Loving yourself deeply is one of the greatest ways to live a joyful and more fulfilling life. However, we all struggle to awaken genuine self-love. Over the years, I truly believed that I loved myself and accepted myself fully, however when I took a deeper look I understood that I was only fooling myself. One day, I embarked on a journey to genuine self-love, and my life completely changed! It was such a profoundly healing process which helped me be loving and kind towards myself, and later on to be loving and kind towards others as well. Today, I am sharing with you the three main steps towards step-love that helped me move forward and awaken genuine self-love:
1. Practice Mindfulness
In today’s life, it’s very easy to escape from everything, even from yourself. The endless social media accounts, Netflix binging and all the “blessings” of the modern era have made us all escape artists. Whenever I used to feel bad, I didn’t want to explore myself further. I simply turned on the TV, or took my phone and sat scrolling or watching series for hours. I called this “unwinding” when in reality it didn’t unwind me at all. I was taking the easy way out and always had an excuse not to look deeper into an issue.
The reality was that I was afraid to look deeper because I didn’t want to deal with the parts of me that I didn’t accept. I wanted to be someone so much better, and yet I was just plain old me, with all the beautiful and ugly bits mixed up together. It’s very easy to escape your issues through social media, but the hard part is sitting down and taking a good look at what’s troubling you.
That’s why harnessing mindfulness is such an amazing mindset to develop because no matter how much you struggle to stay in your old ways when you see the patterns that you have created to keep yourself busy and away, they look just the way they are in reality - useless and illogical. By starting to practice mindfulness every day, soon I started uncovering my issues, and I realized that even though I liked to think that I was at peace with myself, that I couldn’t be at peace with myself because I couldn’t fully accept myself, and without doing so, I couldn’t fully love myself either.
Each day, I was practicing mindfulness, and while doing so I started noticing my thoughts, actions, and patterns that were actually keeping me away from self-love. I even started taking notes of the things I was doing, without realizing it, and the thoughts I was having without realizing them. It’s a great way to bring forward the unconscious patterns on a conscious level, where you can actually deal with them. All you need is a little notebook! This was the very first step that brought profound insight into just how bad I was treating myself, through my inner thoughts, and through my actions as well.
It was very hard to change these patterns on my own, which is why each morning I started to meditate with a Natural Rose Quartz Mala. Rose Quartz is a well-known crystal that enhances our abilities to fully accept ourselves and help us to truly, genuinely love ourselves. It’s a deep soul nurturing crystal that helps us be who we are, and enjoy it. My Natural Healing Wrap Bracelet is another great way to feel the energy of Rose Quartz without wearing a traditional mala if it's not for you.
Sometimes, I simply held the Mala in my hands and focused on the energy of the crystal, but later I started doing mantra meditations for self-love and self-acceptance which also helped immensely in my progress.
Rhodochrosite is another helpful stone with loving vibrations. My Self Love Natural Rhodochrosite Lotus Mala will also promote self love and encourage self forgiveness and acceptance.
What I learned through this process is that the first step towards self-love was making a conscious effort to resolve inner struggles, and to love yourself fully.
2. Become Your Own Friend
Over the years of loving myself genuinely, I realized that self-love is actually a process in which you learn how to become a loving, supporting, kind friend to yourself. It might seem silly at first, however, imagine this:
Let’s say you have a friend, which you call over when you are not feeling well. It seems like the whole world is falling apart, and you would really appreciate the support and understanding of a friend. However, when your friend comes over, he/she is angry at you, full of judgment, for becoming a mess, for not being able to simply suck it up and move on, for being weak and for putting yourself into that particular situation. Would you keep a friend like that around? Not likely, is it?
Then why is it acceptable to do this to yourself?
Don’t lash out towards yourself similarly like you wouldn’t lash out to a hurt friend. Instead, you need to stop bringing yourself further down and try to be supportive of yourself. Even if you did make a mistake! We all make mistakes, that’s how we learn after all!
The trick is to think of your inner dialogue as your personal sidekick that goes everywhere with you. Talk to yourself about all the things you love, like or dislike, make observations, silly jokes in your mind with yourself – anything you’d imagine doing and discussing with your closest friend! However, the goal of this exercise is not to take yourself too seriously, and not to indulge in judgment or self judgement, which is why I encourage you to make all the jokes in the world and to adopt a sort of joyful lightheartedness in your inner dialogue.
That freedom, of transforming your inner thoughts from your personal enemy to your best friend, will not only make life more enjoyable, but also make you love every part of yourself, and everything life might bring.
- Take very good care of yourself
On my journey to self-love, what I struggled with most is making the time to take good care of myself. I was always so busy and brushed off any need that I had as a luxury I couldn’t afford at the moment because I was going to fall behind with my day to day obligations. I looked at my friends who were going regularly to the spa, or for a swim, and I always thought that it’s so nice that they were doing that for themselves. I admired that they were taking good care of themselves, and yet when I thought about taking care of myself, I simply brushed it off with a “that’s not for me” or the classic “I don’t have the time for it.”
One day, I was out with my good friends, the ones that always took care of themselves, and I voiced these thoughts when the subject was brought up. The minute I voiced them, I felt a great sadness, but I was unsure why. Some of my friends told me that once they were like me – they didn’t take good care of themselves because they didn’t love themselves. Some of my friends said that they couldn’t imagine a life where they didn’t make time for themselves, it was just how they were brought up, and it was their way of life.
When I got back home, I sat down and explored my thoughts and emotions. Then I looked over at my patterns carefully. I realized that there is time for everything – if only I make it, and from there stirred my sadness. Couldn’t I, go after work and get the massage my neck desperately needed in the hours I spend at home, laying on my couch browsing through social media in a means to unwind after work when I fully well knew that doing so left me even more upset in the end? This was a really upsetting and sad realization – that I have wasted so much time of my life in suffering, when I could have spent that time building my happiness and wellbeing. From then on, I made a real conscious effort to take better care of myself, and not consider taking good care of myself as a luxury, but rather as a necessity. After all, if I am not well, and healthy, how can I be happy?
If you struggle the same way and you think everything is a luxury, you’ve got it all wrong. You need to take the time for yourself to relax, unwind, get enough sleep, be healthy, go to your doctors’ appointments, exercise, spend time with friends, get the massage your body desperately needs, make the time for yourself and don’t dread or judge yourself for even a minute that you have spent on yourself. Anything that helps your wellbeing, is not a second wasted in life!
When you take better care of yourself, without judgment and scorning yourself, it also opens you to a whole different aspect of self-love that will nourish you for life, and help you in your personal growth and development.