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Today’s theme seems to be love.

This morning, I met a friend for a walk around his neighborhood. I love early morning walks for many reasons. Being out in the cooler weather, beating Chicago rush hour traffic, getting my 10,000 steps in are just some of those reasons. After my walk, my meditation centered around love as well. Specifically, the centering thought of the Chopra meditation I followed was “The source of love is here in me.”

Many of us look to other people and things to find love in our lives, while we ignore ourselves in the process. Self love seems indulgent or undeserved. I know this first hand. But, I also know that I have much more love to give now that I practice self love regularly. Call it “filling your own cup” or “putting your own oxygen mask on before helping others” or some other metaphor…

I struggled with self love for many years. Honestly, I didn’t even know I was struggling with it. I didn’t even know that it was a thing. I did, however, recognize that there was something missing in my life and I couldn’t find it in my relationships with others.

This lack manifested itself as a warped body image, as intense self criticism, as shame, and as a whole bunch of other negative stuff. I was just too busy doing stuff, living, to take the time to investigate what it was that I was missing.

One day, my coach asked me how I could practice self love. I allowed myself to think about it and came up with a silly little practice of winking at myself in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. At first it felt weird, of course. But, I forced myself to do it every day and kept it as my little secret. Over time, I started seeing a different, a happier person in the mirror. Because it made such a difference in my life, I started sharing this practice with my friends. I was overwhelmed with the positive feedback I received from those who took on the same practice. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who needed it. Who knew?

What is self love to you and how, if at all, do you practice it?

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