• Josh McDonald

7 Self-Love Habits That Will Change Your Life

Updated: Mar 3

We are all guilty of thinking negatively about ourselves...

Whether you are judging your physical attributes, your intelligence, your taste in fashion, music, movies, romantic partners, etc...

Many of us do not realize, however, just how detrimental those negative thoughts are to our health.

In a series of experiments conducted by Dr. Emoto, he examined the structure of water crystals that were frozen while exposed to positive and negative words.

60% of the human body is water... Imagine what you're doing to your health if you spend most of your days criticizing and judging yourself.

Your Number One Critic

You've probably heard or even said it before: "You are your own worst critic".

I know it sounds like a common expression, but do you really understand what it means?

Just imagine...

To improve your health, you've decided to eat healthy and go for walks. In the morning you go shopping and buy foods that will be part of your new diet, after which you get home feeling really good about yourself, and even take a walk at lunch.

You cook your dinner (all healthy of course), and then you're sitting there afterwards watching T.V, when a little voice in the back of your mind says "you're not finished yet are you? What about desert"...

And without even thinking about it you get up to have some chocolate (after all, your partner isn't on a diet so you can't throw out all the junk food)

When you realise that you've already broken your diet on the first day, what is it you might say to yourself?

With my past client's I've heard some pretty terrible things they say to themselves, some of the most common things I hear are:

  • OMG You're an idiot!

  • What a waste!

  • How pathetic, you couldn't even last a day!

  • You're such a fat pig!

  • You're never going to change, so why bother?

  • I'm such a piece of sh*t

These might sound harsh, but the reality is that it's a significant number of people that respond like this.

Now imagine that instead of this happening to you, it was actually your friend that was telling you this story because it happened to them.

What might you say to them if they had done this?

  • Don't worry about it, it was just a slip up

  • Look at how well you did for the rest of the day!

  • It was just a habit, you didn't mean to eat chocolate

  • It's ok, you can start again tomorrow

If we can be this comforting to others, why is it that we are so critical of ourselves?

Well that comes down to our core beliefs...

Your Life Is A Result Of Your Core Belief: "I Don't Deserve To Be Loved"

When I work through the underlying cause of self-betrayal and self-loathing with my clients, it all comes down to one core belief:

They don't believe they deserve to be loved.

They think there is something fundamentally wrong with them, and that if anyone knew about this fundamental flaw they would run in the opposite direction.

And it's this underlying belief that has ruled their life.

Often when I work with a client that has this belief, it manifests in many different ways, self-betrayal and self-loathing are just the tip of the iceberg. They will often:

  • Stop themselves from dating

  • Not look for another job when they are unhappy in their job

  • Not enter competitions

  • Stay at home unless they are literally dragged out

Essentially they will let opportunities pass them by, and put up with an unsatisfactory life because they think that is all they deserve.

But these people are also usually the most caring people for those that they love.

They are the ones that have the biggest hearts, that are most compassionate with others that are struggling, that would do anything for their loved ones.

If you're one of these people, imagine how happy you could be if you focussed even 50% of your compassion and your helping nature towards yourself.

How Self Love Habits Can Help You Heal Physically

I mentioned at the start of this Blog that your internal criticism and judgement can have a significant impact on your health, and I shared the research of Dr Emoto's work.

But there are other ways your negative self talk can hurt your health.

There is an emerging branch of scientific study called Epigenetics, and this plays a huge role in how our genes express themselves.

Scientists used to believe that our health was determined by our genetics, i.e. if your parents and grandparents suffered from diseases such as heart disease or diabetes, then you are likely to experience the same in your lifetime.

The results of the studies on epigenetics have shown us that, actually, our lifestyle and the conditions we experience in life are much more likely to play a role in our health.

The studies show that gene expressions can be turned on and off by a change in the chemistry in our body.

And the chemistry in our body is changed by our emotions.

Let me share an example.

Imagine that you go into a crowded shopping centre. You're not used to being around this many people and you start to feel a pit in your stomach.

When you notice this feeling, you think to yourself "Oh, I think I'm a little anxious"

And because of this thought, the brain releases a chemical that increases your anxiety, and the pit in your stomach get's bigger. You think "Oh, I'm definitely anxious now".

And this thought releases more chemicals, making the pit even bigger!

You keep going through this loop of thinking, feeling, thinking, feeling. If this happens again and again, day after day, year after year, eventually you start to describe yourself as an "anxious person".

And over the years, the chemicals your brain releases when you feel anxious start causing physical symptoms, the most embarrassing of which might be digestive problems.

Eventually you are diagnosed as having IBS, but you know that it only happens to you when you are outside your comfort zone. You never have digestive problems when you're at home, or when you're at a close friends house or a relatives.

So what's happening here?

Whenever you have an emotion, your brain secretes a specific chemical compound into the bloodstream for your body to react whatever is happening around you in nature.

In nature, when the threat is over, you stop feeling that emotion and the brain knows it can switch off chemical production.

If you experience these emotions for an extended period of time, over a number of days or weeks, your body starts to become used to the level of chemical in the body, which means that your brain needs to create more of the chemical to combat the perceived threat.

These chemicals turn specific genes on and off, much like finding the right lock for your key in the lock and key game.

The chemical (key) will travel around the body until it finds the right gene (lock) that fits.

For example, when you're younger, you might have lived in a low income household and had to fight for your share of the food. This causes the brain to create the chemical for fat retention to make sure you survive between periods of not eating.

By creating the right conditions, and secreting the right chemical compound, you can switch the weight gain gene off, and the lean gene on.

But how does this relate to self love?

Well if the condition of needing to fight for your food (the core belief here is "I'm not enough") is enough to turn on the genes for fat retention, imagine what the constant condition of self-loathing would turn on...

Any injury you have will take longer to heal, any significant medical condition is likely to be life threatening, any physical symptoms of poor mental health are likely to be unresolved...

Because at the end of the day your energy and attention is on how much you don't deserve to be loved.

Your belief is that you don't deserve to be free from pain and suffering.

And that is the belief that you need to reprogram. I have 7 habits that can help you overcome this belief in the long run...

Habits Of Self Love

You can try each of these habits and see what you resonate with, or pick just a few of them.

The most important thing is that you practice them everyday, multiple times throughout the day, to teach your mind how to see you through the perception of love:

1. Practice some Mirror Work

I first heard about mirror work when I read Louise Hay's book "you can heal your life". The steps are simple:

  • Stand in front of your mirror

  • Look into your eyes

  • Take a couple of deep breaths to calm yourself

  • Say to yourself "I love you, exactly as you are"

  • Do this several times a day

Some people find this difficult to do in the beginning, if you're one of those people, maybe start by saying "I'm willing to love you, exactly as you are"

2. Fail on purpose

One really great way to appreciate yourself is to fail on purpose so you can learn that failure is nothing to be ashamed of.

Start small with something like taking a wrong turn on the way to work, maybe you might find a new route that is quicker, or is more scenic.

Learn to associate failure with something positive. At the very least there will be a lesson learnt

3. Set boundaries and let go of toxic people

This one is one of the biggest steps you can take when you learn to love yourself.

It might be difficult, and you might even need to let go of some toxic people that society tells you to honour (such as your parents or siblings)...

But at the end of the day, self-love is about putting yourself first.

If you set some boundaries to make your life happier, and someone continually crosses that boundary, makes you feel uncomfortable, and causes you to be upset, the best course may be for you to let them go from your life.

4. Become a "Yes Man"

If you've ever seen the movie "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey, you'll know what I mean.

This isn't about being aggreeable to everybody else and letting them walk all over you, this is about saying "YES" to opportunities that come your way .

The more you open up to opportunities, the more amazing opportunities come your way. This is the universal law of vibration.

5. Honour yourself in small ways

How do you show your friends and family you love them?

Maybe you give them little treats, cook their favourite dinner, get them presents, and do little things to show them that your thinking about them.

Well what better way to show yourself that you love yourself by doing that for you?

Maybe you want to spend the afternoon reading a book instead of doing taxes? Maybe you want to get a mani/pedi so you can feel glamorous? Maybe you want to eat out at a restaurant that you've been wanting to try?

Whatever it is that will show you that you love yourself, just do it. In the words of Tom and Donna from Parks and Recs... "Treat Yo Self!"

6. Give yourself room to feel your emotions

One of the most detrimental trends that society is following right now is toxic positivity, and that's a whole other blog that I need to write about.

Toxic positivity is not allowing yourself or others to feel their negative emotions... "#PositiveVibes only guys"

That type of attitude is not helpful, in fact it's harmful to a person's mental health.

You are human and are entitled to your emotions.

We are supposed to experience the highs and lows of life, and we are supposed to experience all of our emotions, whether they are positive or negative.

So when something negative happens, rather than "thinking positive", allow yourself to really experience the emotions. Sit with the emotions and let them wash over you.

It might be difficult at first, because we are taught to feel uncomfortable with negative emotions...

But I guarantee, if you can teach yourself to do this with your negative emotions, when you experience positive emotions they are going to feel so much more profound and powerful.

7. Stop and smell the roses

This one is simple and is something we all forget to do as adults.

Don't let life pass you by, take some time to stop and experience what is happening around you, breathe, feel the moment, and do it without worrying about all the stuff you still need to do.

The best way to do this is to disconnect from technology when you are in nature or with others.

Spend time in the generous present moment

What can I do next?

These 7 habits will really help you on your journey to self love, but if you're looking for an accelerated path, if you want to really take your self-love journey to the next level, here's how I can help.

I am a hypnotherapist that specialises in helping adult survivors of childhood trauma to overcome the areas of their life that are blocked as a result of these past experiences.

If you have a core belief that runs the programming of your mind, there's a 99% chance this came from childhood experiences.

I work with people to understand their mental programming, and create new programs that cause new habit to build a life that they've never even dreamed of.

If you would like to hear more, feel free to book a free consultation with me using the button below...

And let me know what habits you're going to start building in your life to improve your self love.

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