Self-love is one of the most easily and frequently preached concepts, but the most challenging of all feats.
In one minute, you can be in love with yourself and, the next, find something you absolutely despise about yourself. Before you know it, you fall into an endless pit of self-destructive thoughts.
Know that feeling? Believe me, you’re not alone.
I’m one of the bubbliest and most optimistic people I know; yet, I have climbed up a mountain of self-loathing and drowned in an ocean of unworthiness.
It is a constant battle, one that will be an ongoing theme in our lives. What will create a shift is being aware, and making YOU a priority in your life.
The journey of self-love is one which begins with asking yourself soul-enriching questions and listening to yourself in moments of despair. Then, you will realize these thoughts stem from feeling like you are not good enough or you do not equate to one worthy of being loved.
It’s an ugly place, but one that forces you to realize the only love that can set you free is that from within. It is so easy to forget, in this world inundated with negativity and images of hate, that love is from the source.
We were already given enough love to grow and survive in this world, but somewhere along the line, we lost sight of it. The other kids threw rocks at us, or you stared at Kim Kardashian’s butt and thought yours was nothing in comparison.
Here’s the thing: You are whole and complete, just the way you are. We don’t get to choose what we’re given, but we get to choose how to use what we’re given, and to honor and value ourselves.
We need to first accept and embrace ourselves in our entirety, and then cultivate the love that is within.
Here’s how we can take steps in making self-love a priority in our lives:
When Zen Monk Thich Nhat Hanh was asked the question, “How do I love myself?” his response was, “Breathe.”
This was a light bulb moment for me; I realized the times I was least happy were the times I was living on autopilot. We go about our day sitting in front of a computer screen or doing menial tasks, and we forget to nourish ourselves with deep breaths and positive thoughts.
2. Thank Your Body
Our bodies are full of wonder, and today, I am grateful that my body is giving me everything I need to be able to live.
It can be very difficult for some of us to make taking care of our bodies a priority, and I am definitely a culprit of this, as well. I have put my body through abuse and neglect by working crazy hours, not eating properly nor exercising.
It took a rock-bottom situation for me to wake up and finally take action in bringing myself back to a healthier state. I started with thinking about what I choose to put into my body, and how often I rejuvenate it with exercise.
How can you truly say you love yourself if you are not nurturing the body in which you live? Send love to every cell in your body that has allowed you to come into being.
3. Change Your Thoughts
Your thoughts and your mindset are the most difficult to alter, and it often requires a lot of unlearning to come to a place of pure consciousness and peace with who you are.
Once I learned I felt unworthy and undeserving of love, I was in a state of shock. I would never say this to another human being, so why have I inflicted such painful and unloving messages upon myself?
From that day on, I sought to rediscover what I love about myself, and what I have done to be of service to others and make an impact on their lives.
4. Make Better Decisions
Having awareness brings you to a better place for making decisions that serve you. What you have is a direct reflection of what you think you’re worth.
If you’re in a toxic relationship, it’s because you think all you deserve is to be treated poorly. If you’re in a job you don’t enjoy, it’s because you believe it is all you can achieve, and you’re settling.
So, what choices have you made today?
5. Do What You Love
When I think about happiness, I think about having a moment to read, write or dance. When I don’t get to live out my true creative expression, I feel unhappy and purposeless.
The soul is nourished when you surrender yourself to your innermost expression, and no longer resist what is natural to you.
6. Be Kind To Yourself and To Others
I make it my mission to release any guilt or anxiety I feel during my day. It is always going to be there, but I choose to be present in my thoughts and remember all is well.
Then, I think of ways I can be of service to others, even if it is something as simple as telling the busker who plays beautiful music that his song moved me.
I think of ways to make my time here of meaning to others, so I can value my presence here today and know I serve a purpose in this infinite universe.