Walk down any street in a big town anywhere in the world and you’ll see most people with their eyes to the ground and a grimace on their face. Levels of depression in our world have grown exponentially since the 1950’s and it’s predicted that in ten years from now depression, instead of contentment, is going to be most people’s natural state. Now, more than ever, do we all need to turn inward and befriend ourselves.
Why is self-love important? How can it make us happier or kinder? Is this just some hocus pocus mental mumbo jumbo? Absolutely not. To the contrary, the field of Psychology has proven time and time again that the greater your self-love, the easier and more natural your levels of happiness, and your ability to show kindness and love to others. It’s that simple.
“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.” – David Orr
When you hold yourself in high esteem and know you are fulfilling your purpose in life because you’re allowing yourself the right to live your life without judgement or social comparison, you tend to have more enjoyment and a more positive attitude toward the future.
Self-love can improve your life in other ways as well. Self-love can motivate you to adopt healthy habits and take care of your physical self. Self-love can help you give yourself permission to accept your whole self, without self-doubt or judgement. Self-love can give you the room to try new things, to accept the things that have happened to you so they don’t continue to harm you emotionally, and allow you to grow in miraculous and unexpected ways.
When you raise your self-awareness, self-kindness and overall happiness, you spread the positive influence to those people around you. Your happiness and positivity are contagious. You have the potential to help heal the people around you in your life, and that’s a very powerful thing.
For the month of May we’re going to be taking a focused look at self-love and thinking of ways to increase our self-love. Tell yourself, “It’s okay to feel this way (no matter what you’re feeling). It’s okay to be this way (no matter which way you find yourself). You’re perfect just the way you are (regardless of how you wish you were instead).”
HOW WILL THIS WORK?
MEDITATION OR WRITING PROMPT: Every day I’m going to post a prompt for you to consider. You can journal about it, or meditate about it. No matter which you choose, please take the time to truly consider your answer. While you’re considering your answer please think about your answers in a compassionate way. Cut yourself some slack, and try to remember you’re doing your best in life. You’re working to build a positive framework in your mind and life. That alone should be enough to make you proud.
GOAL SETTING/PLANNING: Next you’re going to start acting effortfully in unique and tailored ways in your life to achieve some self-love goals and create new self-loving habits.
STEP ONE: Think about one self-love wish that you have for your life. It could be “silencing my inner bully who always “reminds” me that I’m not good enough,” or “take a shower every day and brush my teeth.” Meet the challenge where you are, not where you wish you were. Pick one wish for yourself. Be honest with yourself. You’re looking for ways to improve and grow.
Potential goals may include – more kindness for yourself when you make mistakes, allowing yourself to walk into a room and not wonder how anyone else is judging you, wanting to read more books, wanting to schedule a spa appointment once a month, wanting to learn how to forgive yourself for your past, and more. The possibilities are endless and the right answers are only the ones that apply to you and your own life that will inspire you to grow in kinder and healthier ways.
STEP TWO: Allow yourself an opportunity to imagine what that wish coming true would really look like. Allow your mind to be absorbed entirely in the imagining. What does it feel like, sound like, smell like? How do you feel inside after you’ve succeeded in your vision?
STEP THREE: (Make sure you do step two BEFORE step three or this method doesn’t work) Next I want you to think about all of the obstacles that stand between you and your wish. Without guilt or shame, really get real with yourself. Do you rely on your inner bully to motivate you to succeed? Do you hate showers? Do you feel unworthy? Do you think you’re wasting your time? Give yourself the opportunity to really form a vision of those obstacles clearly in your mind.
STEP FOUR: Now we’re going to come up with an IF-THEN plan. If your goal is to silence your inner bully, your plan make be similar to, “IF my inner bully starts to criticize my actions, THEN I will consciously remind myself that my inner bully needs to be quiet and isn’t my truth.” If your goal is to shower every day, your plan may be similar to, “IF I try to avoid taking a shower, THEN I will smell my nicest smelling body wash for motivation, turn the water on anyway, and make myself get in. Even if it’s just for a few minutes.”
STEP FIVE: After you’ve made your IF-THEN plan, repeat it in your mind three or more times. Just keep saying it over and over again.
Why are we doing this? We are using the automatic processes in the brain that require no input from our conscious minds to succeed. We’re following the WOOP process to achieve positive self-loving goals for ourselves and working effortfully to grow our levels of self-love.
If you’d like to learn more about the WOOP method, and how you can use it in more ways in your life (which I highly suggest you do) you can find more information on WOOPMYLIFE.ORG.
And that’s it. Think, meditate, or journal about the prompts you’re asked. Then set a wish and plan to achieve it for yourself using the automatic processes in your mind that are going to help you achieve those goals. Simple.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” -Lucille Ball