Hate. It’s such a strong and powerful word.
Have you thought it towards yourself at times? Not for doing something wrong, but for simply not being enough. Interesting enough. Thin enough. Popular enough. Clever enough. Successful enough.
Have you looked into the mirror and said, ‘ugh’?
Do you subconsciously criticised yourself? I’ve definitely had feelings of being embarrassed of being me in the company of ‘cooler’ people.
Have you heard of the idea that your thoughts create feelings? If this is true, have you wondered why these feelings of self-loathing and low self-esteem exist?
Being at peace within
I know that you try to avoid violence, whether it be physical or mental. But when it comes to violent, hatefully strong or berating words towards ourselves, even if we don’t say them out loud. We somehow feel it’s more acceptable, that it’s allowed.
Any violence, in any form, does damage.
But it’s not. So have a think when you have that mounting pile of self-doubt and lacking self-belief.
✗ If you believe you can’t succeed then you won’t ✗
✓ If you believe you can then you will ✓
Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.Henry Ford
It all begins in our own minds. You need to start believing in your own ability to succeed.
What about looking at your past achievements? Are you able to surround yourself with people who believe in you? Look at others on a similar path but who are ahead of you and succeeding, as they will give you the inspiration.
I was watching to a video with Abraham Hicks explaining about affirmations and mantras people use, and the biggest takeaway was we have to be in the right state of mind. We can’t just say what we think is appropriate.
We have to truly believe what we say.
Of course, it’s not always easy to love yourself. It’s so much easier to stick with old habits and pick holes in ourselves.
So, your question probably is, how do we begin to change your self-loathing to self love?
There is a fantastic book called Life Loves You where Louise Hay encourages you to do Mirror Work consistently for 21 days. I’ll talk more what mirror work is, but for now I can confirm it really works. Looking yourself in the eye and telling yourself that you’re worth it, is pretty confronting, undeniably intimidating, a little embarrassing too but with consistency it definitely makes a huge difference.
#1 Do small acts of kindness towards your body.
When was the last time you gave your body a break? Thought about how much it’s been through today? Or rather of being frustrated of the aches, could you could give your body some love? How about you:
✮ Take screen breaks from work.
✮ Take time to put moisturiser on before bed, pay attention to how it feels when you put it on your face, legs or arms, and how it smells.
✮ Have a soft blanket when you curl up to watch tv or read a book.
✮ Make yourself a bath with beautiful scented salts, light some candles and use some luxuriously smelling oil or moisturiser for afterwards.
Positive affirmations are positive phrases or statements that are repeated to encourage and uplift you when you say them.
They are always in the present tense and only include positive words. Say them to yourself with true conviction and only use the ones which resonate with you. Here are a couple of suggestions:
💚 I choose the thoughts that recognise my own true worth.
💚 I choose the thoughts that enable me to speak with love to myself and others.
💚 I speak up for myself, secure in my own true worth.
💚 I choose the thoughts that create a solid inner foundation.
💚 I choose the thoughts that express beauty and gratitude I lovingly declare to the world my self worth and my self esteem.
💚 I choose the thoughts that create a wonderful future and I move into it.
💚 I choose the thoughts that allow me to accept with love every part of my body.
💚 I love and appreciate my body.
💚 I love my bones, I am well structured and balanced. Every bone is important to me.
💚 I am at peace with my thoughts and emotions, I am at peace with those around me.
💚 I surround myself with positive people who will help bring the best out in me.
💚 I feel beautiful, I am beautiful.
💚 I have everything I need.
#3 Mirror work
Originally developed by Louise Hay, the main aim of mirror work is to develop self love, self-care, and a more meaningful relationship with others.
By simply looking into the mirror for a certain amount of time each day and gently talking to yourself, you can foster a more compassionate and forgiving connection with yourself.
But don’t get me wrong, it can also be very upsetting to do initially as all those suppressed emotions may come to the surface.
The real purpose of mirror work is to stop judging yourself and see who you really are. When you stick at mirror work, you get to see beautiful YOU in full awareness, without judging, criticising or comparing. You get to…become a true friend to yourself.Louise Hay
So how can we do mirror work? You can follow Louise Hay’s method in her book or slightly adapt it to you and your needs.
Here’s the practice broken down into stages for you.
✮ Commit to it daily. The most change is done when it’s consistently practised over a long period of time. Minimum 5 minutes, ideally 10 minutes. Why don’t you challenge yourself to do it every day for 21 days.
✮ Plan it into your routine. It’s a very flexible practice but equally by planning it in you can make sure you consistently do it. I like doing mirror work in the early morning and late at night before going to bed. But you can also do your mirror work during the day as you pass mirrors.
If you’re at work then you might consider seeking a private spot like the toilets. You can use your phone in the selfie camera mode to do this practice. Make it work around your schedule.
✮ Get comfortable. If you can sit in front of the mirror then perfect. Make sure you are comfortable when you go through this practice as it’ll make it easier for you to let down your guard.
✮ Hold your gaze. Start by making eye contact with yourself in the mirror. This may feel a bit off and slightly uncomfortable at first, but just roll with it. Hold your eye contact and send yourself love. If you feel like it then have a laugh; that’s okay. Be mindful of your breathe, don’t hold it, just let yourself be naturally relaxed.
✮ Say empowering affirmations out. Say them in your head or out loud, whilst looking yourself in the eyes. You can create your own or find some which resonate with you. Ultimately you want to say whatever makes you feel really good. They aren’t to sugarcoat how you feel. If you struggle to say to yourself ‘I love you’ in the mirror, then don’t! The point isn’t to pretend to be someone you’re not, the aim is to offer genuine love to yourself.
Think about compliments you’ve been wanting to hear from other people, think about including those too?
Don’t worry if any emotions come up, it’s okay and you are in a safe place.
There are thousands of affirmations out there, you may want to use your own name into them, as it’ll send a powerful message to your unconscious. Here are just a few you may like to use:
- I believe in myself
- I’m learning to love you [insert your name here]
- I’m willing to take care of you [insert your name here]
- I am open and receptive
- I am beautiful
- I am worthy of love
- I am enough
- I am exactly who I need to be in this moment
- I am fierce and strong
- I trust in my natural wisdom
- I love and accept you [insert your name here]
- I love how kind/thoughtful/caring/sincere/____ you are [insert your name here]
- I love and appreciate my body
- I love how unique my body is
- It’s okay for me to feel scared
- It’s okay for me to feel sad
- It’s okay for me to feel awkward
If an affirmation such as, I love and accept you, feels too difficult or hard, then focus on a milder affirmation. Try, I am learning to love and accept you, or I want to love and accept you more.
✮ Repeat the affirmations, but believe in them and say them with true conviction. Keep your gaze gently locked on yourself as you repeat your affirmation to yourself at least 10 times. Louise Hay recommends at least 100 times, that’s far too many when you start this mirror work.
The more you repeat your affirmation with sincerity, the deeper impact it will make. Start with a realistic number and stick with it, you can always increase the number of times you repeat it as you progress through your practice.
Try and notice your response every time you say the affirmations again.
Does your body react? What feelings are coming up? What about thoughts? Don’t worry over these things, they don’t have to be positive, just be aware of them and acknowledge that they are a part of this practice. It’s a way of any hidden thoughts and feelings we’ve had suppressed, for a long time, to come to the surface.
✮ Embrace any emotions that come up. It’s very likely that you feel emotional at some point during this practice. Because the old emotional pain you’ve locked away within you that has build up through the years, is bubbling to the surface.
Some of these emotions might come from your childhood, particularly if they are intense. If this is the case, then allow yourself to gently acknowledge it as you look at the mirror. You may wish to say some comforting words such as, It’s okay, I see you, I understand or I love how brave you are [insert name] or I’m here for you etc.
So it’s okay, it’s completely normal and okay if you get upset, if you are sad or cry. Let yourself cry if you need to, you are releasing old emotions. You might want to give yourself a hug, that’s okay too!
This is a practice without judgements so please, go easy on yourself.
The mirror wasn’t judging me; it was me who was judging me. Therefore, I didn’t need to be afraid of the mirror.Louise Hay
✮ Journal. Write down any experiences you’ve had during this practice – how did your body react, any thoughts or feelings. Did you feel tension around your heart, tightness in your face or softening around your eyes? Did you find yourself thinking, I can’t do this, or this isn’t working? Did you feel any happiness, sadness, hope or grief?
You don’t have to write it every day but try to record any notable experiences. You also don’t need to write long paragraphs, if that’s not your style, simply just write a sentence or two.
There aren’t any right answers on how you’ll feel through this practice, so just be honest with what you felt during this practice.
If you’ve given mirror work a go and didn’t feel much change or different afterwards, then don’t worry and be patient. Let your guard down when you do this, be willing to be vulnerable. No one is around to judge. If you allow it to impact you then this simple practice can be amazingly transformative.
Creating your own practice
If you want to create your own practice then here are some principles you might want to include:
- Make it a daily commitment.
- Do the mirror work in private so that you aren’t disturbed, or you’ll keep your guard up.
- Use affirmations that feel authentic and relatable to you.
- Know that it’s okay to feel emotional and cry. Accept and embrace whatever comes up.
- Keep a journal, you might want it as reassurance or to record any important experiences.
The dark moments may still appear, but keep with it and believe in your self love. Remember that you are the only thinker in your mind, no-one else or thing has a power over you.
Look after yourself and try to find your peace within,