Self-love – we all need and want it but don’t always make the time for it.
At times creating that space for oneself can feel like a chore but when you start incorporating it as part of a daily routine, it truly makes the day a more positive and peaceful experience. Not only that, but your mind, body and spirit feel more centered and that, in turn, will make you a more productive employee, a better friend, a better husband, wife, partner, mother or father. Yet so many people struggle with loving themselves fully that when they want to better themselves and grow from within they don’t know where to begin.
Throughout my life I have struggled with weight issues. This particular issue always shattered my self-love. It made me feel like I was never good enough or pretty enough. I couldn’t buy the cute clothes that I saw my friends in and that was a killer to my self-confidence. It was also very difficult for me to accept compliments. Why was I unable to just say “thank you” and move on? As I got older, I learned to take control of my life and visualize the change I wanted to see. Having your self-love compromised can happen in a variety of ways at different times in one’s life. So how does one begin to explore finding that love from within? Maybe that love has previously existed and you need a new approach to dig deep and find it again? Or the tools in your toolbox just aren’t working for you anymore. Let’s explore some simple ways to assist you on your journey back to finding your best friend, YOU!
I’ve listed 10 ways you can begin to create more self-love in your life. Read through and start with one or two that seem right for you. If the first one or two don’t work, please don’t feel discouraged! Keep trying new ones until you find something that does work. You’ll be glad you did.
Acceptance – We are all human, we all make mistakes and hopefully we learn from them – but there is no such thing as perfection. We have to recognize our weaknesses without them getting in the way of fully loving ourselves. Accepting each of the qualities that make you who you are, even the ones you may not like, is a catalyst for growth and increased self-love.
Journaling – This is probably one of the most effective tools towards better self-care and love. We all get so caught up in the day-to-day of work, family life and social calendars that it may seem difficult at times to make this priority. You shouldn’t feel the need to write an essay in your journal each day. Instead, try writing down three things you are grateful for or something you feel you improved on that day. These entries will be something you can look back upon to see how your self-love has grown. It’s a pretty magical process, embrace it. Since journaling is a way to express yourself, it can also reduce a great amount of stress and anxiety. Who wouldn’t want that?
Affirmations – Taking the time to repeat positive thoughts to yourself can have a very powerful effect on the brain. Short, powerful affirmations like “I am healthy, I am strong, I love myself” will boost your confidence and create more self-love from within. Affirmations and journaling work well in tandem. Take time to write three affirmations each day, making each one distinctly unique. When you get to the end of a journal, you will have written hundreds of positive affirmations upon which to reflect. Watch the beauty of your love grow and if you ever need reminders, go back to your journal, read those affirmations and say them aloud.
Mirror Work – Mirror work is an effective method for improving self-love. Mirror work can also be used in conjunction with affirmations. Positive self-talk and affirmations in the mirror can be healing and very powerful. You are creating space to speak the truth, find inner peace and connect with yourself on a much deeper level. Have a full conversation with yourself if that feels right. Don’t be shy, there is no judgement, just love. Like I said earlier, you are getting in touch with your best friend YOU, there is no better way than to have a pep talk with yourself in the mirror.
Movement – I can’t stress enough the benefits of movement and its connection to loving yourself. I’m not just talking about how movement can change the way your body looks to get in that skinner pair of jeans, exercise has a huge effect on your overall being – both physically and mentally. Regular exercise can alleviate depression, stress and anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, morphine-like chemicals produced by the body that help diminish pain while triggering positive feelings1. That release can provide an outlet to let go of any emotions that don’t serve you. One tool that I have found valuable specific to movement and self-love is creating your ideal environment. Some need the energy of a fitness class while others are motivated and most productive working out at home. You will get better results when your environment is positive and perfect for YOU. Remember to always celebrate your successes. Go back to your mirror and tell yourself how proud you are of what you have accomplished.
Let Go of Your Fears – Fear can be crippling. It can prevent you from finding love, happiness, self-worth and so much more. I know it’s “easier said than done” when trying to let go of fears but it’s important to acknowledge the fear and then determine if it is worth putting all your energy into. Wouldn’t it be more productive to focus on self-love? Go where the love is and let go of the fear. Fear constricts us and often interferes with good decision making rather than allowing us to focus on who we are.
Care About Yourself Just as Much as You Do for Others – As humans we have tendency to care for others before ourselves. Whether it’s hustling to work, trying to manage a household, taking care of our animals or trying to clear your inbox, there’s seemingly always a reason to make excuses for the lack of self-care. At the end of the day we are all tired from the day’s work and likely just want to sit in front of the television and zone out for a bit. What if you took 5 minutes before your TV time to focus on some breathing, meditation, journaling or even a 20-30 minute exercise break to regroup, create energy and feel empowered in your quest for self-love? Though the idea might sound daunting, the result will be so powerful. Make caring for yourself just as important, if not more important, than caring for others.
Explore New Things About Yourself – When exploring new ways to grow your self-love, make sure to get out of your comfort zone. Open the door to new adventures, try something you’ve always feared, create new memories with old and new friends and play an integral part of investigating this new YOU.
Meditation – This is my favorite tool of them all! I’m fairly new to meditation (practicing for about 4 years now) and the benefits have been life changing. In the beginning it was difficult to turn off my thoughts but the more I learned about meditation, the more I understood the importance of acknowledging those thoughts and releasing them to focus back on my breath. I also find that guided meditations, or even just listening to music, are very effective in my practice of meditation. My best advice is to do some trial and error exercises. Try a variety of different meditation approaches and see what works best for you. Don’t give up on yourself – if one method doesn’t seem to work, try something else. Regular meditation can have a powerful effect on the mind, the body and the spirit. It can reduce anxiety, depression and many other forms of suffering. It can also increase compassion for ourselves and for others.
Index Card Exercise – Now that you have learned some ways to increase your self-love, I want you to try one final exercise in your quest for more self-love. Get a pack of index cards (I would say 25) and write down a positive word on each card. Some examples are: amazing, caring, loving, happy, grateful, adored, loving, beautiful, brave, centered, balanced, dedicated, empowered. Once you have completed all 25 cards, lay them out on a table and pick the 10 that best describe you. Then, from those 10, narrow it down to five. This part of the exercise may be hard, but take your time and think it through. Once you have narrowed it down to the 5 best words that describe you as a person, write down a few sentences on the back of the card explaining why that word best describes you. This is a wonderful exercise to reflect on who you are and what an amazing person you have become. Embrace the compliments you just gave yourself and treasure the beautiful person you are. Don’t throw those cards out, post them throughout your house or office as daily reminders.
As with all other facets of self-improvement, self-love is a continual process. Sometimes everything feels so balanced while other times you may need a little fine tuning. Embrace all that comes with exploring self-love and remember to try surround yourself with people who love you, especially YOU!
By: Randi Klein
WHEN Being Advisor