By Denise Dare
For nearly 20 years, I’ve been searching for meaning, for understanding, and for inspiration.
I started with a sweet little book called Grace Notes that my mama gifted me when I was about 16 and struggling with major heartbreak.
I needed to learn how to feel enough and to love me for me. It worked…that was the beginning of a life of self study and transformation.
Soon I was reading Louise Hay and practicing gratitude.
Eventually, I soaked up the wisdom of SARK, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Kahlil Gibran, Paulo Coehlo, Julia Cameron, Danielle LaPorte…the list goes on.
In this quest for self awareness and personal growth, I’ve realized that what fills me up the most and uplifts me above the challenge is learning to really love me.
This practice of self love is powerful…and absolutely essential to create a meaningful, joyful, inspired life.
I believe that self love is the foundation of vibrant health, fulfilling relationships, and lasting happiness.
Truly learning to love ourselves begins with our everyday thoughts + words + actions. And continues as a lifelong practice + journey.
We are most powerful when we love ourselves.
When we can truly love who we are, then anything is possible.
So I invite you to explore how you may love YOU ever more…
First, we begin with awareness. I believe that awareness is the first step to change anything really. And if we’ve been living a life of self loathing or perfectionism or judgment, then we have to begin right where we are.
We practice being the observer of our thoughts, of noticing our habits…how we think about ourselves when we look in the mirror. How we respond when we see a picture of ourselves.
How we reply when we receive a compliment. How we treat ourselves when we know we need rest or ease or nurturing.
When we build our awareness about how we are loving ourselves right now, we create space for the possibility of loving ourselves more as we move forward in our lives.
The second step in loving ourselves ever more is acceptance.
If we can free ourselves to accept who we are right here and now, then we practice releasing judgment and those burdensome “shoulds” that can plague us with inertia and feeling stuck in life.
Allow yourself to notice, without judgment, how you love and honor yourself right here right now.
And trust that it’s all good.
Maybe you’ve been on this journey of self love for a while, maybe you learned from your mom what it means to love yourself, maybe you have hated your body for years, maybe you can barely look at yourself naked, maybe you’re ashamed or scared or frustrated. Maybe you’re feeling something that I can’t even describe. Wherever you are is just right.
No matter where you are, there’s always room for a little more love.
Let yourself be right here and trust that you’re in the right place.
This next step I’d like to encourage you to practice each and every day. This will boost your love for YOU and open your heart o allow more of what you desire and deserve to flow into your life.
Yes, it’s that simple.
Learn to appreciate YOU.
Start with an appreciation journal for yourself.
Write about things that you’ve done or experienced that light you up.
Record the praise and compliments you’ve received that reminded you how special you are.
Write I love you, all the time, no matter what…until it feels true for you.
Write about what you value about yourself. And what value you’ve added to someone’s life today.
Record dreams about how you want to add value to the world.
Remember to appreciate the little things we sometimes overlook…your beating heart, your breath, your life.
Practice looking at yourself with love.
When you gaze at your reflection in the mirror, instead of noticing those parts you want to
change, start taking note of the things you like. The more you focus on what you like, the easier it will be to love all of you.
And when you see the parts that you feel critical about, ask yourself how you can love these parts, too. Choose to appreciate something about every part of you.
For me, this is really powerful to love my belly. Even though I may be critical about my belly, when I stop and admire this space in my body that has nourished + been home to my two beautiful daughters, I can begin to appreciate my belly…and begin to love myself no matter what.
Nurture yourself like you would your own daughter.
Be the mama to you that you always dreamed of.
Let your self talk be kind + gentle + encouraging + hopeful + adoring + inspiring + loving.
Give yourself what you need to feel good + energized + cared for.
Listen to your body and nourish yourself with foods that help you feel vibrant.
Rest when you need it.
Let go of guilt.
Trust the process.
And believe that you deserve to feel happy. You are worth loving.
Truly, this self love journey is a practice. So let go of trying to be perfect. Let go of comparing yourself. Let go of feeling not enough.
Just begin right where you are.
Place one hand on your heart and your other on your belly.
Close your eyes and declare to yourself: I love you. All the time. No matter what. And just as you are.
Now is the perfect time.
And you are worth it.
Here’s to LOVE,
I’m Denise Dare :: Soulful Lifestyle Mentor to ambitious women craving more ease + freedom + love.
Through my writing, teaching + mentoring, I support daring dreamers ~like you~ to move forward with clarity, courage and confidence…guided by desire + fueled by passion to live the life of your dreams.
My mission is to inspire you to feel free to shine your light, to create more space for ease + joy + love in your life…and to feel your most soulful + sexy every step of the journey.
Join the love + happiness revolution: denisedare.com.