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

Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder

I believe I’ve always pretty much liked myself. But I realized in recovery that I didn’t really love myself, and I didn’t feel worthy. When I inventoried my life, I could see, “Those were not the behaviors of a woman who feels worthy and loves herself.” Learning to love myself has been one of the most incredible gifts of recovery.

It’s also a gift that many of my clients receive in the process of building healthy boundaries. That’s because building boundaries is a process of getting to know yourself, learning to show up for yourself, and doing more of what you like and less of what you don’t like. Who wouldn’t love someone who does all those things for them?! So you won’t be surprised to see that “set boundaries” is the next item on this list!
In case you missed parts 2 and 3, here’s what was on them:

  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
  6. Connect with something greater than yourself
  7. Step away from chaos
  8. Take care of your physical environment
  9. Learn to ask for help
  10. Be present
  11. Use gentle language with yourself

Below are my last five suggestions for how to love yourself. Of course, there are many other ways you can grow to love yourself. I’d love to hear how you love yourself. Drop me an email here to let me know how.

12. Set boundaries. Shocking for a boundaries coach, I know! My experience of learning to set healthy boundaries was that I got to know myself through the experimental process (and it’s always an experimental process). I learned, “I really don’t like that” and “I guess I do like this.” I’d been such a chameleon before recovery that there was much of me that was up for negotiation. Building boundaries helped me discover who I really am, and what I really want, like, need, and prefer.

As I got to know what was okay and not okay with me, I began to follow through on those preferences more and more. When I set a boundary, I felt better about myself because I showed up for myself in ways I hadn’t before. Then, because I felt better about myself, it was easier to set the next boundary. Getting to know yourself better and standing up for yourself is an incredible way to love yourself!

13. Give yourself peace. What I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten to know myself better is that what I want more than anything else is peace. I lived with such drama and chaos much of my life, especially internally, that I’m done with all that shit! I want peace.

I often ask myself, “What do I need to do to have peace?” For me, twice daily meditation is imperative. Consistent conscious contact with my Higher Power is also essential. I also stay away from people who are not peaceful. I slow down and take breaks instead of operating with a sense of urgency all the time. I stay away from controversy, and that includes staying away from the news, current events, and politics. The first few years I stopped paying attention to those things, I was afraid people would think I was ignorant and uninformed. Then I realized I AM ignorant and uninformed! AND I have peace. I’ll take peace any day. It feels really loving.

14. Stop the negative self-talk. In my late 20s, I discovered that I had a really super negative self-talk. I’d say horrendous things to myself in my head. I wasn’t even aware of it until it was pointed out to me in a book where other people’s negative thoughts were revealed. I read their words and said “Holy shit! I say that stuff to myself too!” It’s kind of shocking to know that that stuff had been running like a ticker tape through my mind all the time, yet I wasn’t aware of it.

Clean up your negative self-talk! This is crucial. You cannot love yourself or have a well-lived life when the background noise of your life is full of shitty things about you. Because you come to believe those things. A belief is essentially a thought you’ve thought for so long that you’ve come to believe that it’s the truth. You’ve gotta turn that messaging off! The best way to do that is to replace it with something else. I’ve written two articles about how to clean up your thought life. They can be found here and here

15. Affirmations. This is sort of a follow-up on #14. I know some people think saying affirmations are hoaky bullshit. And that may be true for some people, but it’s been a game-changer for me. Think about someone you love. If you continually say kind and loving things to them, don’t you think it would have an impact on your relationship with them? 

The same is true for yourself. It’s hard to have a loving relationship with anyone without words of affirmation. In fact, “words of affirmation” is one of the Five Love Languages in the book by Gary Chapman. If you’re not familiar with the concept, I encourage you to take Chapman’s test here to find out your love language. Then love yourself in the way you best receive love. And teach others to love you similarly.

Be kind to yourself, especially in your mind. Say affirmative things to yourself. You deserve it.

16. Live in alignment with your values. I had no idea I wasn’t living in alignment with my values until I got into recovery. Part of step 12 is that we “practice these principles in all our affairs.” What that means is that we live in alignment with the spiritual principles of our 12-step fellowship. The reason we do this is because we’re so much less likely to relapse when we’re doing the right things. It’s loving to live in alignment with your values.

I was violating my values all over the place before recovery, especially about honesty. Before recovery, I truly believed I was an honest person. Nope! I lied about food, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and my relationships. Probably the largest portion of my dishonesty had to do with my people-pleasing behaviors - I’d agree to things that I didn't want to do, I acted like things were okay with me that weren’t, and said no to things I really wanted to do so I wouldn’t be judged or because it would be inconvenient for others. 

I didn't know it at the time, but I was doing it because I wanted people to approve of me. I could go on and on about the ways I violated my values, yet I thought I was a very values-oriented person. 

One of the reasons living in alignment with your values contributes to self-love is that you become proud of yourself. You’ll know you’re an honest woman of integrity. It’s also way less draining to live in alignment with your values, and who doesn’t want more energy?! Living aligned is so much easier, and the things you value are likely to light you up. Doing things that light you up is loving.  

Of course, there are plenty of other ways you can learn to fall in love with yourself (and I’d love to hear how you’re doing it, email me here. These are just some of the ways I’ve learned how to do it. What one will you try first?

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