This is a complicated one. But how can we have the conversation of self-care if we don’t explore the idea of what self-love is? How can we be motivated from a true inner place to take care of ourselves, give ourselves the time and tenderness that we need, make our health and wellness a priority, if we aren’t experiencing self-love?

How our thoughts effect our outcome…

Let’s start with exploring our inner thoughts. How many times a day do you have a positive thought about yourself? If you do have the positive thought, what is your reaction? Same goes with negative, judgmental and critical thoughts. How many times a day do you have those? What is your physical and emotional reaction to those? Start taking notice of the thoughts that you have and see what place they are coming from – encouraging or disparaging – and then feel the reaction that you have. Are you in agreement with the thought? Does it make your body change, your mood change? Take inventory for an entire day or week by just noticing as an objective observer, without judgment or assessment. Just notice and increase your awareness of what is going on. How would you rate your self-love based on observing your thoughts?

Many times, our thoughts guide our actions from a place of insecurity or traumatic events that have caused us to increase our self-doubt or feeling of being unlovable. Keep in mind that even with all the events that we have experienced in our lives, the heart that has been shattered and repaired is stronger than the unbroken heart.

There is a common belief that our thoughts create our words, which create our actions. Every time we choose to reinforce a certain thought pattern, we thicken that pathway in our brain. Because of neuroplasticity, it has been shown that cortical thickening occurs with thought patterns. The good news is that it can be changed over night! We can choose to focus on the thoughts that we feel support us and our purpose in life and our brain will start to thicken that pathway. Our energy will align with the choice and our actions will re-inforce all of these precursors.

How do we overcome negative thoughts?

I have witnessed this in my own life. A funny example is when I used to be a ski instructor in Lake Tahoe. I was an expert skier but was skiing with people that were much more skilled and it was intimidating. What I realized is that if I had thoughts of fear or insecurity while I was skiing it produced poor results. In other words, I would lean back, maybe even fall. Either way, it didn’t look good! The moment I started thinking of myself as a capable and good skier (actually I would tell myself that I was like a rock star!), my abilities were increased exponentially.

The skill was always there but the encouragement of positive thoughts instantly manifested in my not holding back, which is imperative in skiing challenging runs. You have to lean forward, into the hill, down the hill. This can be scary when you are on an incredible steep slope with cliffs and rocks around you, but it is the only way to successfully stay on your ski’s edge. You have to be confident and move forward. Just like in life, leaning in, moving forward with confidence, you are able to produce more ease, more success and ultimately more self-love.

This story can be extrapolated to any life event.

You need the courage and faith to stay in the challenges. When you are supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts everything becomes easier. This is the experiential exercise I am putting forth for you. Notice your thoughts and see where they bring you. Start the process of self-love by being gentle with yourself in the thoughts you have throughout the day. Lean in to your challenges with compassion for yourself. Meet your thoughts (regardless of what they are) without resistance AND amplify the ones that serve you.

You are not responsible for your first thought.

Because thoughts are a reflexive human reaction to many circumstances, be kind with yourself. But, you are responsible for your second thought, which is a conscious choice. Choose your thoughts wisely. They are creating the brain you have and therefore, the life that you lead.

For more information on self-care techniques: Click here.