Whenever Valentine’s Day comes around, people usually fall into two camps: Hallmark’s biggest fan or Cupid’s biggest hater. Regardless of where you fall, I want to offer some ideas around loving yourself fiercely, regardless of whether you have a beau this holiday.
Even though today I’m happily married, these are practices I used BEFORE I ever met my hubby. I used them in the face of heartbreak, to feel beautiful when no one was telling me I was, and to train my brain to expect the best when it came to relationships.
I hope they teach you how to love yourself and remind you how special you really are.
How to Love Yourself: 3 Self-Love Practices
1. Feel it before you receive it
We are inundated with messages all the time that equate romantic love to the pinnacle of confidence, acceptance, and worthiness. From picture-perfect wedding Pinterest boards to magazine ads to romantic comedies, it’s only natural if that messaging seeps in. BUT, never forget that it’s NOT the truth. The truth is that you can feel worthy, confident, and beautiful with or without a relationship (or anything else in your life).
To put this into practice, grab a notepad or sticky note and jot down 5 to 10 things that make you feel confident. They can be small, such as wearing a pop of lip color, spending a few extra minutes getting ready for the day, calling someone who adores you, or giving yourself (or someone else) a compliment. Or they can be bigger, like spending a Saturday volunteering, trying something new and remembering you’re a badass who can accomplish anything, speaking on stage and feeling the rush of people hanging on to your every word.
The point is: confidence is something YOU can create. No one else. The same goes for love. For beauty. For worthiness. Apply this practice to anything you want to cultivate in your life, and watch it blossom — with or without anyone else.
2. Protect your space
I’m not talking physically, although a solid lock never hurt anybody! I mean more your mental, emotional space. How you feel when you scroll through your social media feeds. The kinds of messages you allow entry to your subconscious. The kinds of pictures you see, and what that makes you think about yourself.
One of the best things I ever did to my Instagram was to CURATE the accounts I followed. I followed accounts of artists, of women in business, of people who inspired me, of body-positive influencers who called out Photoshop ish. And I unfollowed accounts that gave me a negative view of myself, my body, or anything else.
The messages we give access to our minds are powerful. Social media puts us into a trance-like state, where an hour can fly by feeling like minutes. If anything makes you feel less than, consider an Instagram reboot, and fill your feed with things that make you feel beautiful, that inspire you, that show you what’s possible, that help you dream bigger, and that remind you it’s OK to rest along the way.
3. Give your brain a new soundtrack
One last way to amp up the love in your life is through affirmations. I know that affirmations can sound a little woo-woo to anyone who hasn’t used them before, but think of them as soundtracks for your brain. Your brain likely has a playlist of its favorite tracks, which it plays on repeat all day every day, whether you ask it to or not. If those tracks serve you, fantastic. But if not, YOU are the producer and you can switch up the beat.
You just have to tell your brain the new tracks that you want it to play. For example, if you are dreaming of a relationship or more love in your life, you could use affirmations like…
I’m so loved.
I’m worthy of more love than I can possibly imagine right now.
I feel so full of love and light love flows to me all the time.
I’m never disconnected from love.
I freely give and receive love.
My next great love is on its way to me.
People can’t help but love me.
To know me is to love me.
(My mama used to tell me that last one, so props to incredible mamas who fill their children’s brains with the most beautiful, empowering messages.)
You could even use happy couples on the street, so every time you see one, instead of thinking, “Ugh, must be nice,” you instead think, “That’s on its way to me, too. I can’t wait.”
The thing about affirmations is that it’s OK if none of those sentences feel true to you now. Most great affirmations start out feeling like a STRETCH (to say the least) but practice repeating them over the next few weeks and see what happens. You will most likely be surprised to discover that the affirmation no longer feels so out of reach. You might even kinda believe it. I’ve seen this happen over and over again in my life and my friend’s lives. Your brain is powerful, but only in the direction that you direct it toward.
I wish I could be there with you right now, saying these things to your face. Telling you the beauty I see in your face and in your soul. Reminding you that you are worthy of a love for the ages. And that all great love stories begin with you.
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