1. Watch Your Thought Life.
Realize that thoughts are just thoughts until you allow them to become seeds that germinate and produce. Guard your mental space. Let negative thoughts pass and invite positive thoughts to be planted in good ground so they can produce good in your life. In the world today, many understand the power of the mind and the power of mindset. Various psychological therapeutic practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. These evidenced based behavioral treatment have research behind them that prove their effectiveness. In both practices, there is a heavy emphasis on the mind and therapeutic techniques are geared to acknowledging, addressing, appreciating or challenging and testing one’s thoughts. In my therapeutic practice, I rely heavily on CBT because it really does work! Furthermore, as a Christian therapist, I have found Scripture that affirms for me the validity of the practice because at the core, the concepts are spiritual. This verse sums it all up for me: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8. Scripture encourages us to think on the positive and we can infer from this Scripture that we shouldn’t meditate on the negative. Your thought life matters.
2. Watch Your Surroundings and Your Circle.
Have you ever taken time to evaluate your circle? Your friends? Your family members? Your acquaintances? What are they like? How do they treat you? Are they primarily givers or takers in the relationship? Do they check for you? Do they have your back? Do they support you? Do they have self-confidence and pursue their goals and dreams? Check your circle!
When we pause to reevaluate our circle, sometimes we will find that there are adjustments that need to be made. Sometimes, in our circle we find relationships that take more than they give, drain us and in some cases they are outright toxic. Sometimes we find that we are surrounded by people who think negatively and don’t have a growth mindset. Does this mean that they are terrible people?? Absolutely not! However, it does mean that they won’t be able to give you what they themselves don’t have. I would encourage you to evaluate your surroundings and if you find that you lack support, take the necessary steps to make adjustments to help ensure that you have the social support that you need.
3. Learn to Appreciate Pain.
Pain in our bodies has a purpose! It alerts us to the fact that something is off, something is wrong and usually moves us to action to relieve or reduce the pain. Without pain or pain receptors, we would certainly seriously injure ourselves without even knowing it. Pain serves a purpose in the body. Likewise, in our lives there is also purpose to pain. When we can learn to look for the lesson, we can develop a true appreciation for pain in life. Think about it, sometimes our most painful experiences are those that have contributed most to our growth and development. In the pain of the struggle we have been stretched and pushed. In the pain of the struggle, we have learned how resilient and strong we really are. In the pain of the struggle, we often come to a greater awareness of the self, our value, and our worth. I encourage you to shift your mindset when pain comes from one of self-loathing and self-pity to one that is determined to see the pain as an opportunity for growth and development.
4. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone.
What is your comfort? For me, clearly I can be lazy and I can procrastinate very easily. I tend to comfort eat-primarily sweets like cookies and cupcakes. I used to be shy growing up, and to be honest-I still am sometimes. So what does going outside of my comfort zone look like for me? It means stretching myself in social settings to be proactive in speaking with people. It means choosing to go for a walk when I’m stressed or feeling sometypeofway instead of grabbing a pack my favorite cookies (double-stuffed oreos). If I want different results in life, I have to do things differently—that means I can’t just stay in my comfort zone. There’s no growth there. Truth is, we all have comfort zones. When it comes to self-love, its not always about pursuing what is comfortable. Sometimes, true-self love is walking away from what is comfortable and doing something different.
5. Look for Life Lessons in Everything.
If you look at life as a classroom, and each experience and interaction as your teachers and textbook, you set yourself up for success. This is one of the key aspects of having a growth mindset. Rather than going through life complaining about things that happen TO us, you have the opportunity to look at life as a classroom where you are an active and proactive participant. Look for the lessons in every high, and every low, in every success and every failure. Consider our failures for example. Failure is actually success because in failing we learn what doesn’t work! We can now cross those options off our our list, rule them out and move on to discovering more information. Its really all about perspective, and with the right perspective-you will see that life is full of lessons and rather than allowing life to make you bitter, choose to maximize the potential of every experience so that life can make you better.
6. Tune Into Your Body (become more self-aware).
How often do you check in with your body? That may sound weird lol, but think about it—how often do you stop during the day and just consider how you are feeling in your body? Our body can tell us a lot about what we are feeling or experiencing both in the natural world and in our emotions. When we are stressed, we feel and experience that in and through our body. When we are relaxed, we feel and experience that feeling of relaxation in our body. Likewise when we are worried, afraid, depressed etc we feel it in our body. Sometimes we feel it in the body before we even acknowledge or give words to the emotion that we are feeling. Being self-aware and in tune with your body is one way to demonstrate self-love. Love yourself enough to listen to and trust the messages that your body is sending you.
7. Do Things that Excite You
What do you like to do? What are you passionate about? What excites you? What brings you joy? All too often in life, we go through day to day life doing what we have to do. We commit to the daily hustle, the daily grind day in and day out. But how often do we pause to tap into the things that excite us? You owe it to yourself to regularly tap into your passion and do things that excite you and bring you joy! Think about it, what haven’t you done in a long time but was really fun? Go back maybe to your childhood even—what are some of your organic natural joys and pleasures? What is a hobby you once had and stopped doing, or maybe a hobby that you said you’d start but you have yet to make that a reality? I challenge you explore and pursue those things-whether its on a monthly basis, weekly or daily. Love yourself enough to invest the energy, time and effort in exploring and pursuing what excites you.
8. Own Your Voice!
One way to show self-love is through assertive communication. The first person you need to practice with is yourself! Let’s be honest, we can flat out lie to ourselves to make us feel good in the moment. The reality is it only causes us harm in the long run. When we practice real, honest, communication with self- it helps us do that in our relationships with others as well. Being honest with yourself is healthy and necessary if you want to reach your full potential and achieve true health and well-being. From this place of authentic communication with self, authentic and assertive communication with others naturally flows. Assertive communication is not to be confused with aggressive communication. Assertive communication simply put is being able to effectively own and communicate your needs, wants and feelings. This can be done with kindness, grace and without fear.
9. Gratitude Journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to practice self-love. Practicing gratitude statements helps fill the heart, mind and spirit with positivity. It’s difficult to complain and express gratitude at the same time. The more we focus on what we are thankful for, the more our mindset shifts in a positive direction and we are better positioned to attract and receive positive things in to our lives.
10. Create and Work a Self-Care Plan.
In the journey to loving yourself the way you deserve to be loved, self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity! Prioritizing your health in mind, body, heart and spirit are essential elements of demonstrating self-love. Creating a self-plan is one way to help you strategize, organize and plan your self-care. You may be thinking, why do I need a plan? Does it really take all of that? Well, its like the saying goes— a failure to plan is a plan to fail! If you want to get serious about self-love and self-care, you’ve got to plan it out. We map out everything else we want in life right? Career goals? Educational goals? Fitness goals? Mental health goals? There’s always a plan in those areas, so why not create a self-care plan?!? The Self-Care Planner Ebook is an excellent tool to help you construct your self-care plan. Visit my store to grab your copy today!