Self love affirmations are a powerful way to change your inner and outer life… and if that statement (or should I say that self affirmation) makes you feel kinda weird, well, you’re not alone. I do a lot to keep myself fuelled up physically, psychologically, and spiritually — a wholesome vegan diet, a daily yoga practice and a regular meditation practice. But the idea of taking five minutes out of my day to say nice things to myself in front of a mirror used to make me feel cringey-anxious-inauthentic… so I started to ask myself why? And so began my self love journey.
My self love process hasn’t always been smooth sailing but introducing self affirmations that help boost my self-esteem and self worth has been transformative on so many levels. Self love affirmations are also pretty straightforward once you cut through the initial difficulties — I’m no stranger to pretty intense spiritual experiences, such as Ayahuasca retreats and silent retreats, but reciting affirmations for self love is much simpler, less time consuming, and not to mention cheaper, than any form of meditation getaway or yoga retreat.
What are Self Affirmations?
Self-affirmations are positive statements you repeat to yourself in order to foster a healthy relationship with yourself and others. These statements can act as a powerful reminder of your personal agency and worth, and they can also help you challenge, undo, and re-write the unhelpful narrative you may have about yourself.
The repetition of positive statements has become associated with New Age mumbo-jumbo and toxic positivity. However, positive affirmations and self-loving affirmations stem from a widely researched psychological field established in the 1980s by social psychologist Claude Steele. Steele popularized the idea that as individuals we hold a set of personal values that form an important part of our self-identity. When we have a strong grasp of these values, our self-identity is more robust, allowing us to better face up, adapt and succeed (in a way that aligns with our values) in the face of adversity or difficult situations.
Establishing and repeating affirmations for self esteem, love, and worth allows us to create and solidify this integral sense of identity and resilience.
What are Affirmations of Self Love?
Self loving affirmations are affirmations that emphasize a compassionate, accepting, and unconditionally loving relationship with ourselves.
They can be difficult as they often challenge internalized and embedded ideas that undermine the belief that we are worthy of love — not just worthy of our own love but accepting healthy love from others. Self-love affirmations address our insecurities, self-esteem, imposter syndrome, and all the stuff we do to keep ourselves down. Life is hard enough as it is — at the very least, we should be in our own corner.
I believe that self-love is the foundation of our relationship with ourselves, and from there, we can grow in other personal, professional, and social areas of our life. Self-love affirmations also act as powerful pick-me-ups when we are in difficult situations, particularly situations that may challenge our values and sense of self.
The Science Behind Self Affirmations
Studies have shown that affirmations can tap into the brain’s reward circuits which can help keep us on track with our future goals or change a behavior. This can be particularly helpful when trying to adopt new healthy habits such as an exercise routine or a new diet.
Not only this, positive self-affirmation can improve our performance in just about everything, including work, and can help us respond more evenly and achieve better outcomes in stressful situations. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon offer up a really straightforward strategy for helping you succeed in stressful situations, such as at work or in an exam. Simply, take a few breaths before you start a stressful task, and recite a self affirmation that connects to your core values.
How to Create a Self-Love Affirmation Habit
There are so many benefits to daily self-love affirmations, but there are a few steps to take to help you find the best, most transformative affirmations for self-love that will work for you!
1. The Soul Search
This first stage is the most challenging and most time-consuming, but undoubtedly the most important. The aim is to identify what your self-love narrative currently is, which means identifying what unhelpful (untrue) things you believe about yourself. These are often really entrenched ideas and can feel painful to look at face on. You may want to explore this with the help of a therapist or trusted friend. Journaling is another great way to tap into this, below are some questions that can guide you with this.
What do you give yourself a hard time about? Work, relationships, your appearance? Is there an idea, word, or feeling at the root of this, such as ‘I don’t deserve’, ‘I’m a bad x,y,z’, ‘failure’, ‘I’m weak’, ‘I’m inadequate’, ‘I’m pathetic’.
If you tell yourself you aren’t successful enough, are ugly, a bad friend, or are a failure, this all speaks to low self-esteem.
If you believe you aren’t deserving of success, love, kindness, or good things this indicates poor self-worth.
If you give yourself a hard time for not being disciplined enough with your work, passion projects, friendships, exercise routine, this all speaks to a general lack of self-compassion.
These are all considered negative core beliefs, and the next stage is creating healthier, more positive core beliefs.
2. Re-writing the Story
Now you have identified the narrative and the unhelpful beliefs you have about yourself, it’s time to come up with phrases and affirmations that build your confidence and self love, as opposed to tearing it down.
It can take time for these to feel authentic, and a range of uncomfortable feelings might come up in the process. That is okay. It can be helpful to imagine what you might say to a close friend or even yourself as a child (as so many of these toxic beliefs have their roots in childhood experiences).
A self-love affirmation is a positive statement, such as ‘I am lovable’ or ‘I am good enough’.
If possible, try and resist phrases such as ‘I am not a failure’ and instead try ‘I am a success’ or ‘I define my own success’.
3. Commit to Loving Yourself
So now you need to show up for yourself everyday. Set aside five minutes or so to repeat these affirmations to yourself. Experiment with saying them in your head and out loud — then stick with whichever feels most empowering for you.
Reciting affirmations of self love are a great addition to your morning routine — whether you do them on waking or last things before leaving the house for work. I like reciting them in front of a mirror as I get ready for my day.
You can also build them into a yoga routine. Start off by reciting them in Tadasana before your sun salutations, or as you settle into your savasana. You can also write them on sticky notes and place them somewhere you will see them every day. I like to integrate mine with some of my favorite mindfulness quotes and yoga quotes as these also inspire me to show up as the best possible version of myself every day.
It’s normal to skip days or even fall off the self-love affirmation wagon for a couple of weeks or even months, do not give yourself a hard time about it! Your self affirmations are waiting for you when you are ready to resume the practice.
15 Powerful Self Love Affirmations
If you need some inspiration or are struggling with any stage of establishing your self love affirmation habit check out the affirmations below, see what resonates directly with you and use them or adapt them to serve you best.
Affirmations for Self Love
I am lovable
I am worthy of love
I embrace myself fully and completely
I am open to receiving love
I love myself without judgment, I love myself without conditions
Affirmations for Self Worth
I am Enough
I define my own success
I deserve love. I deserve abundance. I deserve joy.
I am more than my body, I am more than my work, I am more than my relationships.
I am valued
Affirmations for Self Esteem
I am a constant work in progress and I believe in the journey
I am proud of myself
My voice and opinions matter. I matter.
I thank my body and my mind for serving me daily
I honor my growth, I honor myself.
Reciting positive affirmations of self love is a powerful, scientifically-backed way to improve so many areas of your life. Most importantly, they show you how to love yourself — and to quote the great Ru Paul, ‘if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?’
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