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How to Actually Love Yourself

It’s ALL HAPPENING. Do you feel it? It’s sparking around the world right now – the movement for self-love, self-care and personal development.

WOO! Humans are finally learning how to feel okay just being humans. They are taking the time to understand and acknowledge the human experience - and better yet, science is proving just how powerful our minds, our thoughts, and our habits are.

For women especially, this movement is important – for our generation of self-starting women, for our daughters, for our communities and for our greater world.

As women, we are naturally taught to give give give give give. We give so much to others that we often neglect ourselves. We put ourselves last on the list, we don’t prioritize our self-care or our health – and so we get burnt out, stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed.

The challenge lies in the fact that we’re still human, and so there is always a back and forth between our egos and our true selves. Society is telling us what we need to be and do. Society pushes us into a realm of overwhelm, with too many unrealistic and nonsensical expectations we feel we need to live up to.

However, our self is kinda WAY more important than what society thinks. Thanks to this self-love movement, women are realizing that self-love is not selfish – and that selfish isn’t actually a bad word. It's simply a way to ensure we're able to give with our full potential.

So how do we actually begin to love ourselves? We all want to, right? In one of our shine sessions, we discussed the desire to love ourselves – but someone rightfully perked up and said "I know I need to, I know I want to - but after all of this conditioning and society ish, HOW do I actually do it?"

Well, like the great Ice Cube once said, “you can do it, put your back into it.” These wise words display that it requires some effort and desire from your part. Nothing is going to change unless YOU are the one who takes action to make a change.

In my eyes, there are two options: you can choose suffering and survival – like we’re all used to since our first breathe of air. Or you can choose to step into practical control of your human experience and foster your health, happiness, and purpose for however long you will live this life.

Here are the 5 essential things to note which I believe can bring anyone one step closer to living a better, happier, healthier, and more purposeful life of truly loving your self.

1. Watch your words

Words matter. Words create thoughts, which create ideas, which create beliefs, which create action. Words also run in patterns in our minds, 80% of which are systematically negative. This means we must be aware of how we speak to ourselves. If we continually talk down to ourselves, how will we ever be able to lift ourselves up?

To do: Become aware of your thought patterns and inner dialogue. When you do something you feel isn’t up to par, how do you speak to yourself? Do you focus on the positive or negative words? How often do you judge yourself and others?

Inspired by wisdom from Gabby Bernstein, when you become aware that you’re judging yourself or someone else, choose to forgive yourself and choose to show love to yourself and the other instead.

2. Connect with your bod

We live inside our own tiny universe, dedicated solely to keeping us alive, running on a beating, constantly moving system which helps us walk, move, breathe, think, act, dance, feel pleasure, pain, exhale, inhale, touch, taste, see, hear, listen, and radiate all kinds of energy.

Yet we live so disconnected from her. We are taught to care about our external – our skin, our hair, the size of our asses, the way our boobs look hugged together, and how we dress. If we spent as much of our mental energy working on how to care for our insides rather than our outsides, our entire lives would be so very different.

The more we connect with this being – our body – and listen to her, feel and acknowledge her pain, her discomfort, her strength, the more we can connect with our true selves through every pain, discomfort, and strength – the more we can connect with our gut, our human instinct and our womanly intuition – and what naturally feels right to us.

To do: Treat your body with the respect she deserves. Forget the scale, forget the numbers – do what it takes to feel healthy inside of her. Eat what makes you feel nourished. Move and stretch her in whatever way feels good for you. Find your own balance and comfort and respect her as your home. Give gratitude for everything she allows you to do.

3. Breathe

Yeah, we know it sounds easy and we all do it automatically. But do you actually pay attention to how you breathe? I realized something about myself recently. I don’t exhale. I walk around the world just holding my breath, waiting for something to happen, or not happen, or whatever – all I know is that when I’m aware of my breathe, I’m more aware of my brain, my body and my behavior.

There are about a bajillion studies being down about the effectiveness of meditation and mindfulness. You can read about how meditation can even benefit kids here. It’s science, people. Connecting with your breathe is the simplest thing you can do for your health and to love yourself. It’s the first thing you need to do when you enter this world. Perhaps if we learned how to do this properly when we were younger, we would all be more mindful, aware, productive creative adults.

To do: Make time for yourself to breathe mindfully. Get started here.

4. Say yes to yourself more

We spend a whole year of our lives saying the NO word. At least that’s what all the parents say. Our so-called terrible twos are spent screaming the word NO and as we grow older, many of us continue allowing this word to infiltrate our minds. We may not even realize it consciously but when someone says something we don’t agree with – or even that we wholeheartedly agree with, our first reaction can still be NO.

No closes doors. No closes minds. No blocks us and holds us back. No is also something we’re used to saying to ourselves. No, I can’t do that I’m not qualified. No, I can’t date him, he’s too pretty. No, I can’t ask for a raise, because they will say “No.”

When we turn the tables and start saying yes, everything else opens too. Try it, we dare you. Say yes to yourself. Saying yes to yourself means staying in with Netflix when you’re tired instead of being peer pressured to go out. It can mean saying yes to staying longer at a club if all you want to do is dance and not go home just yet. It means saying yes to taking the leap and doing the art or dance class you’ve really always wanted to try.

TO DO: Say “Yes, and” first. The point is not to say yes to everything – but to get out of the habit of saying the automatic no – to shift from closed to open. And to be okay that saying “yes” to yourself might mean saying “no” to someone else. This is the true key to loving yourself. Like the wise woman named Samantha once said when ending a relationship, “I love you – but I love me more.”

5. BYOB – Be your own bestie

While I never pass on the opportunity to bring my own bottle anywhere, at School of Shine, BYOB stands for being your own bestie. You treat your best friend like a queen – because you truly believe that she is one during the good and bad times. You talk her up, you support her, you lift her up – even if she does and says ridiculously absurd things sometimes, you love her anyway, because she’s your bestie.

Isn’t it time to Treat Yoself like your own bestie too? To be your own cheerleader? To be kind and loving to yourself? You’re also a human who is doing the best you can!

To do: Talk yourself up – be your own biggest cheerleader. Congratulate yourself for the smallest thing ever like brushing your teeth! Because sometimes it’s really effin’ hard to move from couch to bed with a stop in the bathroom to brush your teeth in between. Treat yoself like you would treat a best friend. Love yourself unconditionally.

Last but not least, be willing to dive deeply into who you are at your core. We all have past traumas, fears and issues. The only way you can get through to the light is to approach the darkness. Keep it real with yourself. Learn yourself. Learn your own flow and needs and habits and triggers – and then lighten up and listen in.

If you need a daily reminder to be nice to yourself, like I did, and want a world of women to play along, join our Treat Yoself Adventure: 21 days of delightful dares to remind you to live your best, fullest and happiest life. Learn more here. Our next adventure starts March 1!


By: Zo Flamenbaum

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