You know how they tell you on a flight that you need to put your air mask on before assisting anyone else — even your child? Well, my friends, it is the same thing with love. You need to love yourself [and show yourself love] before you can truly give or receive love. So, why is self-love so damn hard?
But isn’t self-love kind of selfish?
I’m not sure where this rumor started but it is bananas. Not practicing self-love is what’s actually selfish. Not taking care of yourself. Not loving yourself. Not showing up fully in this world…that is kind of selfish.
Here’s the thing…the world is a crazy + dark place these days and we need all of the light we can get. The more you love yourself, the brighter you will shine. And the brighter you shine, the more people you will illuminate.
So, self-love is actually a service to the world. [And your responsibility!]
Loving yourself is a practice. It takes work but it is some of the most important work that you’ll ever do. Every moment you have the amazing opportunity to love yourself just a little bit more. Loving yourself is about accepting who you are, believing that this version of you [in this very moment] is enough and forgiving yourself when you detour into self-attack.
3 steps to loving yourself more deeply
Take yourself out on a date: When is the last time you took yourself on a date? Probably never, right? Well, let’s change that now! btw, I see you cringing over there. I get it – we associate being alone with being lonely. And we fear that everyone is staring at us because we’re solo. Plus being alone with our thoughts can sometimes feel like torture. And that’s why this step is SO important. In order to love yourself, you need to actually like spending time with yourself. Get in the habit of taking yourself out. Just you – no distractions [aka no phones]. Pack your journal, leave your phone, go to your local coffee shop, and spend an hour sipping your matcha latte and writing. Or people watching. Spend an afternoon being a tourist in your own city and exploring areas you’ve never been to. Go to the movies. Make a reservation for one at your favorite restaurants. Book a spa day just for you. Get used to your own company and enjoy doing things that fill you up.
Look at yourself [and say something nice!]: Okay. This one is scary. Like really, really scary. At least it was for me. But it’s only scary until it’s not. And once it’s not – you feel free. It’s important to set the mood for this one. Maybe take a bath. Light some candles. Meditate. Masturbate. Get into your happy place. Then strip down, stand in front of a full-length mirror and look at yourself. Really look. Look yourself in the eyes and say something kind and loving. If you can’t find the words just repeat “I love you.” over and over again. And remember that it’s okay if this is extremely uncomfortable. Just trust that all of the resistance that you’re feeling is moving through you so that it can move out of you. Practice this radical, radical act of self-love daily.
Let yourself off the hook: You can’t truly love yourself and simultaneously carry around shame or regret. It’s critical that you embrace the art of radical self-forgiveness. The best way to start is to let go of whatever past shame, guilt, regret, doubt, or fear that you are carrying around with you. I’ve released so much self-attack on the pages of my journal. There I can really go there. I can let the thoughts, fears and crazy spill out of me onto the pages. There I can process and release. There I can find freedom. And once all of the crazy is out, all that is left is love. My friend Katie offers an amazing journaling tool in her book, Let it Out, called the shame shifter. I love this tool sooo much! Katie guides you as you express, release and transform your shame.
I hope these tools serve you and inspire you to show yourself more love. Share your experiences in the comments below or schedule a free consultation to talk about how we can dive deeper into your self-love journey.
So, in a word what’s [self] love got to do with it? Everything.