In my mid twenties I was going through a hard time. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but just struggling with your usual quarter life crisis - a relationship break up, carrying a bit of extra weight, having no energy and feeling like I had no idea what I was doing with my job or my life. (The silver lining of this was, of course, that it led me to my passion for holistic health and personal growth, so don't feel too bad for me). It was somewhere on this journey towards rebuilding my relationship with myself that I came across the idea of self love. I can't remember where I read it first (probably Louise Hay?) but I remember thinking "yes! That's what I need!" After feeling the rush from that epiphany my next thought was.... "How do I get that?"
You might be feeling the same way. Although self love is a term that's used a bit more frequently than it was years ago, it still remains a kind of broad, sometimes vague term that is a little hard to action. What does loving yourself more actually look like?
I definitely didn't get it. I thought self love was all about eating healthy food, having bubble baths and booking massages, and at that point I was already doing all of those things. I knew there was a deeper level I needed to go to, but it felt like I didn't have the map to get there. I went online and after a bit of digging, found a coach called Christine Arylo who is a self love coach in America. She used the example of Self Love as a tree with Self Worth being the trunk and 10 different branches representing aspects of Self Love. That's when it finally made sense to me. From this I could clearly see which areas of my self love muscle needed more attention than the others, and could start to create practical action steps to improve this area of my life.
If you know that your self love muscle could use a bit of work, then read through the following list and see if there is an area that jumps out at you as being important. Don't overthink it. You'll usually feel it in your gut or just have a knowing that this area is the next right place to focus some attention.
These are adapted from Christine Arylo's 'Self Love Tree' which you can also download here: Self Love
Self Love areas
So which area landed for you? When I did this years ago, it was self trust. I realised that part of the reason I felt lost was because I wasn't following my interests and passions. This led me to learn more about intuition, take different actions in my life and I'm currently studying intuitive coaching with one of my mentors.
So which area is it for you? Fill in the blank with your area of choice:
"If my self ____ was a 10/10, what would I be doing differently?"
No doubt you will intuitively get at least one answer of something you could do to take action in this area of your self love. Carve out some time every day or even once a week to take action on this area. Just like building a muscle at the gym, you need to devote some energy, time and action to transforming your self love muscle too. It's an ongoing journey but the practice (and the results!) are so, so worth it.
If you'd like to discuss working together to build your self love muscle, I offer Self Love: 101 as a 10 Week program. Send me an email or give me a text or call to discuss the options. I'd love to connect with you!
Most of us have life goals that we are working towards. We'd like to lose weight, or make more money or just figure out how to deal with stress, and there are lots of books, courses and companies out there teaching us how to do it. There are many paths that will take you to your goals, but there's one fundamental piece of the puzzle that has to be in place otherwise the rest of it doesn't work; you have to learn how to love yourself.
I know to a lot of you that will sound really wishy-washy or flakey, but seriously - how far are you going to get with your goals if you can't be your own biggest cheerleader? Contrary to popular belief, it's not a lack of willpower that causes us to fail, it's a lack of self love. If you don't believe you're worthy of being thin or rich or in love, how can you ever achieve it? If you turn on yourself with negativity, telling yourself you're fat or lazy or useless as soon as you fall off the wagon (which will happen at some point) then what are the odds of you actually reaching your goal?
Building your self love muscle and getting emotionally fit is the inescapable foundation for being able to attract (and keep!) everything else you want to bring into your life.
Get emotionally fit
So how do you get emotionally fit? Self love is such a broad and vague topic and it covers a lot so when I teach it in my 10 Week Self Love Course I break it down into 10 different aspects of self love, with tools to exercise each one.
Below is a brief taster of some of the exercises we cover in the Self Love Course. Read through the different areas and be curious.... where do you need to spend some time building up your self love muscle? Which areas of life are a bit..um... flabbier than others? Just like building our physical muscles it takes a bit of time doing exercises to build our mental muscles so we can be emotionally fit. This mindset shift will create a strong mental state and enable you to smash your health and happiness goals.
Self Awareness + Honesty
Are you being honest about what you really want in your life? Look at this in the context of your career, your relationships, how many hours you work, how much time you spend having fun....are you doing what you really want to be doing?
Self Love Exercise #1: Your Ideal Day
Spend 15 - 3o minutes writing out your Ideal Day in detail. What time do you get up? Who are you with? What country do you live in? What do you do for a job? What do you wear? Go through every detail of your day as if money, time, qualifications, age, etc were not a limitation. Get honest with yourself about how you'd really like to live your life.
Do you take care of your body, mind and spirit? Have a look over this list and see if there are places where you could invest in a bit more self care. Once you're aware of where you are not taking care of yourself, create a plan to change it.
Self Love Exercise #2: Where do you neglect yourself?
Do you know your unique skills and talents? Do you have a sense of worth and purpose in the world and are you getting paid accordingly? In order to raise our net worth (if your goal involves making more money) we need to raise our self worth. Kate Northrup has a lot of great exercises for this in "Money: A love story."
Self Compassion + Acceptance
How do you talk to yourself? Are you sabotaging yourself by trying to be perfect, live up to impossible expectations or comparing yourself? Realise that your mind is not you and you have a choice to believe what that inner critic is telling you.
Self Love Exercise #3: You are not your mind
When negative thoughts come up, take a deep breath and a step back. Ask yourself "What am I really afraid of? What fear is coming up?" Listen for a response and then realise that you have the choice to believe in this fear but you also have the choice to have faith that you can handle it.
Self Expression + Self Respect
Self Love Exercise #4: Where are you blocking your self expression?
Where do you hold back from being yourself? Maybe you don't speak up at work, you don't tell your partner what you really think or you always cave and let your friend pick the movie even though you hate action films. Realise that telling yourself that your opinion doesn't matter drives your self esteem and self respect way down. Start speaking up.
Self Esteem + Confidence
For a lot of us, confidence is the only thing stopping us from actually doing what we want to do. Do you believe you have the capability to do what you dream of?
Self Love Exercise #5: Don't wait to be confident
If you wait to feel confident, you'll never, ever start anything! Look at your goals and just take the first step. Maybe that's booking a personal trainer or a coach. Maybe it's buying new gym pants. Perhaps it's going to Toastmasters. Whatever it is - act now. Your confidence will grow as you keep showing up for yourself.
Self Trust + Intuition
Do you struggle with indecision? Are you always wondering if you are making the 'right' choice with your life decisions? At the end of the day, only you will know what was right for you, so it's important to stop looking to other people (your mum, your boss, 'society') for what to do and start following your heart.
Self Love Exercise #6: Baby steps to Intuition
There are lots of amazing ways to build your intuition and your self trust, but here's a super simple one. When you're stuck on a decision, flip a coin. Your gut always tells you what you wanted the answer to be. Start acting on your gut instinct for small decisions and in no time you'll learn to trust your gut more and more for the more life-changing ones.
What do you do for fun? I know, we're so used to focusing on what we want to achieve, achieve, achieve, but if you're not feeling joy and pleasure, what's the point?
Self Love Exercise #7: The Chocolate mindfulness exercise
A big part of experiencing pleasure is actually to do with simply being present - i.e. really having a connection with your friend, your lover or your food and enjoying every delicious second of it! Try this with a piece of chocolate. Make sure you won't be interrupted. Unwrap the chocolate. Feel it with your hands. Close your eyes and smell it. Take your time. Then take a bite and just let it dissolve in your mouth. What does it feel like. What does it taste like? What does it remind you of? Really be present. (This is a great tool for emotional eaters as well).