Written by Faith Hunter, Kripalu Yoga Centre

Self-love is defined as having a high regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. To me, it goes beyond the act of doing something special for yourself; it is based in a deep appreciation for oneself. Through loving actions, my life expands in a way that gives me strength in the hard times, acknowledges my insecurities with compassion, and keeps me centered in every dimension of my life.

Over the years, I have retooled and refined the acts that represent my self-love tonic. Below are my top five steps to maintaining a joyous, happy, and vibrant life rooted in self-love.

1 Create personal rituals: One of the first things I do in the morning is take a few moments to give thanks and set a positive intention for the day. Once my feet hit the ground, I turn on my favorite music, feed and walk the dogs, practice yoga, meditate, and then jump into working. Create your own set of rituals that serve as self-love moments that enhance your brilliance and keep you steady.

2 Live with intention: I’m not saying you have to have a grand personal intention; however, I do believe that creating a simple intention that guides and supports your personal efforts is a perfect technique for living a mindful and intentional life. One of my personal intentions is “Lead with love.” I think about this before I make major life decisions, discuss challenging topics with others, or engage in my daily activities. I aim to ensure that all of my actions are based in love.

3 Forgive yourself: As a spiritual being living in physical form, I’m guaranteed to make mistakes and sometimes “wack choices” that don’t support my overall well-being. It happens. With that thought, I encourage you to accept all of who you are—the darkness and the light. Try not to beat yourself up, and simply learn and grow on this journey of life.

4 Set limits: Trust me, it is okay to say no! Set your personal limits and boundaries as they relate to loved ones, friends, work, etc. As you know, not setting limits can drain you of physical and emotional strength.

5 Practice self-care: I can say “I love myself” all day long, but if I’m not doing a few basic things on the physical, mental and spiritual levels, none of the steps above really work. I suggest taking time to exercise (yoga is my thing), eat healthy, pamper yourself, meditate/find stillness, journal, do what makes you happy, and cultivate healthy relationships (with yourself and others).

At the end of the day, the real secret is that, when you begin to fully love yourself, the universe will naturally deliver people, opportunities, and situations to further support your love-filled way of life.

Keywords; rituals, yoga, meditation, forgiveness, self-love, self-care, limits