The 5 Self-Love Practices That Changed My Life
Self-love has become fashionable in recent years within the world of self-development, it’s a bit of a buzz word and yet it’s a journey that can still be difficult to navigate.
What does it all mean?? Why is it important to love ourselves first? And how do we go about actually putting it into practice in the real world??
We all have self-doubt, negative, self-deprecating thoughts from time to time it’s part of human nature.
Yet it becomes a very fine line to balance. The negative thoughts can either inspire you to create change, or they can leave you in a downward spiral of self-deprecating and fearful thoughts of never being enough. It’s in those moments that we are left feeling stuck, vulnerable and with a distinct feeling of lack in life.
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Just imagine for a moment, if you were able to embrace the concept of self-love. How different would you feel, how different would your life be, how much happier would you feel if you could show more love and acceptance for yourself, just as you are right now?
Just allow yourself to consider that answer for a moment. How different would your life be if you truly believed in yourself, if you loved the person that you are and the life you are living, without having to change anything?
So why do we think that those toxic thoughts are acceptable to think that about ourselves? What are you getting from doing that to yourself?
The answers lie in your past experiences, your upbringing, societal shaping. A time in your life when you were either told it, or an experience taught you that you were not enough. We take those experiences on to shape the stories we take on as true, these experiences shape your belief systems and you begin to find more evidence to support them. Yet they are just that, stories!
Loving yourself will liberate you if you allow it to, it’s where the happiness lies. When you love on yourself more, all other elements of your life start to fall into place, I know that to be true as I have experienced it in my own life.
Self-love helps me to stay hungry in going after my goals, reminding myself every day that I am worthy of going after the things that I desire for my life. I have found that coming from a place of love allows me to step up and do the things that feel scary.
It’s a continual development as I find there is also that balance, especially with my body where I feel happy and comfortable in my body but knowing that it can still be even better. I’ll always be working to feel fitter, stronger and I don’t ever want to lose that emphasis.
It’s incredibly cliche but self-love really is a journey of getting to know yourself, to understand your own needs wants and desires and to honour yourself enough to gift that to yourself. To appreciate the feeling from within yourself that everything is in place and as it’s meant to be. I have loved the journey it’s taken me on, who these practices have helped me to become. I believe that everyone can experience improvements in life, with the body and improve happiness when you practice a little more self-love.
That’s not to say I have it all completely nailed down. I still have moments when I wobble, I can think of the negative thoughts, but I have become far better at catching them and as a result, am a much happier person for it.
Self-love is not arrogance, narcissism or selfishness. It isn’t about thinking that you are better than everyone else around you. That is not loving yourself, and in fact, it’s usually the opposite. That fake and toxic confidence is often masking over all of the insecurities a person may have about themselves.
Self-love is having an appreciation for yourself and aligning your actions and choices to support psychological, physical and spiritual growth. It’s having a high regard for your own well being and happiness.
There are a ton of self-love exercises out there but here I share the top 5 that have helped me the most on my own journey, even if I felt completely ridiculous when I first started out.
You only have control over your current thoughts, all of those that have been before are now in the past, it’s only the thought that you are thinking right now that can be changed. Therefore the biggest part of thought flipping is to catch the negative thoughts and stories that you tell yourself in the moment. Catching them in awareness is about coming from a place of curiosity, ‘that’s interesting… why would I think that way?’
Question the narrative that is running through your mind instead of automatically assuming that it’s your truth.
One of the most transformational books that has helped me with this practice is Loving What Is by Byron Katie. In, what she calls ‘The Work’ is an opportunity to question the thoughts and the stories that we tell ourselves by asking these questions
By questioning your thoughts more consistently, you are releasing the hold that the negative ones once had on you. Instead, you get to ‘choose’ to focus on the thoughts that nurture and support you instead.
This exercise is taken from the classic book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. Louise Hay is the OG of self-love and using it as the basis of being able to heal your life in many ways. This is a book that has been instrumental in my own personal development and one that I often find myself recommending to clients.
To complete the mirror exercise you simply look at yourself in the mirror, look deep into your own eyes and speak out positive affirmations to yourself.
Yes, this feels completely ridiculous to start out with, but over time I have experienced the shift in confidence and belief in myself. The key is to discover the affirmations that have an energetic charge for you, the ones that you feel a connection with, ones that you can believe to be true for yourself.
If you simply select any affirmation, it doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it, it doesn’t change anything.
For example, if I tell you to repeat the phrase ‘I’m a purple donkey, I’m a purple donkey’ over and over again, that does not change the fact that you are NOT a purple donkey and any amount of chanting is not going to change that fact.
However underlying beliefs where you can find chinks in your belief system can start to be shifted and changed with the right affirmations.
I started out with a very basic, three phrase affirmation that I would say to myself in the morning as I would put on my makeup. Take a deep breath, place my hands on my heart and repeat the phrases ‘ I am loved, I am safe, I am enough’.
Those were words I could believe, that I could connect with, though the final ‘I am enough’ one, was the one that had the emotional and energetic charge that I could feel in my body when I said it. Though I still doubted it’s truth there was a little glimmer within me that wondered if maybe it could be true. Over time and repeating these affirmations, the same ones for the past 6 years or so I have gone from saying them with an element of doubt to being in a space where I now feel a high emotional charge, in fact it’s no longer that I am enough, I now feel more than enough, I’m a powerful badass and I can and will create the life and the experiences that I dream of.
To make this practice work for you, find the affirmations that you connect with. Try some out, look in the mirror and say them out loud and notice how you feel in your body. You will know when you find yours, then use them each day to give yourself that morning pep talk. When you start to believe in yourself, then those around you will start believing in you too.
In the member’s area of the Shine Squad, I provided my members with a full list of over 80 affirmations to start exploring. CLICK HERE to find out more about becoming a Shine Squad member.
Acts of love is really a practice of being mindful about your choices and decisions but it’s pretty simple in it’s practice. When you go to choose something, or to take action and there is an element of doubt, maybe even a flicker of self sabotage. Stop and ask the question..
‘What would I choose if I was coming from a place of love?’
The perfect example is the doubt I have gone through when writing out this very article. There are the same old elements of self doubt, is it good enough, will anyone care, what if no one even reads it. I have put off hitting publish, have read and read it again trying to make sure it’s enough. Yet when I ask the question if I was coming from a place of love, I would just hit publish!
Use this question whenever any doubt arises, use it when choosing food at a restaurant when you are working towards bettering your body, or how to respond to someone that is putting extra demands on yourself and you are working on reducing stress, when it comes to dealing with conflict in your relationships. Any time you feel uncertain choose to come from a place of love.
Journaling has been another transformational practice in my own journey. I have been journaling regularly for over six years now. Self-love journaling is to write out the answers to questions regarding loving on yourself. Once again there are a whole host of questions you can ask yourself, journaling can help you to explore those questions, to go deeper and discover more about yourself, I give these extra journaling tools over in the Shine Squad too.
I also like to use journaling especially if I haven’t been able to catch myself in the moment with the negative thoughts or patterns and instead I come back and reflect on the experience in retrospect in order to make sense of it and work it through.
Example of self-love journal questions are:
For this to work, ask yourself what self-love means for you? Ask yourself questions around that and explore more from within yourself.
This practice is to ask yourself what you want for yourself and your life. To go in a little deeper around why these things are important to you. Knowing that you are worthy of going after all that your heart desires.
If you have ever felt crippled by the self-doubt or uncertainty in your life, I hope that these self-love practices can help you to start moving through that too.
To get a deeper level of support and coaching to work through these practices and be consistent in making them work for you too, join us now over in the Shine Squad. I can’t wait to see you in there.
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