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Your Guide to Starting a Solid Radical Self-Love Practice That Will Last a Lifetime (You’re going to want to bookmark this!)
Radical self-love is your birthright. Having it means feeling unconditional love for yourself. And with it, you will have the confidence to live in your truth, go after your dreams, and have the freedom and inner peace to spread deep love and compassion to others.
Unfortunately, we live in a society where we’re constantly ambushed by marketing and media that plays on our insecurities. Plus, most of us are working through personal stress and trauma. So, the idea of practicing radical self-love can feel like a farfetched fantasy.
If you've read this far, you know it doesn't have to be that way.
There are ways you can practice radical self-love and experience the freedom and inner peace that come with it.
The tips I'm sharing in the article are from my own journey. So, feel free to customize them to fit your personality and lifestyle. You're the boss!
What Does Radical Self-Love Look Like?
Working on yourself makes you see yourself with a new set of eyes. It brings out more compassion for your experiences and helps you to feel proud of your accomplishments.
It's the same way we become emotionally attached to projects we've spent a large amount of time on. Like for me, I say that my business is my baby and that my books are my heart.
It's very similar when we make healing ourselves a lifelong project. That's the first step to practicing radical self-love. You have to be willing to connect and communicate with the darkest parts of yourself.
Don't get me wrong, I’m all for self-care days when you sip wine, paint your nails, and give yourself a facial. They're my jam!
But that's not radical self-love. Our souls crave inner work that goes beyond feeling good about the way we look.
We have to penetrate our deepest layers in order to pull out the trauma and pain that has shaped our lives.
No matter what your dream is, your radical self-love journey will help you manifest it. Because when you’re doing the work, you’re clearing the limiting beliefs, imposter syndrome, feelings of unworthiness, and fears that have been holding you back.
This is how it's done:
Shadow Work Journaling
You can’t start a journey to radical self-love without shadow work. Think about it this way, would you want to see someone you love being weighed down by problems from their past?
What would you say if your bestie told you they weren’t taking steps toward their dreams because their abusive mother told them they were stupid as a child and now they think they aren’t good enough?
You have to want to face your demons, purge your negative emotions, and cry until you’re exhausted in order to cleanse and give yourself a new beginning where radical self-love is your new normal.
My favorite way to purge and address my trauma (and believe me there has been a lot!) is through shadow work journaling.
I share quite a bit of information about my shadow work journaling techniques here using money wounds and financial trauma as examples. The advice in the article can be applied to other types of trauma though.
Commit to Facing Your Fears
You’ve got to be willing to look your fears in the eye and fight them to the death because whoever wins has control over your life.
Think about it, fear usually keeps us stuck in a comfort zone where we feel safe. But the safety is really imprisonment and comfort zones only keep us from growing and truly experiencing life.
If you aren’t living life to the fullest and doing things that bring you joy and help you grow, you aren’t practicing radical self-love.
The more you love yourself, the less tolerance you’ll have for shrinking yourself and hiding behind the walls of your comfort zone.
Actually, you’ll end up feeling disgusted by the thought of some silly fear keeping you from taking steps toward your dreams. I know because I’ve been there.
I’m still there.
I grow and transform a little bit more every day and I am extremely proud of that. I shared some insight and journal prompts in this post last week to help you leave your comfort zone for good.
Let Go of People Pleasing and Trust Yourself Instead
This radical self-love tip goes hand in hand with the previous one.
Winning those battles with your fears helps you to see how strong you are and with that, you will soften into trusting yourself.
It’s sort of like that feeling when a friend gives you a shoulder to cry on while reminding you how special you are after your heart’s been broken. You expose yourself and your vulnerabilities in moments like those in order to feed off of the strength, love, and compassion of another person.
And while you probably feel like you’re at you’re weakest, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and open is a sign of strength and courage.
But the feeling afterward is what's really important to my point here. Your bond with that friend is strengthened and you trust them more for giving you a safe place to fall apart and grow.
Well, when you're doing this work, you become that friend to yourself.
And because you proved your ability to be strong enough to defeat things that were meant to break you, you will begin to trust yourself more and the opinions and judgments of others less.
Thus, putting yourself on the track to do some badass things. So, do it! No matter where you are in your healing journey, start implementing self-trust now!
Drop Your Obsession with Perfectionism and Other People’s Opinions
If you've been doing the work with my first few points, you've seen proof that you aren't perfect. Have you started to fall in love with your "imperfections" yet?
Have you found beauty in your darkness?
It's time to start looking for those things and stop your obsession with trying to be perfect. Stop trying to be someone who everybody loves and accepts.
It's not possible to do. Why wear yourself out trying to do something that isn't meant to be?
Remember that radical self-love is an unconditional, accepting love. This includes not stressing yourself out to be perfect.
If you felt cute in the pic, post it without a bunch of filters and edits!
If you want to try writing a poem for the first time, pick up a pen and see what happens!
Taking imperfect action is the place where you learn and grow. Journaling is Self-Care LLC started as an Etsy store where I sold journals.
I didn't have any graphic design experience or training to create my journals. I'm a self-taught graphic designer. I still haven't taken a single course.
But when I look at the way I design now versus when I started, I can see how much I've grown in the year since I launched my business.
And let's not get into the gazillion mistakes I made and things I learned from running the business in general.
Taking imperfect action and not focusing on other people's opinions helps you to learn from the school of life.
Experience really does end up being your greatest teacher.
Because experience doesn't give a damn about perfectionism. It just focuses on getting things done.
You will never just find your perfect path. You have to pave it.
Make Learning About Yourself a Priority
Before my spiritual awakening and long before my journey to radical self-love begun, I did everything possible to numb myself so that I couldn’t feel or even remember my pain and trauma. Now, I can’t stop digging deeper and deeper to learn more about myself.
Meditation and journaling have been extremely helpful in my process of trying to figure out who I really am and what makes me feel whole.
And after realizing my 20's were all about booze and boys, I chose to be sober and celibate (Two things I never thought I'd do!) during the month I turned 30 in July of 2020.
And for the first time in a long time, I felt ALL of my emotions and had to face an army of my fears and demons.
It was a pretty intense and necessary road to self-discovery and gaining that self-trust we talked about earlier.
But in addition to exploring my own mind and emotions, I have found empowerment, inspiration, and a ton of knowledge about myself by opening my mind to new ideas and relating to other people’s stories.
Right now, I am reading “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. This book about how our brains, minds, and bodies react to and heal from trauma was recommended to me by my therapist last week.
And while I’m only on the second chapter, It has already helped me to understand that certain behaviors and thoughts I always felt insecure about were actually responses to the trauma I’ve endured.
When you are able to relate in this way, it helps you to feel less alone on your journey. It helps you to cultivate patience and compassion with yourself while you’re learning to heal too.
There has been a wide range of books that have helped me along the way. I’ll list a few more below.
“The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer
Reading "The Untethered Soul" helped me to quiet the negative voices in my mind and leave my comfort zone. It also helped me to identify triggers that have kept me stuck and triggers that fueled my depressive cycles. I’ve read it twice.
“Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes
"Year of Yes" was extremely empowering and inspirational for me. Shonda Rhimes became an amazingly wise, sassy, relatable older sister (in my head) as I flipped through this book’s pages.
If you need help accepting your “flaws” and giving yourself permission to speak up, stop shrinking, and live your life on your own terms, this is the one! I really need this beautiful queen to write more books!
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki
I didn’t realize I had money wounds that needed healing before I read this book. I didn’t know that I was financially illiterate either. “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is the first financial book I ever read; and a genre I never thought I’d pick up, but I have a collection of books about money now.
I started my journey into investing and started multiple streams of income as a result of reading this.
“My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.
The author, of "My Stroke of Insight" is a brain scientist who had a massive stroke when she was just 37. She lost her ability to do the things we take for granted like reading, writing, walking, and simply having memories.
In “My Stroke of Insight,” she explains her experience of having the stroke, shares some fascinating facts about the brain, and includes some beautiful life lessons.
This heartwarming book taught me to have more patience and compassion for strangers, a fun way to combat negative self-talk, and it explored the human brain and spirituality and a fascinating way that left me in awe. It 100% spoke to my inner nerd!
Keep a Self-Love Journal to Track Your Journey and Your Progress
With journaling, you can get to know yourself, vent your frustrations and clear your mind, practice gratitude, do the shadow work we discussed earlier, and a whole lot of other things!
My journal has been my safe place since I was a little girl. And even if you aren't an avid journaler, I encourage you to at least try it out when you're on any kind of life-changing journey.
You will gain so much confidence and power just from journaling to track and celebrate yourself while you're practicing radical self-love.
Plus, you can look back on the lessons you learned and create something with it that helps other people. I literally built my business around it!
And on that note, if you're looking for an inspirational journal that gives you all the self-love vibes. Take a look at these!
Give Your Body What it Needs
For me, giving my body what it needs means feeding it healthy foods, yet enjoying a cheat meal when I'm craving it, doing yoga and practicing mindful breathing, breaking into random bouts of dancing, working out, resting, and taking good care of my hair and skin.
Giving your body what it needs isn't about depriving or punishing yourself. It's about finding ways that you can enjoy both nourishment and pleasure.
Reframe your way of thinking. They can coexist. So can good health and fun. Find the right balance for yourself.
Use Affirmations That Inspire Self-Love and Confidence
Affirmations are one of my favorite tools to reframe my thoughts and replace negative beliefs with positive ones.
I’ve been reciting the affirmation I’m about to share with you to myself every day for a week now. I repeat it in my mind every morning when I first wake up and it helps to motivate me and bring me into my day.
I also repeat it when I’m feeling impatient with myself or when feelings of self-doubt come up.
It reminds me that I am a strong, gifted woman and it makes me feel empowered. I’ve felt more inspired and confident in the week since I’ve started using it too.
So, I’m going to share it with you today with hopes that it will give you your own version of juicy self-love vibes and empowerment.
My New Favorite Affirmation for Self-Love
I am more than good enough. I am beyond special. I am far more powerful than anyone has ever given me credit for.
If you want to learn more about affirmations, read "The Best Affirmations for Woman, Plus How to Create and Use Your Own" once you’re finished here. I’m walking you through everything you need to know in that article.
Acknowledge All of the Incredible Things You Do and Practice Gratitude
There are articles explaining the benefits of gratitude journaling all over the internet. Well, radical self-love tip is the same as that, except you're turning your gratitude inward.
We're not allowing other people to use us and take us for granted anymore. And we're damn sure not accepting that behavior from ourselves.
When you're writing gratitude lists about the beautiful things you have and appreciate in your life, add some things that you appreciate about yourself too.
For example, I'm grateful to myself every Sunday for prepping healthy meals and snacks for me to eat throughout the week.
While you're practicing radical-self love, you will be faced with many challenges. You will have to figure out how to navigate through fears and traumas that you didn't even know you had buried deep within you.
You might feel like you're losing yourself and you'll have bouts of emotional exhaustion. Trust me, I know. This is your chance to truly free yourself and life your life by your own rules though.
In "The Untethered Soul," Michael A. Singer wrote that "One of the essential requirements for true spiritual grown and deep personal transformation is coming to peace with pain. No expansion or evolution can take place without change, and periods of change are not always comfortable."
And I totally agree.
But like I said, radical self-love is your birthright. Claim what's yours.