10 Steps to Self Love

I’m sitting here in a onesie with Bear laying on my lap. I don’t have makeup on; my recent acne outburst is in semi full display and I’m not dressed like a professional. This is typical for me outside of work while playing Nintendo with my roommates.

I used to think self love meant being the prettiest I can be, displaying a façade of perfection to the world on social media, and denying any of my hidden fears and doubts.

How wrong I was.

Self love starts internally. It is only then that we can display our true selves, whatever shape that may take, to the world.

10 Steps to Self Love

1. To have self esteem, start by doing esteemable things.

  • This may sound simple, but it is only when we bring a level of awareness to our discrepancies in values and actions that we truly become mindful of how unbalanced these two can be.

2. Acknowledge all parts of yourself.

  • Even and especially the parts you want to hide. Shed light on them- your emotions, your fears, your body, your voice- everything that makes you you.

3. Affirmations

  • I used to think this was corny and weird, but in the last month or so, I’ve been writing down “I am” statements. I am beautiful, I am competent, I am passionate, I am enough, and so on.

4. Speak your truth

  • We can slide into the habit of deflecting from our truth on a regular basis. Did you actually like that movie? Have you really heard of that band? If you’re upset or angry, are you able to articulate how you feel and tell another person?

5. Daily inventories

  • While this one of the 12 steps, we seldom do it correctly. We are not solely meant to acknowledge or write down where we were resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid... but also identify what we did well and what we packed into the stream of life that day. The 10th step instructs us not to be martyrs, but we often focus on where we fell short instead of also including our victories.

6. Connect with those who feed your soul

  • Do your friends accept you for who you are, but also challenge you to continue growing? Are you able to satiate your innate, human need for connection with the people in your life? Or are you like the actor on stage, wearing different masks and costumes througout the day?

7. Cultivate gratitude

  • A yoga teacher once told me, “happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness.” This is also true of internal happiness and self love. What are you grateful for about yourself today?

8. Practice compassion and forgiveness

  • Yes, it’s important to practice this with others. But can you also practice it internally? You are human. You will fall short. You will make mistakes. But more importantly, what is the story you tell yourself about your mistakes? Can you cultivate non judgmental awareness inwardly, and forgive yourself (while also staying accountable) on a daily, even moment to moment basis?

9. Learn to laugh at yourself

  • Going along the lines of self compassion, try to incorporate humor into your internal narrative. Instead of, “why can’t I do anything right,” or “I hate my body,” I invite you to laugh at your humanness. Almost all of us are striving for this unrealistic goal of perfection. The fact of that matter is that we connect through our imperfections, our humanity.

10. Be of service

  • Every single time we step outside of ourselves and into the arena of helping another, in any capacity, we are inadvertently telling ourselves that we have something to offer. That we are enough. That we can make a difference. Be mindful not to slip into caretaking and trying to save others; we can only control our own actions and reactions. But we can show up, be a light, instill hope, and be helpful. And in doing that, we set ourselves free.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

~ Max Ehrmann


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Baltimore, Maryland