Over time I’ve worked out various phrases that help me hone in on a sense of self love. They are not all affirmations (despite the title), as I also find questions to be rather useful for focusing the attention. But they all have a place in my current practice of self-love affirmation.
I need to use more or less of these depending on how hard it is for me to locate my feeling of self love. If it’s easy, then all I have to do is use the basic affirmation I love myself and I instantly feel the warmth represented by those words spread through my body. If I’m finding it harder, I’ll try phrases that are progressively lower down in a sort of “hierarchy”, as follows:
1. I love myself.
2. What is the most appropriate attitude towards myself right now? I started to experiment with this phrase recently and I currently really like it. Upon asking this question I find no evidence at all of any reasons to hate myself and plenty of reasons to love myself, e.g. because I’m a wonderful person. Recently upon trying this one I have been laughing spontaneously because of such an upwelling of positive feelings.
3. I am beautiful. I view myself from the outside (see below) and make sure that my mental image isn’t horribly distorted by focusing on the aspects of myself that I don’t like. For example, I’ll just remind myself that my undesirably high hairline doesn’t dominate my entire face and that overall my features are quite pleasing*.
4. I stop and take consciousness of myself. I’ll touch my face with my hands, and perhaps the rest of my body too, and imagine myself from the outside. I might affirm, “My name is Sophia”. I might also remind myself that I am beautiful (see above). I find that when I’m centered in myself and my identity, it’s easier to access a feeling of self love.
5. The most basic question I ask myself is “What is my attitude towards myself right now?” In response to this, I tend to see unconscious attitudes towards myself manifesting in my aura, e.g. I might notice a self-hating feeling appearing as a sort of aggressive energy stabbing in towards me. It’s like a metaphor for my own self attitude.
However you visualise or represent the self attitude is fine; the important thing is to recognise your subconscious attitude towards yourself – in other words make it conscious. When it is conscious you have power to stop doing it, and to choose something else. In terms of the visualisation, you can just imagine the energy dissipating or harmonising, or just allow it to be there and bring in positive energy to dispel it. It’s also valuable to recognise self hating patterns in your everyday life and actively choose new patterns as you do so.
So those are five steps I find useful in affirming self love. If I know already that it’s going to be hard to reach a state of self love, then I’ll do the steps backwards from 5 till 1, lingering on a step or going back and forth between two steps for as long as it takes to make them work, and then moving on. Otherwise I tend to start with the first and only move down the hierarchy if I find that I need to put extra work into it.
*Note: A while after writing the first draft of this article I’ve also found it meaningful to contemplate the fact that beauty and love are two different things. That is, I can love myself even if I don’t find my features aesthetically pleasing. On another level self love might mean I find myself beautiful no matter how I look, but it’s been interesting for me to decouple self love with the concept of beauty.