I often feel as if there’s currently an epidemic occurring from people not engaging in self-love, or more specifically experiencing the lack of self-love. I see it all day in how people interact with themselves and with others, as well as how they represent themselves, and the behaviors they are comfortable displaying in public. In this blog I want to take a few moments and describe to you what it looks like (signs and symptoms) when people exist without self-love. As well as some ways that you can begin loving yourself, on your own terms.
Over the course of my more than 20 years helping people, I have experienced the lack of self-love being labeled as many different things. However, if you chase that down the hole to the source, it always comes back to a lack of self-love. The symptoms of a consistent lack of self-love include:
Easily overwhelmed and stressed out
A drive to be working and productive (including guilt when you aren’t working or being productive)
Fear and reluctance for speaking your truth
Feel unlovable and unworthy
Easily anxious and allow fear to drive your decisions
Negative body image
Frequently find yourself trapped in the comparison game
These are just the top ten behaviors and characteristics that come to the top of my mind. What I like about this list is it’s fairly easy to identify if you feel like you fall into these experiences. My experience is many of us are raised to not love ourselves because we fear being classified as arrogant or self-centered.
For me, I actually felt like I stumbled into self-love by accident. In reality though, I think I just kept digging deeper and deeper until it was the only thing left! Now, I love myself so deeply that I won’t allow other people (or myself) to abuse or neglect me. I don’t even typically allow people to talk down to me. I also absolutely believe in my own ability to communicate my needs, to speak my truth, and to make really good decisions for myself. I want to empower you to do the same.
My recommendations for self-love techniques are as follows. As always, if you want to take your self-love to the next level, click on the link at the end of the blog. In the meantime the suggestions below are really good ways to get you started with improving your relationship with yourself and loving yourself.
Notice Your Inner Voice: Become mindful of how you talk to yourself and what you say to and about yourself.
Notice when you tend to fall into being critical of yourself, and make an effort to do better. Pay attention to your self-talk and how it makes you feel. Maybe set a goal to only speak to yourself with grace and kindness. Or only point out the amazing and wonderful things you do (versus consistently being harsh and critical).
Set Healthy Boundaries: I have regular and consistent conversations with my clients about boundaries because it’s a crucial conversation to have.
Typically when we’ve been operating from a place of lack of self-love we have a history of becoming a doormat for other people. They have gotten a clear message that we won’t stand up for ourselves (or speak our truth) so there are no barriers on how they interact with us. Developing boundaries is an important form of self-love.
Stop Criticizing: Negative thoughts are such a downward spiral event.
You can begin complaining about something someone else said or did, and without much notice you eventually are tearing yourself apart. It’s a downward slope that currently we just can’t afford to engage in. Notice the positive, notice the effort, notice the work that you and the people around you are doing.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): When using EFT you tap specific parts of your body (although research has shown it doesn’t really matter where you tap or when).
It’s a great way to clear the blocks and junk that are prohibiting you from even considering engaging in self-love. Many people use EFT to release their negative thoughts/voice/experience and replace it with an inner calm and an inner peace. I suspect that when people are experiencing a significant amount of stress it’s difficult to engage in acts based in self-love. 15 minutes of EFT a day substantially reduces our stress hormone.
Give Yourself Permission To Make Mistakes: I no longer beat myself up for making mistakes and getting stuff wrong.
That may seem like a simple thing for you, but please keep in mind that I have spent a lifetime making a career out of beating myself up. It’s not helpful and not productive to beat yourself up for being human. Give yourself some breathing room, and begin acting towards yourself with grace and compassion. It’s a lot more productive than being abusive and being a bully towards yourself.
Begin A Gratitude Routine: I think when we are regularly engaging in a practice of gratitude, it creates a shift inside of us.
I think it almost softens that harsh protective edge that we neglect ourselves with. I suspect that the old adage is true “what we focus on grows.” And as we spend more time engaging in gratitude, we find more experiences and opportunities to be more grateful, and the gratitude just keeps growing. It’s like a non-ending positive happy loop of goodness!
When we train our brains to focus on all of the good stuff that life is offering us and bringing to us, being kinder and more loving towards ourselves is a natural consequence.
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Busting Coach who empowers people all over the world to ditch the shackles of Shame and step into the life of their fantasies.