I dreamt of falling in love from a young age. I watched and read fairy tales that depicted princesses who were incomplete until they found their Prince Charming. There was no happily ever after without her falling into the arms of the man of her dreams who could give her everything she had ever wanted. I saw the media (movies, celebrities, books) draw a picture of love; that I wouldn’t be whole until I found someone who could give it to me. Only after I found someone who could devote themselves and take care of me, then I would be complete.
The yearning I had to share love with someone fueled my “boy craze” through Middle School and some of High School. From crushes to seemingly “serious relationships”, I was continuously disappointed with the reality I was faced with. Many people had told me they loved me, but I still didn’t feel genuinely loved. This was confusing and made me wonder if there was something wrong with me or whoever I was with
I moved from person to person, under the impression that it just wasn’t right. Meanwhile I continued to feel the same void. A void that I was hoping someone else could fill. If only he could love me purely, meet all of my expectations, and create an intimacy that surpassed our individual needs. It existed in love stories and fairy tales. Heck, there were couples all around me portraying this picture, so why couldn’t I have it?
When I finally did meet someone who basically “fit the mold” and made me feel deeply loved, I stayed with them. For years. Only to find that it wasn’t a romance from someone else that I had been seeking the whole time. I had been craving love from myself. I realized as much as I valued the connection with that person, I would never be able to give someone the love they deserved if I couldn’t deeply care for myself.
I wasted years of my life, concerned with seeking validation from another person, when through all that time, I could’ve learned to have a healthy and beautiful relationship with my own being. Even so, those years were a necessary part of my path, and taught me a valuable lesson.
In today’s society, it is very common for us to seek acceptance and validation outside of ourselves.. Through material items, partners, money, and so on. Then we wonder why so many relationships are dysfunctional. The truth that I have learned and feel called to share with you, is that it all starts from within.
When we learn to deeply love ourselves, it all comes together. In doing so, you will realize that your body is quite miraculous, and will naturally want to feed it nourishing foods and make it stronger. You will develop compassion for yourself, which will turn into awareness and healing of past wounds. Above all, you can create an unwavering love for yourself that will reflect in your relationships and spill out onto the people you care about.
When you are in any type of dysfunctional, toxic, or under-fulfilling relationship with someone, it usually indicates that one or both people are lacking self love and awareness, and are projecting this inner lack onto the other person.
When someone doesn’t love themselves and are expecting their partner to do it for them, this leads to disappointment because the reality is that what we all are really seeking, is within. This reflects the truth: that there is a oneness, a source of intimacy within ourselves that no one else could possibly match, even if they tried.
So, learning to love yourself the way you’ve always wanted to be loved is one of the most powerful practices for improving your life and your relationships. Instead of feeling empty because you don’t have a person that appreciates every cell of your being, you will already feel so much empowerment within yourself that it won’t phase you any longer. Instead of being upset at your partner for their shortcomings and lack of ability to love you exactly the way you want them to, you will look within to see how you can improve yourself, and love them the way they deserve. You won’t have to drain others of their energy for inspiration, healing, or validation, because you will already have all of that within you.
My journey of self love is ongoing, as is most peoples’. It’s a day to day effort, and is something you can lose sight of without practice. It is our true nature to love ourselves, but we unfortunately live in a society that distracts us from that truth. It is your privilege and responsibility to reclaim your inner self appreciation. Just as you would spoil and devote your time toward a love interest with someone else, you should be doing the same for yourself.
Below I have listed seven self love practices that have greatly impacted my path and recentered my intentions in all of my relationships. I try to do at least one act of self love each day, but some days feel called to devote myself to the cause and do all of them. You will most likely feel immediately in love with yourself upon completing each exercise. Even so, consistence and long term practice will yield the most powerful results.
I encourage you to play with any of these exercises and mold them to your needs. You know better than I do what your heart is really seeking. This is just a template and a source of inspiration to help guide you back into your truth.
One of the forms of love that I’ve always craved from others since growing up is words of encouragement. “I’m proud of you”. “You are beautiful.” “You did an amazing job.” These words were like heroin to me, filling my head with dopamine and building my confidence. The only downside was that when I wasn’t frequently hearing encouraging words from my partner, parents, or teachers, I would go back into feeling bad about myself and wanting more validation. It was a constant cycle.
So, as you can imagine, it was profound for me to learn about affirmations, or the act of self empowerment through positive statements. Instead of waiting for others to validate me, I could accredit my beautiful attributes and abilities on my own.
Affirmations also helped me develop qualities that I never had by telling myself that I had the opposite of whatever I was insecure about. For instance, I’ve had a predisposition to have a hard time focusing, so I always told myself that I couldn’t focus. Now I tell myself that I have an impeccable attention span, and I really do have an easier time with completing projects (i.e. sitting down and writing a whole article).
Whether you have used affirmations or have no idea what they are, I highly encourage you to incorporate them as a daily practice, and watch the miracles they will create.
- To start, affirmations should always be in present tense. Instead of saying “I will be successful”, you should say “I am successful”. The goal is to step into the feeling of already having that success or whatever positive quality you choose.
- Deeply consider the qualities in yourself that you appreciate. Whether it’s that you’re compassionate, intelligent, or loyal. Don’t be afraid to feel that way, it is not conceited. Create a list. This will be the first set of affirmations that you will use, as a reminder of the parts of you that you already know are beautiful. Mine looks like this:
- I am deeply compassionate for others
- I am able to use my creativity to positively impact the world
- I am adventurous and free spirited
- Next, consider the qualities that you wish to build on based off of the insecurities that hold you back. If you think you are unattractive and have a hard time taking care of your body, a powerful affirmation would be “I am radiantly beautiful and treat my body with respect”. Make another list. This set of affirmations will empower you to grow and flourish into the person that you know you’re meant to be. Mine looks like this:
– I am great at focusing and completing projects
-I am healed from my past and have a bright future
-I attract abundance in all areas of my life
Now, to implement the affirmations is the most important. A few powerful ways to use these affirmations daily are:
- Say them outloud, in the mirror if you so choose, and really feel and know that they are true.
- Write them down repeatedly in a journal or on paper, this is a powerful way of bringing thought into physical reality.
- Write them on sticky notes and place around your house/car/workplace (I’m sure you’re coworkers will be stoked to find them).
- Repeat them in your head throughout the day when you need a boost of confidence.
- The more often you implement these powerful words, the more impact they will have.
2. Solo nature walk
The outdoors have always been a release for me, and I believe the reason why is because it returns me to my true state. Before humans spoke words, we expressed ourselves through nature, whether it was through flowers or worshiping the stars. As I said, loving ourselves is in our truest character, and nature has a powerful way of bringing us back to that.
Hiking with friends and loved ones can be a great time, but going alone gives you the opportunity to reflect and soak up the details that give you the most insight.
When I am swimming in the ocean by myself, it feels incredibly healing to lay there and let the bliss permeate my body. When I am walking through the forest by myself, I contemplate the wisdom of the trees and the insignificance of my problems. When I am in the desert alone, I allow the complete and utter silence to bring me peace.
Just the act of taking the time to spend with yourself and doing something that isn’t related to making money, checking off the goal list, or having some exterior goal is an act of extreme self love.
Plan a solo adventure. It doesn’t need to be far away, although it can be. Set aside a few hours out of your day to immerse yourself in nature and imbibe the Earth’s energy. Bring a picnic if you’d like, it’s good to treat it as a date with yourself. If you’re prone to get stuck in your head when you’re alone, try to focus on your breath and absorb each moment. Pay attention to the details and listen to what nature has to tell you.
Be sure to go somewhere with your limit of comfort, i.e. don’t go on a full day hike in the woods unless you’re prepared and are able to protect yourself.
3. Creative hour
Having the ability to write and publish articles has been one of the most empowering opportunities I have had. I have always had so much creative energy, but no consistent outlet until I created this website and community. It has contributed to my self- love journey in ways I can’t fully articulate.
Whether you consider yourself left brain dominant or right brain dominant, we all have a source of creativity that is accessible. In fact, it is vital for our wellbeing to connect to our creative side and utilize the powers our brain offers. By ignoring your creative energy, you are suppressing your truest nature, and thus not loving yourself to the fullest extent.
Taking time out of the day to do something creative is a practice of acknowledging your magic instead of letting the world drown you out.
Set aside a time everyday to dedicate to accessing your creativity. What you choose to do really just depends on what makes you happy. Remember, the purpose of this is to feel self love, so it doesn’t need to feel like a chore.
Also, if you love drawing or whatever but don’t feel like you are “very good at it”, it might be healing to just do without any expectations or comparisons. There is no good art or bad art, it is all art, and is all based off of perspective.
Below is a list of ideas. Feel free to escape this list, it is only a means of inspiration. I like to a write and paint but it’s refreshing to do something new sometimes!
- Dance to your favorite music
- Read a new book
- Write in a journal or online (check out my gratitude prompts further in the article)
- Make a collage of your dreams, or whatever interests you (fashion, interior design, sports, etc.)
- Draw. Graphite can be fun to play with!
- Color in a coloring book – check out the coloring books at the bottom of my page
- Get a movement prop such as a levi wand or hula hoop- also at bottom of page
- Make music: there’s programs online such as garageband
- DJ music (Easiest way: multiple Youtube tabs)
- Go on a hike and make a rad video of the scenery
- Paint! Good old Bob Ross.
- Make jewelry
- Learn a new instrument
- Make a Youtube video about something you’re good at
- Sooo many more (feel free to comment below about anything I missed or which one is your favorite!)
4. Set intentions
It is easy to get caught up in the drama of life when you don’t have a vision. Getting caught in the ego’s games is the opposite of self love. He did this, she said that- this cycle of low thinking is far from your highest potential. Loving yourself means taking control of your life and making your dreams come true. It is not staying in a 9-5 job that doesn’t fulfill you and ultimately sucks your energy.
In order to start working toward your dream life, it is important to know what you want. Like, deep down. No limitations. Then take it to the next level and turn these desires into intentions.
Setting intentions has given me my power back. I used to wait around waiting for life to get better. Now when I know my heart wants something, I set an intention and make it happen. If it weren’t for intentions, I wouldn’t be typing this article under palm trees on a 80 degree(F) day, on an island in the middle of the ocean.
Intentions start with knowing what you want. Meditate on this if you need to. A good way to know is to ask yourself: If I could give anything to the love of my life what would I give them? A trip to the Bahamas? A brand new car? Long lasting health? A spa day? Whatever it is, shift into the mindset of wanting to give that to yourself. Remember, you set your own limitations.
After you know what your heart desires, write it down on a piece of paper or in a journal. Imagine what it feels like to already have these things as you write them down. Feel free to incorporate it into an affirmation by putting it into present tense, such as “I own a 2019 Tesla and I love it.” It may feel like you are lying, but as long as you really feel what it’s like for it to be true, it is guaranteed helping bring it into existence.
To build on this exercise, break down your intentions into years, months, weeks, days, etc. For instance, if you are trying to buy a 2019 Tesla by the end of the year, make that your yearly goal.
Then write down your main intention for each month to work on making that happen. It might be, “fix credit”, “get new job”, or “save money”.
Then break it down into your next week. What are your intentions for the next week to get closer to your goal? It might be “sell unnecessary belongings” or “fix up and sell current car to make more $”.
Lastly, set your daily intentions. These can be the most powerful because it will help you take immediate charge of your day, instead of getting distracted by life’s drama. It’ll give you a purpose. It might be “look into income sources” or even “buy a $1 lottery ticket”- not encouraging you to make that a habit.
All you have to do is apply your goal to this template, and focus on your intentions as often as possible.
5. Gratitude journal
It is hard to love yourself when life seems dreary and unaligned. Feeling this way can indicate that it’s ready for a change. If not, it is time to start being deeply grateful for the small blessings in your life. Gratitude raises your vibration and opens the door to transformational energy.
Practicing gratitude for just 2 minutes can be an instant act of self love, one that you will reap the benefits from immediately. It raises your awareness of the beauty of life and will encourage you to keep going through the small tribulations.
Get a journal that you can use to write down what you’re grateful for on a frequent basis. It is powerful to do it when you wake up and before you go to bed, but can be done whenever you feel the need. It doesn’t have to be lengthy unless you want it to. In fact, it can be single words if that’s all you have time for. As you write it down, feel the gratitude enter your mind and body. Here are a few prompts to get you started:
- Write down 3 people that you are deeply grateful for and why
- Write about each body part and why you are grateful you have it
- Write about the hardest struggles you’ve gone through and why you’re grateful that they happened
- Write about an experience that you are so grateful you had
- Write about 5 items that you own that you are grateful to own
- Write down all of the foods in the world that you are most grateful for
- Write down any recent opportunities that you are grateful for
- Write down 3 reasons you are grateful for your job(If it’s hard, might be time for a change)
6. Morning ritual
It can be a chore to wake up in the morning but it doesn’t have to be. Having a morning ritual filled with high vibration practices is a great way to stay aligned to your purpose and reconnect to your truth before you take on the day. Loving yourself means taking that time out of your day to do what is best for your health and mind. If that means waking up 30 minutes earlier, so be it.
I have been changing my morning ritual around for years to cater to whatever I need in each phase of my life. A few important focuses during a morning ritual should include quieting your mind, connecting to your spirituality, understanding your intentions, and preparing your body for the day ahead.
It will take work to implement your morning habits, so don’t be too hard on yourself if the alarm doesn’t go off(or if you press snooze here and there). It takes 21 days to make something a habit, so as you continue to do it and thoroughly enjoy it, it will become natural. Remember, it’s not a chore, it’s a act of self love.
Write down what an ideal morning would look like that fits in your schedule and covers all that I listed above(that’s bolded).
Here’s what mine has been looking like recently:
- Wake up, mentally list what I am grateful for in my head
- Drink a glass or bottle of water (lemon or plain)
- Get out of bed and stretch my body
- Sit down and meditate. Type of meditation depends on day.
- Run on the beach and jump in the Ocean
- Eat a nutritious meal
- Read an excerpt or watch a video about self growth and spirituality
- Find someway to thank Jah, or the higher consciousness for all that is
Just do whatever feels right.
7. Cook a meal for yourself
This might seem simple, but sometimes it is easy to forget that preparing food for yourself is a sacred and intuitive act of self love. It is listening to your body’s desires and providing it with energy to live.
While eating a pint of icecream or going out to eat can feel really good, learning to appreciate real food and prepare it exactly the way you want can be a stimulating practice.
Try to distinguish the difference between foods your body is addicted to and foods that your body healthily craving. For example, if you want to cook a box of mac n cheese, that is fine, but wouldn’t it be a stronger act of self love by eating something that’ll taste great and make you feel great?
I will provide more healthy recipes and food ideas further down the road, but here is a list of some of my favorite meals along with some tips to make it a more impactful experience.
1. Meditate on what your body is craving, not what your emotions are craving.
2. Listen to your intuition and pick a meal based off what you need.
3. If you just need a box of mac n cheese, try making it from scratch and also make some collard greens. Balance is key.
4. The best investment you can make is in your health- don’t be afraid to spend a little more for high quality ingredients.
5. Lighten up the atmosphere when you cook. Play some music, drink some wine if you want. Try your best to enjoy it.
6. Use a timer if you’re prone to getting distracted.
7. Use your creativity based off of what you prefer. You don’t have to copy a recipe word for word.
8. Pretend you are a professional chef and let the plate be your canvas. Appearance is just as important as taste!
9. Before you eat, give thanks for all of the time that was put into growing and preparing your food, and give thanks to any animal’s life if you do eat meat.
10. Eat slowly. Savor each bite. Thank yourself for making such a beautiful meal.
- Southern comfort ~ black eyed peas, plantains, collard greens
- Curry: thai, indian, whatever you’re craving
- West African Peanut soup (check out this recipe🙂
- Tacos with your favorite protein
- Stir Fry
- Loaded baked potatoes
- A buddha bowl with all of your favorite veggies, rice, a protein, and sauce
- A loaded veggie burger with grilled onions and the works
- A vibrant, colorful, massive salad
- A smoothie bowl with all the best toppings
- Tofu scramble
- The fattest burrito you’ve ever seen
- Make your own pizza
- Bake some banana bread
- Make some lavender hemp milk: here’s my recipe
There you have it! Seven self love practices that will actually transform your relationships, with others as well as yourself.
Although yes, it is possible to meet someone that will love you deeply and care for you the way you deserve, there is no one that will understand or appreciate you the way that you are capable of doing so.
So before you expect others to love you, look inward and take care of your own emotional needs. This will raise your vibration and attract beautiful relationships into your life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to improve your life and raise your vibration, it is contributing to a growing collective which is exactly what this world needs.
I hope at the very least that this article will provide inspiration for your journey and encourage you to start looking inward instead of outward for love and acceptance.
If you would like to discuss more on the subject, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I love hearing your stories and bouncing ideas off of eachother.
Here are some items that will help you on your journey: