How to Truly Self Love Yourself
Self-love. It's a phrase (or hashtag) that gets thrown around a lot these days; "love your body", "treat yo' self". But, self love can be a tough pill to swallow. I mean you're telling me all I have to do to practice this is keep my self talk positive? If I tell myself all the ways that I'm worthy and wonderful I'm on my way to loving myself right?
But what happens when you don't believe what you're saying? I've been trying to love myself for years and failing miserably. I've told myself I'm beautiful and loveable all the while feeling despair because I don't look like Jane Smith who had a baby 2 days ago and still has abs. Of course, I'm conveniently not taking into consideration that Jane Smith is also a professional fitness model whose job is to look that good and has achieved it through hard work via her own personal value system. Alas, in my anguish I shovel down another cup of coffee and my second doughnut for the day then proceed to beat myself up about it later. See the problem? Self admiration (AKA positive self talk) is totally conditional upon me doing something or being something good and just one tiny aspect of loving yo' self.
So what is self love?
Self love means not judging yourself for your thoughts, either the GOOD or the BAD. Have you ever tried to be kind to yourself when that negative mindset hits instead of admonishing yourself and banishing that mean girl from your brain? It's fucking hard, but you can learn so much in that space. In fact, I would go so far to say bad thoughts are GOOD for us… Observe them without getting drawn into them, be curious about them - they are a message for you, they are trying to tell you that something is off, that something deeper is going on in there. Listen to them, hear what they are telling you and most of all don't judge them.
Self love is not about needing others validation via social media or any other platform (read self love not others love of self). The minute you start putting your value and worth in the hands of another you are setting yourself up for failure.
Self love is unconditional love for yourself. Loving yourself is not conditional upon you exercising or having the picture perfect life and body. Self love is having gratitude, appreciation and acceptance for the body you are in just as you are. Knowing you are worthy of full health, inner AND outer beauty.
Self love is about self care. This is less about getting your nails done or eating that slice of cake and more about deliberately spending your time doing something for the betterment of your mind body and soul. It is what you do to fill up your cup and get yourself into alignment. It is doing something that gets you into that better place feeling where taking action feels inspired instead of tired (AKA hustle. Please note for the record hustle is bad).
So now we know the what, we are only left with the how!
5 Ways to show your self some love
1. Find your happy place
It's doing that thing that will immediately snap you into that feel good place (AKA alignment). For me it's writing, reading a good book or watching my favourite TV programme on Netflix, doing yoga or being in, on or near the ocean.
Do things that make you happy for no other reason than they make you happy. Trust your intuition. It will tell you immediately if something isn't right.
Don't meditate because it's trendy, meditate because it will profoundly enhance the quality of your life. It can quieten your mind, expand your awareness and allow you to observe your thoughts and feelings objectively (rather than being under their control), allowing us to connect with a deeper part of ourselves and showing that our doubts, insecurities and fears are really only skin-deep. We basically get to meet, greet and make friends with ourselves!
New to meditation? Headspace is a great app for those starting out.
3. Clear the blockages
Deep in our subconscious is a whole bunch of programming; things we are doing automatically without any awareness or action required on our part (i.e. breathing). In addition to the things that keep us alive and functioning are the things that don't serve us and keep us stuck...such as crappy old belief systems that we have embedded into our psyche.
As we start to look more inwardly, we may surprisingly uncover a deeper belief that our deserve level is set to self-destruct mode; we do not deserve to be happy, we do not believe we are good enough. Clearing our "blockages" through acknowledgement (acknowledging that it exists) and replacement (find a new or empowering belief you want to install or replace for the subconscious mind to use instead) so that we can increase our deserve level is integral on our path to self love.
4. Be kind to yourself
More often than not we place unrealistic expectations on ourselves to do more, be more and give more. The result is that we are left feeling depleted and exhausted.
Give yourself permission to sleep when you are tired, to ask for help when you are struggling and to reach out and be vulnerable when you are down.
5. Give yourself some love
Now I know I said self love isn't just about positive self talk but it is a little about it. And if you get it right it can really work wonders.
It is unrealistic for you to go from self loathing to self love in a short period of time - you need to ease yourself into it - we are trying to jump too high up the scale too fast and beat ourselves up when we come crashing to the ground. Start with saying things you actually believe about yourself. Things that exist that you are grateful for or appreciate. Then slowly but surely you will reach for and believe bigger and better feeling things about yourself.
Once you've had a chance to read, I'd love to know:
Have you struggled with self love and what tools, routines or practices helped you on your journey to acceptance?
Leave a comment below and let me know. Remember, share as much detail as possible in your reply. I want to create a space where people can come here each week for insight and inspiration, and your story may help someone else have a meaningful breakthrough.
If you have friends, clients or colleagues who are struggling with self love, share this post. The world needs more happy, engaged and passionate peeps!