Do you love yourself only when you feel good? What about when you fail a test, don’t get a raise, or can’t fit into your new clothes? What if you could really love yourself all the time?
The term “self-love” means the love of oneself, the instinct or desire to promote one’s own well-being. True self-love is not narcissistic or self-indulgent but an awareness of your inner power. Self-love acknowledges who you are and what you like. Those stirrings inside you (a love of nature, playing with color, writing songs, rescuing animals) are meant to point your way. By cultivating your gifts, you show your true passions to the world. Your light illuminates the way for others and allows them to shine as well.
How do you start loving yourself? Here are five ways to begin the journey.
1) Address self-sabotage. Does your inner voice say you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough? Those negative thoughts stem from past experience and are lodged in your unconscious. Before you can practice self-love you need to let them go. You can heal these thoughts through techniques like hypnotherapy, coaching, tapping (EFT), and the Sedona Method. By changing your beliefs, you allow the real you to emerge.
2) Use affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that train your subconscious mind to develop new ways of thinking. Here are some self-love affirmations to get you started.
I love myself just the way I am.
I appreciate who I am right now.
I let go of my fears and go forward with confidence.
3) Appreciate yourself. Really look in the mirror. When was the last time you told yourself how beautiful or handsome you are? Loving what you see is an act of courage, a demand for unconditional acceptance. Last year when I was suffering with horrible hip pain and screaming my anguish, I confronted myself. The lies I’ve perpetrated. The ones that said I’m not beautiful. I’m not worthy. I am less than. I stood there with tears streaming down my face and said, “I love you.” At first I could barely whisper those words. But with each repetition my voice strengthened. As I confirmed the truth about me, the pain lessened until it finally disappeared and I acknowledged who I really am.
Start with what you DO like and really love that part of you. The more you do this, the more you’ll incorporate parts of you that you didn’t like before. And when you truly love yourself, others will too.
4) Be creative. Do you love to play with color, write, sing, make something with your hands? Give yourself permission to follow that voice that’s saying “can I, can I?” Play. Explore. Discover. Embracing your passions is a sure way to love yourself.
5) Practice forgiveness. Criticizing yourself or comparing yourself to others only hurts you. Sometimes it’s hard to remember you’re not perfect. But holding on to that resentment can cripple your body, literally. Forgiveness is a way to heal and move forward with peace and love. Say a forgiveness prayer faithfully—for at least 30 days— and watch those hurts begin to release and dissolve.
These are just a few ways to practice self-love and engage in loving thoughts. The more you love yourself, the more you step into your power. Experience the love that is rightfully yours. Let your light shine. Be the amazing person you can be.
[Originally published in the Conscious Life Journal, March 2017]