Since time immemorial, poets, gurus, and philosophers have toiled to define the most potent and indispensable word in the human language—LOVE. Some have heralded it as the force that makes the world go ’round. Others have described it in terms of the pain it can cause when it’s not returned. It’s been used to denote the feeling a parent has for her child; that a lover has for their beloved. In truth, we hear about love all the time but don’t discuss as often as we should how important SELF LOVE is and more importantly how it is the foundation for a healthy life, full of self -compassion. When we can establish habits, practices and routines of self- love, we will find ourselves to be more authentic and honest; we will tend to enforce healthy boundaries in relationships; to be grateful and more compassionate.
PRACTICE SELF CARE
To begin the journey of self –love, begin by implementing healthy routines for yourself. Be consistent! GO to bed at a decent hour and get 6-8 hours of sleep every night. Establish a physical commitment: like walking 30 minutes a day, or sign up for workout class 3 days a week, stretch when you wake up or practice breathe work. Go grocery shopping and make healthy food choices every Sunday for the week ahead!
Create a routine that works for you and that you will be proud of. And when your head hits the pillow every night, congratulate yourself on how you honored yourself that day, that week, that month etc and see how much better you feel!
LEARNING COMPASSION THROUGH AFFIRMATIONS
One of the best methods of silencing the negative voices in our heads is to work with affirmations, especially guided meditations that can be listened to aloud. The gentle words of a healer can land deeply within our consciousness and replace the voices of those that damaged us. Over time, we can’t help but believe the new messages we are absorbing. There are many free apps on our phones, go online and google “guided meditations”, YouTube has tons and there is plenty of literature out here you can use too!
I would suggest looking into the mirror and reciting affirmations is likewise highly effective. Making eye contact with yourself and expressing love, appreciation, and respect may strike some as corny or over-the-top, but if that is your reaction, perhaps it’s time to give it a try. People who love themselves unconditionally can express self-love without making a joke out of it.
Try the following affirmations:
YOU ARE A STRONG AND CAPABLE
YOU ARE LOVABLE PERSON
I DESERVE SELF CARE AND SELF RESPECT
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL INSIDE AND OUT
RECORD YOUR COMPLIMENTS
Another extremely useful exercise I developed to help clients is called the Compliment Log. It’s a small journal you carry with you to record every nice thing that others say about you or you catch yourself saying to yourself. Being smiled at, invited out, hugged or otherwise included/embraced also counts. If you do this consistently, you will be amazed by the changes in your perception. Suddenly, you may find the world full of benevolence rather than hostility. You will begin to accept your own wonderfulness and own it, no longer able to deny the evidence before you, all of which is attesting to your true value.
I have lists of affirmations, more information on self love, self-compassion, stress awareness, and how to create healthy habits in my book, The Rewired Life and its companion The Rewired Life Workbook.
ERICA SPIEGELMAN is a counselor, consultant, author, and motivational speaker who has made an indelible mark in the field of addiction recovery. She has founded a multi-media health and wellness platform, providing consulting and counseling solutions for clients by providing them with tools on how to reach emotional, mental and physical freedom. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of Arizona and a degree as a California State Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CADAC-II) from University of California, Los Angeles. Erica works with several treatment centers in California, including the Living Rebos Treatment Center, Klean Treatment Center, and Passages Malibu. She is a regular contributor to online health outlets, writes for Maria Shriver, and and hosts her own weekly show Rewired Radio on RadioMD. She is the author of the best-selling book Rewired and her latest book The Rewired Life.
Visit Erica online for resources, signed books, and more: http://ericaspiegelman.com/