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March may come in like a lion, but there’s no time like the present to start treating yourself as gently as a lamb. Making changes to the things we do can have a powerful impact on our lives, but we mustn’t forget to apply this same process to how we think – especially when it comes to how we think about ourselves.
Dr.Wayne Dyer once wrote:
“What you fight weakens you; what you cooperate with strengthens you.”
Do you find yourself struggling against your thoughts? For me, a lifelong battle with self-worth led to many a day where my own mind was my biggest obstacle. Despite how hard I was on myself, I knew a successful shift in my perspective would open the floodgates and release a slew of other positive changes into my life. I tirelessly recited mantras, journaled, and meditated, but nothing I tried was enough to catalyze the big change.
Until last year. After another long morning of journaling, I adopted a simple yet powerful practice. To try it, you need:
- A pen that you love writing with,
- Slips of special paper that you love writing on,
- A transparent vessel placed somewhere you’ll walk by several times a day,
- And a willingness to commit to a one-minute daily ritual.
On that paper, using that pen, write down one thing that you love about yourself and place it into the jar.
It sounds so easy, but if you struggle with self-worth, suddenly ‘love’ might feel like too strong a word. Is what you’re writing meaningful enough to love? Do you really embody what you wrote down, or are you just an impostor? These were some of the doubts that clouded my mind during the early weeks of this practice.
Don’t let these clouds weigh you down. Picture writing your self-love sentence as a way to bring in the sun. A daily declaration of self-love
is a powerful catalyst. The longer it’s practiced, the more it can chip away at negative thought patterns and seed healthier ones. Early on, when I couldn’t bring myself to write, “I love,” I wrote, “I’m grateful to myself for,” instead. Now, a few months in, I’m able stick to love and I second guess the validity my self-love sentences less and less.
Anything you love about yourself is fair game. One day I simply wrote, “I love my earnest, innocent face.” Another day I was more specific, “I love that I made it through a rough morning at work yesterday without panicking or feeling attacked, and without taking failure into myself.” Trust your gut, use this exercise to celebrate all areas of your life, and don’t forget to challenge yourself! Sentences of love about the parts of ourselves that make us feel the most vulnerable are steps toward new understanding and appreciation.
The act of writing these declarations down (instead of just thinking or speaking them), gives each sentiment greater clarity and focus. It transforms complex experiences and feelings that live in the ether of your mind into concise, concrete words that you can see. Each sentence also becomes a gift that keeps on giving, if you take the time to return to them. At the end of each month, why not treat yourself to a mini-retreat and revisit your declarations of love? When you do this, choose a location that’s private where you feel comfortable and secure, so you can boldly speak your favorites aloud for the universe to hear. Or, to maximize the opportunity to transform your thinking, read the ones aloud that you’re still having trouble believing in order to reinforce their truth.
After a month has gone by, what you do with these declarations of self-love is up to you. You can release them in gratitude by recycling them, or by burning them in a ceremonial fire. Or, keep all of your monthly declarations until the end of the calendar year to have a amazing self-love celebration! If you decide to frame your favorites, consider adding images that spark joy inside of you to your collage.
I love myself for sharing this practice with you! I hope you love it, too.
You can listen to an audio version of this article here – Enjoy