that time, I was the boss and responsible for the well-being of my employees. Therefore, I had to be something for myself before I could be something for other people.
I'm self-employed now, and my mornings look rather different. It's important that a self-love practice flows in alignment with your life, and does not become a rigid rule – because then it is no longer an act of self-love. For example, I can't imagine anything worse than getting up and going for a long run, but for others it’s a loving space of freedom. Today, I get up, eat breakfast, listen to a podcast and slowly roll into the day ahead. After lunch I move and meditate. Where I am right now in my life, this routine feels the most loving and I listen to it. I still enjoy my smoothie bowl with great pleasure, but when autumn comes I also need more heat. That’s why my smoothie is sometimes replaced with porridge or freshly cut fruit.
“For me, self-love has never been something that came naturally”
Self-love is about meeting yourself with acceptance and love, no matter where you are in your life. It’s about letting go of your thoughts and being present in the moment. Life is only the moment that exists right now and by living a little slower, we can feel what makes us unique and authentic.
If you want to know how to bring self-love rituals into your everyday life, you can sign up for The Self-Love Journey. Here you’ll find Josephine’s delicious smoothie recipe, tips for self-love books and much more. Or you can also follow Josephine’s inspiring self-love universe on Instagram @josephinebredsted.