In my previous post ‘How to Change Your Life (and Do Anything) – The Loving Way’, I shared my understanding of how long-lasting personal change can be made in a more loving and kinder way. I also explained why self-love is the key to creating and experiencing heaven on earth.
If you haven’t already read that post, please check it out as it forms the foundation on which this post is built. You can check it out here.
But here’s a quick recap, just in case…
A quick recap
Practising self-love, as discussed here, is the process through which we change our beliefs about ourselves and learn to relate to ourselves in a more loving and supportive manner. This is because, for many of us, the beliefs we hold about ourselves are mostly limiting and disempowering (if not downright unkind). As for the way we are used to relating to ourselves – this too is usually negative and often harsh and unkind.
As stated in the previous post, to create a beautiful ‘outer world’ experience, we must first build a beautiful ‘inner world’. And in order to do that, we must do everything we can to learn how to love and value ourselves and heal our relationship with ourselves.
So, with that covered, let’s jump in!
Self-love as something we ‘do’
Self-love, as I have come to understand it, isn’t just an idea or a concept that we can learn about once and then leave by the roadside. It has been my experience that no big change or transformation can come from just doing that. Some years ago, when I first came across the idea, I read a few books and became aware of the concept. But I didn’t do anything more. I didn’t practise it. I didn’t work on changing my beliefs. I just moved on. And… nothing happened.
I now realise that self-love is something we have to do and practise. It is a way of life. And so, in this post, I’m going to explore some of the ways in which we can all practise self-love.
As you would have gathered from my previous post, this is all still fairly new to me and I am still learning and finding my way. In doing so, I am relying almost entirely on the teachings of Louise Hay to help me and, much of what I share here is based on her teachings.
How to practise self-love
The short version: repeat ‘I love myself’ over and over, at every opportunity you get.
For the long version (and it’s long), read on.
A new paradigm
The very first change we must make is a change in paradigm or core belief. We have to make self-love our most fundamental priority. We must commit to it and live our lives from that commitment. This means, with everything you do from now on, with every decision you make about your life, you have to ask yourself this question: ‘Would I do this, if I loved myself?’ If the answer is a ‘yes’ then you’re good to go. But if it is a ‘no’ then you’re going to have to do something different.
So for example, say you’re about to get into an argument with your father over something you have both argued about before. He has said something to trigger you and you can feel the hurt and the resentment building up. You’re about to say something back. You know that things will deteriorate rapidly from here. You also know that you will feel bad afterwards. You will be angry at yourself for saying hurtful things to someone you love. You will be angry at yourself for not being able to resist the provocation. But you will also be angry at yourself if you don’t speak up for yourself.
So what do you do? Do you take the bait and re-live the same unpleasant experience? Would that be an act of self-love? Or would you try something different? Would you try something new that can save the situation?
That is the sort of exercise you have to engage in, in order to practise the first tenet of self-love, which is to think, speak and act in a way that is compatible with the idea of loving yourself. The individual points which follow, all stem from this first premise and are different ways of applying this central idea.
More ways to love yourself:
Think positive thoughts. The thoughts that we think repeatedly become our beliefs and these beliefs run our lives. Fearful, negative thoughts, including thoughts of regret about the past and thoughts of worry about the future, don’t really help us accomplish anything. Yet, they can rob us of our happiness in the present moment and they can weaken us mentally. They can also create more of the same negativity in the future.
So much of our mental suffering is self-inflicted and unnecessary. So it’s time to stop it. Now.
The present moment is your opportunity to heal the hurts of the past and to create a better future. So use it wisely and think positive, optimistic thoughts. Think of it as planting new seeds. In time, these thoughts will sprout new, optimistic and supportive beliefs and then, life can start to bring you the results you desire.
Speak lovingly and kindly to yourself and treat yourself with respect. Your mind – especially your subconscious – is listening to every word you say and will be influenced by the thoughts you are thinking and the words that you are speaking. So make sure you choose your them carefully.
Speak to yourself in the way that you would like to be spoken to. Speak of yourself in the same way that you would like others to speak about you. It’s good to be humble and down to earth, but you don’t have to keep knocking yourself down – even if it is to put others at ease (being at ease is their job and is best left up to them).
Be patient with yourself. Give yourself time to learn how to do things and to make decisions. Forgive yourself for not being perfect or for getting things right the very first time. Stop comparing yourself to others. We are all unique. We all make mistakes. We are all learning and growing – even the people who seem to have perfect lives and those who seem to have it all under control.
Be supportive of yourself. Support and encourage yourself in everything. Become your biggest cheerleader and die-hard fan. Be patient. Give yourself a chance.
Be optimistic and see yourself succeeding at everything. Celebrate your victories – no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Praise yourself. Say it, mean it, and truly appreciate yourself.
Be there for yourself when you fail or when things go wrong. Talk to yourself in a supportive way and soothe yourself. Reassure yourself that everything will be ok.
Thank yourself. Every day, think of all the things that you did that day for yourself and others and thank yourself for each and every one of those things. Appreciate all that you did and lived through that day.
If you had a good day, then thank yourself for creating it. If you had a bad day, thank yourself for hanging in there and for doing all you could, anyway. Thank yourself for seeing that difficult day through.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for all the wrong that you think you did. Forgive yourself for all the important things that you think you failed to do. You are still here. You can change. And you can make changes for the better, now.
Forgive others. Anger and resentment towards others only hurts us. So forgiving them is an act of loving ourselves. Forgiving doesn’t mean that we are saying what they did was right. It simply means that we are willing to let go of the anger and hurt of the past so that we can be free in the present to create a better future for ourselves. We can’t do this if we remain bitter and stuck in the past.
Take good care of your body. Your body belongs to you. It is the vehicle for your consciousness in this life experience. Taking care of it is your responsibility – not that of your parent, your spouse or even your doctor. Take care of your body and it will take care of you and serve you faithfully. Feed and nourish it with healthy foods. Give it the right amount of water, fresh air, exercise and rest.
Just like our mental suffering, a lot of our physical suffering is also self-inflicted and unnecessary. By taking care of our bodies, we can do away with much of the physical suffering we might otherwise have to endure in life.
Take good care of your mind. It is your obedient servant (if you train it and treat it as such) and will produce the experiences and conditions that match what you put into it. Don’t feed it garbage unless you want it to produce garbage for you.
Give your attention to things that bring you joy and things that you would like to bring into your experience. This means steering clear of gossip, drama, violence and depressing material. These things may come disguised as ‘harmless entertainment’, but they will still influence you. They will determine your state of consciousness (or ‘vibration’) and bring back to you, thoughts, circumstances and experiences of an unwanted nature.
Take time out. Give yourself break every so often. Your body and mind both need rest and relaxation in order to function properly. You have nothing to gain from taxing them beyond their limits.
Make time for yourself. Time is your most precious commodity. Make sure that yourself your fair share of it – to do the things that are important to you. Sometimes, it could be that you want to spend more time with your family. Sometimes, it could be that you need a break from your family and give yourself the space to chill out. Either way, give yourself this time. There is no right or wrong. You get to choose and decide.
Go within. Take time to regularly pause and reflect on life. Make the space to allow your inner guidance and intuition to speak to you. Renew and strengthen your connection to your Higher Self and to the Higher Power that guides and assists you in life. You will find that your most valuable insights and breakthrough moments happen in these times of calmness and silence.
A couple of Tools
As stated previously, ideas and concepts on their own can only do so much. They have to be used and applied regularly and consistently in order to create lasting change and bring about the desired results.
As it happens, the best way to stop thinking negative thoughts and get rid of unhelpful beliefs is to start thinking positive thoughts and building new and helpful beliefs. This is where the following tools come in. There are many more tools out there (such as counselling and hypnotherapy and so on). But I have concentrated on just the following, as they are effective, immediately available to everyone and can be applied in virtually any situation (even when you’re out and about):
An affirmation is a statement we make. Anytime we say “I am…” or “It is…” etc., we are making affirmations. Affirmations repeated over time are said to become beliefs in the subconscious mind. So, for our purposes, we want to consciously and deliberately begin affirming the things we want to believe or see happening in our lives.
The keys to using affirmations are as follows:
They must be stated in the positive
The subconscious does not understand negation (no, not, don’t etc.) And, the Law of Attraction responds equally to fear and loathing as it does to love and desire. So we must always affirm what we do want (and not what we don’t want).
For example, we would say “I am healthy and well.” and not “I don’t want to be ill.”
You can be as creative as you like and come up with something that works well for you. But it doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. People have done very well with just the words “I love myself.” and so, this is one that I use and recommend.
If you’d like some ideas on other affirmations, check out this page on Louise Hay’s website.
They must be repeated
When it comes to our negative thoughts and beliefs, it is likely that we have held on to them since childhood or at least for many years. So we must understand that we are not going to undo them in just a few minutes or in one session. We can undo them in just a few minutes – but in a few minutes invested daily, over a period of months, and perhaps, years.
Your subconscious mind doesn’t care if an affirmation is true or not. It will accept just about anything, so long as it is repeated enough times. So repetition is the key. It is therefore advisable to work with one or just a few affirmations at a time (and repeat the heck out of them!).
I have found it helpful to use a ‘mala’ or a chain of prayer beads to help me repeat affirmations. I say the affirmation once for every bead in the chain and sometimes complete multiple circuits of the chain. In this way, it is quite similar to counting ‘reps’ and ‘sets’ as when training with weights and callisthenics etc. I tend to use the prayer beads only when I’m in bed, at home. The rest of the time, I just repeat the affirmations as many times as I can.
You can write down your affirmations as well. Just get a notebook and write the affirmation over and over for as many pages as you want or feel like. I like to do four to six pages of an affirmation such as “I love myself.” just before I go to bed at night.
Feeling and visual imagery
It is helpful to have a visual image and a feeling associated with the affirmation. This is because the subconscious mind responds better to visual imagery and feelings than mere words. So too with the Law of Attraction. It also helps us to ‘anchor’ the affirmation in our body and mind.
Louise Hay especially recommends repeating affirmations while looking at yourself in the mirror. She states that this can make it more effective – especially with affirmations of self-love – as well as revealing blocks or issues we may have with the particular affirmation or idea. So try looking into the eyes of your reflection in the mirror when repeating an affirmation and see what comes up for you.
Visualisation is the act of creating a mental picture or image of something. We visualise every time we imagine something (good or bad, wanted or unwanted). The subconscious mind responds well to visual imagery, and so, it is helpful for us to imagine things as we would like them. This has the added benefit in that visualisation generates the associated feelings and the Law of Attraction responds to these feelings.
One last thing…
Morning routine and bedtime ritual
The subconscious mind is said to be more receptive to messages when it is in a relaxed and drowsy state (and producing theta brainwaves). So it is especially helpful to use these tools just before falling asleep at night and soon after waking, as we are naturally in this state at these times.
Is trying to change your thoughts and beliefs a waste time?
Yes, it takes time, persistence and a certain amount of effort to change unhelpful beliefs and negative thought patterns. This might seem like a bad trade-off and a bit of a chore to some. And it can seem like a waste of time when you consider that you could just as easily rush in and take some direct action to change things at the physical level. But if you’re tempted by ideas like this, then bear the following in mind:
(1) The action you take will require far more effort than the effort required to re-train and reprogram your mind. It will also take up much of your time (and leave you with far less time for everything else). It is likely to involve great amounts of struggle, hardship and suffering.
Contrast this with retraining your mind. There is very little physical effort involved and thus, very little pain or struggle. You can do it at any time and you can fit it into any schedule – no matter how busy it is. You can visualise or repeat affirmations while doing household chores or when you’re queuing up for something.
When you train your mind, you will still take action. But this action is aligned action – it has the creative power of your thought and all the creative power of the universe behind it. You are, in effect, allowing all the laws of the universe to do your work for you. Yes, there will still be a few action steps that you will take – when prompted from time to time. But by and large, the action will feel joyful and satisfying to you as you engage in it.
(2) You will have to put in a similar kind of effort for each and everything you want to change or achieve.
Contrast this with the idea that ‘if you get your mind right, then everything else will fall into place’. Here, you have the opportunity to change everything by changing just one thing. So the effort you invest in training yourself mentally will yield results that are worth thousandfold in value.
So there you have it, my friends. This concludes yet another long post, but even so, I have barely scratched the surface as there’s so much more to say. Thank you so much for reading! And please get back to me with any comments and questions you may have.
I’m currently working to build on my knowledge and experience on this fascinating subject and hope to share what I learn in subsequent posts. So please don’t forget to sign up to receive future posts by email. Simply enter your details into the box at the top and hit ‘submit’. You will then receive a confirmation link by email. Click on that and you’re all set!
- How to Change Your Life (and Do Anything) – The Loving Way
- Why Nothing Changes and How to Change It
- All About Change
- Why Change and Why Impossible Is Nothing
- Ask and It Is Given – Esther and Jerry Hicks
- The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Dr. Joseph Murhpy
- You Can Heal Your Life – Louise L. Hay
- Psychocybernetics – Dr. Maxwell Maltz
- Conversations with God – Book I – Neale Donald Walsch
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- The Science of Getting Rich – Wallace D. Wattles
- The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
- The Journey – Brandon Bays
- The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan S. Millman
- Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It – Kamal Ravikant