A fashionable woman and wellness blogger Valerie Alvarez stands against a vibrant yellow wall on a street in Oaxaca, her casual chic style complementing the rustic charm of the city.

Discovering Self-Love: Journey to Inner Well-Being

Transformative Techniques to Nourish the Soul and Embrace Your True Self

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Ever wondered why we’re often our own worst critic? Just like how a plant requires sunlight, water, and nurturing to grow, we too need love, especially from ourselves. Dive deep with me as we explore the transformative ways to practice self-love.

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Embarking on a journey of self-love is an ever-evolving path. It’s not always an easy road, but it’s worth every step.

The Essence of Self-Love

Did you know how you feel about yourself plays a monumental role in your life? Yet, many people forget to give themselves the same love they readily offer to others. Sound familiar? Let’s embark on this journey together.

I believe that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself, and I also believe that we attract what we truly need in our lives, so reading this means that you are on your way to having compassion. The greatest relationship starts with being comfortable with yourself before extending to others.

Our internal dialogue reacts with every cell in our body, absorbing the energy of our thoughts and ideas. We must eliminate the cause of our negative internal dialogue, for what we think about life becomes true. Nourishing yourself from the inside and out is a form of self-love. Here are my life-changing ways to practice self-love.

The Myth of Selfishness

Have you ever thought practicing self-love is selfish? Think again! Self-love isn’t about being self-centered or a narcissistic. It’s about understanding your worth and caring for your well-being. It’s like putting on an oxygen mask in an airplane before helping others, right?

Benefits of Loving Yourself

When you pour love into yourself, the world responds in kind. You become more confident, resilient, and open to opportunities. Plus, self-love reduces stress and boosts happiness. Isn’t that what we all yearn for?

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Techniques to Cultivate Self-Love

Eliminate The Negative Internal Dialogue

Our internal dialogue reacts with every cell in our body, absorbing the energy of our thoughts and ideas. We need to remove the cause of our negative internal dialogue because what we think about life becomes real for us. If your mother didn’t know how to love herself, or if your father did not know how to be gentle and kind, there is no way they could have taught you anything different. We are all victims of victims. We can, however, start today to change our thought patterns and processes and think more positively. In turn, our bodies and minds will feel different.

Mindfulness & Meditation

Have you ever tried sitting still and focusing on your breath? This simple act can help you connect deeply with yourself. Through meditation, you develop awareness and acceptance, two pillars of self-love.

I’m not sure about you, but growing up I was very uncomfortable in my skin. I avoided people. I wasn’t confident to go out into the world and have a social life. This meant I didn’t have many friends. I also didn’t go on many dates.

Instead, I isolated myself from the world and everyone in it because I didn’t love myself and I didn’t believe other people would like me. This couldn’t go on forever so I decided to change my life. First, I had to be comfortable in my skin.  I had to enjoy being with my thoughts. So, I turned to meditation.

Meditation allowed me to realize that I am NOT my thoughts. I’m the ‘awareness’ observing my thoughts. This key discovery allowed me to build up my self-esteem slowly.

As I became more consistent with my meditation practice, I explored different tools to help me progress faster.

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Get Intune With Your Present Feelings and Moods

Tuning into our innermost feelings and moods is a transformative step toward self-awareness and well-being. During my early days of self-exploration, I often felt adrift in a sea of emotions without truly understanding what was stirring beneath the surface.

However, with time, I realized the significance of tapping into my internal dialogue. I could discern patterns and emotional triggers by listening to my inner thoughts at various moments in the day. It felt like reading an intimate diary that no one but my inner self had written.

The thoughts, often fleeting and easy to dismiss, held profound insights into my mental state, reflecting feelings of joy, worry, cheerfulness, or even anxiety. I made it a daily practice to jot down these emotional shifts, and I advise you to do the same. Setting aside a few moments, multiple times a day, to write down your feelings can serve as a grounding technique. It’s not just about identifying emotions but truly understanding them.

This daily ritual becomes a mirror to your soul, offering both clarity and a deeper connection with your true self. So, the next time you feel a wave of emotion, pause, breathe, and check in with yourself. Embrace this journey of self-awareness, and you’ll be amazed at the transformation it brings.

If you have difficulty identifying and putting your finger exactly on your feelings, pay close attention to your internal dialogue and notice your inner thoughts at different times throughout the day. What are they expressing to you?

Pay attention to your moods, too. Write down both your feelings. Are you feeling worry, anger, joy, happiness? Feeling irritable, anxious, cheerful? Try doing this several times a day. It’s a way to check in with yourself.

Be Compassionate With Yourself

In my self-love journey, I’ve learned that self-compassion is truly transformative. There was a time when I constantly belittled myself, caught in a loop of self-doubt and criticism, which only intensified feelings of self-hatred and resentment. These emotions would often spiral, affecting my mental health, relationships, and day-to-day life.

Understanding, acknowledging, and being gentle with myself became my lifeline. This compassion and gentleness allowed me to break free from the debilitating cycles of self-hatred and anger, replacing them with healing and growth. I realized that embracing self-approval and self-acceptance in the here and now is crucial to making meaningful and positive changes in our future.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism, being overly critical of our actions or inactions. I often contemplated past mistakes, wishing I had done things differently. But the truth is, neither you, me, nor anyone else is perfect. Every individual and every situation has its own set of imperfections. Recognizing this, I began to release my past, letting go of grudges and regrets. An invaluable piece of advice I can offer is to embrace forgiveness, especially towards oneself.

Releasing the past, letting go of our baggage, and forgiving ourselves is cathartic and essential for our mental and emotional well-being. So, the next time you find yourself trapped in a spiral of self-criticism, remember to be compassionate. Give yourself the same kindness and understanding you’d offer a dear friend.

Keep Things Light and Playful

I’ve discovered the immense power of maintaining a light and playful spirit, regardless of the pressures and demands of daily life. It’s easy to become bogged down by responsibilities and lose touch with that inner child who once thrived on pure joy and curiosity.

One of the practices I’ve adopted is consciously factoring in playtime into my daily routine. Trust me, a splash of playfulness keeps you feeling young at heart and rekindles those invaluable moments of childlike innocence and unbridled joy. I remember being so focused on my routine that even walking my dog became another task on the checklist.

Then, one day, I played with him instead of our usual brisk walk – and it was transformative! The laughter, the pure happiness, reminded me of the importance of these simple moments. I also began incorporating other joyful activities into my day: singing my heart out in the shower, trying out new hobbies without the pressure of perfection, and immersing myself in creative projects just for the sheer joy of the process, rather than obsessing over the result.

Let go, be present, and let yourself experience joy without judgment. Embrace the process and watch your life transform with these pockets of happiness.

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Daily movement is a commitment I hold to myself, like daily walks in nature or a class at my favorite fitness studio, BeatCore in Madrid.

The Value of Holding True to Your Commitments and Goals

In my early years, I was frequently caught in the trap of setting goals and then letting them fade away. The excitement of a new project or ambition would often wane, overshadowed by the hustle of daily life or the allure of a new venture.

However, over time, I realized that a small part of my self-worth chipped away every time I gave up on a commitment or goal. It was a painful realization, understanding that the pattern wasn’t just about the goals and how I perceived my value.

By sticking to the commitments and goals I set for myself, I wasn’t just completing a task; I was sending a powerful message to my inner self, affirming that I was worth the effort and time. It became a form of self-love. Demonstrating dedication to our aspirations showcases that we value ourselves enough to see them through. It’s a profound gesture of self-respect.

So, I advise you: every time you think about sidelining a commitment or goal, remind yourself of the deeper message you’re sending to your heart and soul. Embrace the challenges, remain steadfast in your pursuits, and remember – you are worth every dream and goal you’ve set for yourself.

The Trap of Comparison: Finding Your Unique Spark

In my journey, I’ve realized that one of the most crippling behaviors many of us, especially females, indulge in is the constant comparison with others. We live in a digital age, and platforms like Instagram have magnified this behavior. Scrolling through perfectly curated photos can make even the most confident among us feel a pang of inadequacy. I remember a period in my life when I would endlessly compare my achievements, looks, and even my daily life to those of other women. It was mentally exhausting and robbed me of joy.

However, with time and introspection, I understood that we have a unique path, with distinct talents, stories, and expressions. Drawing parallels is unfair to ourselves and belittles the essence of our individuality. With all your quirks and experiences, you are irreplaceable and bring something special to the world. Embrace it!

Instead of looking outward and measuring your worth against others, focus inward. Track your growth by reflecting on your journey. Think about the challenges you’ve overcome, the lessons learned, and how far you’ve come.

My advice? If you ever want to compare, benchmark yourself against your past self. Celebrate your self-evolution, and remember that your journey is as unique as your fingerprint. Don’t let the allure of someone else’s highlight reel dim your radiant light.

Ready to create a life where you flourish and thrive?

Embarking on a journey of self-love is an ever-evolving path. It’s not always an easy road but worth every step. Clearly, you’re committed to cultivating a more nurturing relationship with yourself, and that’s commendable. Yet, we all have moments of uncertainty where we can benefit from a guiding hand. As your wellness coach, I aim to support high achievers like you in harmonizing life’s demands with your innermost desires. Through daily routines and sustainable self-care practices, we can jointly pave a path to a more fulfilling life. If you’ve resonated with these life-changing practices of self-love and feel a nudge towards further exploration, I invite you to schedule a consultation or join my 6-week coaching program. Let’s uncover your potential, align your lifestyle with genuine well-being, and create a life where you flourish and thrive. Ready to leap into a more harmonized self? Let’s start this transformative journey together.

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This article was first published in February 2017 and updated by our editors in October 2023.

Hi, I’m Valerie!

I'm an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), offering guidance to high achievers in aligning their lifestyle with well-being through daily wellness and self-care routines, promoting balance and harmony. Join me at Wellness Bum for tips on living well, and consider subscribing to my newsletter or booking a coaching session.