3 Powerful Steps Towards Self-Love
Imagine if you treated your partner or child the way you treat yourself. Would you be in a happy relationship? Would your child feel loved? If your child ate more cookies than she should have, would you tell her what a disappoint she was and that she’ll always be fat? If your partner said he was too tired to go to the gym, would you call him lazy or would you encourage him to take a leisurely walk instead? Would they feel loved and cherished? How do you speak to those you love most?
Self-love is not about taking selfies and posting them to Instagram. It’s not about ignoring other’s needs and being selfish, and it’s not about putting yourself above another. But it does mean, putting yourself on equal footing and valuing your needs and time as much as another and it does mean bringing kindness and compassion to yourself.
What I see all the time in the work I do and what even I still do occasionally is:
-beating ourselves up with cruel self-talk
- abuse our bodies through unhealthy choices and neglect
-deprive ourselves of the things we want and deserve through self-sabotage
-set ourselves up through unrealistic expectations
After decades of doing the work and helping others learn to love themselves, I have learned that the hardest and most rewarding work we can do is learn to love and accept ourselves. Only when we can come into alignment with who we really are, learn to accept our gifts and limitations, forgive ourselves for our shortcomings and talk to ourselves the way we wish others would speak to us, can we live a truly happy and authentic life.
How can we learn to love ourselves?
1. Take loving care of yourself:
Prepare healthy meals for yourself. Encourage yourself the way you would a loved one that is trying to eat healthier. Make small little changes and keep the self-criticism in check. When you slip up, bring some compassion to yourself.
Move your body in a way that feels good to you. If you hate going to the gym, don’t get a gym membership and then hate yourself for wasting money by not going. What do you like to do? Think outside if the box. Do you enjoy dancing? Take a dance class or two. Love swimming but hate the pool at the gym? Take scuba diving lessons. Always wanted to learn how to ride? You can learn at any age. The point is to find a way to move your body that feels good!
Create an organized, pleasing home environment. Surround yourself with things that you truly love and let go of the rest. It’s important to love where you live. It should feel like a sanctuary at the end of the day. You can create an aesthetically pleasing home even on a tight budget. Organizing, cleaning and rearranging the furniture can bring a whole new feeling to your home.
2. Bring some kindness to yourself
The most significant factor in learning to love ourselves is becoming aware of our self-talk. It isn’t just the obvious inner critic or the names we all too often call ourselves. It is the more subtle self-abandonment that over time erodes our self-confidence and self-love. Inner dialogue like “Suck it up…” or “You can’t say no to…” are much more subtle ways that we give our power away. When we do the thing we really don’t want to do when we say yes t things we want to say no to when we disregard our own needs for another, we weaken our resolve and boundaries over time. Weak boundaries and self-abandonment create a toxic brew of resentment and judgment.
3. Make time for the practice of self-love
Set aside time each day for mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, walks in nature or journaling.
Invest in your mental health and growth by taking classes of things that interest you, such as cooking, art or photography lessons. Often times these classes are offered at community colleges or free at the local library.
Take the time each day to take care of your body. Use luxurious soaps in your shower and bath. Take the time to put lotion on your body while thanking it for carrying you through this life.
Self-love is a journey and a skill that needs to be practiced each day. But the rewards are endless and will impact every area of your life. Self-confidence, better relationships, and a healthier body will be the reward. The results will grow exponentially and transform your experience of this lifetime.
I will be starting a FREE 7-day self-love challenge on May 20th. Keep your eyes open for more information and join me for a fun exploration of what it means to love yourself truly.