I believe we are born with self-love and learn to be critical and judgmental about ourselves at a young age. If you are having critical and judgmental thoughts about yourself, you aren’t yet loving yourself completely. Since the relationship you have with yourself directly affects your relationship with others, learning to love yourself is the most important journey you can take.
Self-Love Practices for the Body, Mind and Soul
Here are 32 days of self-love practices that when practiced consistently transforms critical and judgmental thoughts into kind and loving thoughts. Feel free to modify these daily challenges or create your own.
Day 1: Ask loved ones what they love about you
Day 2: Say “I love you” every time you look in the mirror (look in the mirror often J)
Day 3: Speak kindly to yourself
Day 4: List 5 qualities you dislike about yourself and how each have helped you in positive ways
Day 5: Accept and embrace your imperfections
Day 6: List 5 qualities you love about yourself and why you love them
Day 7: Do something that soothes your soul
Day 8: Spend time in a place that invigorates you
Day 9: Do something special for yourself
Day 10: Say “yes” only to requests and things that make you feel good
Day 11: Let go of the negative ways you perceive yourself
“Intimacy is not purely physical. It is the act of connecting with someone so deeply, you feel like you can see into their soul.” – Unknown
Intimacy is essential to a healthy and fulfilling relationship. With intimacy, you experience a deeper connection with your partner and increase the likelihood for lasting love. Without intimacy, you feel disconnected from your partner and worry if your relationship will stand the test of time.
What Keeps Intimacy Away
Intimacy is experienced on a body and soul level when you are vulnerable and open to what is. Intimacy can’t be quantified or rushed. Intimacy doesn’t happen when trying to think your way to love and wanting things to happen now.
Here are the most common a woman unintentionally does that keeps intimacy away.
She holds onto past hurts
She guards her heart
She doesn’t let herself be vulnerable because she sees vulnerability as weak or as a way to get hurt.
She tries to rush things and may share too much information too soon
She has sex too soon with a guy hoping that their physical connection will turn into more
I did all of those things at different times in my love life. And when I really liked a guy, the illusion of intimacy I felt was really based on infatuation instead of a meaningful connection. If you relate to this, you may have felt let down once the initial excitement of infatuation wore off. Infatuation (and lust) will give you a false sense of intimacy and keep your connection on a superficial level.
Real intimacy is like fine wine. It takes patience and time to develop.
Why Sex is Never the Way to Real Intimacy
This topic is so important that it deserves its own mention. Having sex too soon and hoping things turn into a committed relationship rarely happens. Sex is based on a physical connection while real intimacy is based on multiple levels of connection (i.e. emotionally, mentally, physically, shared activities, etc.). When you have sex early on without really knowing each other, there is not enough to sustain a deep and lasting connection.
“All her life, Claire had had a problem figuring out where other people ended and she began. All her life, she’d taken on the world’s hurt; she held herself responsible. But why?”- Elin Hilderbrand
Why Boundaries Matter
Nothing good comes from loving without boundaries. When you love without boundaries, you may have good intentions, thinking you are being selfless. You may not realize the far-reaching effects of becoming a man’s doormat. Or you may think love means having no boundaries because of your romantic notions about love.
If you are not honoring your boundaries in your romantic relationship, you will feel exhausted, overwhelmed and/or drained. You will be consumed by the drama around you, find yourself in the midst of a lot of conflict, or have a hard time focusing and making decisions.
Loving without boundaries will cause you to sacrifice your integrity and happiness. You may be taken advantage of, lose your self worth, and feel bad about yourself. If you put your partner’s needs over yours and go along with what he wants, you will lose yourself in his life. Ultimately, you will feel uneasy during your relationship because you are doing and giving too much without receiving the same in return.
How to Create Boundaries
Boundaries are so powerful that when set and enforced, will help you create the love you desire. Here are five specific ways to create boundaries.
1. Honor your values
One of the best ways to create boundaries is to look at things you most value. For instance, if freedom, happiness, peace, honesty and kindness are important to you, you will want to set boundaries around these values. This means you will want to date guys and be in a romantic relationship where you are free to live these values. If freedom is one of your values and you meet a guy where you aren’t free to be your true self, this is a sign that he is not for you.
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