Vision boards, meditation, mantras, visualization, raising your vibration, crystal healing—we hear about using these techniques to change our lives for the better all the time. But I believe the missing X-factor for most people is self-love. Whether you’re trying to find an ideal romantic partner, increase your financial abundance, launch your dream career, or improve your health, working on loving yourself more—right now as you are—is the most powerful thing you can do to improve your life.
Many of my coaching clients come to me because they need help discovering what’s holding them back from living at their highest potential. These are some of the tips I share with my clients to help them increase self-love and experience a positive shift in all areas of their lives. This shift may be only subtle at first, but in time working on self-love will create dynamic, lasting results.
- Forgive yourself for something.
The way we treat others is a mirror reflection of how we treat ourselves. If you find yourself cold and judgmental with others lately, you are most likely being cold and judgmental with yourself. When we judge ourselves for past mistakes, we actually perpetuate the energy of that mistake and get trapped. This makes it much harder to move forward and make healthier choices.
Self-love action step: Pick something big (like staying in a toxic relationship too long) and something small (like wishing you’d tried harder to win a plum opportunity in your career)—and work on forgiving yourself for both. Imagine that this happened not to you but to a friend you love very much who’s too hard on themselves. What soothing, loving, uplifting balm would you pour into their wound?
- Quit playing small.
What you think you’re capable of can have a direct effect on what shows up in your life. Playing small often means settling—for a job you’ve outgrown, a relationship that’s holding you back, a town you don’t want to live in, or maybe even a lunch you don’t want to eat! Sometimes we have to ride out a challenging situation like a job we really want to move on from. Yet the fuller your self-love tank, the quicker you’ll be able to change or at least improve your circumstances.
Self-love action step: Stop blaming or shaming yourself for your circumstances. Life can be really, really tough. If you’re reading this blog post, it means you’ve survived a lot! Think back to a time you pulled off something spectacular you never thought you could. When you have a moment, get out your journal and write down some of your greatest hits, or the occasions when you made your own miracle or really got to shine. We’re all capable of far more than we realize.
- Ask for what you need.
Is it difficult for you to express your needs to others? My clients often tell me that they don’t express their needs because they’re afraid their needs won’t be met. But self-love is about honoring your needs by expressing them, no matter the outcome. Often simply admitting what we think we need to ourselves and others has the magical effect of bringing us what we truly need.
Self-love action step: This week, ask for what you think you need from someone, whether it’s asking a partner or roommate to help out more with chores or asking your boss to work one day from home. This should have an empowering effect, no matter the answer! Now ask the Universe for something—light a candle and say a prayer or make a wish. Then watch for what shows up in your life this week. Asking the Universe for things is a powerful act of free will and how we co-create our lives! The best part is the Universe is always listening and always has your back!
- Prioritize what’s important to you.
Do you ever feel as if you’re marching in someone else’s parade? Unfortunately, people really will take as much as you’re willing to give—at home, at work, in the larger world—until you set a boundary. This can take courage. If you’ve had a novel kicking around your head for a few years, make Saturday afternoons your sacred time to work on it—when no one is allowed to disturb you. Want to improve your health? Carve out one hour each day to do some form of exercise – whether that’s a boxing class, a yoga DVD at home, or a long walk listening to your favorite tunes. Do whatever makes you feel alive and good in your skin.
Self-love action step: Find a quiet moment with your favorite cup of warm deliciousness, and write down your five top priorities for 2018. Five is a powerful number of change and action. Expect some pushback from people in your life on a few of these priorities when you start implementing changes. Stand your ground.
- Find out who wounded your self-love.
You probably have some subconscious programming placed in your head by loved ones or your environment that’s hurting your ability to love yourself more. Subconscious blocks can be tricky to uncover. But once you do, healing them can be absolutely transformative.
Self-love action step: The next time you’re doing something repetitive that doesn’t involve intellectual activity—like exercising or cleaning the house—ask your higher self, “What is my biggest subconscious block to self-love?” Once you feel your way to an answer, ask who put this idea that you’re not good enough or smart enough or attractive enough in your head. Knowing where the information came from will really help you release this block.
- Practice consistent self-care.
Self-love is a “show-me-don’t-tell-me” proposition. Take your supplements, exercise, meditate, journal, get enough rest, laugh, and hang out with loved ones to increase self-love. This is a backdoor way to increase your confidence and the feeling of deserving more.
Self-love action step: Your own intuition knows what you truly need. The next time you feel the nudge to grab a kombucha or mineral water on your way into the office instead of your usual cup of joe, act on this impulse of self-love. Focusing on basic self-care should help curb self-sabotaging tendencies.
- Observe your thoughts.
Persistent negative thoughts are like a virus. And when these thoughts are directed at ourselves (“I can’t believe I did that!” or “What must he think of me?”), it can really wound and distort our self-perception.
Self-love action step: Fake it ‘til you make it and feed your system with nourishing thoughts like, “My heart is always in the right place”; “I can give myself a pass on this one”; “I have something unique and special to offer the world”; or, my personal favorite, “I deserve the best!” Just like your body responds positively to being fed healthy food, your mind and emotions will respond positively to being fed healthy thoughts. This can affect the actions you take, the energy you give off, and what shows up in your life.