Have you ever read a social media post from a life coach about self-love without knowing how to act on it? While more of us are becoming aware of the innumerable health benefits of investing in ourselves, the process may be more complex than we realize. It’s not simply about ordering take-out on the weekends. It goes deep into your subconscious and the bad mental habits you may have gotten stuck into.
Jessica Armstrong, a certified life coach specializing in helping people get unstuck and find their purpose, explains what it means to love yourself sustainably: “Sustainable self-love is being able to connect to yourself to the point where it becomes authentic and organic,” she says. “Achieving that will make self-love readily available to you.”
Valuing yourself is crucial for leading a happy and fulfilling life, yet many people can’t free themselves from negative self-talk. Some may feel they don’t deserve love or have difficulty finding it, while others may feel their achievements determine their worth. But self-love is attainable for everybody and finding it will help you make better decisions and feel more confident. Jessica shares her tips:
1. Create awareness
It may seem backward, but the first step to sustaining self-love is figuring out when you feel it and when you don’t. Often, there’s a blockage in your mind preventing you from loving yourself in different situations. Understanding the disconnect is key to discovering which patterns and habits no longer work for you.
Once you’ve identified those patterns, adjust them to become more productive. Turning unhelpful moments into healthy habits (or ‘survival patterns’) can strengthen your mindset for all the larger changes you’ll make later.
You can achieve awareness by journaling, which involves writing down how you currently see yourself and how you would like to see yourself in the future. This exercise helps you become more conscious of your relationship with yourself and your needs. Your aim is to find out where you feel self-love, where you don’t, and why.
2. Find acceptance
Don’t feel daunted if you’ve uncovered a lot about your relationship with yourself. After creating awareness, the next step is to be okay with your previous state of mind. It doesn’t define you.
“You can’t know what you didn’t know,” Jessica says. “In other words, you weren’t aware of how you should’ve been feeling, so you shouldn’t feel bad about not loving yourself enough in the past. You’re here, you can, and you’re going to.”
If you accept these truths, you can tackle any heavy thoughts and emotions from now on. Acceptance is critical for developing sustainable self-love. But, now you understand where you were going wrong, it’s time to make a change.
3. Notice and recognize self-love
Hopefully, through awareness and acceptance, you’re ready to go forward with a positive mindset. Once you’re familiar with where you should be, there’s no going back. The final, arguably most crucial step is developing practices that keep you loving yourself long-term.
The life coach has developed different mindset tools to help her clients flip their focus from negative to positive. Though different methods work for different people, Jessica recommends using a T-Chart to write down your self-limiting thoughts. Then, you can ask yourself if you genuinely believe in them, which can bring positivity out of negativity. Exercises like these help you connect with yourself and provide a tool you can use whenever you need it.
“For instance, if you find yourself saying, ‘I can’t do this,’ flip it into ‘I can do this,’” Jessica explains. “Interrupt that connection, focus on how you feel, and change your self-talk.”
Sustaining self-love requires practice and patience, but it is achievable. Life coaches like Jessica believe that self-love is an infinite source, always available and with us all the time. We should all try to tap into it regularly to sustain it throughout life’s ups and downs.
“Unconditional self-love is the highest vibration that we can have, and it knows how our bodies operate,” she says. “It’s crucial for us to have that ability within ourselves to show up, be our true selves, and have forward motion. Without self-love, challenges can break us down to the point where we can’t move forward.”
Developing a sustainable self-love practice is vital to our happiness and well-being. It requires awareness of our current state, acceptance of our setbacks, and practicing positive self-talk. Jessica Armstrong’s three steps, inspired by her personal experience as a life coach, are a great starting point. Remember that self-love is infinite; you can tap into it whenever you need it if you know how.
- Creating awareness where the blockage comes from
- When do I feel disconnected?
- When do I feel connected?
- External experiences, who is involved?
- Discover what patterns are not working (pattern recognition, pattern creation, pattern optimization)
- Survival Patterns: develop healthy habits that are doable during the day to keep the mindset strong
- Identify what habits do not serve you / are no longer working for you
- Go to: shame, saying negative things about myself
- “She can’t know what she didn’t know’
- I wasn’t aware that I don’t have to feel that way.
- It doesn’t define me
- Being able to handle the heavy emotions/ thoughts that come with the awareness part
- Using the correct tools to handle your emotions
- Noticing and recognizing self-love
- Sustainable integration through building the mindset fundamentals
- Now you can notice the red flags/ warning signs
- Now you do have the tools
- Now you have awareness and acceptance
- Now you know how to flip negative to positive through the correct tools
- g. tea chart (write down all negative beliefs on one side, other side: is this true? Turn the limiting beliefs into positive beliefs)
- Through awareness + tools, you are able to sustain self-love much better