For the longest time, I believed that self-love, self-fulfillment and happiness were reserved for a few lucky ones. The ones who had money, fame and measured up to the beauty ideal of our times.
I believed that being intimately and ridiculously in love with yourself was shameful if you didn’t have a perfect body or a lot of money on your bank account.
Now, I know how limited and superficial this view was, but I was a child and I longed for fulfillment, love and approval.
I was caught in a horrible situation, abused by my brother, perfectionistic in my tendencies and completely lost in life. The only way out I saw was to to starve myself and I wouldn’t stop until I almost died 14 years later.
Today, everything has changed. I live, love, breathe and evolve. I’m happy, healthy and free. I’ve dug myself out of my misery and have owned up to who I am, flaws and all.
I’ve realized that perfection doesn’t exist and self-love is an innate right of every single person in this world, short or tall, petite or strong, man or woman.
Often we close our eyes to the truth of life and instead of owning up to our inner and outer brilliance, we hide under a blanket of shame and self-loathing.
But once you peek out and see your own sparkling beauty, everything changes, everything suddenly makes sense.
Here are a few tips on awakening your slumbering self-love cells.
Open your Senses
Open your heart to the beauty of this world and the beauty you have within. Meditate or practice mindfulness. Feel the sun on your face or the water on your skin. Light a vanilla scented candle and consciously breathe in its wonderful smell. Notice your heartbeat or the cool floor underneath your naked feet. Touch yourself and consciously feel the texture of your skin, the smoothness of your curves or the softness of your hair.
By doing that, you’ll connect with yourself on a deeper level than ever before.
Take stock of all the destructive beliefs you have about yourself. Dig deep and don’t let a single belief stay untouched. Once you’re ready, take a mental sledgehammer and lovingly, but determinedly tear down the wall between your fears, your shame and your vulnerability, your authenticity and self-love.
This may take some time and patience, so be kind and compassionate toward yourself. It’s OK to be scared. Take one baby step at a time. For some, this may be a lifelong journey, but the rewards of this path are life-changing.
Use the power of music
Music transports emotion in the most powerful way. Whenever you feel like your self-love batteries are running low, put on empowering, calming or inspiring music and just listen. Listen to the lyrics, feel the vibrations going through your body, notice the way your mood shifts and your spirit opens up to the beauty of the sound. Not only does this lift you up, but it also puts life and self-love into perspective.
Reclaim your body as your own
Society is crossing boundaries in the most essential form: it’s getting underneath your skin. Free yourself of these destructive messages and reclaim your body as your very own temple. Treat it with care, kindness and appreciation. Give it exercise, healthy food and lots of love. Decorate it with beautiful clothes and show your curves instead of hiding them. Massage it, put lotion on it and dry brush it before you shower.
Don’t reject your body, but lovingly embrace it.
Delight in Yourself
Begin or update a list with your top 10 features you love about yourself. It can be anything from the way your hands are shaped to your wonderful sense of humor. Don’t be unnecessarily modest, but praise yourself and recognize your gifts.
Instead of wallowing on everything that is wrong with you, instead of wishing to be someone you’ll never be, use your energy to change the world. Create art that inspires, awes and moves you and others. Write, draw, paint, dance, sing, scrapbook, knit, decorate, perform, spread love and positivity and you’ll see how much more rewarding this use of your energy and power is.
We’re often our own worst enemies, hate on ourselves with phrases we’d never ever use to describe others nor would we ever say them out loud. But here we are, putting ourselves down on a daily basis. Enough of that. Be your own best friend by changing the dialogue in your head. Talk sweetly to yourself, show compassion, be friendly and loving. Intentionally ban all your self-deprecating words from your vocabulary and have a ‘positivity-only’ zone inside your mind.
This change will radically boost your self-esteem and will enable you to fall in love with yourself easily.
Self-love is not reserved for an elite group of people. Everyone can join the club. So, grab your free membership card today and you’ll most likely want to keep it for a life-time.
Anne-Sophie Reinhardt is an anorexia survivor, self-love ambassador, body image expert and the owner of aMINDmedia.