Self love is the key to a life full of excitement, joy and happiness.
Without self love, the ability to love others is lost. The ability to get lost in the moment is clouded by self-doubt, guilt and hatred. Reigniting your self love is vital for beginning a journey to understanding yourself better and let go of the past.
Loving yourself unconditionally is a process of releasing inner turmoil that has been eating away at your soul for years. The path isn’t easy but it’s a journey you must surrender to. Finding the inner child within yourself opens the doors to freedom.
I was there too. I hated myself and I would avoid my reflection for months at a time. Life felt empty, it was as if I was in an empty void just wasting away. I learned through time that loving myself is possible, no matter the circumstance. If I can release myself from a decade of depression and learn to love myself, you can too.
There is a variety of techniques to begin your journey into encountering self love. There may be difficult times ahead but pushing through them is how you grow your inner being. Take a deep breath and let’s get started.
Self Love Exercises
1) Forgive Yourself
No matter my success or triumphs, I would always find faults in my actions.
I couldn’t take a compliment. I would brush them off because I was stuck in self doubt. Anything I did wasn’t enough, I could always “do better”.
While this drove me to work incredibly hard, it also left me with a black hole inside my heart. I had to let go of the previous me that wouldn’t allow mistakes.
I had to realize that I’m just human and I’m not perfect.
You aren’t perfect either, no one is. That’s why you must learn how to forgive yourself.
There is always going to be that constant voice in the back of your head beating you down. You have to realize that this voice isn’t you and your actions. It’s years of self-doubt that has manifested itself as a terror in the mind.
The way you begin forgiving yourself is by understanding that you cannot change the past. We all would rewind the time and fix our mistakes if it were possible. We live in a reality where forgiveness must be utilized.
Start with something small, if you make a mistake and instantly start berating yourself, just say “It’s ok, I’m only human”.
The less power we give to our inner demons the less of a stranglehold they have on us.
Even the simplest of actions can have extreme impacts on our day to day lives.
2) Start a Journal
It sounds incredibly cliche, I know. Hear me out though.
When I was incredibly self-loathing, I had no idea where to begin. It took an incredible amount of effort to even start. That’s how the mind gets you, it gets you to quit before you even start.
The reason this is happening is that you feel incredibly overwhelmed. You want a better life and you want to love yourself but you don’t know the root of the cause.
Start by writing down all of your grievances with yourself. It doesn’t need to a be lengthy essay for each one, it can be something like this.
- I don’t like the way I look
- I’m just not good enough
- I hate how I’m so lazy
- I want a better life for myself
- I wish I wasn’t stuck where I am right now
The faster you can pinpoint what it is that is bothering you, the faster you can get them under control. Instead of letting them overwhelm you, start to take action by figuring out what exactly you need to take care of.
If your list is incredibly long, try to work on one a week. With 52 weeks in a year, that’s 52 issues that you can resolve before the year ends.
Imagine what kind of life you can have by the end of next year! A year is an incredibly long time for self-improvement. Anytime I put my mind to something it’s incredible at how much I can get done in hindsight.
3) Remove Toxicity
We are a product of our environment.
If you are surrounded by friends and social media that is a constant barrage of toxicity, how can you expect to begin loving yourself?
While it is easy to say, I’ve also been a victim of letting toxic people into my life.
A few years ago I met this woman while out for a night. We danced a bit and exchanged numbers and met the next day.
Our connection was undeniable, it was an instant spark of attraction between us. Everything was amazing until I started figuring out who she really was.
I began to slowly feel my grip on my reality pulling away, she was inside my head and extremely manipulative. She didn’t want me to meet any of her friends and demanded I act a certain way.
At first I imagined I could take control of the situation but I realized you can’t change anyone. While our fling was brief, I cut it off.
I knew that if I kept seeing her I would just keep dipping my toes into pit of toxicity. Even though she begged for me to come back, I had to stand my ground and believe in my decision.
If you are surrounded by people, friends, or significant others that are more of a drain on your life than a boost of positivity it’s time to let them go.
Do it for yourself. This gives you time to reorient yourself and let you figure out your own life without distraction.
4) Start Living Mindful and Spiritually
Spiritual doesn’t mean you need to believe in religion or pray to God. Being spiritual means you are getting to know yourself and the world better.
Starting a daily meditation practice goes a long way. Meditation helps you center yourself and clear the mind. When you begin experiencing the benefits of meditation, self love is unavoidable.
Often there is a stigma with the word “spiritual” as it can be used in a religious setting. Every being on earth benefits from understanding themselves better and it all starts with a spiritual journey.
If you need help beginning a meditation practice, Headspace is a great place to get started.
Another great resource for beginning a journey into Mindfulness is Mindful.org.
Simple actions that you apply every day build on themselves. The journey does take time but instead of constantly focusing on applying these methods, you will begin to unconsciously practice them.
It’s the process of learning, when you first start driving a car you are constantly paying attention to make sure you’re going the speed limit and avoiding a crash. The more you drive, the less you need to actively pay attention to these things.
Your lessons materialize and you live through them unconsciously. That’s the power in living mindfully and spiritually.
5) Provide For the World
The past few months I’ve learned what it means to give without expecting anything in return.
Such a simple concept and I failed to realize how powerful it can be. True fulfillment in life stems from helping others.
When you are helping others without expecting anything in return, you experience self love.
It was a habit for me to only provide for myself and not think about anyone else. Just me, me, me!
Shifting from this thought process has helped me immensely to understand what living is all about. I’ve helped so many others along their journey in the past few months that I’ve been receiving an immense amount of help from the universe.
I can’t say it for sure as there is no way to prove it, but it does seem the more you provide for the world the more you get in return. I’ve had so many kind people help me along my own journey without expecting anything in return that I’ve realized this is how to truly feel love.
Love is not just an interpersonal experience, love is all around us at all times.
You will begin attracting this love more the more love you are capable of giving.
It doesn’t mean you need to give up your life to helping others, even small acts like helping someone online who is in need of comfort through a tough time.
You never know who is on the other side and what they are going through.
Go volunteer, help an animal shelter, or a soup kitchen. You will meet others who are on the same path as you. Learn from them.
This is where self love starts, by giving to others.
6) Talk to Someone
There is no shame in opening up to a therapist/counselor/coach.
I’ve hired a numerous amount of coaches/therapists to help me along my journey.
It helps to have someone who doesn’t know you beyond your short interactions that aren’t involved in your life to give you unbiased feedback.
It may take several attempts at finding the right person for you, some therapists/coaches might not be a good fit for you.
When you open up to them, there is a sense of peace knowing you can let it all out and not be judged. They want to help you, not hurt you.
If you’ve never opened up to someone before on a deep level now is the time to do so.
Humans are great at giving others advice but when it comes to applying those same concepts internally we often falter.
It’s psychological, normally we brush off advice when it’s given to us without asking for it. If it’s coming from someone you personally hired and trust, you listen.
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a person you hire, it can be a friend. Don’t think you are burdening someone by sharing your feelings. I’m guilty of this too.
In life we build support groups and it’s your job to take advantage of them. Otherwise they are just laying waste.
7) Love Yourself
The key to loving yourself is.. loving yourself.
I had to put this one even though it may seem obvious. It all starts with you and how you treat yourself.
Are you eating healthy foods?
Are you taking care of your body?
Are you learning something new everyday?
Once you start enjoying life a bit more, self love is inevitable. There isn’t just one way to start loving yourself but it starts from the actions you take every day.
Take care of your body and your mind will be happy. Even a 20-30 minute walk every day would do wonders for anyone who is having difficulty loving themselves.
Embrace life and what it has to offer. Watch a movie, read a book, inspiration comes when you least expect it. Be open to clues along the way, the universe is always trying to help.
Don’t put the cart before the horse, take it one day at a time. Learning to love yourself is not going to be an overnight change, it will be a gradual process and you will be loving yourself before you know it.
One day one of my teachers pulled me aside. He understood that I was having difficulties with my life but he wanted to share something with me.
He told me that he was watching how everyone around me enjoyed my presence. How everyone loved to be around me and the only person who didn’t realize this was me.
You might not realize it but you do matter. You need to start loving yourself not tomorrow but today.
If you are only capable of doing one small exercise from this list, even self love affirmations such as “I love you”, then that is enough.
I believe that everyone is capable of loving themselves. Everyone has the ability to heal their past wounds and enjoy a better life. Life can be hard, I understand this deeply.
I went through this process myself, it was a battle every day. I didn’t give up, that was the key for me and that will be the key for you.
Love yourself a little more each day until you don’t know any different.