I am a love bug. I have no problems telling the world about all the things I love. Repeatedly. My “About” section is full of love. I tell my family and friends how much I love them daily. I am the annoying one in the car that screams “OHMAGAAAAWD I LOVE THIS SONG”… every single song.
So why is it when I come to myself I get tongue tied? It’s like a first date. My eyes hit the floor. I shift from foot to foot. I get coy.
And a lot of people I know seem to be struck by the same affliction. I have deducted that this is down to two things; either we are embarrassed at the thought of loving ourselves or we truly don’t. Both of those are wrong.
Self-love is not being selfish.
It is about being kind to yourself. Allowing yourself rest. Turning your inner monologue into a cheer squad instead of a lynch mob. Most importantly, self-love is vital.
So if you aren’t already, it’s time to get on the self love train. Toot toot!
1. Write yourself a letter of advice
I am terrified of flying. So, on a trip to Bali my mum suggested that I write a letter to my imaginary teenage daughter about living a full life. Silly as it sounds, it worked. I wrote rational truth and vicarious dreams and because I technically wasn’t talking to my self-doubting self I gulped it all up. So when I was feeling lost the other day I pictured my 80 year old self writing a letter of advice. It’s a great way to remind yourself that you only live once! (Did I just YOLO?).
2. Practice mindfulness
Meditation can be quite intimidating but it is an unbelievably powerful tool. If you have tried it before and couldn’t quite ‘get it’ then know that you don’t have to master it to feel the benefits. Sarah Wilson (of I Quit Sugar fame) describes it as a “jerky, nervous, chattery [experience] that is far from inspirational”. The more you exercise your stillness muscle the stronger it gets… keep at it. Here are some amazing meditation resources that I use;
- The Chopra Meditation Center (Yes Deepak!) is a constant source of inspiration not to mention a comprehensive resource. Explore!
- I love this guided meditation by Melissa Ambrosini
- Buy some guided meditations either on iTunes or at your local alternative health store. (I can’t recommend this set of 22 Perfect Health Meditations enough – just gorgeous!)
3. Accept compliments
If someone gives you a compliment smile broadly and say Thank You. Hell – agree with it if you want to!
4. Stop pointing out what is wrong
Make a concerted effort to only point out the positives – even if you don’t feel like it. Brainwashed positivity is more contagious than the flu and has an amazing knack for changing your perspective.
5. Take a step towards your dreams (even if it’s a small one!)
You owe yourself your dreams so if you are living a life where you are constantly standing still admiring them you are not going to feel very fulfilled. So, whatever your dream take a step towards it – no matter how small! For example; you dream of being an illustrator? Enter an art competition. You fantasise about living in New York? Stick a photo of Times Square on your computer at work. Want to feel healthier? Join a local wellness Meetup group. It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic… just a little love note to the universe telling it that you are ready for what it’s got to throw at you.
6. Take a step away from social media
It is unrealistic to think of life without social media… it’s here. And thank god because otherwise we wouldn’t be chatting now! But sometimes it can be so damn overwhelming. So – starting today – do something to reduce your usage. Make a rule that you do not check it first thing in the morning. Give yourself allocated social media times – once in the morning, midday and afternoon. Never consume more than one media at once (I.e. watching TV while tweeting; cruising instagram while on the phone etc).
7. Random acts of kindness
If you are low on love for yourself logic would have it that you need to keep as much as you can for yourself. Hoard your happy. However, I have found that as low as you feel if you can muster the energy to do something for someone else it magically makes you feel better. This quote really sticks with me – “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again” (Og Mandino).
8. Dedicated you-time
Allot yourself a specific time once a week where you pamper the fuck out of yourself! Turn off your phone and do exactly what it is that makes you feel fabulous. If that is lighting your expensive candles, pouring a champagne and chillaxing in the bath for 2 hours then go for it!
9. Express yourself
Commit to expressing yourself without judgement. Paint, run, cook, read, dance, go to a nudist beach, sit under a tree alone, sing – do whatever it is that make you feel 100% authentically you. Don’t judge yourself on it (i.e. “I’m not a very good painter”) just let your body and mind move however it feels right.
10. Unleash your inner 12 year old
Go into a room by yourself. Put your favourite song on. Now dramatically mime it. Dance! I have never managed to do this without feeling better afterwards. Laugh at yourself. Don’t take life too seriously.