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By Laura Conroy

The concept of self-love has been around for a while now. Self-care, such as getting your nails or hair done or going to the spa, are lovely experiences and are definitely a great way to spend time on you. The challenge that we face is that, whilst having such treatments done, or straight after we finish, your little internal voice is beating you up from the inside saying “you don’t have time for this”, “you should be doing this”, “why did you do/say that?”.

Let’s face it, this little voice is not always nice to you. If your little voice was a real person in the real world and said those things to you, would you spend time with this person at all? If the answer is no, then keep reading as I’m going to give you 3 tips to start to untangle the little voice and cultivate self-love from the inside.  

So what are we trying to create when we talk about self-love? To me, we are creating a world for ourselves where we treat ourselves like you would your best friend. You are encouraging, you see the best in them, you are honest when needed and you are kind and caring.

Whilst self-care is an outside job, self-love comes from the inside. Here are my 3 tips for starting on your journey or helping you on your path if you have already started working on creating more self-love in your life.

Let’s face it, this little voice is not always nice to you.

Tip #1 – What brand of mean are you?

First of all, we need to understand what we are working with. We need to be aware of how we treat, talk, and behave towards ourselves. We can then use this information to start understanding why we do what we do. Generally this comes from an experience we have had, something somebody said to us, or the way someone acted around us. Just observe, without judging yourself, do it as if you are your best friend – with curiosity and care.

Tip #2 – What ‘shoulds’ do you have shackled to you?

For me, I would be quite happy to remove ‘should’ from our vocabulary altogether. I invite you to think about the word ‘should’ and say it out loud. Doesn’t feel great, right? I can’t think of another word that makes me feel as bad, disempowered and just flat and we use it to beat ourselves up around the things we ‘should’ do all the time. We carry a long list of ‘should’ items around with us all day, and sometimes all night, as if we are carrying shackles around our feet.

Coming out of last year, your list of ‘shoulds’ may be ever-growing whilst you get back to fitting everything into your life.

These ‘shoulds’ do not make us feel good, and using the word ‘should’ a lot of time does not make us feel like we even want to do those things. What are the ‘shoulds’ that you are carrying around? Day to day we do need to do things but we also get to choose what we do with our time. What ‘shoulds’ can you let go of and choose not to carry around anymore? And what ‘could’ you do rather than ‘should’ do if you wanted to?

Tip #3 – Just breathe…

I don’t mean one of those ‘I have to meditate for 20 minutes every day to have self-love’. No, no…if you choose to fit this into your day, then great! But when I say just breathe, I mean literally that – just breathe.

Breathing is something that we do passively whilst our thoughts run away with us, but instead we can actively focus on our breath. We can focus on it and no one knows we are even doing it. So, it’s a great tool when your mean friend pops up and all the ‘shoulds’ are going around in your head.

Simply switch your attention to your breath. You could be walking down Main Street, driving your car or sitting at your desk and all you need to do is focus on breathing in and breathing out. This will help calm you and bring you into the moment of ‘now’ rather than thinking of the past or the future.  

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