Love, Self

How To Truly Love Yourself — And Change Your Entire Life

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How To Love Yourself, Be Happy & Practice True Self-Care

If you knew what true self-love could do for you, you'd already have learned how to love yourself long ago.

To be clear, self-care is not the same thing as self-love.

The definition of self-love is simply, "love of self," whereas self-care is defined as, "the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress."

I love self-care, too. It’s an essential way to show love for yourself. So by all means, keep caring for yourself! If you have not been taking good care of yourself, you need to make the conscious practice of self-care a priority.

And if you’ve been lacking in self-love, it may be that you need a good dose of self-care in order to heal the pain that's been keeping you from truly being open to loving yourself.

RELATED: 6 Signs You Love Yourself Enough To Love Someone Else

True self-love isn't a part-time job.

When you only love part, or even half, of yourself, then what about the rest of you — the other parts, the other half? How do they get in your way of living a fulfilled life that's aligned with your deepest truth?

True self-love is several steps wider and many steps deeper than self-care. Once you feel it, you can no longer leave any part of yourself out.

True self-love soothes the ache that lives in your soul — the deep yearning for your original state of oneness with your Self as the Divine.

Self-love can heal the split in your soul caused by all the parts of yourself you’ve disowned, judged, shamed or compromised.

It can connect you back to wholeness and oneness with the Divine, so you can receive the fruits of fulfillment from the inside out.

One way to do this is with a soul massage.

It’s different from a regular body massage and may need a little introduction.

I’m all for massages, especially when you are aching or need help relaxing. I love them as much as anyone. However, this question remains: “Is it enough?”

Does a massage reach the depth of the ache that lives in your soul from compromising your truth, your values, and your wisdom? How will you soothe and love the compromised parts that weren’t touched by the massage? Have you asked these parts what they need in order to find their true expression in this world, no matter what anyone else says?

This is what the deepest self-love is about: liberating your true Self — your soul — from the confines of compromise, sameness and trying to fit in.

Unless you also address the deeper tension in your soul, could a regular massage be just another way to ignore her signs to reach you, in the hopes they’ll go away? Could a body massage be like giving an ice cream to a child hoping it will stop the crying?

True self-love is soul love. It’s honoring and loving who you are at the core and opening up a way for your soul to come alive again.

That’s why a regular massage can’t make this deep tension go away, and won’t stop your inner "child" from crying. They are signs to help you turn back to your soul.

Your soul has a different agenda than compromising, fitting in and pleasing others. Your soul is on a different mission, and it’s not going to let you go. It’s your soul that you are longing for, which is why your search for peace and fulfillment can’t stop until you reconnect with your soul.

Self-love is about how you treat yourself, honor your values, listen to your needs and longings, and live in alignment with the promptings of your soul.

That, to me, is a soul massage, because it reaches the place that aches for Divine fulfillment and unique expression. It opens the door for your true Self to step out.

Many people judge themselves, don’t like themselves, or doubt themselves, all while thinking they just needed to change, fix something, or get rid of "this one little thing" about themselves they don't like.

They are not aware that this behavior is exactly what's standing in the way of what they want or hope for.

RELATED: 20 Easy Ways To Be Good To Yourself Today

Trying to get rid of something you don’t like is a common practice that may work in some areas of your like, but in most, it won’t.

You can’t get rid of anything, really, because there’s nowhere for it to go. You can move it around, suppress it, ship it across the oceans, and project it onto someone else. But getting rid of it?

Where do you think the impact of your self-neglect and criticism could go if you try to get rid of it? Out of sight, out of mind?

More likely it will be out of sight, but still trapped in your body!

In order to transform and heal this hidden pain, you must learn how to love yourself.

When you stop trying to change, judge, or get rid of parts of yourself, you can transform and change the energy into something more sustainable and enjoyable.

So if you want to learn how to love yourself, please stop trying to get rid of any part of yourself. It’s not loving and it doesn’t work in the long run. It’s not sustainable.

Self-love, however, is.

Every single little part of you that is afraid, angry, sad, lonely, unhappy or ashamed is lacking one thing. This one thing will make every single little part feel safe, happy, relaxed, connected and confident.

This one thing is love. Every single part of you needs love.

Everything thrives on love, and nothing survives without it, but knowing this is not enough.

You need to know how to start loving yourself. You need practical steps that will help you learn this new skill, which means being willing to do the opposite of what the whole world is doing.

That takes some courage and a big dose of commitment because:

  • Going against the stream is not easy if you feel alone and unsupported. I’ve done plenty of it myself and have learned it’s so much easier and more fulfilling to walk it with someone who’s walked the path before you and knows how to support you. Lack of self-love would make you believe you need to be able to do it all on your own. Love says: “Don’t you believe that!”
  • You’re going to feel different than everyone else, because you’ll step out of an old paradigm that needs you to be like them. Be willing and resolved in your commitment to love yourself and stand out as different. I know it will look good on you, but others may not like it.
  • Making a sharp U-turn like that is going against a strong, familiar momentum. You may feel exhausted or discouraged when things don’t flow in the beginning. But if you don’t know how to stay connected to your commitment, you’ll soon run out of energy.
  • Old patterns don’t just disappear or go away; they need to be transformed. Be gentle with yourself if you find old patterns coming up again. They're all you have known up until know, and it takes time to transform your energy and learn new ways.

Despite these hurdles, once you have courage and commitment, you are ready to practice true self-love — and you will succeed.

Here's how to love yourself fully by taking these 9 proactive steps.

1. Make a commitment.

How deeply do you yearn for a soul massage? Choose to dive into this yearning in your heart and be nourished and strengthened by it on a daily basis.

This simple, self-love practice is more important that you can imagine. It’s what will keep you moving forward, especially when you run into challenges.

2. Give yourself permission to become a ‘new you.’

Be brave and willing to stand out as someone who wants to stop the momentum of compromise, pleasing others and ignoring your own needs.

Get support in this resolve and find some self-love buddies to walk this new path with, so you don’t walk it alone. It’s very loving to yourself to find the right support.

RELATED: 20 Easy Ways To Be Good To Yourself Today

3. Slow down.

Take time to become aware of one area in your life where you keep compromising yourself and ignoring your own truth.

What if you choose to stop that behavior for just one day, and instead get curious about what matters to you for once? Have your self-love buddies root for you, so it’s not so scary.

4. Tune in to your soul.

Listen deeply to the ache in your soul of how painful it has been to be ignored all this time, all while your soul knows exactly what will make you happy.

Listen deeply, listen with love, listen with an open heart and take it seriously. Share it with your self-love buddies, so you can celebrate what you hear.

5. Show yourself love.

Give this ache a soul massage with your loving words and caring attention.

Say something like: “I am so sorry I’ve ignored you for so long. No wonder you are angry. No wonder a massage (or a drink, a workout, a candy bar) can only cover up your attempts to get my attention. I am so sorry. Please talk to me. I am finally willing to listen.”

Share it with your self-love buddies, so they can add other loving ‘moves’ to this massage.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why It Feels So Darn Hard To Love Yourself Sometimes

6. Connect with your feelings.

Now listen deeply to what you feel. Do you know how your body tells you ‘no’? Do you how your body speaks when it says ‘yes’?

Slow down before you answer or make a choice. Take your time to tune into yourself first. Why be in a rush? You are not responsible for other people’s impatience or demands. Somehow, we are all feeling rushed just because others are, but that is not being loving to yourself, is it?

Use any opportunity to find your truth — your ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ — before you respond to anyone. You have the right to take your time to find out what is really your truth in each situation.

Speaking your truth may be a little scary in the beginning, but it's very loving to yourself! Check in with your self-love buddies if you need to be reminded that it’s OK to do what is right for you.

7. Practice saying 'no.'

Do you feel ready to take a leap and follow your own yearning now? How about a little test run? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what happens when you say 'no' to someone who asks for your help, because you need your help, too?

Notice how feelings of fear, guilt and obligation try to whip you back into submission and make you ignore your own inner expression that wants to take birth. Make sure you receive support from your self love-buddies to help give birth to the 'new you' in a graceful way.

8. Start small.

Take small steps when you start aligning your actions with your soul. Small steps build confidence and trust.

Your soul speaks through your senses and longings; she has your best interest in mind. Your soul does not compromise her truth, nor does she try to fit in. She is bold and bright and beautiful and has a wonderful plan for you.

She helps you love all the places that you have ignored and disowned until now. She helps you move through the fears so you can align with this plan and become the expression you always wanted to be.

9. Recognize your shining light.

When you walk this path hand-in-hand with your self-love buddies, you become a brighter light for your soul.

Together you can shine this light into a world that is still up against that wall, right before they too take the leap to listen to their truth, their ‘yes’ and their ‘no’ and become another soul beacon in a world whose light has almost lost its flame.

RELATED: 10 Things You're Doing Because You're Finally Starting To Love Yourself

Pernilla Lillarose is a self-love mystic and mentor at Divine Feminine Flow, who helps women experience more love, peace and joy in their lives. Feel free to contact her for a free thirty-minute Discovery Session to learn how true self-love can turn your whole life around, or download her book, 5 Steps To Dive Into the Divine Feminine Flow, for help with the next phase of self-love.