There are words and expressions in the English language that takes more than a good dictionary to comprehend. For me, self-love was one of those mysterious word combinations that took a long time to decipher.
Self-love was this vague expression that had no actual applications in my life. I, however, recognized people who had more self-love than I did. I saw them set better boundaries, speak their truth in an authentic way and wear a healthy glow that had nothing to do with how they were clothed. I just didn’t know how they got there and didn’t know to call it self-love either.
These people treated me with kindness and respect. At the time, I had little awareness that their welcoming and open response to me was also a reflection of how they treated themselves. They had something to model to me that I knew was crucial for my survival and happiness. The gap between how I felt and how I wanted to feel propelled me to look deeper into how I was treating myself on every level. The word combination “self-love” began to lose its enigmatic, intimidating charge. It became an understanding and a continually growing practice instead.
I chose a few of my ongoing self-love practices that make a big difference in my life. Maybe they will serve as a source of inspiration for you…
1) I listen to my intuition more
I believe that this is a self-love practice that we can’t afford to ignore. I know this from decreased stress and unnecessary emotional chaos in my life.
We can train ourselves to recognize our intuition when it comes in. We all have intuition. Some of us have developed it more is all. It is a matter of not being afraid of it and seeing it as an ally. Start where you are and make it a practice to write down when your intuition was right- even if you didn’t follow it. After a few weeks of record keeping and recognizing your own intuitive receptivity, you will start believing its presence and power.
I see this as an act of self-love because I know that our intuition always leads us out of trouble and towards ease. We just need to learn to trust it. This practice involves doing things our ego may not like or other people may not approve of at times. Accepting this trade-off comes with time and maturity.
2) I cut my wasteful spending by 50%
I am no different than most women. I love to shop. But I also love having money for things that I need. The Starbucks lattes, buying groceries to cook dinner with but going out to eat anyway, “finding” a great deal on sandals at TJMaxx when I already had 3 pairs, etc., were causing me to leak a lot of financial energy. I finally had to learn to ask myself, “Do I really need this?” every time I put an item in my shopping cart.
Asking ourselves a simple, honest question can create the awareness we need to make a choice out of self-love and to plug some of those drains. That can give us the 2 seconds we need to make a different choice that is in alignment with our self-love goals.
Additionally, I realized that I was going window shopping out of boredom, as an escape or try to fix my inner world with outer solutions. Monitoring my motive for going shopping was very helpful because I could avoid going into the “lion’s dean” (shopping haven) from the get-go. When we cut out some of our distractions, we have more room to feel our feelings and let them guide us to inner truths.
3) I make sure to have alone time to connect with myself
For many years, I was unaware of my need for quiet, alone time to get recharged and to be my best self to meet the world. I now have my own secret nature spots where I become one with the universe and hear my deepest truth. There is very little that is left unresolved when I leave these locations.
I am also honest about this need and I express it. I learned to let go of what the other person is going to think or feel. As long as I communicate from a place of self-love and a desire to keep my connection with this person, there should be no drama.
What are your ways to find that silence within you? Maybe you go for a long walk or focus on a creative hobby to merge with your core self intentionally. This silence not only allows for a broader perspective to come in but also gives us an opportunity to collect the data we need. Then we can use this information to create and implement self-love practices that bring us comfort, joy, and happiness as we move through life.
What do I mean by this?
We have to get to know ourselves in order to love ourselves. Because love is not a word, it is action. Getting to know process involves a lot of witnessing and being a neutral observer. It’s an advanced ninja move right there! Being a neutral observer is an incredibly healing tool. We all have an Observer Self. We just need to put it to use to help us with picking up clues about our instant desires, what gives us joy, helps us feel connected, etc…in the moment. We collect this data in order to know what to give ourselves as a part of our self-love practice.
4) I acknowledge my accomplishments more
Another active self-love practice ingredient is acknowledging where we are now compared to where we were. In fact, this is so important that active and consistent self-appreciation is one of the most effective antidotes to low self-esteem. Not to mention how quickly it dissolves our need for approval from others. To me, this is a form of freedom that cannot be bought.
I found that practicing self-love is an ongoing, ever-evolving and increasingly joyful process. Ultimately, self-love looks different for everyone. Only we know deeply what makes us tick, upset, drained or inspired. Some people love taking hot baths, some would rather cook a three-course meal from scratch to decompress.
Self-love is not a one-size-fits-all concept. It’s a practice. Discover what works and does not work for you so you can build a life on that very discovery.
There is no other more powerful position to be in on the planet than being the one loving yourself best. The good news is, self-love is a personal journey and someone else having “more” only inspires us to find our own happiness.
Image Credit: Self_discovery” by Cielle DuCiel on Flickr.