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  • Sarah Catnach

In search of self love

Do you love yourself unconditionally? Do you speak to yourself in a way you would to your best friend? The concept of self love and compassion feels icky to most of us. We've been conditioned to shy away from loving ourselves as an act of 'big headedness', the term 'she loves herself' seen as a real slight. We regularly compliment others on how they look or on what they've achieved but we're very quick to criticise and talk negatively to and about ourselves.

In my role as a Wellbeing Coach I speak to many people (mostly, but not exclusively, women) who really struggle to speak kindly to themselves and this can have a hugely negative impact on many other elements of our lives. While I struggle with this as much as the next person, I am passionate about shifting mindsets on this and helping others discover the huge transformations that can occur when you start treating yourself with kindness and compassion.

Here are three exercises to try to invite more self love into your life. Try them and see what happens!

  1. "I love you". Tell yourself, "I love you". Look yourself in the eye and say it out loud. Initially, you will most likely feel awkward, silly, uncomfortable but try it over the course of a week or even a month and see how much easier it becomes. You might even start to believe it!

  2. My Body Is Amazing. Draw the outline of a person on a piece of paper and put your name in the centre. Instead of thinking about all the bits of your body you feel critical towards, label as many part of your body as you can in a positive way. For example, arms to hug, lungs to breathe, nose to smell, feet to run etc. Take a moment to really look at what your amazing body can do and remind yourself that these are the important things.

  3. A love letter to yourself. Yes, this one sounds super cringe but it's so powerful. Create yourself some time away from the chaos of daily life to write yourself a letter. Imagine you are writing to the love of your life. List all the ways in which you are wonderfully you. It can feel hard to start but once you're off it will begin to flow. If you have been particularly critical of yourself, you could even include an apology and a commitment to be kinder to yourself from here. A client of mine did this daily for a while month and it was truly transformational.

I hope you can make some time to give these a go and reap the rewards. When the wider world feels like such a violent and unsettling place, love yourself unconditionally and I promise you will be more resilient to everything else that's thrown your way.

Sarah Catnach is a Director and Facilitator for Movement in Thyme. She is a Yoga Teacher and Health + Wellbeing Coach.

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