Imagine what it would be like to truly and deeply love yourself:
- That inner-critic would be nearly silent to nonexistent
- Each morning would begin with feelings of gratitude
- Any mistakes you make would be gently explored, and forgiven
- Life flows with greater ease and authentic purpose
Believe it or not, all those are possible with a single, “simple” change in your mindset; it’s time to begin loving yourself.
Love Yourself First
Loving yourself doesn’t mean rewarding yourself with donuts on a daily basis, or buying a brand new car each year. In fact, those types of “rewards” are more typically rooted in a need for outside approval and acknowledgement. To truly love yourself, you begin a gentle journey into the soul and heart.
This awakens you to the negative narrative through which you filter your life, teaches you to be present to “what is” and creates space for daily practices that foster balance and presence.
From the first moment you make a commitment to accept yourself, be yourself and then – yes! – love yourself, life begins to unfold in new, exciting and adventurous ways.
Meet The Critic: self-criticism creates energetic blocks
All that protective layering and seeking of outside attention actually creates internal blocks via messages destructive messages that, “I am not good enough,” “I’m not capable enough,” and the most damaging, “I am not worthy…” As a result, your mind and spirit become blocked, the same way a dam blocks a river from flowing freely.
The first step to loving yourself involves noticing the voice (the inner-critic) that perpetually makes negative statements to you, about you. For example, you pick up your pile of papers off the printer at work and half of them fall to the floor. The inner-critic immediately berates you, “You idiot! Can’t you even do that right?”
Whoa! Thanks, Critic! You just presented an opportunity for me to see you, acknowledge you and remind you that I’m not an idiot. I just dropped some papers on the floor – no more, no less.
Then re-frame the moment into a casual chuckle, “Whoops! That was a little embarrassing. I’ll just pick these up and be on my way,” forgiving yourself shamelessly.
Every day, we’re offered a multitude of opportunities to meet those negative voices in our heads, acknowledge them, and re-frame what they tell us. With just a bit of attention and practice, those voices become less-frequent and eventually fade altogether.
Begin daily practices that facilitate self-love in your life
While self-loathing doesn’t shift into self-love overnight, you will be surprised by how quickly you’ll facilitate life-altering shifts once you’ve committed to a healthy, self-appreciation practice.
These daily practices can begin very simply. For example:
- Create a gratitude practice. Start and end each day with one thing you’re grateful for. On bad days, it may be as simple as hot water coming out of a faucet, but at least it keeps your mind anchored on the positives – replacing a sense of “lacking” with a sense of abundance.
- Focus on Healthier, conscious eating. If your diet needs some fine-tuning, do it one step at a time. Begin adding more fruits and vegetables; then eat one less fast-food meal per week; then cut out a processed food; then replace fattier meats with leaner versions. Slowly, but surely, you begin fueling your self-love temple with sustainable foods that keep it nourished and vibrant.
- Breathe in, breathe out. It’s that simple. Tense at a meeting? Breathe in slowly and exhale even slower. Stuck in traffic? Do the same. Caught yourself in a negative thought pattern? Breathe deep.
Self-love is a daily process. Sometimes, it will come easy and other times it is tested. Enjoy the process and always, always fall in love with you first. You deserve it.
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