“If you were to give yourself a letter grade to represent how much you love yourself, what would it be?” my professor asked the class. It was the first day of a graduate psychology class I enrolled in last year and there were about 10 of us in the room, all hesitantly looking around, wondering what each stranger would reveal. We went around the circle one by one, and I witnessed something heartbreaking, “D” “C+” “F” “F” “F” “D+” “B-” “F” D” “D” “C-,” not one person gave themselves a grade above a B-. I was stunned, the air in the room was heavy and a little shameful. I was the last person to answer the question, and while part of me didn’t want to be that girl that was different and not relatable, I had to answer honestly. “A” I said. Everyone looked at me. That judgmental “you’re not one of us” or “she’s not being truthful” kind of look. I sat there sort of uncomfortable but glad I spoke my truth. The professor said, “Oh, okay great well could you share with us why you give yourself an A?” I mindfully explained, that the two years leading up to this moment in class, I had been on a self-love journey. I had spent so much time reflecting, connecting, experiencing, shifting perspectives, celebrating, and shedding old skin, that I truly was in a place of deep relationship and love with myself. That if it weren’t for my “A” grade in self-love, that I wouldn’t even be sitting in this classroom right now. And that if you were to have asked me this same question 2 years ago, I would have given myself a C.
This moment in class really stuck with me in a huge way. It made me realize that so many people are disconnected from self-love. It’s also inspired me to reflect on and share my own journey. So how did I go from grading myself from a C to an A?
The bottom line is in this realization: Love is our natural state. 💚
Love is our true nature. Love is what we are hardwired with at birth. Love is the the energy of the cosmos. Love is God. Love is the vibration of creation. Everything is either love or a call for love. And this is isn’t some woo-woo, fluffy notion (although love does feel really warm and fluffy 😺), it’s a psychological paradigm shift! One that’s changed everything for me.
Knowing that love is our natural state makes connecting with it much easier. A lot of the self-love advice I’ve seen feels a bit daunting, and makes me feel like I’d have to apply a lot of effort and hard work to achieve it. Instead, when we know self love is our true nature, the path becomes about finding ways to relax into who we already are, and to release the things that are in resistance to it. Just like Rumi says: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” After some reflection, I compiled this list below of 7 things I do to relax into this self-love stream, and release what no longer serves me.
The 7 Things I Do To Love Myself
1. I follow my bliss ✨
Ahh yes. I love starting my day with intentions like “Follow your bliss” or “Do what feels good.” These kind of mantras feel like I’m giving little gifts to myself — they seem to take me out of “should” mode and tune me directly into the “experiencing” mode of love, appreciation, and flow.
2. I express myself artistically 🎨🎤
You will often find me singing, dancing, songwriting, writing poetry, playing an instrument, listening to music, water coloring, or decorating my room. Allowing myself to express artistically is a huge act of self-love. Not only do these acts send a message to myself that I care, but the art is healing in itself. Mediums like this can move you into a deep space of presence, embodied connection, and expression of your unique outlook on the world.
3. I live a mindful lifestyle 🙏
Mindfulness means to be present, on purpose, non-judgmentally. Sometimes I give myself 10 minutes in the morning to do some sort of mindfulness meditation. I also try to remember to be mindful in ordinary moments throughout the day like when eating, washing my hands, or talking to someone.
Developing a mindful perspective has helped me realize an important truth: I am not the thoughts, stories, or beliefs that run through my head. Instead, I am consciousness itself. To me, completely identifying with and believing in the thoughts in our heads is why we have trouble loving ourselves. This isn’t our fault though, deriving our identity from the conditions around us is what our culture has always taught us to do. But now we’re learning a new way, a way of freedom, so our natural state of self-love can flow again.
4. I tune in to my body 💃
A very powerful part of my transformation has been re-connecting with my body. It seemed like for a while I sort of forgot I had a body! I didn’t spend any time nurturing it, eating well, exercising, or even having much awareness my body at all. Most of the time now I can feel a subtle vibration, or an aliveness of energy gently buzzing throughout my inner body. This aliveness helps keeps me present and tuned into my body’s cues. I’m not an expert in nutrition or exercise, but when I tune into my body and ask it what it wants to eat or what kind of exercise to do, it usually leads me to something just right. I also treat myself to warm baths, sound baths, and self-massages pretty often. Always treat yo self!!
5. I affirm statements that are in alignment with my true nature 📿
Sometimes I’ll take a moment to put my hand on my heart and say something like “I truly love myself.” I’ll say it a few times until I really feel the truth of that statement in my body. I’ve even heard a few psychologists and self-help gurus state that it takes around 16-20 seconds to vibrationally shift your belief about a particular subject. Meaning that affirming a certain statement for at least 20 seconds, and feeling the truth of it within yourself, can actually start to change your thought patterns.
6. I hold myself through difficult emotional moments. 😥
In moments when I feel something in me is off, heavy, or anxious, I do my best to give myself love and feel it out. What seems to work is being super gentle, holding myself in a warm embrace like a mother, letting myself cry, and allowing the emotions to pass by or move me to something. Anxiety and depression were my norm a few years back. I still feel these emotions sometimes but they don’t last very long and usually end up teaching me something. In more emotionally turbulent times, I reach out to a counselor, friend, or family member. And that leads me to…
7. I surround myself with loving people and vibrations 👨👩👧👩👩👦👨👨👦👨👨👦👦
Surrounding myself with unconditionally loving people makes it so much easier to tap into that place within myself. It’s hard to let toxic people go sometimes, but honor how you’re feeling and make your peace a priority. I also love to surround myself with heart-chakra inspiration. Whether it’s chakra music, sounds, cry