A Quick Guide to Self-Love: Six Practical Ways to Treat Yourself With Loving Kindness
I think one of the reasons self-love is a tricky concept is because there is a huge disconnect between thought and action.
We think all the time, “I want to love myself more,” but then we wonder how it would actually look like in our lives. Do we just recite, “I love myself” a million times a day? Do we give ourselves a big, bear hug and call it a day? Send ourselves flowers at work? What do we actually do to introduce self-love into our everyday lives?
I’m convinced that self-love is a mindset that is executed moment by moment. It’s a decision to treat ourselves with the same care and concern that we reserve for the people and things we care about most in this world.
It’s also a coming back home to ourselves. You see, as babies, we loved ourselves completely and were our own biggest advocates. We spoke up when our needs weren’t being met. “Feed me, change me, burp me, hold me.” We explored our new world with infinite curiosity and play. When we fell, we got back up, thus learning to walk. We showed up to life confidently.
Case in point, as I write this, Lyric walks up to me and says, “Mama” over and over again until she gets my complete attention. I set my laptop aside. She then giggles as she does an about face and strolls off with her head held high and her heart space shining open to the world. She is my greatest teacher.
As we grew, something happened: we learned how to survive in our world. We assimilated to the culture around us and took everything the people around us said as Bible. We may have even misinterpreted our experiences and formed negative programming and self-limiting beliefs. We took on the exterior world’s version of us and we forgot who we really are.
In essence, self-love is taking our power back and unlearning a lot of the crap that has formed our foundation. It’s also a lifelong practice and absolutely worthy of our full commitment, intention and attention.
I thoroughly enjoy the philosophy of self-love AND I live my life in the real world. I want to translate the philosophy into intentional action As you are moving forward in your self-love journey, you’ll experiment with how best to express your self-love and act with loving kindness.
I offer you the following six ideas to help you on your way:
1) Take the love language quiz and brainstorm ideas.
In 1995, Gary Chapman released the book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” where he talks about the five ways (known as “love languages”) that people express and experience love: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. In his book, Chapman posits that each person has a primary and secondary love language.
When you find out what your love languages are, you build an understanding of how you express and receive love. You can use this understanding to brainstorm ideas to implement in your self-love practice.
For example, if your love language is acts of service, you’ll want to focus your self-love efforts on practical actions, such as meal-prepping, creating a she-shed in your backyard or decluttering your house. If you are a words of affirmation person, you’ll want to create a strong affirmations practice that builds up your confidence.
2) Get more sleep.
Most of us are seriously sleep-deprived and that’s not cool.
Think about your dream car. For me, it’s an all black everything Mercedes Benz G-Class SUV that I have nicknamed “Batman.” In my mind, I care for this car like you wouldn’t believe. I get it washed and detailed. The interior is immaculate and smells like happiness. I follow the car’s maintenance guidelines to the letter.
So why am I not doing this for myself? Because, baby, let me tell you I am more important to my life than this SUV.
The same goes for you.
The same way that you take care of your vehicle or your jewels is the same way you should take care of yourself. A very small way to start doing that is to get more sleep.
In fact, go to bed at the same night. Create a nighttime ritual that you follow for 40 continuous days. A nighttime ritual signals to your brain that it’s time to go mimi and can help you get to sleep faster.
3) For every negative thought you think about yourself, think three positive ones.
Even though you have made a powerful commitment to your self-love practice, the truth is that you will still be attacked by negative thinking. That’s okay. Just because a thought enters your mind does NOT mean that you have to follow it down the rabbit hole of negative thinking.
Use the power of your self-awareness to bring you back into the present moment. When you find yourself starting to be negative, immediately think three positive things. If you find yourself starting to criticize your looks, think three positive things about your looks. “My smile is radiant. My eyes are filled with kindness. My lip gloss is poppin’.”
Do this as many times as needed, even if it means that you’re doing this the majority of your day.
What’s happening is that you are training your mind to immediately pick-up on the best case scenario. Your mind will start scanning your environment and you will automatically find a million reasons for gratitude.
4) Give yourself a good belly laugh every single day.
Laughter is an important part of life because it taps you into joy. Joy is your birthright and it’s the quickest way to access the desires of your heart. In my blog post, Hack: Self-Love is Just Like Gardening, I talk about Dr. David Hawkin’s scale of consciousness and how my teacher, Reese Evans, says, “The energy that you vibrate at is directly correlated with what you attract into your life.”
Tip: Every day google a joke and share it with your loved ones or your colleagues at work. Laughter is best when it’s shared.
5) Hang out with people who love you and encourage you.
I cannot stress enough how important the people you surround yourself with are. Eagles don’t fly with chickens, boo. You, my dear HB, are an eagle and it’s time to fly.
Building a support system can make a big impact on your self-love journey. When you are faced with obstacles and you want to give up, it’s these people that will remind you of who you are when you seem to be suffering from short-term amnesia.
If you realize that you’re currently hanging around negative people who really don’t lift you up, that’s okay. The first step is always awareness. When you know better, you do better. The trick is to frequent the places where your high vibe tries hangs out. Soul Cycle? Church? Yoga? It’s time to get out and meet people who are on the same path you are.
6) Eat one healthy meal a day.
Listen, I get it. You’ve got a lot going on. You take care of your family and you are climbing the career ladder. I know you aspire to healthy living and clean eating. Oftentimes you don’t have the time or energy to add cooking from scratch to your list of deliverables.
That’s okay. Start small by eating one healthy meal a day. I love Robyn Youkilis’ power parfait recipe. You can prep it the night before and grab and go in the morning.
Honey Bunny, your self-love has the power to sustain you through every single moment of your life. It’s all about allowing it to express itself in every facet of your life. It doesn’t have to be grandiose, either. Simple and meaningful can move mountains, too.
Now it’s your turn. Comment below and share your simple, practical tips for infusing self-love into your every day life.
I’m cheering for you. Like you end all your jokes with “Waka, Waka.”