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3 steps to develop self-love

Q: I endlessly struggle with self-compassion/self-love. I internally mock myself when I even try it! Any advice on how to shift the needle from hatred to at least neutrality?

A: Hey! I totally understand this struggle and have definitely been there myself! I'm glad to share 3 tips to help you shift the needle. ♡

Step 1.) Begin by taking a wide-view of yourself with this simple affirmation:

"Given everything I've ever experienced, how else would I be feeling right now?"


"Given everything I've ever experienced, how else would I be reacting right now?"

This is a great reminder to begin to build self-compassion.

It's so easy to forget how reasonable and sensible our feelings and reactions are. If we're interested in self-development and growth, we can begin to view our behavior as a big problem; the thing that needs to change and be fixed immediately. It's not that self-development isn't valuable; refining our expression is a worthwhile thing to do. But we need to work on ourselves with this question in mind:

Can I work to improve myself, without looking down upon myself?

When you remember that all of your feelings and reactions are the result of all of your life experiences, it gets easier to feel compassion for yourself as you work to love yourself.

  • Maybe you're struggling with the way you behave in your relationship and need it to change.

  • Maybe you're tired of feeling unworthy at your job.

  • Maybe you're frustrated with feeling unmotivated to work on your creative passions.

  • Maybe you're in pain because you don't love yourself as much as you're "supposed to."

The point is: All of those feelings originate from somewhere. They're the result of your entire life's story. When you can remember that using the above affirmation, you can take a wider view of your feelings and reactions, and begin to create space between your experience and what's happening.

In that space, you can begin to diffuse the emotional charge behind your self-talk and limiting beliefs.

Step 2.) Get curious about your tendency to mock yourself.

Who's voice is it?

Is it really you, or someone you knew when you were growing up?

Is it really you, or is it the culture you've been raised in?

Who is actually mocking you?

If you investigate this voice and find that it's someone's voice from your childhood, really try to imagine yourself as a 6 year old kid. If you can, find a photo of yourself from around that age.

Look at that photo and imagine a grown-up speaking to you in a mocking tone.

Look at that photo and imagine a grown-up spewing hate at you.

That very well may have been your reality. And if that's true, you didn't deserve any of that. Children need to feel safe, seen, soothed, and supported by their caregivers.

Now, here's my point: Imagining a grown-up speaking like that to you and how cruel and unnecessary that truly is, can help you to see how cruel and unnecessary you are being with yourself.

The next step is to think about a younger version of yourself:

What would you have really needed to hear?

What appreciative and caring phrases can you tell yourself to give yourself what you didn't get back then?

(If you don't have photos available, you can also take time to notice children in your life or around your community. Imagine the voice speaking to them.)

If the mocking voice is the result of everything you've ever experienced, you can decrease the power of that voice by placing it within the context of your present experience: there's a little kid dwelling within you who deserves and needs your love and respect. Now, onto my next tip...

Step 3.) Try on self-respect instead.

I've definitely struggled with self-hatred. In my journey, I've oscillated violently between feeling like I'm literally on top of the world, to feeling like I'm lower than a squirming worm, barely deserving to exist.

After many, many years of living with this kind of emotional whiplash, I found myself in enough pain to try to do something different.

So, I took to the internet. When I'd look into "self-love" practices, I'd struggle. To me, love felt like such a distant goal. It was like I was going on a first date with myself and needing to fall in love at first sight.

Eventually, I started to experiment with the phrase itself; switching words around.

I see you wrote self-compassion. That's great! But what really started to shift the needle for me was self-respect. When I started to view myself through the lens of self-respect, the typical self-love practices started to make more sense to me. Taking basic care of myself, nutrition, fitness, rest, prioritizing my needs, positive self-talk... I could see how all of that was based in respecting myself. Simply shifting the words around was enough for me to take these practices more seriously.

To conclude, I practice in a religion that functions with the basic belief that God dwells within everything. Thus, God dwells within my body, as my body.

For me, self-respect is about respecting and revering the temple of my body. Like a physical devotional altar, it too needs to be dusted, be given offerings, and be paid loving attention to. ♡


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I look forward to walking beside you! ✨

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