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16 Ways to Fall in Love with Yourself Part 2 of 3

Photo Credit: Fellipe Ditadi

Learning to love yourself is one of the most incredible gifts you can give yourself. In essence, treat yourself as if you are beloved, and you will be.

This is the second of my three-part series on how to love yourself. In case you missed the first one, here’s what the first five suggestions were:

  1. Get help for your addiction
  2. Stop judging yourself so harshly
  3. Reparent yourself
  4. Mirror work
  5. Take care of your physical body

Below, I’ll share suggestions 6-11. In the third essay next week, I’ll share the last five suggestions.

6. Connect with something greater than yourself. Whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, spiritual, or religious person, knowing that you’re part of something greater than yourself can be soooo healing. I identify as a very spiritual person and call my Higher Power “God.” But it’s my own definition of God that works for me. It’s something like – the all of everything, plus a little bit more.

Making conscious contact with the universe consistently helps you get perspective on life. You’re not just a worker doing a job Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00 or a role in your family or community. You’re a miracle! And you’re part of something greater, and your part matters. If you believe as I do, that you can actually tap into that power, then do it! I was agnostic until I was about 37, and connecting to a Higher Power and reaching out to that Power for assistance is WAY BETTER than going it alone! It’s an enormous relief to remember I’m not alone (even if I sometimes feel like I am) and not in charge (even if I sometimes feel like I am).

7. Step away from chaos. You do not have to put up with chaotic people, situations, or environments. I honestly didn’t even see walking away from chaos as an option before recovery. It just WAS. It was just part of my life and something I dealt with. To be sure life wasn’t like that 100% of the time, but enough that it was normalized to me. This was especially true in all the places I worked before recovery. If you feel like shit every time you see a certain person, go to a certain place, or engage in a specific activity, find a way to get out of there! It’s okay to walk away from chaos.

8. Take care of your physical environment. For me, it starts by making my bed every day. I used to think, “What’s the point? I’m going to mess it up anyway.” However, it sets the tone for my day. When I walk back into my bedroom, it’s a stable, peaceful environment. It’s not chaotic.

I’ve never been the best housekeeper, but I’ve gotten better and better over the years. In fact, I’ve recently started paying to have my home cleaned monthly. The worst part for me was the clutter, which I dealt with years ago. I may still have pockets of clutter in areas of my home from time to time, but the place is no longer cluttered. It frees up brain space when you take care of your physical environment. And as they say, “As within, so without.” That is, what’s going on the outside is often a reflection of what’s going on inside. It’s my experience that I can influence what’s going on inside by changing my environment from chaotic to peaceful. Feng Shui is a great place to start. It’s the Chinese art of placement. You learn to place things in your home in a way that allows for the greatest flow of positive energy.

9. Learn to ask for help. Another way to say this is to allow people to love you. The universe is made up of ebbs and flows, in-breaths and out-breaths. We’re meant to give and receive. The saying, “It’s better to give than to receive" dismisses the patterns of nature. They’re both required, and neither is better. If you’ve been giving, giving, giving your whole life, it’s time to receive.

When I got into recovery it was almost impossible for me to ask for help. I sometimes felt like I was gonna die at the idea of asking for help. Gradually, with the help of my fellows in recovery, I learned to ask for and welcome help. It was a very humbling process, to be honest. If you’d like to learn more about my journey to ask for help you can read about that here.

One of the tricks to learning to ask for help is discerning who are the right people to ask for help. It can be very vulnerable to ask for help, so you want to make sure to ask those you can trust. This was an educational process for me, given my history of trusting untrustworthy people.

10. Be present. You cannot be purposeful about your life if you are not in the present moment. Learning to love yourself doesn’t happen by accident, it takes intention. If you’re constantly dissociating, worrying about the future, or ruminating about the past you’re not going to be able to intentionally cultivate self-love.

Getting into the present moment is imperative for self-love. The main way I get into the present moment is to connect with my body through my senses and breath. Pay attention to each sense in succession – what is the farthest thing you can see, the faintest sound you can hear? What can you smell or taste? Perhaps it’s nothing, but just connecting with those senses makes you present with yourself.

You can simply pay attention to your in and out breaths, you can count your in-breaths and double the length of your out-breaths. There are several ways to use breath to get present. Another way to get present is by consciously feeling your feet on the floor or your butt in the chair.

11. Use gentle language with yourself. Even though I still swear a lot, I don’t swear at myself any longer. I now say things like, “Oh goodness!” when something goes wrong. I didn’t choose to make this shift, it spontaneously happened. But I have chosen to make other shifts. I talk sweetly to myself now. And I especially talk sweetly to my inner child and inner teenager. 

Next week, I’ll share part 3 with more five ways to fall in love with yourself. Be gentle with yourself, and treat yourself in loving ways as you embark on this journey. Have fun with it! LOVE the journey!

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