Valentine’s Day is only a couple of days away, and this year we are directing the adoring gaze inward. We know that self-love is important, but at times it’s hard to find ways to actually make it happen. Danielle Dowling, relationship expert and life coach, is here to tackle this very obstacle and offer up 7 tips to practice self-love, starting NOW. So go on girl, give yourself a big old hug, and read on.
Many people misunderstand self-love as being narcissistic or self-centered, but I’m here to set the record straight. Self-love is being conscious of one’s own wellbeing and happiness. This is something that we all deserve to experience as it allows us to pursue the life we want and surround ourselves with people who reflect that love and support.
When you practice self-love, you:
- Become responsible and accountable for your own life, knowing that you are capable of anything.
- Release the need to prove yourself, or be accepted by, others.
- Let go of anger, shame, regrets, and blame.
- Find the courage to accept your failures and learn from your mistakes.
Sounds like bliss, right? Better yet, when you engage in self-love you’re more likely to choose the right career and partner, more likely to find happiness in the present moment, AND more likely to inspire those around you. In order to get you going on that beautiful path, I’ve come up with 7 tips to help you start loving that woman you see in the mirror every day:
1. Discover what is valuable to you and live in a way that reflects that.
Discovering what you are passionate about develops over time as you learn and grow. Finding ways to incorporate those passions into your daily life is a huge part of the journey to loving yourself because it is about doing what brings you joy, rather than doing things in order to please others. Maybe you love volunteering at the animal shelter, taking hip-hop classes after work, or spending your weekends growing fresh veggies in your backyard. You shouldn’t feel pressured to do activities that you don’t enjoy just to be easygoing. Know that when your interests guide your decision-making, you are listening to what you really want and are then practicing self-love.
2. Listen to your inner dialogue.
What are you thinking and saying to yourself? Is your mind chattering in fear and negativity, or is it speaking words of possibility and strength? Often our negative thoughts are based in fear of the future, or regrets of the past. Both of these types of thoughts have one thing in common – they hold you back from being present. Take a moment to be aware of any negative thoughts that arise, and rather than fighting them, imagine just letting them go. Practicing this allows your mind to relax and be open for other more productive and positive thoughts.
Bonus! When you’re aware of the quality of your thoughts and consciously decide to improve them, you’ll find that you are a heck of a lot nicer to yourself and to others around you.
3. Cut away all toxic habits and relationships.
We all deserve to be loved and supported. When you begin to direct more love to yourself and fully realize your self-worth, you’ll find that draining relationships become much less enticing. When you realize how delicious and divine you are, you proactively say goodbye to anything or anyone that does not recognize that.
4. Clear your head and heart every day.
You can’t create a beautiful life if your head and heart are full of clutter. Commit to a daily habit of mentally and emotionally unloading. Once a day, write out everything that is weighing you down or stressing you out. Seeing it all on paper gets it out of your head and heart, making it that much easier to let go of. This practice will give you room to explore your deepest desires and find ways to make them a part of your day-to-day activities.
5. Build a community of people that support and love you.
We all need people who aren’t afraid to call us out on our B.S., and who do it from a place of love and support. Having an inner circle of genuine, supportive, and non-competitive friends and family will keep you grounded. This solid sisterhood will honor and celebrate your accomplishments, and remind you how special and amazing you are.
6. Write yourself daily love notes and read them out loud.
Self-love is the bravest thing you can do, truly! Have the courage to write yourself a love note daily and read it aloud. Will it feel awkward at first? Probably. Should you do it anyway? Absolutely! (Self) love notes re-wire your brain to think differently so you look at yourself with appreciation and gratitude.
7. Fall in love with your body by designing a wellness routine.
Find a way to move that floods your brain with endorphins and leaves you in awe of all that your body is capable of. Maybe you love to hear your favorite tunes blasted in spin class, or beat your personal best in crossfit, or be one-with-nature while on a trail-run. A wellness routine doesn’t have to have strict external fitness goals. It’s about feeling strong, vibrant, and alive in your own skin. Yoga has greatly changed the way I see myself, and has forever altered my beliefs of what I’m capable of.
You deserve to love yourself. I can tell from all the way over here that you’re smart and vibrant and amazing. I want you to know that, too.
Not only does Danielle Dowling hold a Masters and Doctorate in Psychology, she is also a relationship expert, a life and business coach, and a writer based in Los Angeles, California. Danielle’s goal is to inspire women to live inspiring and authentic lives in order to achieve their dreams and experience a life better lived. When she’s not changing lives, she’s out enjoying nature, sipping on a green juice, flowing through a yoga class, or laughing it up with her close girlfriends. For more information on this fabulous firecracker, check out her website, or connect with her on Pinterest or Twitter.