Truth bomb time: I don’t love myself anywhere near like I love my kids. And there is something very, very wrong with that.
I know I am not the only one.
It is well known that self-love is missing from our lives so how do we begin to invite it back in? How do we fall in love with ourselves all over again? How do we set about loving ourselves no matter what?
We must treat loving ourselves as a verb not a noun, an action we need to take. A daily practice. We can’t move through life and just hope the love will come. We have to invite it back in. This will feel strange and not like yourself and may even be a struggle, but what else could be more important? If you are sick you do everything in your power to get well—rest, take Vitamin C, keep up the fluids. We are all sick with self-loathing, or at least in a chronic state of mild dislike. We need to do anything we can to make ourselves feel better.
You may not think you can love yourself now but try to starting believing in the possibility of cultivating it. Imagine, just imagine for one second if you had the fiercely-won belief of the late author and publisher Louise Hay when she said, “there is so much love in your heart that you could heal the entire planet.”
And so we get to affirmations. I know, sorry, but there is no better way to start. Yes, I am talking about repeating things over and over, writing them down in a journal or staring deeply into your eyes in the bathroom mirror. They invade the mind with a conscious choice, overriding all those negative thought patterns. They create new mental grooves that you assimilate after a bit of practice. And they need not be excruciating!
Here are three self-love affirmation practices guaranteed to brighten your day…
1) The One-Minute Challenge
I challenge you to one minute of self-love affirmations per day for 30 days. One lousy minute out of the 1,440 minutes in each day. Put on a timer. Do it after you brush your teeth or before you step into the shower.
Self-love affirmations can be as simple as “I love me / you / myself” or you can get more sophisticated and say “I am powerful and loved” or “I am loving and lovable.” Choose a different one each day or select one that resonates and stick with that.
If you are doing it in the mirror, look into your eyes and get as close as you can. The trick is to say it with feeling, with intensity, like you are going to propose marriage to your sweetheart. Don’t just say it, declare it or proclaim it.
And remember – it is only for one minute.
2) The Extravagant Compliment
Mark Twain allegedly spouts much wisdom but one of my favorites is the quote: “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Presumably he was talking about receiving compliments from others but you can transform this into a fun self-love affirmation.
At any time, but especially when you think something negative about yourself, say the exact opposite in the most over-the-top, extravagant, quixotic compliment you can think of. Praise the proverbial out of yourself. No guilt or arrogance needs to be associated with this. Repeat it three times in your head, or even better, out loud.
For example, “Hey you, you’re an absolute fox today!”, “My goodness, I’ve never seen you look more stunning”, “You are a beautiful, creative, intelligent winner” or (taken from the amazing book and movie, The Help), “You are kind, smart and important.”
3) The Pet Exchange
You would never talk to your pet or child in the same way your mind speaks to you. So switch it up. Talk to yourself like you would talk to your dog, other beloved pet or tiny child.
Some phrases that come to mind include “Hey, sweet girl”, “Look at that beautiful belly”, “You’re so clever”. Turn what you would say as loving greetings to your baby or fur-baby onto yourself.
Self-Love Affirmation Benefits
Self-love affirmations really don’t have to be excruciating. Trying them only for a minute, giving yourself an extravagant compliment or speaking in a sweet way like you would with a child or pet are three self-love affirmation practices guaranteed to brighten your day.
And if making affirmations fun still doesn’t convince you, then understanding the benefits of loving yourself can help. Self-love gives you more stability and control plus less drama and neediness as you are not relying on others to provide love to you. Self-love is the foundation that helps prop up all the other lofty goals and values you have. You can’t dream big or create with passion or provide altruistic kindness without some self-love in your heart. Life just works better with self-love front and center.
Let me know what self-love affirmation practice you will try today.
These self-love affirmation practices are extracted from my, er, awesome book, Embrace Your Awesomeness.
Watch this beautiful video of father and daughter saying self-love affirmations.
The Help “smart, kind, important” video.