10 Steps To Self-Love & How To Love Yourself Unconditionally

how to love yourself

So I’m sorry to say that my self love practice has totally fallen off the wagon in the last couple of months.  And this is a big deal for me because I’ve spent the last few years instilling self-nurturing habits that usually keep my heart full.

But recently, when someone I cared for and trusted deeply ended a relationship with me out of the blue, it totally tore me apart in ways I didn’t expect.

Suddenly all my motivation to practice self love disappeared.  And everything I’d read about how to love yourself unconditionally fell away, at exactly the time when I needed it most!

My brain went into a kind of scratched-record replay of what’s wrong with me?, I must be unloveable and the ever-present it’s because I’m not enough.

For one horrendous fortnight these repetitive, looping thoughts actually stopped me sleeping.  And the best thing I could do was grab my journal and just keep brain-dumping it out onto the page, in the hopes that I could make some sense of what had happened.

And then as if by magic, a Chopra Center email dropped into my Inbox, like a little nudge from the universe.  As if to say “Hey Em, remember this stuff? You could do with it right now!”  And there it all was right in front of me once more – how to love yourself and remember how glorious you are!

So as part of getting myself out of my wounded heart and back onto Planet Earth, I wanted to share these self love practices, in case they help someone else who is feeling desperately lost right now.

And this is important too, because paying it forward is all part of the healing.

10 Steps To Self-Love & How To Love Yourself Unconditionally

1 Acceptance

Probably the most key lesson in learning how to love yourself is acceptance.  And yet accepting who you are and where you are, is the part of self love practice that most people miss or skip over.

You can’t possibly move forward with healing until you’ve recognised and accepted ALL of your current experience, pain and stuckness.  It is what it is, so stop resisting it.

Say YES to whatever pain comes up and as you do, you’ll find it easier to let it go.
Using Tara Brach’s RAIN of self compassion is one of my most favourite and cathartic meditations when I’m lost in struggle.

2 Be Compassionate With Yourself

Being patient, gentle and kind is SO important, especially when you’re going through tough times.  Treat yourself the way you’d treat your best friend, or anyone else you love dearly.

What would the wisest, most loving part of you say to the sad, anxious or ashamed part of you? That part that needs the most support and empathy.
Try having this inner conversation in your journal and find out what your most in-pain part needs to say to you.  Being compassionate is integral to soothing yourself.

3 Forgive Yourself

Learning how to love yourself unconditionally certainly isn’t easy after a lifetime of self criticism.  But a huge part of breaking this habit is learning self forgiveness.

Recognise that you’re a beautifully flawed, imperfect human being, doing the best that you can and learning as you go.  Forgiving yourself for all the mistakes that you make (and yes you will make many!) is the most healing thing you can do.

Try using Brad Yates Forgiveness EFT to ease yourself into this practice.

how to love yourself

4 Quit With The Self Criticism

So you may think that self criticism is the way to go when you balls-up in life, but it’s been shown time and again that self criticism is REALLY unhelpful.  So quit doing it!

If self criticism actually improved things and made you a better person, then how come you’re still messing up and feeling so rubbish about it?

The truth is, self love is WAY MORE motivating, encouraging and inspiring.  And it will move you through troubled times much more quickly than self criticism ever could.
So learn to love ALL your mistakes and imperfections, because they’re part of you and your unique journey.

5 Praise & Support Yourself

When was the last time you sat down and looked at all the things you’ve achieved in life?  How far you’ve come and how well you’ve dealt with all the shit that’s happened.

Give yourself some praise for trying so hard and for getting through it.  For wanting to grow and do things better.  Hell, you’re reading this aren’t you?  That says something about you right there.

So support yourself, wherever you are on the journey.  Be your own cheerleader, on the good days and especially the bad ones.

6 Stop Imagining The Worst!

Now I’m a real stickler for conjuring up endless nightmare futures and possible worse-case scenarios in my head.  So I find this a tough one myself.

When I’m single, I imagine that I’ll be that way forever – lonely, broke and lost, like some old spinster.  Or worse, I’ll end up jobless, homeless and all my loved ones will die.  Really constructive huh?

The key to cutting out this crap is mindfulness, gratitude and getting proactive.
Get present in the moment, get out of your head and stop imagining things that haven’t happened yet and never will do!

Get grateful for all the things you DO have right now in your life – which is tonnes of goodness.  Take off your negative glasses and throw them away.

Get productive and proactive, taking baby steps each day to try new things and tweak the small areas of your life that need adjusting.  Stop worrying about the bigger picture, because I promise that’ll take care of itself.

7 Keep Taking Care Of YOU

I know this one is tricky when you’re going through a tough time, but nurturing and nourishing yourself is a really important part of how to love yourself properly.

Good wholesome food; as much sleep as you can; yoga, exercise and movement; meditation and therapy; a little pampering and spending time with loving people.
When your body is super-stressed, it needs more of this stuff, not less.

And try to keep away from addictive habits like alcohol, comfort-eating, drugs and cigarettes, which are in no way self-loving or nourishing to beautiful you.
They will only make you feel much worse and do you harm in the long run.

8 Use Mirror Work & Journalling

As part of your new self love practice, you definitely want to try out a few loving exercises that you may not have used before.

One of these exercises is mirror work, as taught by the lovely Louise Hay.
Look into the mirror often, smile at who you see.  Say I love you, forgive and praise yourself.  Reassure yourself that you’ve got this and that everything’s going to be ok.

Grab a journal and get chatting with the sad, anxious or lonely parts of you.  Find out why they believe what they do.  And what they need from you to feel better.

Doing this sort of journalling always uncovers deeply held limiting beliefs. And puts the wisest most compassionate part of you back in the driving seat.

how to love yourself

9 Have Some Fun!

And remember, when practising how to love yourself – don’t take life so seriously!
Life’s a stage and we’re all players right?  Maybe it’s all actually a comedy and therefore none of this stuff really matters anyway.

So learn to laugh at yourself and the things that happen to you.  Get creative, expressive and playful.  Get back to making time for carefree things, that you might have done as a child.

Surround yourself with post-its of inspiring quotes on self belief.  Smile and laugh often, and say f**k it whenever you can.

10 Quit Waiting For Someone Else To Love You

Now this one’s a biggy!  Quit hanging your hat and your entire happiness on the idea that someone else will make you happy.  And that when ‘they’ finally come along, all your pain will just go away.

This is a crappy notion built on a total lack of self love.  That you-complete-me Hollywood horror story.  All the while you’re telling yourself this story and ‘waiting’, your life is simply ticking away.

So start working on all these points I’m sharing here, concentrating on YOU and you alone.  Build a wonderful life that revolves around you – your own personal vision and dreams.

Keep enriching your life, working on your amazing plans and pushing yourself into new experiences.  Then the rest of it will unfold, precisely when it’s meant to.

And remember, while on you’re learning how to love yourself journey – if someone’s done something that feels horribly unloving or thoughtless, it’s pretty much NEVER about you.

It’s about their lack, their not enough, their struggle and their pain.  If they knew how to do it better, they surely would have done.

And because you love yourself, maybe you can feel forgiveness for them and start to know deep down in your soul that you deserve so much better.
And that better is on its way.

Hugs on the journey x

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