“Self love means doing things that feel good.” – Jen Sincero
It seems too simple, but it’s true. Self love means you prioritize what feels good.
Take enough time alone with yourself to figure out what feels really, truly good to YOU. This means everything from buying yourself new clothes, taking long baths, allowing yourself to laugh and have fun, or making time to workout every day. Sometimes it means doing something scary that you know will feel good afterwards. Sometimes it means delayed gratification and cleaning our house.
Trouble arises when we tack on guilt, fear, and shame to what makes us feel good, or we don’t know ourselves well enough to know what feels good.
Last week we talked about accepting the concept of self love, and how it can feel weird or even vain if it’s foreign to you. If you’ve been walking around loathing yourself, it may seem unattainable to change your mind and suddenly feel happy in your own skin, and *gasp* love yourself.
The truth is, even the people who teach us about self love, who write books about self love, and have entire TED talks about self love have moments of struggle, doubt, and impostor syndrome. If they can learn to love themselves and accept these bad and off days as part of life, then so can you.
This isn’t about “boom ok I love myself can I go home now?” This is about making a commitment to love yourself, and marrying the idea that you are going to walk through this life loving yourself, because why wouldn’t you make the choice to drastically change your life for the better?
Starting small is everything. So many of us mistakenly think we need to completely overhaul our lives in one fell swoop in order to achieve anything big, but this is absolutely false. The reality is that big things are accomplished in a series of tiny little steps.
This is why its so easy to give up working out, writing a book, eating better, finding a new job, saving money, or learning something new, like how to love ourselves. It’s because we live in an instant gratification culture, but there’s no short cut to most of the sweetest things in life. Learning a new skill, building new habits, nurturing a loving relationship, making lifelong friends, starting a business, and creating something of value all take time.
We get discouraged when we don’t see results fast enough, but slow progress becomes massive progress with patience, perseverance, and time.
“Everyone is like ‘overnight sensation.’ It’s not overnight. It’s years of hard work.”
There is no shortcut. It’s like getting in shape. You have to want it enough to form new habits, keep at them long enough so they replace your old habits, and stay persistent even when you think you’re not seeing results, because that’s about the time you start getting results. With anything in life, if you put in consistent effort and keep the faith, you will reap the rewards.
Plus, once you love yourself, much like getting in shape, workouts don’t magically become “easy,” but you do get stronger and better, and you can take on more challenges and keep getting better and better.
The same is true of your mind.
I promise you, if you make it a commitment to love yourself, your life will change for the better.
Before I really learned to love myself, it didn’t feel possible to wake up ecstatic, or to be living in a sweet little house by the beach, playing in the ocean every single week. I didn’t know that self love would be the key to creating more, making more money, having more fulfilling friendships, and generally feeling more at peace. I was so consumed with my eating disorder, depression, social anxiety and re-living my traumas that every day was a struggle and my solution was to get wasted and try to control my body.
You must stick with your decision to love yourself, and commit to one daily practice at a time. Build it up, and then add another. Then, add another. If you keep a journal, you can look back and gauge your progress. You’re free to overhaul your life with self love if that’s your style, by all means, rock on with your bad self. DO WHAT FEELS GOOD.
This is your one precious life as far as you know. Cut the bullshit of making yourself miserable with your thoughts and habits and have the courage to feel good in your own skin and to create a life you really love.
Here are some tools I’ve learned that got me started in my journey to self love. See what you like. Make your favorite one a habit, and see how it changes things for you. Then, try something new. Keep researching, keep learning, and keep committed to your self love practice.
<3 A Beginners Guide to Self Love- Tools and Rituals <3
1. Create Morning Rituals
This may be the most important tool. Mornings are a crucial time to set the tone for the day. Your thoughts and your mood build momentum, so when you start your day off making it a priority to feel good, it’s so much easier to move in a positive direction throughout the day.
You can take as long or as little as you like, but I think between 15 minutes- an hour is a sweet spot.
Some ways you can begin your mornings: meditate, masturbate, put on some high energy music and have a dance party, do yoga, make a gratitude list, write a “manifest list” where you write a list about all your desires. Go for a walk, pull tarot cards, work out. Journal and set your intentions for the day.
It doesn’t have to be rigid. You don’t have to hand juice stalks of celery and kale and stand on your head and hum, but if that makes you feel good, by all means, juice away.
The point is to wake up and spend at least 15 minutes doing something that gives you energy, puts you in a good head space, and lets you start your day feeling jazzed.
2. Use Your Words
Tape an affirmation to your mirror. When I decided to heal from my eating disorder ten years ago, the first step I too was taping a tiny piece of art that said “You are beautiful in every way” to my mirror, as a reminder to myself that I was choosing a different path. It helped immensely having it on the mirror, a place we so often criticize ourselves. You can even tape something as simple as a heart to your mirror as a reminder. Right now I have a card on my mirror that my friend gave me that says, “You’re the cats meow.”
Start telling yourself “I love you.” You can do this in the mirror, in bed, when you’re worried, scared, or celebrating.
Pay yourself compliments. Don’t rely on others to validate you and pat you on the back for a job well done. When you do this, you put your power in someone else’s hands. Take your power back and learn to validate yourself. Of course, most of us love compliments, because they feel great! Just don’t wait for them to feel good about yourself.
3. Take. Care. Of. Yourself.
Eat healthy food, pay your bills on time, visit the doctor, the dentist, get eight hours of sleep a night, drink your water, meditate, do your chores, wear clean clothes, groom yourself.
I know it seems like basic stuff, but just making all these things non-negotiables, and seeing them as part of your happiness will drill them into your routine. These things don’t just magically disappear, and making it a habit to just get them out of the way (or hire/ask for help if that’s an option!) will relieve boatloads of stress from your life.
4. Forgive Yourself and Be Patient
You’re human, and you will mess up. Forgive yourself always.
Forgive yourself for your past. You may have things you wish you could undo, people you wish you could un-date, or un-hurt. No matter what happened in your past, you have to forgive yourself. You are always new. You can choose to do better. We have all made mistakes. You deserve your own forgiveness always.
This stuff takes time and a lot of practice, too. It’s a daily commitment. You’re still going to have mean thoughts that creep up.
You’re still going to have moments where you feel insecure, or want to compare yourself to someone you perceive as “better” in some way. We all struggle from time to time
When you make mistakes, mess up, spend all morning scrolling your phone, eat two candy bars in a row, or act like an asshole, just forgive yourself, and move on. You can’t reverse it, and you’re human. We all make mistakes, all the time, so just let it go.
Self love isn’t about being perfect. It’s about getting better, feeling better, and mistakes are going to happen in that process. The work is literally never done, so if you’re looking for an “end” destination, there is none. There is always more work to do, so learn to find ways to enjoy it because that is life. The work is literally never done. Get used to it, and learn to love it.
5. Prioritize FUN
See your friends. Tell jokes. Watch comedy. If you get the urge to do a silly dance or voice, don’t hold back. Dance. Play. Run in sprinklers. Try new things. Go to art shows. See live music. Have picnics. Throw parties. Build sand castles. Play games. Allow yourself to be a kid, and have fun. When you feel good, you are a magnet to more things that feel good.
Plus, remember how we talked about life as we know it and how there’s no guarantee for tomorrow? Or, hey, maybe you’ll live until your ninety. Either way, you might as well have some fun and enjoy the experience.
6. Choose what you LOVE
Wear what you like, not what’s cool or “in” or what you think other people might like. Eat what what makes you feel good and what gives you pleasure, not what some magazine told you to. Decorate your house the way you like, despite your landlord thinking you’re odd. Listen to music you like, even if it’s not cool, or would be a little embarrassing if your headphones came unplugged.
Life is too fucking short to choose things we’re told to like. It’s your life, and you get to customize it as you see fit. Just because it’s not trending on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s not rad. If it lights you up, invite it into your life.
Fuck blending in and slipping by, and not causing any stir. Life would be so boring without weirdos. Let your freak flag fly, as they say.
7. Go After What You Really Want
I’m not saying you should quit your day job without steady income rolling in, but if you want to move to the mountains in Montana, start researching, saving money, and formulating a plan. If you want to be your own boss, what different ways could you make money? Research what it takes to get there. Buy some books, sign up for some classes and start learning how to make it happen. Then, do it.
You are not married to what’s easy, practical, or available on Craigslist. There is whole entire world full of options, people, places, homes, work trades, jobs, experiences, opportunities, many of which have NOT EVEN BEEN CREATED YET! Get some.
8. Gratitude for Yourself
Appreciate yourself. Appreciate your body for giving you a home to carry your soul and experience this life. Appreciate your good health, or every area you do have good health. Appreciate your kindness or your skills in the kitchen or your cat whispering abilities. Include yourself and your own qualities in your gratitude lists.
9. Adorn Yourself
Wear things that make you happy. Fuck thinking what you wear might make someone else uncomfortable. Color our fucking world. Flaunt your shit if you want. Want tattoos? Get ’em. Love doing wild makeup? Do it. Want to wear black leather pants and pink velvet? Hell. fucking. yes.
10. Trust Yourself
If you’re reading this, that means you’ve made it through everything life has thrown at you so far. Better still, if you’re reading this, you are looking to keep improving your life and yourself. Basically, you are marvelous and you’ve got this.Remind yourself of all you’ve overcome, and all you’ve accomplished.
Accept it when life isn’t so rosy, and know that it will pass. Revel in the rosy times, because they are never forever.
11. Allow Yourself to be You
Seriously. Show up as your authentic self. Express your thoughts. Share your stories and your silliness and expose your weirdness to the world. Pretending to be something you think you’re supposed to be serves no one.
A plum tree doesn’t try to be the neighbors rose bush. It’s a plum tree, and it just rocks that every day, because why wouldn’t it? The same is true for people.
I hope you trust that all this hullabaloo around self love is because it changes lives for the better, and we all have the capacity for it. Self love will not only give you the boost and the support within to create really wonderful experiences for yourself, but it will give you the confidence to go for opportunities that can turn into dreams, laugh more fully, be more creative, and have deeper, more meaningful relationships and appreciation for others.
Buy yourself presents
Schedule time to do the things you want to do
Take yourself on dates and learn to enjoy your own company
Take on challenges
Get OK with saying no to people, obligations, and plans that don’t feel good
Buy yourself flowers
Eat food you love
Laugh at yourself. Most of your mistakes will be funny in the future. Learn to laugh at them sooner.
Put your phone away. Turn it off and leave it in the other room. I have a friend who puts theirs inside of a tupperware container locked in a cabinet. Do what you have to do!
Clean up Your Social Media Feeds and relentlessly unfollow accounts that make you feel like shit
If you can afford it or find pro bono work, go to therapy
Talk to the death bed version of yourself and ask them for guidance
Fill your life with the things you love at every opportunity
Prioritize self care
Let go of guilt, fear, and overthinking
Always look for fun
If you missed Part I, you can find it here.
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How has self love changed your life? What are your favorite ways you show yourself love?
Here are some more resources to help you in your self love journey: