My dream for each of us is that we live a life we love, not just an OK life, a life that fills us with deep fulfillment and joy. Living a life we love means choosing our attitudes and our actions – and making choices that honor our values and our aspirations.
That said, many of us spend years of our lives longing to feel more love.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether we’re single, dating, or married, love can often feel elusive – just out of reach or not quite satisfying. And, what you have to wrap your mind around is that loving yourself is the first step. It must happen before anything else falls into place.
I understand, that’s a trite saying (and forms the basis of lots of self-help books) so hear me out!
Why are we searching for love outside of self-love? There are likely a number of reasons, but there is one pretty big one worth mentioning.
We’re looking for someone else to fill a void inside of us that they can’t possibly fill.
Yep. I know. It sucks, quite frankly. It really would be much easier if it worked that way. And it might feel possible in the short term – with a new lover or new baby or new friend. But eventually, the feeling returns unless we do something about it from the inside.
Self-love is fundamental to our true happiness, fulfillment, and self-worth. If we don’t love ourselves, it’s almost impossible to feel the love coming from others towards our direction. Unfortunately, most of us weren’t taught the importance of loving ourselves, much less HOW to love ourselves.
What do I mean when I say that we need to practice self-love first in order to feel more love in our lives?
Well, I’ll tell you by sharing three different ways you can increase your self-love now.
Self-care is a form of self-love. When you take time to care for your mind, body, and spirit, your overall well being improves. You just feel better about yourself all the way around because you’re taking time to show yourself that you are the priority.
How many times have you heard that you can’t pour from an empty vessel? That’s exactly what I’m talking about here! You can’t give to others, including your business, when you have nothing left to give. By practicing self-care, you’re giving to yourself first so you can give to others.
Additionally, self-care is a way to nurture your whole being, and part of feeling loved is feeling nurtured, supported, and safe.
As children, we looked for this from parents and loved ones, but as adults, it’s hard to feel enough nurturing from others to fill our needs. We need to cultivate our own practices to fill the gap.
It’s important to choose self-care practices that work for you. Pick practices that make you feel better overall. Remember, this is to build you up, increase your confidence, and show yourself love. So why wouldn’t you pick something that makes you feel amazing?
Examples might be practicing yoga or meditation, running, biking or walking outdoors, taking a relaxing bath, getting a massage or facial, relaxing in a comfortable chair with an uplifting book, drinking a cup of tea while listening to relaxing music, journaling or writing a song, painting or drawing, getting away in nature for the weekend, or anything else you can think of that calms your nervous system and helps you feel nurtured and loved.
Self-care is like chocolate. Even a little goes a long way – but it can’t hurt to indulge every now and again. You’ll feel the love, I know it!
Placing a focus on what we are thankful for each day can do wonders for our attitude. Those of us who pray know how much better we feel after thanking God for so many blessings.
Gratitude practices, including journaling and prayer, can definitely lift our spirits. But if we aren’t paying attention, we can easily place all of our focus on everyone and everything else except ourselves.
So one way to practice self-love is to spend time being consciously thankful for YOU. Writing down your thoughts is key – so pick up a notebook or a piece of paper and write some thankful thoughts down about YOU.
Be thankful for your health and honesty and humor. Be thankful for your body and your mind, and what a good parent you are to your kids (or animals). You get the idea.
And be specific! Say why you’re grateful for what you have and are, not just the things you think you’re supposed to say, or the big, things like, “Food to feed myself.”
Instead of that general “food” idea, take it a step further. Say, “I’m thankful for this Hershey Dark Chocolate Miniature that I packed in my lunch today. It gave me a moment to pause in the middle of a hectic day and have something to savor for a moment.”
The more you become consciously thankful for being you – the more love and contentment you will feel. YOU are AMAZING!
Write down 3 things before you get out of bed in the morning or before you go to bed at night. You’ll notice a shift quickly.
Feeling self-love is absolutely a state of mind. If you let your critical mind drive your thoughts and beliefs about yourself and others without any intervention, chances are you high you won’t feel loved by yourself or anyone else.
Our inner critic voices can be powerful – and judgment of ourselves tends to be the harshest and most persistent if we don’t consciously intervene.
For most of us, we would NEVER talk to someone else the way we talk to ourselves when we believe that we’ve done something wrong or imperfectly.
We yell, scold, berate ourselves for our imperfections. In the end, we feel miserable, unworthy, and unlovable. This creates a void with ourselves even our closest friend couldn’t fill.
Feeling more love starts with choosing to intervene on these voices and choosing to believe more loving thoughts about ourselves. This is a life-long practice and the truth is: it’s transformative.
So, when you notice that you are beating yourself up for missing that left turn, notice that you are doing it and make the conscious choice to show yourself love instead of falling down the path of negativity.
Know that you have the power over your mind to stop the negativity and create a new belief right then and there.
Say, “I know I was just yelling at myself and telling myself I’m stupid for missing that left turn, but the truth is, there is nothing wrong with me. I choose to love myself for being human and missing the turn.”
Choosing our thoughts and beliefs, even if the ones that come up first are derogatory and degrading, is fundamental to our happiness and of feeling loved.
Belief is so powerful. When we believe in our wholeness and love our humanness, we feel love from within and from others who are trying to share theirs with us.
I hope these three techniques for enhancing self-love will help you start feeling more love in your life immediately. I’d love to hear what technique you try and what happens for you in the comments below!