Valentine’s Day is just a few days away, so what better topic to discuss than LOVE.
How I teach love is VERY different than most people.
It’s not something that comes from outside of you. It’s something that comes from within.
If you can master self-love, you really have a shot of living life fully (romantic love included, if that’s what you want, of course).
So, in this post, I’m sharing 11 ways for you to practice self-love and stop self-sabotaging (something you may not even realize you’re doing)…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post —Self Love And Romantic Love .
1. Redefine Love
I want to start by redefining love.
Many people think love is something that happens to them — something that is outside of them.
Love is a feeling. It’s caused by your thinking.
Your thoughts cause your feelings (always!).
Love is something selfish you do for YOU.
Regardless of the circumstance, you can always choose love. You can think loving thoughts and feel love all the time. You may not want to, but why not?
When you choose love, YOU get to feel the love.
Love feels amazing. When you don’t love, you’re hurting you, not the other person.
We think that by not loving, we are punishing the other person, but that other person doesn’t feel your negative emotion — only you do. If they feel a negative emotion, it’s only because of a thought they’re thinking. You’re emotions don’t jump into their body.
This is an important concept to understand and sometimes we find it confusing, but it’s simple. When you think thoughts that are loving, they produce love.
And I think that true self-mastery is learning how to love unconditionally.
2. Love Unconditionally
Unconditional love is love that is dependent on NOTHING.
I think that my dad is such a good example of this, and the unconditional love I have for him.
When my dad passed away, so many people talked about their struggle to love a parent who made choices that they didn’t agree with. They would say things like— oh I know how hard that can be, my dad was an alcoholic too, or I have an alcoholic in the family and I know what that’s like and I know it’s hard.
A lot of people might relate in this way and tell their story, but because of all the work I had done with my dad and I really unconditionally loved him, none of these thoughts came to my mind and it wasn’t my experience at all.
This was why I was able to really lean into that period when my dad was passing away and just be there and just love him.
This is important because I never expected something different from him. I decided that he was an alcoholic, and how he loved me was his business.
I got to choose to love him and that felt amazing!
That created the emotion of love for me.
Now, sure I could tell stories of reasons not to love him, that people would agree with, but I choose to love him. You just have to be onto yourself and watch how you talk to and about others and even yourself. There isn’t a good reason not to love because then you simply are denying yourself that feeling.
Love is always an option for YOU and feels amazing. It has nothing to do with the other person.
Until you can love yourself and your family unconditionally, you haven’t fully learned how to love (regardless of the crazy family you have).
BUT unconditional love doesn’t always mean yes.
It can (and often does) mean no. (I’ll touch on this more in a moment, but just keep that in mind!)
3. Use Positive Self-Talk
Next up is positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk is so important.
Have you ever noticed how hard you can be on yourself?
It’s totally unnecessary!
I want you to start talking to yourself like you would the person you appreciate and admire most.
- Side note – you have to listen to How To Stop Beating Yourself Up for more on this.
If you have positive thoughts about yourself, you will produce positive feelings about yourself.
If you have a positive outlook on yourself and love yourself, ultimately it makes it easier for others to think that about you as well.
4. Say, “I love you and no”
Love doesn’t mean “yes”.
You can love someone deeply and say no.
You can say “I love you” and feel the feeling of love, but “no.”
So for example, if I was in a romantic relationship with an alcoholic, I could decide: “I love you and I don’t want to be in a relationship with you anymore, so the answer is no. This relationship is complete.”
Do you see how this is different than creating an expectation for the other person to change?
Now you can absolutely say — I want to be in a relationship with someone who is healthy, so this me saying to you if you want to be in a relationship with me then, you have to get healthy, and if you don’t, then I’m going to leave. This is a boundary.
You can love someone and have boundaries, and set a boundary out of love. This is important that you set it out of love and not out of fear.
The boundary is for you not for them. It’s not to control their behavior. If we try to control someone, we take away their agency. And this applies to romantic relationships, to family relationships or any relationship or connection we have.
I love my dad unconditionally, yes. But, my dad was supposed to be an alcoholic, that’s his business. I get to love him still, and that’s my business and that’s coming from a place of love, not fear.
It feels so much better this way. It’s less complicated, too.
- Related: Want more information on relationships? Check out this podcast episode I did on, Toxic and Difficult Relationships.
5. Show Up For Yourself (even when it’s hard)
Showing up for yourself means you keep your word to yourself.
When you make appointments with you… you honor them.
When you create a food plan… you stick to it.
When you create a spending plan… you don’t go over buget.
In Personal Development For Her, I teach a concept that I describe as “You 2.0” where I have you separate yourself from yourself.
Here’s an example…
When you schedule something on the calendar for you—whether it be time to go to the gym, or to work on your business, or to get your hair done, you treat it as you are scheduling it with someone you hold in the highest regard. Therefore you’re not going to miss it.
You start practicing showing up for yourself and loving you.
This is a skill you can get really good at.
Self-love is going ALL IN on YOU.
6. Define A Breakup Or Divorce As A “completion”
I like to think of relationships completing.
And even though this has to do with your relationship with another person, it’s really about YOU. It’s you defining what it means that the relationship has changed or ended.
The next time you go through something where the relationship ends (such as a divorce, break up, or job loss), redefine it as completing.
That relationship is now complete.
You can love someone and complete the relationship.
A really good reason to end a relationship is just because you want to. It’s complete. You can do this with romantic relationships, jobs, and/or friends.
Think of it as a chapter.
The relationship or chapter in your life was always going to complete at that time. So when you think about it as a completion, you are in control of that emotion. It is not happening to you.
We tend to think that something has to go terribly wrong and we have to hate the other person.
You can love them and complete the relationship. And love feels amazing, so why now?
7. Never Look To Someone Else To Feel Love
Next up is looking outside of you for love.
Here’s my advice: don’t do it.
All emotion is created from your mind.
Your brain creates thoughts that create emotion in your body.
It happens so fast you attribute it to your circumstances.
But whatever the case, you’re always experiencing emotion from what you make that circumstance mean.
No one can put love inside you.
It’s something you create yourself (this is great news)!
If you feel love when you’re with someone, it’s because you’re thinking thoughts that create love. They are not causing you to feel love, your thoughts are.
Here are some examples that you might think are the feeling of love…
- I love this man so much.
- I’m so happy when I’m with my husband.
- It feels right when I’m with you.
- You feel like home.
These are all THOUGHTS.
When you’re apart or when the relationship ends, you likely have different thoughts that create an emotion that is not love (sadness, loneliness, etc.).
If you cannot put love inside someone, no one can put love inside you. This is why self-love is so important.
When you can really love yourself, you’re doing it right. You don’t get excited by someone giving you a compliment. You are the one complimenting yourself.
8. Choose Negative Emotion On Purpose (Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain)
It seems counter-intuitive, but I’m going to say it… OWN YOUR NEGATIVE EMOTION.
Say your spouse cheats on you, and you are devastated. You can absolutely choose to feel devastated (and likely will want to).
The key is that you take responsibility for how you feel.
Instead of what we typically do, which is to blame the other person. We say — you ruined my life; you cheated, and therefore you are making me feel devastated.
You enter into a victim mindset by blaming something outside of you for how you’re feeling, instead of taking ownership of your thoughts that are creating that feeling of devastation.
So using the tool to think of breakups as “completions”, you could say — Oh I didn’t know this relationship was going to complete in this way. I want to feel devastated because this relationship ended and I had a different vision for it, let me mourn the loss of the vision and not so much the loss of him.
That chapter was always going to end at that time. It happened exactly how it was supposed to happen.
What happens when you shift that mindset, is you go from dirty pain to clean pain.
Clean pain is I’m devastated, and I want to be right now.
Dirty pain is something has gone wrong; this shouldn’t be happening. (Check out this blog post, When Your Brain Tells You Something Has Gone Wrong).
You are sad because you want to be sad, not because they did this to you.
It’s no one’s job to hurt you, except for you.
This is so empowering.
When you take responsibility for how you feel, you know it’s your job to bring light and joy into your life, while also allowing for the discomfort and negative emotions you want to experience during hard times.
This is the contrast of the world. There’s good and bad.
9. Have The Courage To Set A Goal Of Love (If That’s What You Want)
People come to me all the time and want coaching in Grow You about setting a goal to meet someone as a partner and they’re always hesitant about doing it, even though that’s what they want.
Setting a goal of love is very important if that is something you want.
Have the courage to want what you want. That is your only shot at getting it. If you don’t dare to dream it, there’s no way it can possibly happen.
This is no different than any other goal, and that’s how you have to treat it. You have to be committed to the process. Committed to going on 2 dates per week and not indulging in what your single friends say about how “tough” dating is. You have to unfollow the accounts that reaffirm what you don’t want to be, which is single. You have to become the person, the person you’re looking for is looking for.
You might be thinking, okay, but I can’t set a goal for something that isn’t in my control.
That’s not true. That’s the wrong way to think about it.
Love the experience. Practice love.
You practice loving the person sitting across the table from you, even if you don’t ever want to see them again. Love them as a human.
Until all the humans die, you always have control of your relationship status. If not this guy, the next one. You don’t need to worry about the “how.”
If you ask anyone that is married, how they get married, they will always give you a story along the lines of — we met, we dated, we got engaged, we got married.
All the rest is simply details.
You have to not give up. You have to go all in on YOU and on what you really want.
10. Love Yourself Anyway
I like to say…. I love me anyway.
No one is perfect. You’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. Oprah isn’t perfect.
I want you to practice having your own back. Loving yourself no matter what, including all your messiness.
- Find out if you have you own back by reading this blog post.
If you are doing some self-examining, and don’t really like what you find, it’s totally okay to not like it, and still love you.
This means saying, “Yes, I made a mistake. Yes, I’m going to apologize and I still love me.”
It’s having compassion with yourself and the courage to love you anyway.
As a human, you are 100% lovable. Everyone is. Your lovability is 100%, regardless of any circumstance.
You can see the best example of this, if you have dated more than one person, ever. You may have dated people who love you at different levels. They may take different actions, depending on their thoughts, but regardless, you’re the same. They’re different. Your lovability is fixed at 100%. How someone loves you is dependent on THEM not on you. Their thoughts about you should not change your love for you.
My point here is to show you that you loving yourself isn’t dependent on some unobtainable level of perfection. You can be messy and say, “I love me anyway.“
11. Get Good At Feeling The Emotion Of Love (Practice!)
Finally…. practice getting good at feeling the emotion of love.
Practice loving unconditionally, without wanting or expecting anything in return.
Practice loving when it’s really hard.
Memorize what love feels like and practice it every day.
Think about instances where you choose not to love, and just really be aware. And then practice imagining loving in the future in that same situation.
This is a skill you can get really good at.
Wake up and think, or better yet, write down thoughts that make you feel love.
Hold that emotion and really get into it. The more you do this, the more you’ll attract it. You’ll look for it in your life. You’ll find love everywhere.
“I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it.”— Byron Katie
A Final Note!
Once you master self-love, your life will change forever.
You won’t be longing, wanting, or wishing with a level of low grade disappointment.
You’ll love and appreciate right now, while wanting from abundance.
True love is when you are kind to yourself, appreciate you and all your flaws, and say, “I love me anyway.”
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