By Charli Lundholm

We keep hearing about the need for self-love.

  • What does that really mean?
  • How do we achieve it?
  • Can we achieve it?
  • Why is it something that we have to learn to do instead of it just being a natural process?

Growing up, most of us were never taught that loving ourselves was not only an OK thing to do, but that it was also essential for our well being. The feeling that loving yourself is selfish, or egotistical is common. For some reason we were taught that you are a better person if you make sure everyone else is ok and loved, but not you. WHAT? How crazy is that? How can we fully love if we don’t love ourselves?

Have you ever looked in the mirror…really looked yourself in the eyes and said, “I love you”? You may have felt so awkward and probably started laughing or running away from the mirror as fast as you can. Why? Why is this simple gesture of affection such a difficult thing to do?

We are products of our upbringing and the tone of the society we live in. That doesn’t mean we can’t change. Just because we have some inner block to truly loving ourselves, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. The first step is a willingness to try. And from what I have been seeing in my healing practice, our BODIES are craving it. Yes, your body wants, and needs, to know that it is loved BY YOU. This self love can decrease your stress, increase your feelings of well being and connection, and may even decrease physical pain.

If self love is a foreign concept to you, where do you start?

Step one: If the mirror idea makes you cringe, start by just telling yourself in your brain that you love yourself. If you can stand in front of the mirror and do this, even better. (Louis Hay has a lot of information of mirror work.) Start somewhere. Even if it feels fake and unauthentic, do it anyway.

Having trouble being consistent telling yourself you love yourself? Find something you do every day and make that the time you will for sure say to yourself, “Hey, I love you!” For example, do it when you brush your teeth. There is at least two times a day you’ll hear “I love you.” Better yet, every time you take a sip of something, say it. Do it while you are driving, giving yourself a little wink in the review mirror. How about doing it with every inhalation? Now that would be a serious love party!

Step two: Do at least three compassionate acts for yourself daily. I can hear you gasping, “What? Three whole compassionate acts just for ME?” Yes…just for you. These acts can be large or small. Have a great cup of coffee or tea. Take a wonderful bath with bubbles and candles and music. Get a massage. Go sit under a tree. Take a drive. Go for a hike. Sit and just BE. Watch a movie you have always wanted to see. Call a friend. Meditate. Work out. Don’t work out. Whatever you do, tell yourself this time is just for you. You are doing this and enjoying it fully because you love yourself. This is all about you.

Step three: Tell your body you love it. Start with your head, your eyes, your nose, mouth, ears, teeth, jaw and tell each part you love it. Move down through your entire body, really thanking it for all that it does and filling it with self love. Add your muscles, blood vessels, bones and all of your organs. Add your senses and your skin. Your body is an amazing thing and it hears everything you say to it and about it. So honor it, thank it and let it know you love it.

Step four: Notice all the love around you. Notice and FEEL the love that your family and friends have for you. Fully LET IT IN! The more you love yourself, the easier step four will be. Step it up a notch and feel the love that the universe has for you. Love is abundant in the universe so let it pour into you.

Step five: Spend some time being in your heart, especially if you are having trouble with any of this. Think about the most loving times in your life. You might actually feel a warmth in your chest area. Let your heart chakra open and be expansive instead of constricted and shut down. Think about your wonderful attributes. If you start going into a negative state, go back to that loving memory. Focus your breath on your heart area, as if you were actually able to breathe in and out of your heart chakra. Visualize pink or green (or both) light at the front and back of your chest.

When you first start this process, it can feel weird. I get that. But if you stick with it, you will begin to notice a shift. People might respond more compassionately to you. You might notice you feel lighter and more open to all of the positive that the world has to offer. Your body, since it is totally loved and adored by you, may feel better, younger or have decreased pain levels. The benefits are great.

I wish you a wonderful journey of self discovery and self love!