Happy day four of the Self-Love Series! Today we’re going to explore how to get started on a self-love routine that works for you. There’s an excerpt I love from Louise Hay’s website, and I feel fits in perfectly with this series. It reads: So many of us hide from ourselves and we don’t even know who we are. We don’t know what we feel, we don’t know what we want. Life is a voyage of self discovery. To me, to be enlightened is to go within and to know who and what we really are, and to know that we have the ability to change for the better by loving and taking care of ourselves.
10 Things to Get You Started on Your Self-Love Journey
1. Forgive Yourself
Forgiveness is a must. It allows us to heal and move towards better, brighter things. It releases us from our pasts, and frees us and our energy. Forgiveness can be hard. It can take years for us to forgive another person, let alone ourselves. But in order to move forward with loving ourselves, we must first learn to forgive ourselves of our past mistakes, accidents, and failures. We’re all human, we all mess up, we all do stuff we’re not proud of or feel embarrassed for. Don’t beat yourself up over something that happened years ago. You only have the present – make it as great as you can. (Don’t be so hard on yourself bros and broettes! We have a delicate human body, and a delicate heart, and a delicate soul that needs caring. Be gentle with them all). 🙂
2. Accept Who You Are Right Now
After we’ve forgiven ourselves, we must learn to accept ourselves. When we learn to accept ourselves for exactly who we are, we don’t stress over things we think need fixing or changing. We learn to accept ourselves by:
~Saying affirmations: I accept who I am. I accept my flaws. I’m beautifully imperfectly human. It’s okay to make mistakes. I embrace mistakes.
~Turning criticism into compliments (optimism): “I don’t like my thighs” into, “I’m so grateful to have healthy legs that take me so many places.”
~Gratitude: Look at what you do have, your strengths, the positives in your life. In fact, make a list of them and review them (gratitude journal). This will show and remind you of the amount of awesomeness you have within yourself and your life.
3. Patience and Persistence
Remember, challenging your current belief system and changing the way you think and feel about yourself takes time. You created and reinforced this belief system over many years, mostly unconsciously. So be patient with yourself and the process. Cut yourself some slack if you don’t improve right away. Just keep your eyes on the end goal and things will eventually fall into place. I’ve personally been on this journey of self-love for 3 years now (since 2015), and I still feel like I have so much progress to make. This process of self-love isn’t about learning the techniques, implementing them once and then achieving the award of completing “self-love school.” This process is learned and then the techniques are implemented over and over. It’s about having a life-long growth mindset.
4. Speak Kindness to Yourself
We have the power to change our lives just by changing our thoughts. Create a habit of being mindful of what you say to yourself. Your thoughts and internal language has been scientifically proven time and time again to affect the way we live, feel about ourselves and our lives, and so much more! A lot of our thoughts occur unconsciously. But we all have the ability to take control and change them in a gentle, kind, loving manner. Everytime you catch yourself saying something negative towards yourself – stop! Realize how that thought can affect you and your life. Then turn that negative into a positive. Learning to communicate with yourself better also improves your relationship you have with yourself, and who doesn’t want a great relationship with themselves!
Affirmations are most effective when you feel them as if they have already been done and achieved. Another effective way is to read them while you’re standing in front of a mirror and looking into your eyes. For a lot of us starting out, it can feel cringey and squeamish, and you might even work up a sweat doing it, or feel embarrassed. But once you get past the initial fear and over the hill by doing it enough, it’ll eventually sink in and feel more comfortable for you. There are a number of ways you can play around with affirmations. Here’s a list:
~Write them out on paper and tape them on your wall, fridge, etc. (somewhere you can read it everyday). For me personally, I made a book I wrote affirmations in, and have it stored in my desk next to my bed.
~Write them out on your phone and read them.
~Listen to audio affirmations (which can be found on youtube).
~Purchase affirmation books at a local bookstore (such as Power Thoughts: 365 Daily Affirmations by Louise Hay. Not sponsered.) 🙂
~If you have a Pinterest account, you can make an affirmation board where you post and read affirmations. (You can check out mine here).
6. Love Through Touch
As babies, we require touch from our mothers for proper brain development. In fact, recordings exist of newborns passing away and having a stunt in their growth because of lack of touch. Similarly, adults also need touch to feel emotional connection and love. This emotional connection and love through touch can be achieved through giving it to ourselves. For example, a great exercise is when putting moisturizer on your legs. Do it with intention, and observe your legs saying to yourself how much you love and appreciate the legs you’ve been given, that take you from A to B, that allow you to walk, and jump, and kneel, and squat, and move, and play. You can also do this with your arms, stomach, hands, feet, etc. I specifically like to give myself foot and hand messages.
7. Be Vulnerable
Be willing to be vulnerable with yourself. No one likes feeling vulnerable, and a lot of us try to fight it off and toughen it out. But allowing ourselves to be vulnerable opens us up to our true selves, helps us get to know ourselves better, and gives us the opportunity to learn how to comfort and be there for ourselves. Being vulnerable means we’re willing to let our walls down and open ourselves to honesty and truth about who we are, what we’re feeling, and more.
8. Ask What you Need
We all have personal needs – needs that can only be filled by ourselves – but these needs aren’t always filled. Ask yourself, what do I need right now? Can these needs be fulfilled right now? What can I personally do to satisfy these needs? A lack of love can come from a lack of connection and understanding of our truest self. Get connected and ask what you’re lacking, what you need from yourself. Do you need someone to be there? Then be there. Do you need a hug? Give yourself some dang hugs then, and smile about it too! Work with yourself to fill those needs.
9. Listen To Yourself
So many of us are busy with work, family, friends, chores, responsibility and more, that we don’t stop and listen to what our mind, body and soul are telling us. We may be crying out for help, or trying to tell ourselves something, but we’re not giving ourselves the time to stop, reflect, and listen to what we’re saying subconsciously. Slowing down shows we want to see ourselves do good and be good, which is ultimately a form of self-love.
This can be done by:
~Sitting in silence (a.k.a., meditation): Meditation can cause hesitation for some, but honestly there’s no “right way” to do it. All you have to do, is find somewhere quiet (bedroom, garden, park, etc.) and let your mind wander. BUT, as your mind wanders, try to pay attention to what subconscious thoughts are coming up, where your attention goes. By getting to know what negative thoughts we have, we gain a deeper understand of ourselves. We may also learn the reasons why we may not be loving ourselves as much as we could be, and the things that are getting in the way of that self-love.
~Review your Seven Dimensions of Wellness: The seven dimensions of wellness is an approach to living a healthy and balanced life by recognizing the influences on our well-being. Each of these dimensions are interconnected. This means when one dimension is out of balance the other dimensions will often be affected. Whenever I’m feeling disconnected from myself and my needs, I like to review each dimension and ask myself what I’m in need of. Being completely honest, discovering the seven dimensions changed my life! So I hope they change yours as well. 🙂
10. Take Time to Do What You Love
When we take time to do things we love, we remind ourselves of the joy in our lives, our values, what makes our hearts sing, and who our truest self is without the influence of others. It puts us in a good mood, and ups the quality of satisfaction we feel for ourselves and our lives. Never feel bad about spending time on a loved hobby – do it wholeheartedly.
11. Surround Yourself with Good People
It is so much harder to love yourself when you’re surrounded by people who constantly make you feel bad about yourself. These are toxic people, and not good friends either. Good friends, family members, coworkers, etc. make you feel good about yourself, they make you feel supported and cared for, and they make you feel valued with your strengths shining through over everything. Surround yourself with people who strengthen you as a person, and make you want to love yourself more everyday, not hate yourself.
12. Learn to Not Define Yourself by Another Person
Lastly, learn to know who your genuine self is. When we define ourselves by another person or group of people, our values are mashed with theirs and we don’t have a clear understanding of ourselves. While socializing is important, make sure you also have that scheduled alone time with yourself to enjoy your company and get to know yourself a little better.
Feel free to comment down below additional techniques to love yourself, as well as any techniques you personally use! 🙂
The Outline of The Self-Love Series
Chapter Three: How To Love Yourself
Chapter Four: Loving Your Body
Chapter Five: My Self-Love Story
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