5 Self-Love Exercises
I have found that there is one thing that heals all of our problems, and that is self-love. Once we begin the beautiful journey to truly love ourselves, it’s amazing how much our life improves. We feel better. We have compassion for ourselves, our mistakes, and other people. We tap into our creative power, our fears start to dissolve, and we feel more confident in going after what we really want. Once we start to really love ourselves we can appreciate all the good that is already in our lives. Our relationships are improved, our finances, our health… everything.
But how exactly do we do it?
In this video, I’m sharing the 5 tangible, actionable exercises that I did in my own self-love journey. These are things that truly worked for me, and they go deeper than fluffy or simplified suggestions like “set more boundaries” or “forgive yourself” or even “take a bath” – self-care is wonderful, but self-love is so much more than that.
This is the most potent thing I’ve done. It’s a little uncomfortable at first, but it works. It’s simple: You look at yourself in the mirror, up close straight in the eye, for 5 minutes, repeating, I love myself. Or, I love you. Whatever you prefer. It will be uncomfortable. You may feel silly or stupid. It may even be painful. You just have to commit. I did this for about a month after reading about it in multiple places and as the month went on, it really started to make a difference.
A big part of creating a new habit is simply repetition and it’s easier to “change our mind” about something than we think. It’s really just about discipline, repeating something over and over and your mind will gradually start to believe it.
One of the things I’ve struggled with the most is being critical and hard on myself. This for me definitely stems from childhood but it happens to all of us for all different reasons. If I made a mistake, I’d be so nasty with myself. When I’d gained weight, I hated myself and would punish myself for eating or even wanting foods like pizza. I had a really hard time figuring out how to have compassion for myself. The thing that turned that around for me, was to think of the most unconditional love that exists – which in my mind, is the love I’ll have for my children one day. If I were my own child, how would I treat myself in this situation? How would I treat my child if they made a mistake? I would be loving and accepting. I would help them to learn and grow from it but I would surely never beat them up or make them feel worse about it. So why do I do this to myself? Anytime I feel like I’m being hard on myself or want to simply make the right choice for myself, I recommit to this. It even helped me get rid of bad habits, like socially smoking cigarettes – something I would surely NEVER want my child to do, out of pure love. We really need to start seeing ourselves as our own best friend, our own companion through life.
Along those same lines with the power of simple repetition, affirmation work can be hugely beneficial in your self-love journey. “I am enough” is a great one to try. This comes from Marisa Peer; if she’s new to you, definitely watch this. I actually like to add to it and say, “I am more than enough.” You can try writing this somewhere you will see if often, like your mirror. Let it subconsciously imprint into your mind. Or, write it out in your journal as you start each day. For more affirmations, I created a list of my favorites that you can get here.
You may already know that meditation is one of the greatest ways I am able to center myself and generate feelings of self-love. If it’s new to you, it may be difficult at first, but by committing to loving yourself, you may feel more inspired to try it and keep sticking with it. I always say, what if this one little thing, that costs you nothing except for 5 or 10 minutes of your time each day, could make you happier/healthier/live longer/feel better each day, isn’t it worth it to give it a try? When you come from a place of loving yourself, the answer is easy. You can check out my meditation video for more about this. I also like using the Calm app, which has great guided meditations for beginners.
I’ve read so many books that have been essential to learning how to love myself. The two books that made me understand self-love the most in particular are: A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, this book changed the way I looked at the world; and The Mastery of Love, which is a bit more geared to relationships but also the relationship with the self. By reading these books you’ll learn how related they are. We’ve all heard that ‘you can’t love someone until you love yourself’ and it’s so true. Both of these books will show you why and how. I remember having so many light bulb moments that forever changed bad habits I had with myself, and especially in relationships. Another perk of loving yourself is that your relationships will improve dramatically!