22 May How to embrace self-love when liking yourself seems impossible
Cassie writes about subjects that are totally in alignment with what I’m doing here at The Happi Empire and has knocked this one out the park – the issue of self-love is an alarming and confusing topic if you’re coming at it for the first time.
Check out Cassie’s down-to-earth approach to understand how using self-love can be remotely useful on those days when you just fuggin hate yourself.
Over to Cassie…
It seems to be the blanket solution for everything from stagnant weight loss through to limping self-confidence and waning success these days.
The cure-all to fix money woes, body worries and public speaking dilemmas self-love is readily available and if you believe the hype, just another pretty potion kept amongst our stash of self-help products and tools.
But what do we do when our potion runs out, or we never received our order in the first place? What happens when self-like seems an impossible goal to reach, let alone self-love?
This question was posed to me a few weeks ago by a close girlfriend. We were talking about finding the time to exercise and then segued onto the topic of self-love. I’d said something stupid like “You just need to love yourself and everything else will follow” and she’d responded with:
“Cass, that sounds great. But I don’t even like myself some days. How the heck am I meant to love myself every day?”
And even as my heart broke for her, I knew exactly what she meant. We all have those days when we’ve snapped at someone we love, told a lie or done something we’re not proud of.
Our actions, words, thoughts and behaviours aren’t always above reproach and living with the guilt of not being a perfect human can prevent us from embracing self-love. But as I looked into this beautiful woman’s eyes, I knew the truth:
No matter who you are or what’s in your past, you deserve self-love. You are worthy.
But because I know how hard it can be to hold on tight to this idea sometimes, here are my five go-to solutions to embrace self-love, even on the days when you feel like a bit of a jerk.
Even Oprah Winfrey has done things that she’s not proud of. You know how I know this? Because she’s human. And as humans, we make mistakes. Fact. Find me a human that hasn’t made a mistake, and I will give you a million dollars*. Which is why we really, really need to let go of the ‘I’m a bad person’ self-talk we give ourselves. Yep, you stuffed up. Perhaps on a monumental scale. But it’s in the past and lessons have been learned. It’s time to let it go.
Homework: Write yourself a letter listing all of the wrongs you feel you’ve committed. Then, write a return letter (to yourself), using the words ‘I forgive you’ at some point. Be creative, insert emotion and go with the flow. Forgiving yourself isn’t easy, but you can do it. Oh, and whenever you feel a dash of guilt and negative self-talk coming on, reread the forgiveness letter.
*Payment made in monopoly money and virtual hugs.
Take baby steps
Okay, so right now self-love might seem like a concept further away than a romantic dinner date with Ryan Gosling. That’s cool. But that doesn’t mean you give up on trying to like yourself. Just like you can’t run without walking, you can use the discovery of self-like to pave the way for wholehearted self-love.
Homework: Ask five of your closest friends or family members to tell you what they like/love most about you. Don’t be shy – the results will have you feeling like you can walk on water. Trust me.
Wake up with gratitude
It’s really hard to feel sour and bitter about your life (and yourself!) when you’re busy being grateful for all of the wonderful things you have. Think about it: how different do you feel when you’re grateful for all of the good stuff that has happened to you during the day? You don’t even have space in your mind to consider anything that may not have gone to plan!
Homework: Every morning when you wake up, make the first thing you do your gratitude practice. Find at least three things you’re grateful for (they can be big or little) and then repeat them either out loud or in your mind until you can feel the gratitude spreading across your whole body. Repeat daily.
Go to sleep with thanks
When was the last time you thanked yourself? And if this sounds weird, you’re not alone. The first time someone told me to thank myself, I thought they were crazy. You thank others. You don’t thank yourself. And yet, this way of thinking and acting has such a tremendous impact on the way we feel about ourselves that it has to be included in our arsenal of self-love tools. Give it a go if you don’t believe me!
Homework: As you wind down of an evening and prepare for bed, take time to thank yourself for all of the things you’ve done during the day. Thank your body for keeping you full of energy and supporting you in your daily movement. Thank your mind for problem-solving that tricky work problem. Thank your fingers for typing furiously for you all day and your eyes for allowing you to see. Go into as small a thanks as you can think of. Repeat daily.
Eckhart Tolle taught me that pain and suffering can only exist in two places: the past and the future. It is impossible to feel low self-confidence and anxiety in the moment. And while this is way easier said than done, by consciously living moment-to-moment and existing in the now, you can battle your inner demons without having to lift a weapon. How? They won’t even be in the arena. And it’s in a space like this that self-love and unconditional acceptance flourish.
Homework: Schedule a reminder into your phone to go off every hour on the hour (‘cept when you’re sleeping). The reminder should say three things: Be here now. Use this as your gentle prompt to bring your attention back into the moment.
And if at any time you doubt yourself or you find your self-love tools aren’t working, repeat these words:
I am enough.
Cass Lane is the owner and copywriter at Wild Spirit Co., a creative copywriting agency devoted to helping soulful small businesses, entrepreneurs and bloggers find their voice and communicate their brand with confidence.
She’s also the happy Editor-in-Chief of Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, a monthly digital mag available on the Apple App Store and via the H+W online store.
Special offer: The Happi Empire readers get 50% off on a Social Media Wellness Check from Wild Spirit Co. What is it? An online pulse check that will tell you whether your social media is hitting the sweet spot and show you how to boost engagement online and create a sacred space your followers will love. To claim this offer, please email cass.