Do you find yourself disliking the hallmark commercialism of this “holiday”? And yet at the same time, liking the idea of celebrating love and relationships?
Well, I am definitely someone who experiences those contradicting thoughts and feelings around this time of year. So, as a result, I have decided to annually dedicate this month to a deeper understanding of and connection to what it means to love myself. Loving myself has set the foundation of the love I feel for and give out to others. In a world like today, to love yourself is a radical act.
4 Tips to Strengthen Your Self-Love:
1. Never ever criticize yourself! Sounds impossible, I know! But the idea is to realize that just like if we said something condescending or insensitive or cruel to someone we care about, we would immediately seek to repair, and ask for forgiveness. We can offer this same practice towards ourselves. As you hear the inner dialogue repeat, “you look awful!” “did you really just say that?!” “you’re not strong enough,” …. You can simply turn to those thoughts just like you would someone else and say, “Hey! Cool it, don’t talk to my friend that way!” as if you, yourself, are in fact your own friend. That’s the beauty of these practices, learning how to truly befriend yourself.
“Loving the self, to me, begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay
2. Replace the negative self-talk with positive affirmation or kind thoughts towards yourself. This one is fairly self-explanatory but to give an example, when you hear the internal dialogue say that you are too this or too that or not enough this or not enough that, try to replace it with an affirmation that says the opposite: “I am exactly where I need to be in this moment in time” “I am enough” “I accept myself just as I am.” Simply try writing it down on a notecard and carrying it around with you, or you could also make it the background on your phone or computer.
“Treat yourself as if you already are enough. Walk as if you are enough. Eat as if you are enough. See, look, listen as if you are enough. Because it’s true.” – Geneen Roth
3. Listen deeply to the ways you treat your body and mind. As you observe this, try to step outside of yourself and view your daily choices from the perspective of someone who loves you deeply, or like you are witnessing someone else you love very much. Then when you see the way you over sleep, under sleep, distract or overfill schedule, stretch yourself thin, get lost in screen time, etc. See it all from this place of how you might reshape some of those choices. See how a sort of paternal and nurturing element can form towards how you are caring for yourself on a daily basis.
“My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another.”- Shakti Gawain
4. Less screen time, more Green time! My dear friend Jennifer used this term “green time” the first time I heard it used. And I love it! The more time we spend on our phones, computers, Netflix, amazon, tv, movies etc., the more time we are watching other people’s lives, filled with the obsession of image, perfection, idealism, consumerism, capitalism. Leave the phone behind and go for a walk in nature. Spend more time connecting to your breath, your body, and your spirit and less time observing images online that send messages constantly that we are not enough or too much.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I hope you find these tips useful! I have found my self-love practice to be the most essential part of working with my body, mind and spirit. It is a constant practice, something that we will never master but we will certainly get better at over time, that completely transforms the way we show up in our relationships, in our work, in our daily lives.
Happy February to all! Let this early month in 2019 bring inspiration and wonderment towards the incredible ways we have yet to learn to LOVE.
— Minta Allred
Click here to learn more about Minta Allred and see her teaching schedule.