Let’s Talk About Self-Love
In our younger years, we were told that if we felt good about ourselves, we were self-centered or egotistical, and the disapproving looks of others taught us that this was, indeed, a “bad” thing. Because of this, we need to give ourselves permission to love ourselves, to accept love, and to feel lovable. When we start loving ourselves, the need for external approval begins to lessen. We stop looking to others to affirm our worth. We begin to know, feel, and be happy with who we truly are.
Embracing love of self
Self-love focuses on being kind to yourself, refueling your well-being, creating balance, and taking time to feel and accept love. Small acts of self-love help create balance in our lives. It is important to perform these acts, as they nurture and heal us. Taking time to nurture and heal ourselves is practicing self-love. Being patient with ourselves and accepting ourselves as we are right now is an act of self-love. Taking a long bath after a busy day or reading a book that makes the soul smile are ways to practice self-love. Listening to our intuition, following those nudges we get from our inner voice, and trusting ourselves is practicing self-love.
Honoring ourselves and taking the time to do things that make us truly happy is very healing and important to our growth. When we listen to our hearts, our truth, and are kind and gentle to ourselves, we are practicing self-love. When we feel like resting, we need to take time out and rest. When we feel like exercising, we need to take time to move our bodies in a fun way. When we feel like hanging out with friends and eating chocolate, we need to enjoy it – without guilt, without shame, and without judgment – because we are worth it!
You are worthy!
When we follow our own dreams and our passions and stop doing things out of pity, obligation, and guilt, we are demonstrating love to ourselves. When we love ourselves, we become the main character of our “movie.” We are able to better prioritize our lives, putting our needs ahead of others’ “wants,” and give of ourselves from a place of joy.
There is a difference between self-love and vanity or narcissism. Vanity and narcissism are not self-love. They are ego-driven characteristics that expose one’s lack of self-love. There are many ways to practice self-love. It can be in the form of getting a massage to relax the body, taking time to journal thoughts and feelings, meditating, or practicing daily positive affirmations. Most people are their own worst enemy. They are more critical of themselves than they would ever be of others. They constantly berate themselves for minor mistakes, unwanted habits, physical “flaws,” and myriad other things. If the self-talk in their heads could be heard by others, we would be astounded by what we heard others say to themselves.
I suffered from a negative body image for years. I judged myself for having big thighs and constantly compared myself to others. I tried countless diets, as I told myself how hard it was to lose weight. It wasn’t until after I had my second child that I started to really appreciate my body. After my second daughter was born, I realized how amazing my body was – how it went from a 9-pound, 20-inch body that had to rely completely on others for everything, to being a full-size body that had just produced a miniature version of itself! The two wee creatures that I loved more than I could have imagined had come from my body! How wonderfully miraculous my body was!
With this new appreciation of my body, I began to love and care for it in a way that I never had before. I started exercising and began feeling confident about myself. I threw away the scales because I realized that scales could not measure my worth. I began reframing my thoughts and beliefs about my body. Reframing means “taking a negative statement and rewording it into a positive one.” By reframing our thought patterns into positive suggestions, we release negativity and help ourselves feel more loved. This makes it easier for us to give and receive love from others.
For example, if a habitual negative thought is, “I can’t stand my thighs. I wish they were smaller,” this thought can be reframed and replaced with, “I am so grateful for my ability to walk. I love my beautiful curves, and I accept myself as I am.” By reframing, we give ourselves permission to shift our consciousness and embrace change. We are not our bodies. We are more than just our outside appearances. Remembering this will help us to love and accept ourselves. When I was a child being bullied, people laughed at me because of my body. I developed negative beliefs about my body. When I became an adult, I needed to let go of these negative beliefs completely and embrace my uniqueness. I had to learn to accept that every curve, dimple, and wrinkle of mine is beautiful.
Using positive affirmation and hypnosis, I changed the negative programs in my mind to empowering programs so I could love and accept myself fully. Now, instead of thinking, “People will laugh at me,” I think, “People are admiring my uniqueness.” Reframing truly helps us embrace ourselves. Think about the negative beliefs you hold, and write them down. Consider every aspect of yourself – your body, your habits, your character, your past, and your choices. After you have written them down, think about how you can reframe them.
People sometimes feel they shouldn’t take time out for themselves, because they believe it would be selfish and they will be judged. We can’t just nurture and support others and ignore ourselves. It is important to love yourself first, and then the rest of your life will begin to balance out. Be true to you. Step into love, and embrace your dream, your worthiness, and your Divine self!
Lovely love notes
What do you love about yourself? Start making a list of things you love and appreciate about yourself at least once a week. It can include anything you like. I call it “Lovely Love Notes.”
Making this list is a good practice for developing the habit of focusing on the good things in life and the positive things about ourselves. Making a weekly list will help us move from judgment about ourselves to appreciation of our uniqueness. Give it a try!
Some examples of MY Lovely Love Notes include:
- I take time for myself and listen to my heart.
- I love my ability to see the beauty in everything life brings.
- I always see the lessons and blessings in life.
- I love my curly hair and my curvaceous, womanly body.
- I love being a mother and learning from my children.
- I love having the wisdom I have, and I practice what I teach.
- I love being authentic.
- I love my smile and share it with others daily.
- I love my family and feel very blessed.
- I am a divine sparkle of light.
- I remember to do something loving for myself today.
When you start this fun exercise, you may find it difficult to think of very many things to write. That is okay. You have many years of negative programming to reframe. As you make the lists, however, you will start feeling better about yourself in every way. As you continue with this practice, you will notice the list will grow and change, just as you are growing and changing.
Start today. Take time to write down a few things you love about yourself. This practice of self-love allows you to embrace your body, mind, and spirit.
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