Sep 24, 2015

4 Tools for Self Love

Kelly Ann over at The Four Queens has declared this September as "Self-Love September."  I love that idea and I've been really inspired by all the vlogs about self-love she's been posting over on her YouTube channel.  I want to better embrace self-love in my own life - I think I do an okay job sometimes, but I know I am as guilty as the next person of being unnecessarily down on myself.

So in the spirit of Self-Love September, I wanted to share a few of the self-love tools I use in my life.

Create a Self-Love Mantra
A couple of winters ago I was going through a particularly rough time.  I had just lost my paternal grandmother, and I had gone through an extremely difficult break-up and was feeling guilty about it.  On top of that, I was also feeling guilty and confused when, in the wake of this break-up, I started developing feelings for someone else.

In a fit of inspiration one day, I wrote a mantra for myself that has greatly defined how I approach self-love:

I am on my personal journey to ecstasy.

I wrote this mantra to remind myself that I am not responsible for other people's happiness, only my own.  That I will communicate with my friends and partners with openness, honesty, and compassion about my needs and limits, and that I trust them to do the same.  That I am allowed to have a relationship that fits where I am emotionally, mentally, and physically, and not just one that fits where my partner is in those respects.  

And most importantly, I wrote it to remind myself that I deserve to be happy, and to love and be loved.

I think a self-love mantra is a great tool for empowering yourself, to love who you are and what you want out of life, and to embrace being loved by others.  If you don't already have one, give it a go and write your own, or feel free to borrow mine.

Find a Crystal that Helps with Love
Way back when I was a baby pagan in college, one of the first crystals I bought for myself was a small, 4-ish-sided piece of rose quartz.  Rose quartz is a really good crystal for love, especially fostering love.  This piece has always particularly spoken to me of love for myself.  I usually keep it on my altar or in an easy-to-reach place underneath so that I can hold it when I'm dealing with things like self-doubt.  Sometimes I use it in mini crystal grids for self-healing and empowerment, like this one:

Other crystals that can be good for self love include sunstone, carnelian, citrine, and danburite.  A quick online search reveals there are many more that can potentially help with self love, self acceptance, self esteem, and clearing of self doubts.  I would also suggest handling your own crystals (if you have any) and asking them if they can help with self love.

Make Silly Faces in the Mirror
Lately, I've been having a lot of difficult days where self-love is hard.  So I've taken to making silly, ridiculous faces at myself in the mirror.  Being silly at myself adds that little bit of joy to my day, and reminds me not to take these hard days (or myself) too seriously.  I also like the self-love aspect of knowing that I am good at making lots of different silly faces!

I am completely ridiculous and I know it.  Might as well embrace it! ;)

Use Your Love Languages to Express Self-Love
By far, my favorite tool - and the one that helps me the most - is using my love languages to express self-love.  If you're not familiar with the concept, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book describing the five love languages that humans use to receive and express love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  For me, I feel I best express love with acts of service - specifically, preparing and serving food for loved ones - and also with physical touch like hugs, kisses, snuggles, and skritches.

So how does this translate to self-love?  I'll cook myself a delicious meal that makes me feel comforted - maybe a tasty and spicy stir-fry, or a cozy bowl of da'al.  Or if I'm feeling more physical, I'll snuggle up with a soft blanket and a book, or take a hot bath (it's like being gently snuggled by water!).  

Tempeh stir fry!  Om nom nom.

If your love language is quality time, make a date with yourself - treat yourself to a delicious meal at a restaurant, or spend a nice evening alone watching a favorite movie.  If your love language is gifts, try making yourself a gift, or even buying yourself something fun or nice - just be careful about this one, because you don't want retail therapy to become a burden on your budget.  Or maybe you best express love with words of affirmation - remind yourself every day that you are awesome, or try writing a self-love mantra like I talk about above.

What are your favorite tools to help you embrace self-love?

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