Intentional self-love is a critical need that we all know since we see it so often in media and marketing today:
“Love the skin you’re in.”
“You can’t love others until you love yourself!”
“Don’t forget your self-love!”
All those statements are grand, but what does intentional self-love mean?
However, only some people understand what it means to love themselves. Many people struggle to feel like they do, even if they realize what self-love could look like. After seeing this for so long, I knew something needed to be done.
Recently, I published a book as a guide for anyone to start or solidify their journey of self-love. I love that it is filled with ACTUAL tools for success! Here is a summary of the key points covered so you can use them immediately yourself.
Writing Down the Good Stuff
You thought we might start with everything holding you back? That is coming! Starting with what you already know you are proud of yourself for and love is the first step to staying motivated and going into this journey with a proper mindset. We could also call this the “bragging” step. You often go through life without taking a moment to evaluate all you have accomplished. These things can be both big and small, short and long-term accomplishments. Here are some prompts to get you started:
Are you in a better place now in some area?
You started reading this blog with a purpose, did you not?
Have you kept tiny humans alive?
Did you recently have a challenging conversation that you were scared of having but survived?
To make it into a routine, I encourage people to note at least three things at the end of each day that they love about themselves they did today. This could be as simple as getting out of bed, brushing their teeth, eating, or having a good conversation. When the focus of your day and how you think about yourself starts to shift, it sets the groundwork for actual work to begin in loving yourself.
Prepare For A Better Future
Now that you have a firm grasp of what you love about yourself, we will take the next step and identify what you love about the future that is still being created. Close your eyes and envision what you want your future to look like in a world where you embody intentional self-love in every way imaginable.
How are you acting overall?
How are you handling conflict?
How do others treat you?
What is the highlight of your day?
How do you handle stress?
What is your day filled with?
Write these answers down as well as any other parts of the visualization that stand out to you as different from your current situation.
Alright, now you move into the removal step in your journey to intentional self-love. Take some time to evaluate where your life is now, compared to the visualization you did in step two. What are the most significant differences? It would be best if you focused on something other than the starkest differences in your situation but on the differences in your behavior and overall attitude.
What is the number one behavior difference you notice in yourself that you want to change? Are you calmer? More assertive? Less impulsive? More decisive?
Take a moment to think about this difference and the drive behind the current action. More often than not, this current action comes from fear and insecurity. You protect yourself with an instinctual behavior that focuses only on current needs and concerns and not how the behavior is or is not in alignment with your ideal self.
Once that is identified, now you resolve it. This resolution will look different depending on the presenting issue but often if you look back on your strengths from the first step, you will find some hints of power to help you overcome this internalized fear.
Let’s break it down into an example:
Your higher self is secure in relationships and does not continually seek reassurance from the other party.
Your current self is known to ask often if you are loved and supported and have difficulty regulating jealousy and anxiety about losing the other partner.
A typical internal drive here is the belief that people can not be trusted and that you are not worth loving and being loyal to.
Action in your first step may have been loving your relationship and being proud of all you have been through together.
Holding onto that action and the knowledge that you are loved based on all the current information given in the relationship, what would your best and ideal self do?
Lean into the action that aligns with your goal in the second step. It may feel scary or forced at first, but it is the action you know is one that you will be proud of.
Some things may be more challenging to work through than others. In these situations, I highly recommend therapy with a licensed therapist. Check out our blog “First Therapy Appointment” for tips on how to prepare for your first therapy session!
Watch Your Self Talk
Now that you have been through all the previous steps, it is time to reinforce this new and positive action! The top way you support this step of intentional self-love is by watching your internal dialogue of speaking to yourself. Even when you do not feel like the positive things are accurate descriptors, say them. Hold onto them. Even though your emotions may feel down, logically, you know what your positive beliefs are.
Take A Break
Now you get a vacation from work. I know many of the steps earlier take mental brain power, but you have made it through! If you find these steps difficult on a particular day, I want you to permit yourself to live in the positive of the here and now. While we have to keep long-term goals in mind, there is nothing wrong with staying focused on the present. It’s healthy!
Go back to the first step and remind yourself of what you have done today that you are proud of. How did you intentionally show love to yourself?
Please take these tools and start applying them today! Starting your self-love journey is always possible, no matter where you are. If you are interested in buying the full version of my book, click here! If you need support, our licensed professional counselors are ready to assist. Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to see if we would be a good fit!