Self-Love is discussed and practiced all over the world right now. People struggling with low self-esteem or low self-confidence tend to gravitate towards Self-Love practices that promise you to become more confident and loving fast by using positive affirmations or other techniques. While they are not harmful, they may not actually produce the fast and easy results you expect.
The why your Self-Love practice isn’t working and how to actually practice Self-Love by giving you specific techniques that are proven, will be discussed in this article.

 

The problem with most Self-Love practices is that they focus on things like affirmations, cleaning your closet or find a comfortable environment for yourself. While these practices are good, they are only giving you Self-Love on a very shallow and surface level.
For example: When you use affirmations for your Self-Love practice, you are using your mind to love yourself. Because your mind is this infinite channel of thoughts, it can literally come up with endless thoughts about why you should love yourself and on the other side with infinite thoughts on why you should not do it. Most people practicing affirmations don’t actually feel what they are saying. They got this cute little affirmation from a book and they now repeat it to themselves without really feeling it. What that does is that it creates this shallow thought based Self-Love, where you are just training your mind to come up with self-loving thoughts. But what you are missing and what you actually want is a deeply rooted feeling of Self-Love. Not just a concept of Self-Love in your mind.
That’s why many techniques sound fun and easy to do, but don’t produce the results you want.

The reality about Self-Love

The reality is, that Self-Love is radical. Self-Love is not just you affirming all the sentences. Self-Love is actually you changing your whole life in the long-run. Because the reason you are in this state of self-hate is that what you do, think and feel is out of alignment with your highest desires.
Then practicing a shallow Self-Love technique will give you short-term Self-Love. But the real Self-Love, this really deep-rooted feeling of “I love my freaking life. I love myself. If someone asks me what would I do different about my life, I would say nothing because it’s freaking amazing”, comes from a radical Self-Love practice which involves the mental, emotional and physical (action taking) aspect.
And radical means putting yourself and your well-being first. Getting rid of things that do no longer serve you like changing people, places, habits, physical items, your looks,..

The basic rule is: the deeper your self-hate, the more you have to change.

So how do we do that? How do we actually create deep, long-term Self-Love?
For that we will be looking at the three areas: Mental, emotional and physical. All of these areas go hand in hand and the practices build on each other.

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Self-Love: the Mental

Your mind needs love

Your mind should be your No.1 focus when starting a Self-Love practice. If you look closely, you will see that you have a very bad relationship to your mind. In fact, if you are suffering from self-hate, you actually hate your mind because your mind is coming up with all these negative thoughts about yourself.
What you have to understand is that your mind is not the root cause of your self-hate. Your mind and your thoughts are actually just reflecting what’s going on emotionally and spiritually. The thoughts are just messengers for the deeper problem. That’s why your mind should not be treated like an enemy, but rather loved as a part of your Self-Love practice.
For that I highly encourage you to take my free 14-day email course on peace of mind.
But for the sake of this article, you can practice this one exercise from the course:

Exercise: Mind-love Exercise
  1. Take a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus on your breath for a while.
  2. Use the exhale to relax your whole body (as you’ve learned in the meditation)
  3. Now, bring all your attention to your heart. Locate it and focus on the physical sensation. How does it physical feel. Is it warm? How does the heartbeat feel?
  4. Focus on the warmth of your heart. Feel your heart as the center of all your love and well-being.
  5. Feel how your whole body is agreeing with the fact, that your heart is the center of love.
  6. Tune into the infinite amount of love that is stored in your heart-space
  7. Now, direct this love energy like a stream to your mind and send this loving, perfect energy to your mind.
  8. Feel the warmth that is arising around your heart space
  9. Keep sending the love to your mind as long as you feel comfortable
  10. Use the affirmation “I love you” as you direct this energy to your mind
  11. Stay here as long as you like
  12. Come back whenever you feel comfortable

** Practice that at least 3 times before going to the next exercise.

Exercise: How to really practice affirmations

The next thing we will be looking at are affirmations. Because affirmations, if used in the right way, can be very powerful. To warn you right away, please do not copy the affirmations used here. Use them as an inspiration, not as a replacement for your own investigation.
When using affirmations to create a deep sense of Self-Love it is important that the affirmations are representing a certain emotion, which you will then focus on during the affirming state and magnify it with each statement. To be able to do that, you have to come up with your own affirmations:

  1. Stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself. Take some time here and really look yourself in the eyes.
  2. If you are ready, bring up the feeling of love by focussing on your heart.
  3. Feel the warmth of that love that is flooding into your being with every heartbeat that is sending out blood. Feel that love going through your veins. Take some time here until you feel a subtle positive shift in your energy.
  4. Now look at yourself again and feel that loving energy.
  5. Look deeply into your eyes and try to find an aspect (physical, characteristic, emotional, mental) that matches or is very close to that high state of love you currently feel (like the color of your eyes, your sense of humor, your hair, your height, your persistence, your hands).
  6. Be sure that is aspect is something about you and that it does not involve other people.
  7. Now affirm this aspect while still focusing on that deep sense of love and while looking yourself into the eyes
  8. Examples: “I love myself for having this amazing sense of humor”, “I love the way my hair looks today”, I love how persistent I am”,..
  9. Affirm slowly, really focus on the way you feel, directing all the love you feel with each affirmation to yourself. Every affirmation should be used to magnify that deep sense of love.
  10. Affirm the statement at least 10 times.

** Use this practice for the next 14 days every morning

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Self-Love: The Emotional

Self-love is much more an emotional practice than a mental practice, that’s why we even started integrating emotions in the first two exercises. But for the sake of this part, we are mainly focusing on emotions. If we really want to reach a self-loving stage, we don’t have to take detours to get there. As said before, Self-Love is an emotion that is deeply rooted.
And the root of any being is love. Everything in this universe is love. So actually, love is our core and we just have to resolve the aspects, that are blocking us from really feeling that core. It’s not that you were born hating yourself.
That means to become more self-loving we have to consciously resolve the self-hating aspects in us.

The next two exercises help you to start integrating any self-hating aspect. Because rejecting any aspect of yourself you hate, causes a lot of suffering. We always think that running away from the pain will make us feel better. But instead, running away from the pain makes it even worse.
That means that you will never ever get rid of any part of yourself that you reject, so it’s about consciously deciding to integrate the aspects you hate about yourself. To do that, I am not asking you to go from hate to love. You don’t have to start loving the parts you hate, if you can’t. It’s enough for now to accept them as part of yourself.

Exercise: Letting Go Exercise
  1. Take a comfortable position. Relax your body.
  2. Now bring up something you don’t like about yourself. May it be something physical, behavioural or emotional.
  3. Focus on that aspect and immediately feel the resistance in your body that comes when you start focusing on that aspect.
  4. Start by feeling that resistance in your body.
  5. Surrender to the physical sensation and let it just be there.
  6. Be present with the resistance until you feel a sense of relief.
  7. Now bring up the aspect again, if there is still some resistance, keep surrendering it.
  8. If you feel like you’ve surrendered all the resistance and you are actually with the emotional sensation of the aspect you just brought up, try to localize the physical sensation that comes with the emotion (exp.: head, neck, arms, legs).
  9. Be very specific with the localization and try to describe it (exp.: “a burning sensation around my eyes”, “a cold stream around my belly area”, “huge tension on my shoulders going all the way into my neck”)
  10. Now be fully present with that sensation and relax into it.
  11. Set all judgment aside. Don’t think about how long you should spend with that emotion. Just stay there as long as the emotion needs (this can take 1 minute, 5 or even 20 minutes, simply be unconditionally present).
  12. The emotion is fully resolved and integrated when you feel a sense of relief, the physical sensation is gone and/or you forgot about the emotion and you can’t even remember it anymore.
  13. When the emotion is fully resolved, you can slowly come back and open your eyes.

** You can practice that meditation with any emotion or self-hating aspect you have. Every emotion will resolve in the light of pure presence and awareness. Again, don’t run away from your pain, surrender to it and it will resolve.

To go deeper on the topic of letting go, read the article How to Let go- The Only Technique You Will Ever Need.

Exercise: Radical Acceptance Exercise

For this exercise, we will use the same approach as in the Letting go Exercise. You can use that for any aspect you hate strongly and that was not been resolved with the first exercise. Or you simply feel that this resonate more with you.

  1. Take a comfortable position. Relax your body.
  2. Now bring up something you don’t like about yourself. May it be something physical, behavioral or emotional.
  3. Focus on that aspect and immediately feel the resistance in your body that comes when you start focusing on that aspect.
  4. Start by feeling that resistance in your body.
  5. Surrender to the physical sensation and let it just be there.
  6. Be present with the resistance until you feel a sense of relief.
  7. Now bring up the aspect again, if there is still some resistance, keep surrendering it.
  8. If you feel like you’ve surrendered all the resistance and you are actually with the emotional sensation of the aspect you just brought up, try to localize the physical sensation that comes with the emotion (exp.: head, neck, arms, legs).
  9. Be very specific with the localization and try to describe it (exp.: “a burning sensation around my eyes”, “a cold stream around my belly area”, “huge tension on my shoulders going all the way into my neck”)
  10. Now bring up the emotion and energy of acceptance or love (whatever works best for you).
  11. When it’s strong enough, direct this energy into the area of your body where you felt the very strong emotion.
  12. Keep sending the energy until you feel a relief in that area of your body.
  13. When you’re ready you can slowly come back.

Self-Love: The Physical

The physical part of developing Self-Love will probably be the most challenging part for most people. Because this part is not about comforting yourself or just finding a circle of friends who are nice to you. This part is about radical change.
As said before, part of why you are in this self-hating state is your current life situation. You probably live in an area you don’t like, you work a job you hate, you eat food that is not good for you and so on.
In order to really create lasting Self-Love, you have to start acting according to Self-Love.
And that means, tuning in to yourself and really deciding each and every moment on the thing that feels best for you. Setting aside all programming or judgment and just prioritizing the way you feel above everything.

Exercise: Making self-loving decisions

As you go about your day, you will be confronted with having to make decisions. And by decisions, I don’t just mean big decisions like “where am I going to party tonight”, but also small decision such as “will I wear black or blue shirt today”. For the sake of this exercise, it is really important to start with the small decisions and to work your way up. Because as you explore the land of making self-loving decisions based on how you feel, you will be confronted with situations, where it’s mind against self-loving emotions. But in these situations it’s really important to calm your mind, accept it and see your mind just as a part of you that wants to keep you save.
Over the time you will develop confidence by seeing the results and payoffs of your self-loving decisions. Then you will naturally develop the courage to make bigger, life-changing decisions based on self-love. To make a decision, follow these steps

  1. When you are in a situation, where you have to decide between two or more options, observe your first reaction to these options.
  2. Do you have any strong rejection or any strong “yes” for one of the options?
  3. If so, don’t rush yourself here.
  4. Relax, take some deep breaths and tune into yourself. Feel your body. Relax your shoulders.
  5. Now bring up one of the options and feel your emotional reaction to them. Is it light or heavy? Does thinking about the option bring up a sense of expansion or restriction in you?
  6. Spend some time here.
  7. Now bring up the second option and do the same. Feel your emotional reaction to them. Is it light or heavy? Does thinking about the option bring up a sense of expansion or restriction in you?
  8. Bring up all the other options you have and observe your emotional reactions.
  9. After you’ve tuned in to every option, compare all the emotional reactions you had for every option.
  10. Which option had the lightest reaction? Did any of those option feel like expansion? What option had the  strongest calling or “this is right” feeling?
  11. The differences can be very subtle and it takes some practice if you are not used to it.
  12. Now whatever option feels the most expansive, the lightest and had this feeling of “this is it” (which can be very subtle and intuitive), is the option you should go for.
  13. At this point, it’s highly important that you act according to that process. Don’t just go for the mental decision after. Have the courage and follow the option that feels the most self-loving to you.

** I highly suggest that you start practicing that with every decision you have to make: from ordering food at a restaurant to choosing the wording of a text you are sending, to choosing the area you are going to move to. Practicing that will have a ripple effect on all areas of your life.

If you want to know more about the mental vs. emotional decisions, I encourage you to watch my youtube video: Mental vs. Emotional Decisions.

 Exercise: Moving your body

I know this may sound very shallow of a practice, but it goes way deeper than you might think. When you are practicing Self-Love, you really have to balance the spiritual, high consciousness states with the physical, earthy grounded stages.

You came here to this earth as consciousness expressed in physical form, and that has a purpose. You are here in this life to grow in all areas and forms simultaneously. That’s why it’s important to do any kind of physical exercise.

Your body is your vessel that holds all the energy. Currently, you are at a lower energy stage, because of self-hate (which is not a bad thing). So your body, your vessel, is used to holding lower frequencies. If you then suddenly infuse the body with these higher energies of love, it’s likely that the body will burn out.
That’s why it’s crucial, on the self-loving path, to practice physical exercise.If you don’t pay attention to your physical body, chances are high that you will not be able to hold that high energy state of love, that you are currently developing. If you struggle with exercising, use these steps:

(When it comes to exercise, just pick something that is the most fun for you. Don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like. Remember we are on a self-love journey)

  1. Pick something you like doing in your free-time. Don’t think about exercising right now.
  2. Maybe you like listening to music or you like to read or learn things.
  3. Now I invite you to become creative now. How can you do the thing you love while lightly moving your body?
  4. Maybe if you like listening to music, you can go outside for a walk in nature for 20 minutes and listen to your favorite songs. If you like to read, try doing the same while listening to an audio version. (What I always did, because I loved learning and studying so much, I always downloaded talks or videos and I just listened to them while walking in the woods. This then created this amazing connection I had with working out: I was doing something that I love while moving my body)
  5. Come up with a practice and start doing it on 5 of 7 days a week.

Slowly, this love for doing your hobby will emanate out and it will turn into the love for moving your body as well.

So that was it for the topic of Self-Love and why your Self-Love practice isn’t working. Self-Love really is a long-term thing. You always have to check in with yourself as you move along in life and make the most effort to stay as true to your self and your love as possible.

    5 replies to "Self-Love: Why your Self-Love practice isn’t working"

    • Eva

      This blog post is so helpful and practical. I’m going to save it and work with it. Thanks so much! When I read the word Radical I felt resistance but then the exercise about the decisions came. Starting small and working up! Thanks, Lorelle!

      • Lorelle

        Thank you. You can even use the “Letting Go Exercise” for that resistance.
        Much love <3

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