This article first appeared on elephant journal here.
Many hardships in life—whether it’s difficulties with a romantic partner, a stalled career or feeling generally down—can be traced back to one thing.
A lack of self-love.
This missing piece can bleed out into every area of our lives, resulting in an often painful learning process.
We can change our entire life and the way we perceive incoming trouble with the practice of radical self-love.
The concept of self-love means cultivating the energy to fill ourselves up—loving ourselves exactly for who we are.
We are often far too hard on ourselves, which translates into limiting beliefs and fears that block our true potential. Additionally, practicing self-love relieves pressure from those around you, particularly romantic partners and gives them the space to love you even more fully.
Where to begin with radical self-love.
1. Bring your attention to something you’re great at.
Focus on the good stuff! You have many beautiful gifts to share with the world. What are these exactly? Spend some time engaging in these activities and cultivate an energy of being enough rather than lacking.
2. Develop a self-love ritual.
Make a ritual of something that relaxes you, lights you up or eases stress. This could include anything from drawing a hot Epsom salt bath and lighting candles, to a daily yoga or meditation practice, to simply washing your face at the end of a long day with love rather than obligation.
3. Discover what you’re seeking from the people around you––and give it to yourself.
Are you not feeling loved enough, supported or understood? Whatever the feeling is, that you think you’re lacking from your relationships––focus on giving this to yourself.
You have everything that you need inside of you already.
Our relationships enhance our lives and in order to have the most healthy relationship, full of unconditional, divine love, we must first be able to stand on our own two feet.
Otherwise, codependent patterns arise and you may forever feel like you’re not receiving enough.
4. Make a list of 100 things you love about yourself.
100 is quite a list, I know! This activity will allow you to go deep and find both big and small things that make you special. An interesting thing stems from this as well––you will likely find that the points of appreciation you’ve drawn on this list are reflected in your external world, by those you come in contact with.
5. Engage in a loving and supportive community.
It is an act of self-love to take part in a community that lights you up rather than puts you down.
Don’t have a community like this at the moment? Never fear.
You are not the only one searching for one—there is someone looking for you as well. Yoga studios, meditation groups, running clubs or book clubs can be great ways to find yourself in the presence of love and support of others.
6. De-clutter your home.
Our outer world is often a reflection of our inner world.
What does your home look like? Is it messy or cluttered?
This could be an indicator that you are not giving enough time to yourself. Take care in your environment, in your surroundings and rather than simply cleaning to get the job done, see if you can find joy in it. Try be passionate about doing it—knowing that you will have a clean space to wake up to in the morning.
Clutter changes the energy of a space and can contribute to us feeling blocked.
7. Forgive and release.
Often our deepest troubles come from troubles that have yet to be forgiven. Have you been hard on yourself? Have you made mistakes that you have yet to release? Practice saying, “I forgive and release myself” and let it go. You are in the perfect place on your path and forgiveness is often the key to unlocking the next level of bliss.
Practice these self-love tips and observe how they alter your external experience. You’ll likely start to feel big shifts in no time and be that much closer to living the life of your dreams.
Lots of love!