According to the National Science Foundation, “the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.”
What this means is that every single day, the average person is thinking the same ugly, disturbing thoughts about themselves, other people and the world. This also means that we are basically repeating the same cycles, living the same life and going through the motions every single day.
I am here to interrupt my regularly scheduled program, and yours too. The human brain is a POWERFUL mechanism… think about all of the things that exist because of its brilliance! From the time I turned 25 until about now, I’ve been on this intense path of rewriting my script. I am now 6 months away from my 35th birthday, and now more than ever, I have this intense desire to share what I’ve learned.
How To Practice More Self Love
- Write a love letter to yourself. What do you love about yourself? Why are you proud of yourself? When was a time that you came through for yourself in a bind? What makes you beautiful? What is something that you have or can do that no one else has or can do?
- Write down affirmations and at regular intervals read them. It is not always easy to just think positive thoughts. Sometimes we need tools. Take some index cards and copy down words of encouragement and positive affirmations. Take them out of your bag and read them at the top of every hour. Read them before meals. Read them when you first wake up and when you go to bed.
- Listen to music that is affirming. Create a playlist of songs that are inspirational and motivational. I have a few of these playlists and will type them up and share them out later this week. I’ll share three of my favorites. “Flawless” by Beyonce. “Satisfaction” by Eve. “Brown Skin” by India Arie. Make these songs a regular part of your routine to combat the negative thinking that happens.
- Express love and gratitude to others. When someone does something nice for you, send them an e-mail of gratitude describing what they did and how it made you feel. If someone inspires you online, send them a DM or a message about how grateful you are. Gratitude opens up the portal for more blessings, not because you’re going to necessarily get anything new, but because you will start to realize the many ways that your life is abundant… that your prayers are being answered… that your life today is better than it was yesterday… a week ago… five years ago… Gratitude is like putting on another pair of glasses. It changes everything.
So those are the nice and somewhat easy ways to express self-love. Here are more ways to express self-love that may be more challenging. At least these have been more challenging to me.
- Saying no. Peer pressure is a motha. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve agreed to something or said yes just because I wanted to save face, not disappoint someone or not hurt someone else’s feelings. No is one of the first words that we learn, but it is also one that as we get older we start to use less and less. You have the right to determine how you want to spend your time. Who you want to spend time with. The other person will live… and so will you.
- Allowing your self the grace of changing your mind, walking away or opting out. This is an extension of saying no. Sometimes how we feel today is not how we feel tomorrow. Circumstances change. Our energy changes. Our needs change. If something is not right for you, you have to right to exit or leave it alone. Now you have to do this with great sensitivity because everything that we do impacts other people, but do what you need to do. If you are quitting your job, and there is a two week notice, don’t quit today out of spite (unless your safety or health is at risk). Give them the two weeks notice and move along gracefully and graciously.
- Value what you bring to the table. Don’t undersell yourself or cut yourself short. If your time is worth $1,000 an hour, then that’s what it’s worth. When I am going into a situation where I have to negotiate, I sometimes write out a list of what I’m bringing to the table and a dollar amount for each. I have an idea of what I’m willing to accept at the minimal and why. This is something that doesn’t just work for me in my head. I literally have to write it out in advance of the negotiation and before making a final commitment, I always say, “I will get back to you.”
- Allowing yourself time. I picked up this tip from Myleik Teele. You can always ask for more time to think about something. Don’t allow people to pressure you into giving them a response or an answer. I often use the terms “bandwidth” or “capacity.” I will tell someone, I’m working on limited capacity. I need time to consider. Time is our most precious commodity. Now it is important that you honor what you say you’re going to do if you ask for more time. At least you are giving yourself the gift of more consideration, the opportunity to weigh out and explore more options, the opportunity to research, so that when you do return with a response or a decision, it is well thought-out and you can live with it.
- Charting your own path. One of my favorite quotes is “comparison is the thief of joy.” Put two people who do exactly the same job side by side. I guarantee that they will describe very different pathways. Put two people who were born on the same day. I guarantee that their lives will look very different. There are 7.4 billion people on this planet. That means there are 7.4 billion different ways of thinking… of dreaming… of resting… of being fulfilled. Your life is yours alone and you have the right to live it however you want to.
- Treating your physical body well. This one is probably the hardest one on the list for me personally. I often go with what feels (and tastes) good for my body, not necessarily what is good for my body. This looks like an addiction to sugar. An aversion to working out and a physical body that isn’t worked out enough. I am still working on this one, but I know that it starts with my mind and being more balanced in how I approach what I eat and what I do(in terms of physical activity). If any of you guys have had success with kicking the sugar addiction, please leave your comments below. If you have been able to make working out a regular part of your routine, please let me know how. My goal is to lose my age (35 lbs) before my birthday.
- Stop waiting for someone else to come along to receive the type of love you want. Take yourself out on dates. Buy yourself nice gifts. Love on yourself (literally and figuratively). Write love letters to yourself. Say nice things to yourself (like “Good morning gorgeous.” “You can do this.”). Wrap yourself in nice fabrics (my favorite is cashmere and satin). Get massages and facials regularly. Eat good meals. Buy yourself chocolate covered strawberries. Buy yourself flowers. This pattern of self love will only be reflected to you when people come into your life. I’ve been blessed with a very healthy and affirming marriage. I have amazing friends who love and support me. I truly believe that is because I started doing all of those things for myself, so when people come into my life, they pick up on the cues. I am totally and completely in love with myself… but that was not always the case. I encourage you to be totally and completely in love with you. It’s not a permanent thing. Every day I have to wake up and first make the decision to love myself and then do actions that confirm and make that decision true.