We’ve all reached the point of needing to love ourselves more. Maybe the thought arose after you’ve been taking care of another person for too long, or maybe you’re just burnt out and need to pour some energy back into yourself.
You’re feeling drained, wiped, out of touch and something just feels a little off. Sometimes a little love is all you need. A dash of that feeling has the potential to take on a life of its own.
You’ve felt love, usually for another. This time we’re going to flip the script and direct this awesome force back to the one who deserves it the most, you.
You Already Know How to Love Yourself, You’ve Just Forgotten
If you don’t love the place you’re at or the person you’ve become, it’s not your fault. The act of loving is a simple process you can reignite and start again. The beauty is once you ignite the spark of love in your life, it can start a fire that can be hard to turn off.
Even a torrential downpour will have a hard time turning off your love. Once you learn the art of filling yourself up, you’ll no longer have to seek out others to turn on that feeling in you. You won’t feel like you have to chase love, or there’s ever a lack of it in your life.
To use a beautiful illustration. Pretend you’re a bucket and you’re trying to fill someone else up. You try and try but at the end of the day you’re still empty. You want to learn how to create your own faucet. That way you can fill yourself up whenever you're in need and even give a little extra to a loved one, friend, or stranger.
It’s time to unveil the art of loving.
1. Take a breath.
Taking a deep breath is one of the simplest luxuries we can give ourselves. When we breathe deeply we activate the relaxation response within our bodies, which turns on our recovery mechanisms. When the body is relaxing it puts our mind at ease. Face it, no one like to be a bundled up ball of stress.
Stress produces cortisol, which is incredibly bad for your body, and acts as a cancer causing agent. Definitely not the product of someone loving themselves.
So, take a deep breath and let it out slow. Focus on the moment and give your body and mind a treat.
2. Give yourself a hug.
When giving a hug, your body releases the feel-good chemical oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the love chemical.
Imagine you’re about to hug someone you have the deepest love for. Maybe it’s a long lost love, or a family member you haven’t seen in a while. Imagine the powerful force of this hug and how you would feel the moment before impact.
Channel this feeling into yourself. Wrap your arms around yourself as you would them. Imagine them giving you love back. Really take some time to feel it deeply. The more real you make it the more its power will stick with you.
Eventually, the love you’re pretending to exchange with another should be the same level of love you feel for yourself.
3. Give yourself a compliment.
What’s something you truly love about yourself? It could be your drive or ambition, or your friendliness and openness. It could even be your luscious curly hair. The only catch is you have to mean it. Really feel the love shower upon you as you give yourself this compliment.
It might feel strange to verbally give yourself a compliment, but it’s important. You must push through the discomfort and really take the compliment. What emotions does it trigger? Does it make you laugh, smile or feel funny?
Let the feeling rush over you. Take the compliment, there’s many more to come.
4. Turn off your phone, unplug.
The immense amount of time we spend with our devices can actually leave us feeling worse about ourselves. The constant stream of false positiveness streaming down your Facebook wall can leave you feeling drained and awful. The world can fill us up with life, if we let it.
When we’re wrapped up in virtual worlds, we allow the subtle beauty that’s unfolding around us to pass us by. The smile of a stranger, the wag of a dogs tail, a leaf slowly twirling to the ground. We miss everything.
When we’re actually aware of the world around us we can gain new insights about ourselves and the nature of how things unfold. Take some time and be a part of it. Take a breath and try being present.
Sending that text can wait.
5. Go for a walk.
A healthy body is one that’s treated with love and respect. Walking gives us time to process the world around us. The act of walking gives you time to breathe and contemplate your future. Some of the greatest minds of our world were avid workers, Albert Einstein and Henry David Thoreau, just to name a few. How would you like to join the class of these fine men?
Walking can even be taken up as a form of meditation. Focusing on each step fully draws you into the moment. Try and cultivate your gratitude for the ability to take a slow stroll. Your worries melt away and you begin to uncover the self love you’ve always had.
In changing your body physiology you actually bring more happiness into your life. When you smile imagine the force of your smile bringing a warmth throughout your entire body. Let your smile fill with gratitude and joy for every aspect of yourself.
Imagine you were smiling at the love of your life, take this passion and throw it into your upward grin.
Now unleash the force of your smile onto yourself.
7. Write down a big dream of yours and take a step towards it, now.
Take out a sheet of paper and title it “My Biggest Dreams”, and dream away.
Let the pen run and see where it takes you. Hold an attitude of openness, and don’t judge anything that comes out.
Once you’ve spilled your guts onto the page, relax for a moment and let it simmer. See what jumps out at you the most. Something you’ve written will ring true and make you emotional. This is where you want to stake your claim.
Once you’ve found the hidden gem, take one step towards making it real. The momentum will bring you to life.
8. Treat Yourself
Often we spoil others with our gifts, even if it just happens to be our attention. This time do something to spoil yourself. It could be a going out to a meal you love, or visiting a place you love to go.
Think of it like taking yourself on a date. We all know you deserve it.
9. Write down five things you love about yourself.
This is an extension of giving yourself a compliment. If you’ve passed #3 with flying colors then you’re ready for this step. Your goal here is to find more things you love about yourself and write them down.
Don’t do this half assed. You must truly mean each thing you write down about yourself.
10. Look in the mirror and say, “I love myself”.
This is taking loving yourself to the next level. Open your eyes and gaze deeply into one of your eyes (it’s impossible to do both at once), and feel the love coming from within.
Imagine you were uttering this phrase to someone you love deeply.
Say it out loud as many times as possible. Engage with it fully. The more intensely you feel it, the more love it will bring back to you.
11. Send a note of gratitude to someone you love.
When you share your love it always finds a way to come back to you. Sometimes giving away your love makes it come back tenfold. Think of someone you care deeply about and tell them.
Tell them what you love about them, the little things they do that you appreciate and make your day.
Now you have a plethora of ways to open up your heart to yourself. Begin now, and start small. Soon you’ll be overflowing with abundance and love.
Now that you are on the path to falling in love with yourself make sure you take some time to find out how to accept your destiny and build the ultimate form of confidence.
In what ways are you adding more love into your life? Share in the comments.
|Written on 8/30/2013 by Kevin Wood. Kevin Wood is a writer who helps you consciously rebel from the norms and create a meaningful life. Connect with him at Counter Culturist.|
Photo Credit: @Doug88888