Ah, self love, it’s a tricky one some days and it’s the key that will unlock so much freedom, peace and joy in your life. In this article, I’m sharing a simple self love practice to help you attune to your own capacity for self love, with the understanding that your capacity to truly love yourself directly mirrors your capacity to love and care for others, and to be empowered in how you move through this life. We all get down on ourselves at times, but self-criticism can quickly become a toxic habit. This self love practice can help you shift patterns of being too hard on yourself. 

You are here for a reason

First, it’s no accident that you are alive on the planet today, exactly as you are: In the body you have, with the soul you have, with your exact personality, family and the community that you’re surrounded by today, whatever that looks like. 

While our minds/Ego’s tend to stay busy making things right or wrong, judging and comparing, striving towards goals, and fixing problems (this is my biggest stumbling block, personally), our Eternal Selves are simply here to experience being incarnate, and to evolve in our being-ness, via being the Highest expressions of Love and Truth that we’re here to be. All aspects of our lived experience are both part of our evolution and matter. But not in the way we may think. We’re not here to be perfect or even necessarily to get somewhere specifically. This life is more about how we’re being than what we’re doing. Which is why practicing self love is a great way to support ourselves as we learn to navigate expanding and contracting through all that life is.

Acknowledging that you’re human AND Divine

Think of how the branches of a tree mirror its roots in the ground. As humans, our capacity to expand energetically is directly related to our capacity to descend into our roots, to anchor into our bodies, our emotions, and into the Earth. While many spiritual teachings out there are focused on the expansion and ascending aspects of spirituality, we are incarnate for a reason: We are here to integrate, in our bodies, all of what life brings. Energetically, we are always expanding and contracting through our lived experiences, and while we can and do learn from the joyful experiences, it’s often in the denser, challenging times that we experience the most profound growth and evolution. Learning to love ourselves through the challenges is, in my opinion, the most profound lesson we’ll ever learn!

Self Love Practice

In this context of recognizing that we aren’t striving for perfection, and that the beauty of being human includes both our lower and higher selves, let’s begin this self love practice.

  1. Find a space where you won’t be disturbed for at least 30 minutes. 
  2. Light a candle, burn some sage, bring your journal, and get yourself set up in a comfortable, seated position. 
  3. Take 3-5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This simple breath pattern helps to relax the nervous system and connect into the body. 
  4. Set an intention to bring compassion and love to any places in your body, and your emotions, that need it most.
  5. Begin a 10 minute conscious breathing exercise. Set a timer if you like. Breathing in and out of the nose, connect your inhale and exhale continuously, for 10 minutes of connected breathing.  As you breathe, visualize your breathe rising and falling like the waves of an ocean. While you breathe, do your best to focus only on your breathing, on consistently connecting the inhale and exhale, and relaxing the body. This simple practice is a beautiful way to anchor into the body, and let the conscious mind take a rest.  Feel it out. 
  6. When you’re done, bring your hands to your heart, and say out loud, “I love you ______ [your name].”
  7. Journal: Write down 10 things you really do love and appreciate about yourself. As you write these down, allow yourself to connect with authentic feelings of self love. This can be challenging for some of us who aren’t used to directing love inwards. It’s a practice. Experiment with deeply feeling appreciation for yourself, as authentically as you can.
  8. Next, find a mirror, look into your own eyes, and say out loud the reasons you love yourself, as you wrote them down. Say them until you truly feel them. This can feel really uncomfortable and/or extremely cheesy. It’s ok, just try it, remembering that your capacity to love yourself is your capacity to extend Love into the world. What we do for ourselves, we do for all. This is how Love is amplified. 

Voila! You are amazing. This self love practice can be incredibly challenging and triggering for many of us, which is why it’s ideal to do this in a private space. When it comes to looking into the mirror, into your own eyes, and saying what you love about yourself, it’s ok if you truly can’t go there all way. As you need to, take baby steps with the above practice, and try this a few times. Notice how it helps to shift any patterns of self criticism or self judgement. The truth is that we are the ones who wil love ourselves into healing and wholeness. Nobody can do this for us. We are the source of Love, the source of our own compassion, and the source of our own Power.

Credits: I have learned Self Love from many different teachers. This practice includes learnings I’ve adapted from many. Most notably: Tara Brach, Ashley Wood, and Bree Melanson.

Written by Monica Krake, Certified Breathwork Practitioner + founder of Head + Heart, your guide to living aligned. Get her monthly email guide to support your highest path.