I can be mean and nasty when I’m stressed or overwhelmed-especially toward my husband Shmuel. Though our love has been unquestionable since we were 19 years old, he is always the first person to suffer when I am feeling off balance.
A few days ago, I lashed out at him. I followed my verbal attack with an apology, but it was too late to take back my words. The hurt was done.
A few conversations led to a better understanding between us. But the hardest part was not asking for his forgiveness. The hardest part was bouncing back to loving myself, because I hated myself for what I had said!
“If you can muster some tenderness for yourself when you think you’re at your worst–at precisely the time when you think you deserve criticism or punishment, then you’re on the way to stable self-esteem. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take responsibility for being a jerk or breaking promises…”
Choose to love yourself more
Self-love is not found but chosen. Just as with happiness, we often place the responsibility for loving ourselves on other people’s shoulders. It is very easy to play the “blame-game” and wonder why other people drain our energy.
Choosing to love yourself is a sacred responsibility that is yours alone. Regardless of what you say or what you do, you can choose self-love in every given moment. Even when you mess up.
Give yourself permission to love yourself more
It is hard for women to allow ourselves to be human. We get used to wearing the superhero mask, and we forget that in order to truly become a Wonder Woman, we must first love ourselves. Loving and forgiving yourself is not as easy as loving and forgiving others. If you are anything like me, you might not be doing so well. In order to love yourself more, you must give yourself the permission.
Practice the 3-minute “Self-Love Chat” to love yourself more
Back to my little self-love crisis.
After my blow-up at Shmuel, I could not shake the guilt, shame, and self-criticism. I knew I needed to turn to my “Self-Love Chat,” a practice I created to help myself and other women pivot away from self-judgment and toward self-love.
The “Self-Love Chat” is a gentle conversation that you have with yourself daily. But it deserves special attention when you want to switch your inner dialogue from “I hate myself” to “I love myself.”
It is important to make the practice fun and simple. Imagine telling someone else why you love her–only now say it to yourself. To make the chat feel authentic, don’t use just positive words. (Yes, I know! Affirmations are supposed to be positive to be effective! But try it. It works!).
Here is an example of the first few days:
I hate myself for what I said. I love myself anyway. I should have kept my mouth shut. I love myself anyway. I ruined everything. I love myself anyway. I should have done better. I love myself anyway. I did it AGAIN. I love myself anyway. There is no excuse. I love myself anyway.
I apologized. I love myself. I was being honest. I love myself. I wasn’t being 100% honest. I love myself anyway. I am being nicer to myself today. I love myself anyway. I feel fulfilled and accomplished. I love myself. I said 40 times: “love yourself.” I love myself. I choose to be kind to myself. I choose to be compassionate to myself. I choose to forgive myself. I love myself.
I love myself no matter what. I love myself for who I am, regardless of what I do. Just for today–I choose to love myself. It feels good to love myself. I know how to love myself. I believe it is possible to love yourself. I make self-love my priority today. I love myself.
When you look at these examples, you can probably see that the language shifted from Day 1 to Day 2. I learned to add “I love myself anyway” from Danielle Laporte. I think this idea is brilliant because it makes self-love believable.
There are three ways to give yourself a “Self-Love Chat”:
- The written chat
Write your daily chat in your “self-love” journal, with dry-erase markers on your bathroom mirror, or on sticky notes posted where you will see them.
- The mental chat
If you are not the writerly type, simply create a mental chat. You can do it while standing in line at the grocery store or the bank. Find three minutes every day to practice the self-love chat in your mind.
- The recorded chat
I read somewhere that nothing is more powerful than the sound of your own voice. Record your self-love chat on your smart phone and listen to it! If you’ve never tried it before, you must give it a chance. Listening to yourself saying, “I love myself,” is truly powerful.
We all know that forgiving yourself is one of the most difficult things to do, but it’s worth the effort. The next time you make a mistake, don’t punish yourself. Love yourself instead.