Unfortunately, in the years since starting my coaching practice the issue of self-love has become more popular. This is disheartening, but yet inspiring.

It’s evident that more women are becoming fed up with the difficult feelings of not feeling worthy or good enough and not only that, they’re fed up with these beliefs interfering with their life and love life.

And so they’re turning to self-love, which is great, but there’s a few mistakes that I’m seeing women make which is only keeping them stuck from changing.

Here are the #3 biggest mistakes I see women make when it comes to self-love. They...

  1. Make love conditional
  2. Think that they have to love themselves 24/7 and be healed completely to attract a romantic partner
  3. Confuse accountability with self-criticism thinking that by being critical it will help them achieve their goals

While you think that by not accepting yourself fully or having to ‘perfect’ will get you to where you want to go, it’s actually the opposite – it will keep you stuck in a pattern.

I’m going to share 5 steps to overcome these mistakes so that you can move in the direction you want to go.

The 5 Steps to overcome self-love mistakes

1. Self-Acceptance

The block we all run into and why it’s so hard to change things is because we are trying to change from a place of shame or judgement – we think that will get us to change. But we can’t positively change something when we’re judging it. So we mistakingly believe that we need to be hard on ourselves because that voice can motivate us, we feel that the negative self-talk can be effective, it’s a bit like, “If I’m super hard on myself then I’ll lose the weight,” “If I can make myself look prettier, then he won’t leave me.” But this creates a lot of internal stress and eventually gets exhausting.

Self love is not conditional. It’s about loving yourself right here right now while you’re in the process of changing what you can change and for the right reasons. So self-acceptance looks like,

“This is where I am, I don’t like it, actually I really hate it but I’m going to accept it because I want to stop fighting against it and move with it.”

So you’re coming into acceptance with what IS and not waiting to love yourself in the future – this is the fastest route. And it’s also loving your past self. Which brings me to the next step.

2. Self-Forgiveness

The past is best left in the past. And you know this. We all make mistakes, so stop beating yourself over the past. Up until now, you didn’t have the tools and the ability to make better choices. You have to believe that you were doing the best you could at the time. If you had the wisdom then, you would have done better then! Our behaviours are a lot more complicated than people think. When you have a full understanding of the WHY behind your behaviours you can come into deep compassion and self-forgiveness.

Let your mistakes teach you valuable lessons. Forgive yourself of the judgements you have of yourself and let go of anger, shame and resentment. You might want to meditate on these affirmations:

“Each day I feel more at peace with my past mistakes. I’m working on my lessons and taking responsibility. I can and will let go of any shame that’s being weighing me down.”

3. Express feelings

Many of us have not allowed ourselves to really FEEL our emotions. And so, sometimes it’s difficult to jump to forgiveness or get to peace if we haven’t given ourselves permission to feel our feelings. Not get caught in our feelings, but to feel them and allow them to move out of our body AND without judging or over analysing.

Strong emotions that don’t get managed lead to unhealthy behaviours. So one way to express your feelings is to give your emotions a voice. To help you get started you might want to journal out these sentence prompts – “I’m angry because… I’m sad because… I wish that…What I’ve learned is…I forgive myself for…”

TIP: If you’re hanging onto repressed anger, you might find that journaling your anger or trying to meditate your anger away is not effective.

I had a lot of pent up anger from my past which I would cathartically release, but there’s a difference between releasing emotions in a cathartic way (like screaming in the car) and processing them in a healing way. We must attach the emotion with a memory when getting our anger out (it’s like a cellular memory cleanse). Not rehash the memory, or re-live it. You want to experience it in an empowered way.

4. Self-awareness

When we are conscious and understand the WHY behind our behaviours, it’s easier to be kinder to ourselves. We know that we are not our behaviours, they are just shining a light on where we need healing. So, that makes self love a practice and not a destination.

You are not going to love yourself 24/7 and that is totally normal. Just imagine if you had a partner who was perfect? Firstly, this would make you feel paranoid and secondly, this doesn’t leave any room for your imperfections and growth. We all have our ‘things’ and it’s part of being a human being.

But let’s say when you’re not in a space of self-love and you catch yourself. For example, let’s say you’re a people pleaser and you notice yourself in a conversation saying yes when you mean no. After the interaction you take note of how you felt in that moment? What were you telling yourself in your mind? And then ask yourself how you felt in that situation? And what you’re hoping to change next time? For example; “speak my truth next time.”

5. Self-Compassion

When we’re practicing self-love with curiosity like the people pleasing exercise above, we can then eventually arrive at a place where self-compassion comes more easily and often. Self-compassion is not self-pity, it’s a balance of truth (yes I made a mistake or I am a people pleaser) with grace (I will address my mistake and I will do better next time or I’ll try to speak my truth next time).

According to Dr. Nzinga Harrison, compassion is essential for emotional resiliency, healthier relationships and stress reduction. Without it we become vulnerable to the opinions of others and find it difficult to let go of our mistakes.

Take note of how much time you spend criticising yourself. What do you say to yourself when you make mistakes? A lot of self love is about reparenting ourselves. Some of us didn’t get the parenting that we needed or desired as children. So reparenting is giving ourselves what we didn’t receive as a child from our caregivers. (And that’s another blog post!)

I hope this blog post was helpful for you. Leave me a comment below and let me know which out of the 5 steps are you currently working on?

Love,
Irene

image via selkiecollection