Navigating the trendy seas of “Love yourself”, “Be yourself” and “Be happy” feels a bit like being handed a map without any directions. Everyone tells you where to go, but nobody shows you how to get there. So when someone tossed the “You have to love yourself more” advice my way a few years back, as my life seemed to veer off course, I was stumped. “But how?” I quizzed, genuinely puzzled. Their response? “The same way you love your children, or anyone truly dear to you.” 
Hmm, easier said than done, I thought.

Discovering the Roots of Self-Critique
So, there I was, trying to unpack this big idea of self-love. I hit the books, dived into podcasts, and stumbled upon this thing called mirror work. One day, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, looked myself straight in the eye, and said, “I love you.” Talk about an emotional earthquake. Tears cascaded down my cheeks, starting as a trickle before turning into a flood. By the time the tears had dried, I was emotionally spent but strangely lighter. Something inside me had shifted.
This moment of vulnerability led me down a rabbit hole of self-reflection. Why was loving myself so hard? I started asking myself questions, the kind without easy answers. I dubbed them "quantum questions" – too complex for my mere mortal mind and perhaps only answerable by the universe itself. 
When did I start leaning more towards self-critique than self-love?
Thinking back, I realized as kids, we're pretty awesome at loving ourselves. We claim our space, demand attention when needed, and if we fancy a nap, we just take one – no guilt attached. We'd even plant kisses on our reflection in the mirror. So, when did all that change? The answer hit me – it wasn’t overnight but a slow, sneaky process, like a computer gradually updating its software with programs that weren’t necessarily helpful.
As I dug deeper, it became clear that these programs started downloading early on, courtesy of parents, siblings, and later, friends and the ever-pervasive media. This journey wasn’t about pointing fingers, though. My folks did the best they could with what they knew, and overall, my childhood was pretty solid. But, there were those moments, like getting scolded for getting dirty right before leaving the house, that left a mark. These incidents taught me that acceptance was tied to a certain appearance and behavior.
School didn’t help much either. Suddenly, there were all these comparisons – be as nice as Ana, as smart as Kris. Without realizing it, I started collecting beliefs about what it meant to be loved and valued, most of which hinged on meeting certain standards.

Revamping the System: A Call for Change

Fast forward to my early 50s, and the light bulb went off. These beliefs, these programs – they weren’t really me. 
They were just layers of expectations I’d accumulated over the years. It was time for a system overhaul.
Journaling became my go-to tool for untangling my thoughts. One night, as I scribbled away, the word “acceptance” kept popping up. Before I could even think about loving myself, I needed to accept myself – warts and all. This realization was the first step towards building a new framework for self-love.
From there, the journey involved lots of trial and error. Meditation brought me peace, and EFT tapping offered a way to rewire my brain with more positive messaging. Slowly but surely, I started to cultivate a habit of self-love and appreciation that felt genuine, not forced.

Do I love myself now? 

Mostly, yes. But like anyone, I have moments of doubt.  The difference is, now I know how to navigate through those moments with a bit more grace and a lot less self-judgment.

So, what’s self-love to me?
 It’s about finding joy in the little things, treating my body kindly, and feeding my soul with things that make me feel good. It’s about setting boundaries, making decisions based on my well-being, not others' opinions, choosing my company wisely, and dedicating time each day for a little mental maintenance. Most importantly, it’s about looking in the mirror every day and saying, “I love you,” with a smile.
Self-love is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It’s about daily affirmations of love, treating yourself with the kindness you would show a cherished friend, and continually choosing thoughts and actions that uplift rather than diminish. My journey from self-doubt to self-love has taught me that transformation is possible, but it starts with a willingness to question, to accept, and, most importantly, to change.

If my story resonates with you, know that it’s never too late to start your journey of self-discovery and love. The path may not be easy, but it promises a destination filled with joy, peace, and fulfillment.

If you decide to explore the path to self-love, here are a few steps you can take:
  • Dedicate time to reflect on your feelings and thoughts. Ask yourself deep, meaningful questions about your beliefs and attitudes toward yourself. 
  • Write down your thoughts, feelings, and the answers to your self-reflection questions. Journaling can help you process emotions and clarify your thoughts.
  • Work on accepting every part of yourself—your appearance, your emotions, your past, and your mistakes. Acceptance is the foundation of self-love.
  • Incorporate meditation or mindfulness practices into your daily routine.
  • Try to live in the moment and make choices that align with your own needs and desires.
  • Set Boundaries - learn to say no to things that don’t serve your well-being.
  • Make time for activities that nourish your body, mind, and soul.
  • Practice gratitude and affirmations daily.
  • Find a quiet moment each day to look at yourself in the mirror. Look into your eyes and say, “I love you.”
Some of my favorite affirmations:
  1.         I am worthy.
  2.         I am strong.
  3.         I am beautiful.
  4.         I am smart.
  5.         I am lovable.
  6.         I am loved.
  7.         I am enough.
  8.         I am safe.
  9.         I believe in myself.
  10.         I am capable of achieving greatness.
  11.         I attract positivity and happiness.
  12.         I think in abundance, not scarcity.
  13.         I am secure in who I am.
  14.         I am present, patient, and calm.
  15.         Every day I grow stronger

Remember, the journey to self-love is uniquely yours and takes time. Celebrate small victories along the way and be patient with yourself. Each step, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.
If you want more affirmation ideas, check out our affirmation cards. They provide a playful way to connect with the universe's guidance, helping you determine which affirmation to focus on today.




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