The Joyful Anthology

Love Yourself

By Amanda Freedom Wachsberg

What is love? Love comes in many forms, with many faces. Some argue once it meets you, it is everlasting while others view it as a visitor who can choose to stay a lifetime or one who comes and goes through time. Some, unfortunately so, do not even believe
love exists. Whatever it is that you believe, love comes from within.

I invite you to take a moment to journal about what it is that love means to you. You can journal in one of two ways. First, you can write down quickly key words or phrases that come to mind when you think of love. Second, you can take your time and really think about what love means to you, where do your ideas of love stem from? How do you express to the world these ideas of love that you have?

Each of us has been taught what love is from a universal, dictionary definition perspective and then further from a cultural and familial standpoint. Each of us has had our own experiences with love, love of others, love of self, love of materialistic things,
love of abstract ideas. All our nurture and nature combines has led each of us to have a very unique perspective on love.

To begin to love yourself, you first must explore your relationship with the word love and what it means to you and whether you have a healthy relationship with this concept.

You must learn to love yourself, care for yourself, be kind to yourself before you can love another in a healthy way. What you see in the world reflects what you are and what you see in yourself. If you see love in the world, it is because you yourself are manifesting love. Love exists in everything if only you choose to see the love that exists everywhere.

Love is not just a feeling, it is energy, it is God (whatever you believe to be God, if you do), it is a higher power, it is you and it is me. It is everything we create and everything that ever was. It cannot be created or destroyed. An infinite amount of love exists, and it is only transferred. Practice self-love and self-care before you look to love outside of yourself to ease your pain for if it does it will only be temporary. Only loving yourself will have the lasting effects of a lifetime and beyond. Love can cross the boundaries of time, space and even death if you believe. Self-love is a practice of a lifetime. It is a daily ritual and a very personal one at that. Examine, and explore for there is no one right way to practice self-love. What is one thing you can do right now (at this very moment) to practice self-love? (Some ideas, a quick affirmation, a hug to yourself!)

Loving yourself does and can take work and practice and it is a mindset you may have to consistently remind yourself of depending on your current mindset. The more you find love within yourself the more you will see it in the world and the more it will surround you. Your life becomes your thoughts so make them good! Make them something you want to surround yourself with. Love yourself. What is one thing you can do today to practice self-love? (Some ideas, self-massage, a bath, or even treating yourself to something yummy that you’ve been craving).

One way to practice self-love is through self-talk. You talk to yourself in your head more than you will ever talk to anyone else therefore you have the greatest impact on yourself that anyone can have over you. Set an intention of what kind of impact you want to have over yourself and adjust your inner voice and vocabulary accordingly. If you can learn to be overly critical of yourself and your self-worth, you can learn to love yourself! Self-love is a choice. It can be a difficult one if you’ve become accustomed to
feeling you are not worthy. Practicing affirmations such as “I am worthy” , “I love myself unconditionally” and doing so combining it with mirror work (speaking these affirmations while looking at yourself in the mirror) is a great way to incorporate positive
self-talk and self-care into your every day.

10 Steps for Morning Self-Love Ritual Meditation Before Even Opening Your Eyes

1. Say good morning to yourself
2. Notice how you are feeling
3. Embrace and accept your feelings
4. Pep talk / affirmations
5. Visualize your morning/day
6. Set your intention
7. Smile
8. Take a deep breath
9. Open your eyes
10. Say out loud one thing you are grateful for in this moment

Sometimes this meditation can be rushed, maybe 30 seconds or so, or some mornings it goes on for several minutes. It all depends on how I am feeling and what I intuitively decide I need in that moment and giving that to myself. Find what works for you, maybe only one of these steps resonates with you, or maybe none of them do but it sparks an
idea! You know yourself best so trust yourself to know the best way you can LOVE YOURSELF.

THAT, is the ultimate self-care: listening to yourself and honoring what you NEED in that moment, not necessarily what you want, and self-care is the ultimate expression of self-love.

The 10 Steps Written Out:
Every morning when I wake up, before opening my eyes for the first time, I say good morning to myself. I take a moment to notice how I am feeling and respond accordingly. If I am, let’s say, feeling anxious or overwhelmed about the day ahead I say (as an
example) “that’s okay, you have a lot going on, it’s understandable you feel (insert emotion here), you are human, you are worthy, and I love you, I love me, I love myself just the way I am, and I accept and embrace my feelings as part of this human
experience.” After acknowledging how I am feeling in that current moment and giving myself a pep talk and some positive affirmations, I can add on and visualize my morning routine, possibly even my day, and put into the universe my intention for how I desire the day to unfold.

I can give myself a little smile, imagine where I am, my surroundings and what I might see when I open my eyes before doing so. I take a long deep breath and open my eyes and once again reaffirm that I love myself and I am grateful for the opportunity a new
day brings and I go about my morning having started off with a meditation that sets the mood for my entire day!

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