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4 Tangible Steps to Increasing Your Self-Love

4 Tangible Steps to Increasing Your Self-Love

How do you love yourself when you don't necessarily like where you are?

You decide to.

Between the ages of 14-33, I deeply struggled with chronic cystic acne that set up camp across my chin. At times it felt debilitating to be in public, so I would do my best to hide under makeup and experiment with wearing my hair in different ways and colors of clothing to bring the least amount of attention to that area of my face. This took a huge toll on my sense of self-worth and confidence. The belief systems I held around this condition were incredibly harsh and unforgiving. Ultimately this manifested in me keeping myself as small as possible, feeling isolated, and believing I wasn’t worthy of a life where I could be free of this limitation. I struggled with this mostly privately, as I was skilled at covering it up, which made me feel isolated and inauthentic. 

After years of trying everything I found when researching cystic acne, I finally cracked the code. It was a multifaceted journey, and I can’t claim that one single thing did the trick. I believe it was a series of small steps over time that helped me fully heal. I now never think of my skin as my enemy or fear that it will go crazy again. I trust it and myself fully. 

beth
In my early 20’s I learned about Brené Brown and her work around shame. After reading her early book The Gifts of Imperfection, I knew deep down that a piece of my unrelenting skin condition had to do with my lack of self-love. From there, I committed to learning how to love myself more — even though I had no idea of where to start. I simply made the decision and each step unfolded on my path.

At first, I found the idea that I "needed to love myself" incredibly simple and very un-special. It felt too on the nose for me, so my sweet brain wanted to make it more complex for me to dig myself out of the hole I had been living in. Turns out I had quite a bit of trauma surrounding this issue, so I couldn't actually see it in its simplicity, or as it truly was. 

Ultimately, I’ve come to see and believe that our bodies are always positioning us to heal, evolve, and expand. It is in our true nature to shift and grow and move toward our highest expression of self. This is not just for the betterment of our individual being — but for the world. The world needs you in your unique wholeness, thriving, and sharing your energy with others. So when we are out of alignment our soul will get our attention in the ways that make us pay attention. For me, it was my skin. And deeper than that, it was my lesson of learning to build an unshakable sense of self-love. 

Below I will share four tangible and comprehensive steps to loving yourself more. I recommend working through them in order as they are listed. Keep in mind that whatever you are struggling with around the topic of self-love will come with its own unique set of instructions (as every healing initiation does), so I encourage you to listen for the whispers of your soul, nudging you in the direction of where you’re meant to go. 

Step 1: Assess Where You are Today

The first step in loving yourself more is getting honest about where you are today. We can't create change from the past or the future. The idea is to be in alignment with who you actually are — not who you want to be or who you used to be. With gentleness and as little judgment as possible, take note of how you got here. Has it always been this way? Did something significant shift you in this direction?

Be aware of when you are gaslighting or minimizing how you truly feel. Sometimes we will invalidate our feelings because we are worried we won't survive if we have to feel them fully. We are much stronger than we think.

As you take stock of what is here — remember that multiple feelings can and likely co-exist at the same time. For example: you can feel sad and isolated about your relationships and acknowledge that you have a solid exercise regimen that you love to do or that you've been successful in your career.

Step 2: Create Space for a New Life Experience

Once you've taken stock of where you are today, it's time to create space for something new. As I mentioned before, we are meant to evolve and grow. And we are inevitably going to make mistakes and hold onto limiting ideas about us and the people around us. It's part of being a human. Forgiveness is simply clearing space for what life desires to give you and co-create with you. It’s like cleaning out your closet so you can have space for new clothes. What do you need to forgive? Start with forgiving yourself for not believing you can love yourself the way you think you should. Write down other things you can forgive yourself for and say them aloud.

I'll list a few example statements below:

Overextending Yourself in Friendship: I forgive myself for believing that my presence is not enough and that I must endlessly show my friends how much I care through acts that are not truly authentic to me.

Self Image: I forgive myself for believing I'm unworthy of feeling beautiful every day. I raise my level of acceptance to the idea that one day this is going to change for me.

Money Mistakes: I love and accept the shame I carry for accruing debt last year. Even when I'm afraid I will never overcome this, I give myself permission to move forward. I forgive myself for what I did or didn't know when I made those mistakes. With this, I open up space for healing and rebalancing my financial experience.

When You Feel Weird About Forgiveness: I forgive myself for believing this won't work and some things will never heal. I open up space to experience the truth of my situation with clarity.

Forgiveness helps you to let go of what happened before, so you can experience a new outcome. Unresolved emotional conflicts, (conscious and unconscious), residing in your mind, cause your mind to burn up precious energy seeking a resolution. With forgiveness, we can stop the endless search for a solution and allow the most aligned way forward to present itself.

Step 3: Take Small, Daily Actions in the Correct Direction

Ask yourself what you can do now, today, with the current resources you have to support your sense of self-love. If you're feeling totally clueless, try journaling the question and see how you naturally respond. Accept the tiniest baby step as a valid idea. And even the responses that feel a little shameful can be mined for the correct data.

For example, if your answer is to stop watching so much TV, then schedule one evening a week where you turn the TV off an hour before bed. During that time, ask yourself what you need in that particular moment and give it to yourself.

Aim to collect and implement 3-5 small habits for the next month. Begin to build a routine with habits that support the direction you're heading. And honor what you committed to. When we see ourselves do what we've promised we'd do, it builds self-confidence. If we are falling off the wagon, so to speak, then we've overcommitted to something, or the habit we selected isn't authentic. Take stock and make appropriate adjustments. And remember to forgive yourself quickly when you've fallen short of your goal. Your capacity for positive change is in direct relationship to how neutral and accepting you can be with yourself.

Step 4: Identify Your Vision for Self-Love

After beginning to implement small, actionable habits it's time to understand what your vision for self-love looks like. The truth is, there are infinite ways to live your life. Instead of looking outside to see what you should be doing, try to take direction from your heart. Start to contemplate what kind of life configuration is authentically yours. Begin to notice and gain clarity on what you like and dislike in life. Feel into a certain type of life and see if that feels intuitively right to you.

If you've identified things in your life that aren't working for you anymore, take steps to close those chapters. This will open up space for new things to come into your life experience. As you become more clear on your yes's and no's, it will become second nature to choose what authentically fits in your picture of self-love.

A lot of us conflate a lack of self-love with dissatisfaction and powerlessness in life. Self-love naturally increases as we let go of what isn't serving us like outdated ideals, beliefs, relationships, etc.

Ask yourself this question: "What would the version of me who deeply loves myself be doing or saying to me today?" See what comes up and integrate it into your daily habits.

Lastly, remember that you are not alone. Healing happens in connection — not separation. Reclaiming your inherent self-worth and repairing limiting beliefs is a uniquely human journey.

For more information about Beth and Earth & Ether visit https://www.earthandetherhealing.com/ , https://www.instagram.com/earthandether 

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