I have been learning a lot recently on how to love myself. I wrote another post a couple of years ago about this topic, but I have come so far since then. My idea of self-love then was what I now think of as self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is good, but we can take it further. We can actually LOVE ourselves, be proud of who we are, and speak to ourselves as if we were our oldest and dearest friend.
But how? This is not something we typically learn about in school or church, and I never even thought about it until I met someone who oozed gratitude and self-love. I’d never met someone like that before and I wanted her happiness and shininess for myself! She, along with other friends and internet articles, taught me to start with my thought life. Our inner voice is the one we hear constantly, every single day of our lives. We need to make sure this voice is the most loving, kind and patient voice we hear. We can and should take control of our inner thoughts/self talk.
These are actual examples of things I used to say to myself.
“Oh, gross, is that how I really look?”
“Sometimes you just suck.”
“Guess we haven’t learned that lesson yet, have we?”
“I’m a horrible mother.”
“I’m not as smart as anyone here.”
“Maybe I should just stop singing/taking pictures, I’m never going to be as good as _____.”
After I started learning about self-love, I realised how these negative thoughts were affecting me. They were bringing me down, obviously! Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like this. I started being patient with myself when I make mistakes. Actively praising myself for good things I’ve done. Speaking to myself like I would to a friend. Now I try to say things like,
“It’s gonna be okay.”
“It’s okay to make mistakes.”
“You’re doing the best you can.”
“Even if I could have done that better, I love myself.”
“No one is perfect. You’re doing a great job.”
“I have great ideas! I love the ideas I come up with!”
Negative thought patterns can die hard. I still think negatively towards myself sometimes – but now I notice it, rebuke it, and replace it with a positive thought. It’s a habit that takes time to change – gotta stay on it.
I started doing yoga with an app and youtube videos these last couple of months and I’ve been loving it. After a while I came up with a routine where I combine different poses with affirmations and prayers. I want to share it with you and recommend that you come up with your own poses and affirmations. If you are not physically able to do yoga(or just would rather not), speak the words out loud to yourself. It is a wonderful way to start each day.
This is my YOGA/MEDITATION Morning Routine (5-10 minutes)
- I start out by doing the first part of a sun salutation. I raise my arms over my head and back down again, repeating these words: “I am grateful for this day, for the sun, for the light, for my life. Thank you God for this day, for the sun, for the light, for my life.” I repeat these words over and over, adding whatever else comes to mind, until my armpits feel good and stretched.
- Going into the forward fold, I say these words: “I let go of all I cannot control. I cast my cares upon the Lord for He cares for me. I let all of my stress and worries go.” I remember to breathe, and feel the stretch. I hold this position and repeat these words as long as I feel needed.
- Downward dog: “I am strong, powerful and beautiful, inside and out.” I say these words, out loud, convincingly, and repeat them over and over until I truly believe them.
- Lying on my front and pushing up to stretch the back, I smile and say, “I love myself. I love my life. I love Jesus.” Repeating these words and holding this pose for as long as needed, adding in other words and prayers that come to mind.
- I then go into child’s pose. I say, “I am a child of God. Thank you that I am a child of God. I love my children. Thank you for my children. I love my husband. Thank you for my husband.”
- Table pose: “I am doing a good job. I am doing a good job as a wife, mother and as Lindsay.”
- Cat and Cow: I take this time to listen to God and to myself, breathing and being quiet, enjoying the stretch.
- From here I work my way back – to child’s pose, then downward dog, forward fold and reaching my arms over my head, saying the same things I said before.
- At the end I stretch my arms wide, forming a “t” with my body. I smile, say anything else that needs to be said, and give myself a big hug, ending with “I love myself!”
There is power in speaking AND in hearing these words. Make sure to say everything out loud, convincingly! Smile while you stretch, even if it doesn’t come naturally.
I am on a wonderful journey of self-love. I think I am an awesome person with great ideas. I feel confident in who I am and in the decisions I make. Do you know how amazing that feels? Pretty darn amazing. It’s like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and my happiness level has gone up a notch or two.
Imagine the world we would have if we all loved ourselves. When we love ourselves, we are more joyful. We shine. We are able to love and forgive others more. We are confident. We are healing ourselves.
Give yourself a hug! You rock!
If you want to learn more here is a great article: “21 Tips to Release Self-Neglect and Love Yourself in Action”
Do you love yourself? Do you want to love yourself more?