Welcome back, my loves, for the second part of the Self-Love Series.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason—that every experience we encounter shapes us in some way and is exactly what we need to experience at a given moment. And I believe that you clicked on this article for a reason. If you’re a close friend of mine, the reason could be that you’re just trying to support my creative project which is this blog (which is so sweet, and I love you all). But maybe you clicked on this article because you feel something lacking. Maybe you’re struggling to love and accept yourself. Maybe you’re looking for more ideas on self-care. Maybe you’re looking for someone to give you permission to love and take care of yourself in a world that can be very externally demanding.
No matter your reason for being here, I hope you find what you’re looking for, and I hope you’ll be inspired to practice self-love and self-care more often.
In my previous article, “The Importance of Loving and Taking Care of Ourselves,” I mentioned that there are essentially three aspects of our Selves: mind, body, and spirit. The mind represents our consciousness and our thought processes, the body represents the physical natures of our Selves, and the spirit embodies that which cannot be seen—our sense of connection with all that is and the force of light that drives our lives. In order to experience the most fulfilling expression of self-love, it’s important to look at what we can do to take care of each of these aspects of our Selves.
In this article, we are going to look at 6 ways we can cultivate self-love by taking care of the mind:
1. Think Positively/Eliminate Negative Self-Talk
Our thoughts shape our realities. Really, they do. They shape the way we look at things; they shape the way we react to our experiences; they shape the way we feel about ourselves and the world around us. If we can intentionally work on making sure the thoughts we have about ourselves are kind, compassionate, and accepting, we can make great strides on the journey of self-love.
I once read somewhere that we should treat ourselves the way we would treat a small child. For example, if a toddler made a mistake with something, would we yell at him and tell him what a failure he is? Absolutely not. We would assure him everything was okay, encourage him to learn from it, and we would let it go. We need to do the same thing with ourselves when we make mistakes in our own lives. If a toddler was feeling sad or lonely and needed some love, would we get annoyed at how needy she was acting? Absolutely not. We would have compassion for her and give her the love she deserved. In our own relationships, likewise, we should not send the message to ourselves that we are needy or burdensome when we are in greater need of love. These are only a few examples, but do you see what I’m saying here? We need to make sure we are KIND to ourselves and that our thoughts are laden with self-compassion. As you think of the messages you send yourself on a daily basis, ask yourself if you would ever send those same messages to a small child. If not, why would you want to send them to yourself? It’s time to eliminate negative self-talk.
If you’re having trouble initially eliminating negative self-talk, perhaps it would be a good idea to sit down every evening and write down just a few things you love about yourself, in order to shift your focus to a more positive one. You can read more about this in my article, “A Nightly Ritual to Attract Joy and Abundance.”
2. Let go of guilt and shame.
Guilt and shame are interesting to me because they seem to come from so many sources in our society and for so many reasons. You’re a stay-at-home mom who never finished college? Shame on you. You’re a working mom who sends her kids to daycare? Shame on you. You drink and smoke? Shame on you. You don’t drink at all? Shame on you for being a prude. It’s absolutely ridiculous how easy it is to feel guilt and shame—I mean, even if there isn’t a degree of shame coming to us from an outside source, sometimes we inflict it upon ourselves. But why?!
Guilt has the lowest vibrational frequency of all the emotions. It is downright toxic, which is why it’s so important to release it. Release the guilt and shame you carry for any of your past mistakes. Simply learn from them. Release the guilt and shame you carry about your sexuality. You’re a human being. Release any guilt and shame you might have about your religion, or not being good enough, or having to turn people down. Just live your life. Most importantly, release any guilt and shame you carry about taking care of yourself. Self-love and self-care are not selfish; they are absolutely crucial, and you are more than deserving of love from yourself.
I know it can be hard—that many of us have grown up with guilty and shameful messages embedded within ourselves—but as we release it, we open up so much space for love.
3. Live authentically.
It takes courage to live authentically, which I talk about extensively in my article, “The Importance of Living Authentically.” But basically, living in an authentic manner means carrying out your life and actions in a way that is true to who you are. It encourages you to always speak your truth, to do what you love, and to be unapologetically yourself even in the face of opposition.
Authenticity and self-love go hand-in-hand. When you fully love and embrace yourself as you are, you leave yourself with no other choice than to live in an authentic manner. Conversely, as you practice authenticity in your daily life, it becomes very difficult not to love and accept yourself.
I had a wonderful conversation with a stranger yesterday at a coffee shop. One minute, we were sitting next to each other at the bar engaging in small talk, and the next, he was going on and on about how important it is to live authentically. I’ll be honest—it was extremely touching. It almost felt like an answer to a prayer, or like confirmation that I’m on the right path, or something. Anyway, his basic message was that, as long as you are living in a way that is true to who you are as an individual, you are on the right path, and everything will be okay. And he was so right—authenticity opens the doors to so many wonderful things. It really promotes self-love.
4. Be intentional and assertive.
This is something I’ve been learning about a lot lately. I used to be relatively passive, but over the course of the past three months or so, I’ve been finding my voice and gathering the courage to be more assertive and intentional in my encounters with others.
Many of us know that being assertive means speaking up and standing up for ourselves. Being intentional has to do with being purposeful in our interactions with others, speaking our truths with them, listening to what they have to say, and acting authentically.
Being intentional and assertive is closely linked with both the solar plexus and throat chakras. The solar plexus chakra is the personal power chakra, and the throat chakra is linked to communication and assertiveness. Clearing any blockages in these chakras can certainly help develop these skills. You can read more about the solar plexus chakra here, and you can read more about the throat chakra here.
It’s just really important that we stand up for ourselves to make sure that we are being taken care of and treated the way we deserve to be treated.
5. Respect yourself.
This goes pretty well with the point up above, but it’s unique. Many of us have been in situations in which we aren’t treated well, yet we continue to subject ourselves to the substandard treatment. Maybe it’s in a relationship with a family member, maybe we keep trying to reach out to someone who has no desire to have us in their life, or maybe we’re selling ourselves short in some other way. Regardless, at some point, we have to become aware that self-respect is the most important form of respect that exists, and that we are deserving of only the most wonderful things life has to offer.
Self-respect is closely tied to self-love. The more we love ourselves, the more we respect ourselves, and the more we respect ourselves, the easier it becomes to love ourselves.
Think about the decisions you make in your own life. Do they reflect self-respect? If not, perhaps it’s time to make a few changes.
6. Know your worth.
Really, in the end, there is nothing you can do to show your love for yourself more than this. Many of us struggle, at times, to remember our worth, but it’s important to always come back to it. In the future, you will have to recognize your worth all by yourself. But in this moment, I’ll leave you with this poem, which is written especially for you (yes, you).
that you will always remember your worth
that you will walk with the knowledge that
you are more precious than gold
that you will quickly evict from your life
those who are blind to the sheer value of you.
you are a dream
and i marvel at
and your fighting spirit.
you are magic
and my greatest hope is that
you will see your magic
every time you catch your reflection in
a mirror or store-front window
and i pray that when you glimpse that
and you feel the magic in your soul
that you will repeat to yourself
over and over again
like a mantra
that you are worthy of only
the most wonderful things
life could dream of bringing you
and that nobody
and i mean nobody
who lacks basic respect for you
as a human being
deserves a place in your life.
You are so loved—may you always remember that, and may you use these ideas to work consciously to love yourself more and more every day.