The love you get is directly proportional to the love you give yourself
Today I want to talk about how to love yourself more. I think this is especially important because we’re not always kind to ourselves.
I know I can be harder on myself than I am on anyone else. And while it can be good to hold yourself to a high standard, that doesn’t mean making yourself feel bad.
Your high standards are meant to inspire you! Not drag you down.
If you’re looking to bring more love into your life, self-love is the most important thing to think about. Your ability to be in a healthy relationship and love someone else is directly proportional to the degree of love that you have for yourself.
But most people don’t look within first. They don’t try to develop their own self-love or self-growth. They’re looking outside of themselves to bring love into them.
If this resonates for you, don’t be too hard on yourself. Many of us weren’t trained or taught to love ourselves. We look for love from the outside and it doesn’t work that way.
Love is not something you bring into you.
To attract the love you want from others, it all starts with loving yourself at that same high frequency.
If you’ve never done self-love affirmations or worked on bringing your own love frequency up, today’s post will give you some valuable tips to start your practice.
You’ll learn how to practice self-love and amplify that love of self after the end of a relationship (when many of us feel our lowest). I’m also giving you five great ideas to date yourself, because you should be treating yourself as an important person, whether you’re in a relationship or single.
How Do I Start Practicing Self-Love?
Self-love is a lifelong practice. The way you talk to yourself and treat yourself is something like a diet or exercise routine. When you keep it in mind, you’ll do really well with it. But sometimes you’ll find yourself falling back into unhealthy habits.
You might beat yourself up in your mind for little mistakes you make. Or you might let your insecurities take control of your thinking sometimes. It’s okay. We all fall back into those patterns sometimes, but it’s important that you get back into the right mindset of loving yourself whenever you find yourself dropping into a negative mindset.
Here are three tips that can help you move into that better self-love mindset:
- Be Kind in Your Mind
- Forgive Yourself Fast
- Listen to Yourself
1 — Be Kind in Your Mind
Be kind in your mind. In other words, stop criticizing yourself.
The way we talk to ourselves in the privacy of our own mind is sometimes way harsher than we’d ever let anyone else talk to us. We’d probably break up with someone or end the friendship if they ever talked to us the same way we talk to ourselves.
We often use more care with other people than we do with ourselves. And you deserve the same care you’d give to someone you love.
As an example, after my wife gave birth to our daughter, it was taking her body longer to bounce back than she wanted. And I looked over at her as I was brushing my teeth one morning and noticed tears streaming down her cheeks.
And I knew there was something wrong, so I turned to her at that moment.
“Babe, what are you thinking right now?”
She kept staring in the mirror and said, “I’m not being very nice to myself right now.”
And I went over and wrapped my arms around her and whispered in her ear, “You be nice to my wife. I love my wife. My wife is beautiful. She’s gorgeous just the way she is and I want you to be nice to her.”
I won’t even let my wife be mean to my wife. But that’s also easier to see from the outside and it’s simpler to stay on track with your internal thoughts when someone else is reminding you how amazing you are. Genuine self-love = comes from the inside out.
So I invite you to stop yourself when you think about these things. We all think them. We all have points of insecurity. But notice them when you’re in them and remind yourself to be as kind to yourself as you would be to any other person that you love.
2 — Forgive Yourself Fast
To really love yourself or anyone else, a healthy practice of ongoing forgiveness is essential.
There was a moment early in my coaching career before I was Certified by Brave Thinking Institute, when I got booked to speak in another country. I wasn’t making a lot of money at the time, so I booked the cheapest flight I could get — a red eye. I was planning on leaving on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, I woke up and checked my email and saw one from the event planners.
It said: “We’re looking forward to seeing you today!”
Of course, I panicked. As I started checking my flight itinerary and event information, I realized that I made a mistake. Because it was a red eye, I wouldn’t arrive until after my actual speaking engagement.
That deep, cold dread flooded through my whole body and I started searching for a flight to get me there that day. The only flight available to get there on time cost $1,500! I can tell you, that panic level ratcheted up ten times higher.
How am I going to afford this flight?
Maybe I should just cancel the seminar.
There were going to be 50-100 people there expecting me to speak. So, I calmed myself down, took a deep breath, and booked the flight. Then I threw my stuff in a suitcase and left for the airport because the flight was leaving in three hours.
On the way to the airport, I was just berating myself in my mind.
How could you be so dumb?
You didn’t even look at the itinerary correctly!
Then I realized that I had to show up as my best self to serve the people who came out to see me. I needed to show up as the best version of myself to pour into them the love and possibility that my coaching required. I knew that in order to be that coach they were expecting, I had to forgive myself…and do it fast!
I took a deep breath and said to myself, “Okay, I learned from the mistake. I’m going to double-check these itineraries every time from now on.” I released that energy and forgave myself.
The outcome was that I showed up to the seminar. I released that old, down on myself energy and showed up as the Mat who could deliver.
The seminar was a huge success for me. It generated a lot of revenue for me at that time in my business. And it was only possible because I released that self-critical negative state before showing up.
3 — Listen to Yourself
There was a great study where they interviewed thousands of people and asked:
“When is it that you feel most loved in your life?”
The number one answer was that people felt most loved when they felt listened to and really heard.
This is a great rule in any relationship. We all appreciate it when the other person is present and hears us. In a relationship, listening to understand, not just respond, is a way to show love and care. One of our core needs is to be present in that way for ourselves.
I encourage you to ask yourself the same caring questions you would ask someone you love.
What would loving myself really look like right now?
What would I really love to do with my time?
How would I really like to spend my day?
Pay attention when your true answers come back. Often we spend our time in service of other things. Our jobs, our families, our friends, our outside commitments. And these things are great but you also have to serve yourself with the same level of care.
If your voice comes back and says, I’d really like to take a day of self-care. Or I’d really like not to have to go (or not go) to this social gathering. Or I’d really like to spend some time with my best friend. Find a way to make those things happen with the same energy that you devote to the things you do in service of others.
How Do I Practice Self-Love After Being Hurt in a Relationship?
It’s difficult to be kind to yourself when you’re feeling low in life. When a relationship ends, it’s really painful. There can be a lot of feelings that can threaten your sense of self, especially if you’ve been hurt by the separation. If the other person ends the relationship, you might fall into a pattern of thinking that there’s something wrong with you. We might take rejection that way, especially if it triggers an earlier memory.
The truth is that if the relationship ended, it wasn’t the right relationship for you. Whether you ended it or the other person did, you might need to take some time to be extra kind to yourself and really pay attention to the way you treat yourself.
So how can you learn to practice self-love after being hurt in a relationship?
One of the most powerful books I’ve ever read about this was written by one of my own mentors, Gay Hendricks. It’s called The Learning to Love Yourself Workbook which I highly recommend. Gay is brilliant and he’s written over 40 books in his life.
I’m going to go ahead and share two central ideas from this book.
- Accept What Is
- Love Is Bigger Than Any Negative Emotions You’re Feeling
1 Accept What Is
The first step to practicing self-love is to accept what is and stop resisting it.
If you’re angry, you must accept that you’re angry. Whatever you’re feeling, whether it’s directed at yourself or your ex-partner, must be identified and accepted. Without any judgment.
You’re allowed to feel angry, sad, guilt, or shame.
We often try to lie to ourselves about what we’re feeling or push those darker feelings down. They’re painful and we don’t want to feel them. But resisting the reality of how you’re feeling doesn’t make it go away. It hardens us to them, and that resistance causes us to harden ourselves.
Think of it like this. When you deny those feelings, you don’t release them. You put them in a small corner and build a box around them. But they stay inside you and they will live inside you as long as you trap them inside that box.
This is something that we learn in advanced psychology. Those buried feelings don’t go away. They come out in other areas and impact your subconscious. They can make you feel sick physically or attract things in your life that you really don’t consciously want.
So accept what is and allow it to flow through you. Acknowledge and feel it, so that you can become soft to it. There will be a point where there’s an intensity to those feelings and it might be unpleasant but on the other side of that, you’ll be able to release it.
2 Love Is Bigger Than Any Negative Emotions You’re Feeling
This is such a profound idea. Love is bigger than any experience we’re having.
It’s bigger than anger or shame. It’s bigger than embarrassment or guilt. Love is bigger than sadness.
My mentor taught me that we don’t have to change anything before we can love ourselves. True love is removing our blocks to our awareness of love’s presence. Love exists right now – in, through, and all around you. As we open up to our awareness of love’s presence, love can be bigger than anything that we’re experiencing, if we simply allow ourselves to experience it.
Which means we have to get out of our head and into our heart.
In order to give yourself permission to love yourself in the midst of whatever you’re going through, you need to move out of your head and into your heart. Love yourself in the midst of any emotion you’re experiencing because you know that love is stronger.
What Does It Mean to Date Yourself?
What does it mean to date yourself? And no, I’m not talking about accidentally giving away your age! 🙂
When I say, “date yourself”, I mean that you should treat yourself to the things you’d like a partner to treat you to. I encourage you to spend quality time with yourself, the same way you would with your man.
Also, dating yourself isn’t just something you “settle for” between relationships. I’d love for you to get in the practice of treating yourself as a special person throughout your lifetime, whether you’re in a relationship or not.
This is exactly what it sounds like – you literally want to treat yourself the way you want to be treated by a partner. If you’ve longed for a partner who would take you to the museum or a play, take yourself out for those events. Dress up and make it special.
If you’ve longed for someone who understands you deeply, start by taking the time to understand yourself on that level.
That might sound funny. You’re thinking, “Okay, Mat, of course I understand myself!”
But truly, most of us rarely take the time for that kind of introspection. To really stop and think about the things you love or dislike and where they come from. What melts you? What makes you happy? What fills you up?
Maybe you’d like to dive deep into increasing your self-love through a practice of affirmations. You might take some time to read inspirational quotes or work on the things that bring you joy. Honoring who you are as a person isn’t something you should wait for from anyone outside of you. It starts in your own mind and practice.
5 Fun Ways to Date Yourself
I’ve been talking about fun ways to date yourself, so let’s get into the reason you jumped into this blog post in the first place!
There are a lot of unique ways to start a practice of dating yourself. I’m going to give you a few fun tips to experiment with, but I encourage you to be creative. Try things you’ve always wanted to do or take yourself on journeys that bring you joy.
Here are five ways to date yourself that you can experiment with.
If you’re familiar with your love languages, I encourage you to find date ideas that speak to your own love language:
1. Take Yourself On a Fancy Date.
Dress up, get your hair and nails done, make it an event. You can choose a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try or an event, like the opera. Whatever it is that you would consider a beautiful and special date, take yourself on one.
2. Give Yourself the Gift of Experience.
I love this idea and I think everyone can benefit from this practice. Write down some amazing things you’ve never done that you would like to do, at least once. This could be something adventurous, like skydiving or bungee jumping. It could be learning a new skill, like a dance class. Maybe you’ve always wanted to visit a place or take a tour, go do that thing to practice self-love. I encourage you to sit down and make a list of five or ten things that you’ve never done but would like to try. Choose the one that makes you smile widest and plan a day for yourself.
3. Pamper Yourself.
This could be anything that you enjoy or would benefit you. And it’s just for you. You might go for a massage, or have a full day at a spa. You could just stop in and have a manicure or pedicure. Pick something that will make you feel cared for and happy.
4. Splurge on Something You Would Love.
So often we put off getting things we’d really love for ourselves because we’re being practical. Every once in a while, it’s nice to buy yourself a present. Something you don’t need but would enjoy. This might be a work of art or a new sweater. It could be something as simple as buying yourself a treat from a bakery. Make it a practice to treat yourself the way you would want to be treated, and that includes little gifts to practice self-love.
5. Write Down What You Love About Yourself.
This might sound silly but writing down how you feel can help clarify your thoughts and give voice to your feelings. Writing yourself a love letter or journaling positive thoughts and things you love about yourself is a good way to remind yourself how amazing you are. It can be uplifting in the moment and you can page back to it and re-read it when you feel low or need a pick-me-up.
How to Make Self-Love a Habit in Your Life
They say that it takes a month to make a practice into a habit. With self-love, most of us really need to think about what we say to ourselves because we can easily fall back into negative thoughts and paradigms.
Dating yourself and developing self-love habits can be a lifelong commitment that brings you joy and helps you maintain that amazing vibration that attracts love into your life.
You’ve learned three ways to practice self-love and two important things to keep in mind to maintain that self-love after the end of a relationship. You’ve also learned how to date yourself and I’ve given you a few of my own fun date ideas. I encourage you to take some time to think about the different ways that you can honor your own spirit with creative date ideas.
As we’re on the subject of self-love, I’d love to give you my free Self-Love Activation Kit. This affirmation practice is designed to help you replace any negative feelings with positive affirmations that support your growth. Commit a few minutes a day and you can gain confidence, increase feelings of worthiness, and exude that powerful vibration that calls the best of joy and love into your life.
Download it today for a great boost in your ability to maintain positive thoughts and practice self-love.
Until next time, Think Bravely and Act Boldly!