by Ali Washington |
Self love is a really popular topic in healing, wellness and self help circles right now, and I personally believe that is a really, really good thing. However – so many of us are turning this ‘self love’ stuff into one more chore we have to do, one more thing we must accomplish, and one more item on the list of things we are not doing good enough.
The Game Of Self Love
For many learning to love yourself more sounds like an awesome idea, but there is a feeling of confusion as to how one actually starts to love themselves more.
The first thing to realize is this – at your core, you already love yourself. You do not need to ‘learn’ to love yourself so much as you need to remember to love yourself.
Second, it is not a race. There is no self-love prize to be won, no award for loving yourself more than other people love themselves. This journey back to your core of self love is really all about you re-connecting with who you really are, so that you can walk through your life feeling more peace, calm, joy and happiness.
When I was first starting out on my ‘self love journey’ – if you will – I was pretty far off from someone who acted in a loving way towards myself. I beat myself up constantly, I was hard on myself for everything, I had majorly high expectations of myself and I never gave myself a break. This made me feel like getting to a place where I genuinely acted in a loving way towards myself was going to be an impossible task. Now, I stand before you as someone who can confidently say I act in a very loving way towards myself, and that it is not impossible to get here, no matter where you are starting. All you need are some practical tools to help get you on your path.
So with that, here are 5 tools you can introduce into your life today that will help you to cultivate more love toward yourself, and will get you started on your path back to your natural, self loving state.
5 Tools To Help You Love Yourself More
Tool Number 1:“Mirror Work”
This is an invention of Louise Hay – and one that I genuinely recommend to everyone. It is a very simple practice that has profound effects if you are to practice it diligently. All you have to do is stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say out loud “name, I love you.” That’s it! I challenge you to do this every day for 40 days, and see what happens to your level of self love and acceptance. Make sure that you look yourself directly in the eyes as you do this, and speak out loud in your full voice. It may be tempting to look away or to speak really quietly, but resist those urges! You are going to feel silly at first, but push through, because you are worth it
Tool Number 2: What Would Someone Who Loved Themselves Do Right Now?
This second practice is also one that may sounds too easy to be effective, but will deliver massive results if you commit to it. All that is required here is every time you have to make a choice – such as choosing what you are going to eat, what you are going to wear, what you are going to say, if you want to go to that party or not – you ask yourself “what would someone who loved themselves do right now?” Then, whatever answer comes to your mind in the moment is the thing you should do. It may not make sense at first, or your answer may be so far outside of what you would usually do that it will make you nervous to act on your answer, but just know that those reactions are normal. You do not necessarily have to start acting upon your answers to this question right away – simply starting by bringing awareness to what someone who loved himself or herself would do is a good place to start. If you practice this long enough, eventually you will get the courage to start acting upon your new awareness’s and insights. Start small and work your way up – allowing the process to unfold naturally.
Tool Number 3: Write It Out
One of the most often over looked aspects of self-love is the practice of taking the time to tune into what you are really thinking and feeling on a regular basis. Practicing ‘stream of consciousness; writing is one of the fastest and easiest ways to sift through the more superficial things you are thinking and feeling, so that you can get closer to the root of what is currently going on for you. Simply get yourself a piece of paper, a writing utensil and a timer. Set your timer for 10 minutes, and for the entire 10 minutes do not let your pen or pencil leave your paper. Allow what ever is on your mind to flow through your hand – leaving nothing out and resisting any urge to censor yourself. Connecting with yourself in this way will help you to become more aware of your true thoughts and feelings, which is essential for anyone who wants to live a life lead by self-love.
Tool Number 4: Practice Joyful Movement
Movement is one of nature’s best anti-depressant, anti-anxiety and grounding tools. Movement will flood your body with endorphins that will naturally lift your mood and help you to clear your head and your heart. Your body is designed to move, and joyful movement is absolutely an act of self-love. Just be sure that you are not punishing yourself with movement.
If the idea of ‘exercise’ fills your head with images of huffing and puffing and pain then I highly recommend you choose a different activity to get your daily movement fix. Instead of thinking of movement as ‘working out’ think of it as therapy. It does not matter what activity you choose, just as long as it feels good while you are doing it. Swapping out painful workouts for joyful movement or no movement at all for something that you enjoy doing will not only help you to cultivate more self love, it may actually get you better physical results over time.
Tool Number 5: Slack Off:
This is the big one, which is why I left it until last. If you are the type of person that has a hard time giving yourself permission to rest – to not be producing something all the time – then this final tip is for you. I used to be the kind of person who was constantly moving. I burned myself out about a million times living that way. When I finally realized that I could not continue living at 100 miles an hour and stay (or get) healthy, I had a bit of an identity crisis. This was because I was placing all of my value on what I did, what I produced, rather than who I was.
By actively choosing to give myself time each day to do nothing, or to do something utterly unproductive I was sending the signal to myself that I was so much more than what I do. This really started to turn the wheels of self-love in my heart and mind. I challenge you to set aside 15 minutes each day to do something just because you love doing it, or to do nothing. It may feel awful at first, and that is OK. Start to send yourself the message that you are worthy of rest and relaxation, and eventually you will start to believe that you are worthy of rest and relaxation.
What do you think? Are you willing to give any of these practices a try? Have you ever done anything of the things mentioned here? If so, what were your experiences?
by Ali Washington