Real Self Love Practices (That Aren’t Bubble Baths or Online Shopping Sprees)
I LOVE traveling, seeing new places, foods & people! Whether it’s just a city away or an adventure on the other side of the world—it LIGHTS me up. I love traveling to a new areas! If you’ve ever gone on a trip and flown on ANY airplane, then you’re probably really familiar with the safety instructions given before taking off. So familiar, in fact, that when the flight attendant starts the instruction, you probably tune it out, or put your AirPods in and start listening to your favorite podcast. You know what they’re going to say already! You could probably recite them right now if asked. “The exits are here, here and here.” Your seat cushion doubles as a flotation device. And the last, being that if cabin pressure suddenly changes, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling—and if this should happen, put yours on first before helping someone next to you put theirs on. Because you’re better able to help others when you’re not dead.
The same energetic principle holds true. If you’re emotionally, energetically depleted—dead, you can’t really help others. You have nothing to give.
Self love. Self care. Self empowerment. These concepts are not new! Self love is taking the world by a storm! And for good reason—radical self love is the antithesis of what generations before us believed in. Women now are waking up to their innate power and freedom. We’re waking up to the love and light within us. We’re recognizing that we don’t have to have X,Y & Z to be beautiful. And we’re realizing that we can think we’re beautiful and worthy of love because we exist—it doesn’t make us vain.
The concept isn’t new… however, just because we’ve heard about self love, doesn’t mean we actually practice it, or really truly believe that we are worthy of love. We still think we’ll be happier if we’re 20 lbs lighter. We’d still feel more worthy if we had a romantic partner. We sometimes look in the mirror and want to cry. We idolize women we think look “perfect” and have it all. We crave, we long for, we avoid our shadows—because we’re craving the love we think we need. Failing to see it’s always been there. We can give ourselves the love we’ve always craved.
When talking about self love, on social media I often see images of women spending $200 at Target, those white bullseye bags filled to the brim, with a caption of “whoops $$, #selflove.” I’ve also seen #selflove equated with bubble baths + watching the Kardashians + eating chocolate chunk ice cream. Boozy nights on the town. Seductive mirror selfies. Junk food binges. Shopping sprees. All-day gym workouts. Starting new diets. And while ALL of these could totally be genuine self love, maybe none of them are, either. What’s the motivation behind all of these practices?
Emotional avoidance? Scarcity mindset? Attention seeking? Control? Fear of not being enough? Practicing self love with the hidden motivation of feeling NOT ENOUGH isn’t helpful. I think real love is being there for YOU. Having your own back. Being gentle with yourself. Setting boundaries. Doing the tough things you’ve been avoiding. Feeling the things you’ve avoided feeling. And being brave enough to really SEE yourself—shadows + flaws, knowing they don’t detract from your worth AT ALL.
So in my quest for radical self love (for all of us), here’s a list of things I do when my worth starts to drop, when I doubt myself, when I feel not enough. when I’m too “in my head,” or when I’ve got a major case of the blaahhhs. None of these will cost you $$$ (you don’t HAVE to go online shopping when the blues hit you, Mama)! Simple practices and rituals for radical self love is where the magic is at. (& your bank account will thank you!
1. Move Ya Body
I love that Tony Robbins says, “Motion creates emotion.” I am so extremely on board with this! Sometimes stagnant energy in the body can cause us to feel heavy—so move that ISH out!
Sahara Rose (my Ayurvedic OG teacher) says “If you want to heal, dance. The only way to transmute it, is to release it through your body. We all carry heavy emotions, sadness, anger and trauma somatically in our bodies. If we don’t move and shake it out, we carry it for a lifetime.”
Have you ever noticed that animals (especially dogs) shake it out? They know how to release that pent up energy. Because when the energy (trapped emotions) get stuck in your body, dis-ease form. Anxiety is present. We aren’t at home in our bodies. Move the energy through you. (I think T. Swift was onto something…)
So when you’re feeling emotionally heavy and bluesy, MOVE your body. Go running, if that brings you joy. Maybe a yoga flow? Or, my personal favorite, dance! Start dancing! Turn on some high vibe tunes (such as this) and let your body move exactly how it wants to. Look like a fool! Be silly. Act like a kid, they don’t care NOTHING. Make yourself laugh! Dance sexy if you’ve never had the guts to (no one’s watching, boo). Twirl, shake, clap, jump—just moooooove. 9/10 times this does wonders for me! By unleashing my inner-Beyonce, my outer world shifts drastically. I feel confident, full of LIFE and cleared of heavy energy. Remember, you’re outer world reflects your inner world. So move. Get that stale, stagnant energy outta you!
And if you dob’t have any energy left to move—just stretch. Simple stretch that awaken your muscles. Stretch until you feel like moving.
2. Meditation Station
When I start feeling emotional shaky, when I feel lonely, when I’m not standing in my worth—I know it’s time to step away from my mind. My NOISY mind.
Our minds, god bless them, are just trying to figure out how to keep us safe. Our Ego minds are what tell us how to be cool/successful/happy/beautiful based off of societies standards. They’re the ones keep the mental checklist (“don’t say that, don’t do that! That’s scary. They would hate you if they knew that” etc). Our egos are constantly absorbing the untrue rules. Our higher self, our spirit self, is what reminds us that NONE of what the world tells us really matters. Our higher selves, the part of us connected with God, Source, the Universe, knows that we are so worthy because we’re a creation of the Divine. We are Loving Awareness. That’s whats matters. The goal then, is to get back to our higher self, who is ALWAYS enough and knows our worth. Enter: meditation.
When we quiet our minds, and reunite with our higher selves, we heal and remember who we truly are and what matters. The goal with mediation is to quiet mind—which, if you’ve tried to meditate, you know is hard to do. Impossible even. I never realize how many errands I need to run, until I’m sitting in meditation and they ALLLL flood in, swarming my mind in a to-do list. So when we can’t silence it completely, we can at least observe the mind, from higher perspective. We realize how scared it is and how many untruths it’s shouting at us. Observe the mind and offer yourself compassion. When you’re meditating and a thought comes, observe it. Watch it pass by like a cloud. Don’t absorb the thought, don’t become it.
My favorite ways of mediating are to listen to hypnotic music. I can zone out when listen to something repetitive, like ocean waves or binaural beats. I also like listening to Tibetan Singing Bowls. Listen to the wind. Listen to the hum of an AC unit. I love meditating in a warm bath (with epsom salts) or just sitting in a comfortable crossed legged position. You can lay down! There’s no wrong position.
Sometimes I repeat mantras, like “I am loving awareness,” or “I am safe, all is well, all that I need is revealed to me.” Sometimes I do guided meditations from Natalia benson, Dr. Joe Dispenza or Deepak Chopra (there are free guided meditations everywhere! Try this app). Other times I want complete quiet—folding myself in silence. I love lighting candles, palo santo, sage—each day is different.
Create a ritual you LOVE. Meditate in a way that resonates with your soul. There’s no wrong way. Just start.
3. Mirror Work
I love Louise Hay. She saved my little 20-year-old self. I’ve been using her mirror work techniques ever since. When I’m feeling low, I go to the mirror.
(Read her book. Watch this clip.)
Locking eyes with yourself in the mirror, greeting You with a smile and saying, “I love and accept you ____(name), exactly how you are.” You won’t believe it at first. Maybe, you’ll be like me and burst into tears your first time doing it. Keep doing it. Eventually you’ll believe it.
Be there for yourself. If something bad or scary happens, run to the mirror! Say, “Say I’m here for you! I’m not leaving you. That hurt, I’m so so sorry.” Have your own back.
4. Nature Walk
Nature is HEALING. You’ve already heard me talk about spending quality time outdoors barefoot before (if not, listen to this Grounding/Earthing podcast episode). But I cannot express how much this has helped me. Your anxious energy can be balanced when spending time with Mama Earth and absorbing her free electrons through your barefoot on the ground.
Get into the sunshine! Absorb some vitamin D. Watch the sunset. Wake up for a sunrise. It’s restorative and will help your body’s natural circadian rhythm to normalize. Sun exposure IS healthy—no matter what dermatologists say. It’s not all bad. We need certain levels of sun to thrive. (I love this podcast episode with Nadine Artemis on this subject).
If you’re wanting to show yourself some love, go into nature and take a walk. Breathe. Ground yourself. Notice all the beauty and life around you. Notice the abundance. Notice all the creatures around you thriving—you’re a creation, too! You deserve to thrive just as nature does.
5. Eat Plants
Everything is energy right? Every little thing, broken down, is just a group of atoms bouncing around. Matter (all the physical things you can touch) is actually energy moving. Einstein himself said, “Concerning matter we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is really energy, whose vibration has been lowered as to be perceivable to the senses. There is no matter. There is only light and sound”
Ok, so what does this have to do with eating plants? Well, because everything is energy (vibration), it is also frequency. Each creation, each piece of “matter” emits a frequency. The frequency of the heart and the stomach organ are not the same—if they emitted the same frequency, they’d be the same organ. Make sense? When something emits a high frequency, we call it “high vibe.” As in, “I love spending time around that person, they’re so high vibe.” The vibration at which the “matter” is moving, is high. We love being around high vibe things & people! It raises our frequency so we match them. Which leads me to this… when we’re depressed, anxious, worried, stressed, we are very LOW frequency. We’re in a state of low vibration as a collective whole.
Processed foods, soda, meat and dairy are LOW vibe foods. Meat is an animal that was killed in fear (& fear is a very low frequency). Dairy is milk that was made for baby cows, not humans. Consuming dairy is absorbing a frequency we weren’t meant to metabolize. Processed foods are essentially DEAD foods. The life force is so completely removed from processed foods—they’re so far changed from their original state, they are LOW vibe. Soda and candy are truly not FOOD. They’re chemicals. Their frequency is close to death.
Plants are LIFE. Plants are high vibe. They are emitting a HIGH frequency. They’re fed by the sun. They’re full of LIGHT. Especially plants that are organic, pesticide, GMO-free. Organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes are some of the most high vibe things you can consume to raise your body’s frequency. If you’re feeling low, consume more high vibe things. (Check out my plant based blogpost for more info and tips!)
The food you eat is information. So if you’re feeling SO off and want to show yourself some love, grab an organic salad, fruit bowl or green juice.
6. The Gratitude Attitude
I’ve found, when I wake up in the morning, that instead of looking at my phone, my first waking thought and feeling is, “Thank you!” my day goes 10X better. This is because having an attitude of gratitude is setting my day up to be high vibe! Remember talking about frequency and energy? Well thoughts, the things projecting from our brain, are MATTER. Our thoughts have substance, they can be scientifically measured. Thoughts = matter. Emotion = matter.
Thus, our thoughts and emotions can be high vibe or low. And the two highest emotions we can feel, vibrationally, are love and gratitude. So start thanking everything! Wake up and say “Thank you for life! Thank you for breath. Thank you for my wonderful sleep. The dreams I just experienced, thank you. Thank you comfortable bed! Thank you morning sunlight! Thank you beautiful birds for singing wonderful songs to me. Thank you Monday!! It’s the start of a wonderful week, full of possibility and potential magic. Thank you body for being healthy. Thank you body for healing when it’s not. Thank you Universe for guiding me!” Thank everything! And watch how your day shifts. Do you feel the difference in this, as opposed to groggily waking up, cursing the Monday morning commute to work. Looking at your phone first thing. Jumping on instagram, instantly comparing yourself to others. Feeling sad you didn’t get enough “likes,” comments or new followers while you slept. Thats LOW VIBE. Start with “Thank you.” Then keep going.
When I’m feeling low, I take out my computer or journal and start writing down a rampage of appreciation. For literally five pages long, I type/write out every little thing I’m appreciative in that moment. Switching our attitude to one of gratitude is one of the most self-loving and healing things we can do. We are living in abundance! Notice it. Praise it. Thank it.
Call up a friend or family member. THANK THEM for all the ways they bless and enriched your life. Really THANK your server or the lady getting you a dressing room at the store. Tip extra. Get the Starbucks order behind you in line. Pay it forward. An attitude of gratitude for all the abundance in your life, will make the abundance grow.
7. Taking Out the Garbage
Sometimes we need an energetic detox. Just as we shake the (low frequency) energy out of our bodies through movement, our physical space needs some decluttering. Sometimes self love looks like clearing the way for new energy and growth, by clearing away physical clutter (that is, I think, always tied to mental clutter).
When I clean out my fridge, chucking out the rotten produce or past-due condiments, I feel BETTER. Self love can be organizing that black-hole closet of yours, the one you pile stuff into (you know, the one you’d be SO embarrassed for guests to see). Open the junk drawer that lives in your kitchen, and CLEAR OUT the clutter. Open your closet and clear space—removing all the stuff that no longer resonates with you. The things that once served you, that at one point brought you joy, but no longer do. Get rid of things you don’t feel like a million shiny dollars wearing. Throw out the stuff you’ve held onto for years because, “I think it will fit again when I lose 30 lbs…” Donate old clothes or furniture. Clean out all of your purses from all the old gum wrappers and receipts. De-junk it all.
Dust out the dusty places. Make room for new energy.
I love these words by Hannah Brencher:
“We all have a bag. We all pack differently. Some of us are secret hoarders who’ve never parted with a memory in our lives. I think we are all called to figure out how to carry our bag to the best of our ability, how to unpack it, and how to face the mess. I think part of growing up is learning how to sit down on the floor with all your things and figuring out what to take with you and what to leave behind.”
As silly as it seems, I swear the physical baggage we hold onto in our lives, is completely tied to emotional and mental baggage as well. When we clear our physical spaces, we symbolically clear others. Deal with the shadowy parts of your life/house/belongings. Clear the clutter. Take out the garbage. the internal will follow suit.
8. Shadow Work
Did you listen to my “Things I’m Embarrassed to Tell You” episode? Where I basically lit myself on fire and shared some deep, dark (SCARY) secrets with you? LOL/crying right now. Guys, as soon as I recorded and released the episode, I was so so anxious and scared. I regretted it immediately! BUT I also immediately thought of 50 more shadows I wanted to out myself on. It was freeing and contagious and wonderful.
If you didn’t listen yet, or need a refresher, here it is… What you don’t own, owns you. So all of the scary things you spend most of your life hiding, are really owning you. The parts of yourself you think are unloveable, ugly, unworthy—that’s your shadow. Our insecurities and secrets live in our shadow and they HOLD US BACK. In a major way. Our shadow side, the secretive side of us, is fueled by shame. It’s our Ego side, that wants to keep us safe. And that’s tied to shame. Always shame. And this known, or unknown shame, governs so much of our lives and directly affects our self worth. The more shadow aspects we have, the lower our self worth will be.
Being brave enough to look at your shadow is an act of self love and grace. Look at the parts of yourself you’ve been hiding and too afraid to see. What are things you’d be embarrassed to reveal about yourself? Write it down. Get it out. Share your shadow.
(Listen to this episode for more info).
When you share your shadow it, 1. stops owning you, and 2. grows your self worth immediately. Be brave! Love yourself enough to free yourself—which comes from doing the scary things. Sharing your shadow, and NOT caring what anyone thinks of it, is where the self love magic is. Especially when you’re sharing your shadow side with someone you really look up to. That is SCARY. Brave! And my goodness, so empowering.
Self love isn’t just bubble baths and guilt-free chocolate cake. It also doing the work we don’t want to do because we’re afraid. It’s looking at the bills that are waiting in a pile for us. It’s reading that email we’re wigging out over, not wanting to open. It’s finally addressing that thing with that person. It’s seeking help for an addiction or health problem we haven’t wanted to face. It’s apologizing to someone we’ve hurt. It’s healing our past.
You can have a dark scary shadow, have made big mistakes AND still be totally lovable and worthy. It’s not as scary as you think. Speak it. Don’t let it own you anymore.
9. Write it out
When I’m doubting myself, feeling heavy emotions, am lost or confused—I WRITE. I have journals and journals filled with my thoughts and feelings. Again, heavy energy needs to be released. Write until you’ve released it. (A favorite journal is here & favorite notebook here)
If you’re unsure of how to begin, start with, “I feel…”
Write your past self a letter, apologizing to your younger version. Write your present self a letter, applauding her for her bravery. Write your future self a letter, asking for guidance. Write letters to people you need to forgive or desire an apology from. Put pen to paper, and write the things you’d be too afraid to speak aloud. Writing letters CHANGED my life, truly helping me through emotionally heavy periods.
Try automatic writing! Take out a piece of paper and a writing tool, then ask a question. Quiet your mind (aka meditate) then let an answer flow out of you. Write without thinking. Just let the words come and write as quickly as you can. After automatic writing, I’m SHOCKED at the wisdom and truth that resides within me. We each have that.
Write down your fears, mistakes, hopes, dreams, mantras.
Write poetry. Even if you think you’re not a poet. Write words that beautifully, truthfully describe an emotion, thought or event. Poetry heals the soul. You never have to share it with anyone! Become a closet poet, for you! Nothing fancy, just truth.
Just write. Be radically honest.
10. Deep Belly Laugh
Have you ever laughed so hard, big crocodile tears rolled down your cheeks? The back of your neck aches from laughter. Your cheeks feel tired and rosy. Your heart opens. It feels INCREDIBLE. As cliche as it is to say, laughter is medicine. Beautiful and very real medicine. The frequency of laughter is healing (remember how everything emits a frequency?). Laugher raises your vibe. It’s an energetic release! It transmutes negative emotions, into positive—it’s real life alchemy.
I have a list of like ten things that cause me to laugh myself straight into an ab workout. Rolling on the floor laughing until it hurt. It’s my list of medicine, when I need a dose. Make a humor list! Maybe it’s a favorite movie scene. Maybe it’s a funny friend? Maybe you laugh hardest when you watch animals videos on youtube, or people tripping on Vine clips.
When I’m hurting and needing a boost of self love, I pull out my funny list. Then laugh until my hurt doesn’t hurt anymore. **Also, this is something maybe weird to say, but I swear I lost my belly laugh for five or so years. I’d superficially laugh at things, but not that BIG belly laugh. It was the weirdest, saddest thing. I missed deep laughs. So I prayed they would come back. No joke. I prayed for laughs big enough to transmute and alchemize all the negative energy we face daily. And it came back! I remember my husband coming into the room, thinking something was wrong, because he’d “never heard me make those noises before.” LOL. (I laugh hardest lately at Bill Murray, Michael Scott & Grace + Frankie).
Laughter is self love medicine.
11. Self Massage
Touch is necessary for humans. We long to be touched. It’s connection! There’s something so healing about someone who dearly loves you, rubbing your arms or back while you talk—why are mom arm tickles so freaking good?! A hug, heart to heart, is a literal vitamin for our emotional health. But I think we forget to be gentle and intentional with the touch we offer ourselves. We casually slather lotion on. We rub sunscreen on our face carelessly. We don’t know our bodies well enough. We forget how important intentional, healing touch is.
Remember, we gotta have our own backs. We need to offer ourselves the love we crave. So give yourself some love in the way you address your body. Give yourself a massage, rub body oil on yourself, in a way you’d offer touch to someone else. I love dry brushing my body, then using a favorite body oil to really massage my muscles (especially in the legs)! As you massage, offer gratitude for each body part that serves you. Apologize to your tummy, for the ways you criticize it. Vow to your thighs and butt that you’ll love and appreciate them forevermore, because they’ve tirelessly helped you to move throughout life—love them, no matter the shape, no matter the amount of cellulite or stretch marks. Rub your arms, shoulders, chest—give yourself a hug! My favorite post-bath ritual is a self love massage. I’m more at home in myself when I’m noticing my body, this human suit the houses my soul, and praising it.
Look into the mirror, straight into your eyes, and give yourself a facial! Gently cleanse, exfoliate and massage your skin. Throw on a moisturizing mask, even (my favorite is this one or this one). Touch your face. Thank your laugh lines, your smiley eyes. Notice every freckle, spot, wrinkle, pimple—and praise it all. Use a jade roller or a Gua Sha tool. Release all the tension. Massaging your neck, temples and pressure points will allow pent up energy to be released. Your face will soften—release all that heaviness.
Remember, our bodies are not us. They house us. Show them gentleness and gratitude.
Self love isn’t selfish. Just don’t let fear, scarcity, or emotional avoidance get dragged into your self love practices and taint them. Face the fear. Clear out the garbage. Be honest and SEE. Up-level your energy. You are absolutely worth of love and abundance because you exist.
How do you best show yourself love? I’d absolutely LOVE hearing from you. Tell me on instagram or on the comments sections here.