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Self-Love

Learning To Love Yourself : 21 Day Self-Love Challenge

Self-love isn’t self indulgence.

It isn’t selfishness—in the negative interpretation of that word.

The goal here is to balance between taking care of yourself and tending to your true responsibilities to others without obsessively focusing on them or feeling overly responsible.

Self-love can mean “me first,” but usually, “me too.”

This article contains 21-day plan designed to help you spend a few moments each day practicing self-love.

Ready? Let’s get started!

This article contains affiliate links. That means, if you click through and make a purchase using an affiliate link, I will earn a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

Day 1 – Write Down Your Goals For The Year

Start with a list of goals for the year and turn them into smaller goals to achieve each month.

Ask yourself what you would like to have happen in your life this year. What good would you like to attract into your life? What would you like to accomplish? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to remove? What would you like to replace them with?

Write down your answers. there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals.

This gives you a direct, but is also an affirmation that you’re committed to fully living life in the year to come.

Related: 8 Scientific Proven Ways To Achieve Your Goals

Day 2 – Set Healthy Boundaries

Having and setting healthy boundaries is essential in every recovery process, especially growing in self-love.

Boundaries require you to let go of guilt and shame and to change your beliefs around what you think you deserve and what you should tolerate and what you shouldn’t.

The clearer your thinking about this becomes, the easier you find it to set healthy boundaries.

Setting healthy boundaries doesn’t mean pushing people away or trying to control them. It means that we’ve changed, that we mean what we say and this will make others take us seriously.

Think about your relationships with other people and think back to times when you felt hurt. For instance, you might have felt bad having to talk about a private matter because couldn’t say no. Do you think you should set a limit here?

What makes you angry? What have you had enough of? What doesn’t feel right? What can’t you stand? What makes you uncomfortable? What do you want? What don’t you want?

Related: 11 Emotional Boundaries In Dating You Should Set From The First Date

Day 3 – Nurture Self Care

There isn’t a guidebook for taking care of yourself.

Ask yourself what do I need to do to take of myself today? And listen to that voice inside.

Related: Take Care of Yourself: (26 Simple Self-Care Practices for a Healthy Mind, Body & Soul)

21 Days to Grow in Self-Love

Day 4 – Deal with Painful Feelings

Feelings of hurt or anger can be difficult to face. We can feel so vulnerable, out of control, and powerless when these feelings are triggered.

We may try to avoid these feelings by blaming people around us, or indulging in bad habits that will numb these feelings.

While avoidance might give us temporary feeling of relief, we’re in fact, only postponing facing our pain and maybe even reinforcing it.

The goal here isn’t to seek out hurt feelings or dwell unnecessarily on them, but rather to stop holding others responsible for your own pain, and to take responsibility for all your feelings by allowing yourself to feel them, learn from them, and let them go.

Real power comes from allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to feel hurt and knowing that you can take care of yourself, even when you feel emotional pain.

Experiencing feelings can be a challenge if you had no previous experience or permission to do that before.

So take out your journal and write, “If it was okay to feel whatever I’m feeling without being judged as bad or wrong, what would I be feeling?”

Then write whatever comes to mind.

Related: 6 Simple Ways to Manage Difficult Emotions and Control Them


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Day 5 – Accept Help

Some people have gone without love, used to having their needs rejected by their primary caretaker and might even feel shame for having needs at all.

As children they got the message that they are wrong for having feelings or needs and for wanting to be close – It’s difficult, maybe impossible, for a child to understand that it’s a problem that the parent has, rather than them.

But not reaching out for help comes at a great cost: you’re missing out on intimacy and connection with safe people. You’re missing out on all the richness of real relationships – love, kindness, and support.

It’s impossible to guarantee to yourself that you would always know who’s safe and who isn’t or that you won’t be hurt again.

This is when you need courage.

The courage to connect, and to risk. The courage to be yourself, and to be vulnerable.

And the courage to be compassionate towards yourself, and forgive yourself when you make a mistake.

Related: Learning How to Receive: (7 Steps to Opening Up And Unlock The Power of Receiving)

Day 6 – Take Responsibility for Yourself

Most people are good at taking responsibility for other people, but they never learn to take responsibility for the most important person in their lives – themselves.

You might instinctively feel responsible for the feelings, thoughts, choices, and problems of others – but never feel responsible for your own feelings, thoughts, choices, and problems.

You might believe, at an unconscious level, that others are responsible for your happiness, just as you are responsible for theirs – this is caretaking.

Caretaking doesn’t work. People end up feeling hurt and angry, you end up feeling used and victimized.

The most generous act you can perform is to take responsibility for yourself – for what you feel, think, want, need, and choose, and to trust that others can take responsibility for themselves.

Related: How To Get Over Yourself And Stop Feeling That The World Owes You Anything

21 Days to Grow in Self-Love

Day 7 – Stand Up for Yourself

Many people find it easier to come to the defense of others and fight their battles, but they struggle to stand up for themselves and rally to their own behalf.

There are times when you can walk a loving, compassionate path, but there will also be times when you need to stand up for yourself – when you’re being used, victimized, lied to, manipulated, or otherwise violated.

Learn to identify when you are feeling victimized, and why you are feeling victimized. And learn to own your power.

Sometimes, the answer is to set boundaries and not act on the urge to rescue that person from logical consequences of his or her behavior, other times you need to fight for yourself and your own rights.

Day 8 – Nurture Your Relationships

A relationship isn’t the beginning of your life and shouldn’t become your life. A relationship is the continuation of your life.

You can only be happy in a relationship when you’re happy without one.

But self-love is not done apart from your relationships. Growing in self-love is done by learning to own your power and to take care of yourself in relationships.

In your journey of growing in self-love, your goal is not only to acknowledge your power to take care of yourself in your relationships but to also learn to be intimate with people when possible.

Think about your relationships and ask yourself the following questions:

* Do I need to detach from someone who I’ve been trying to control?

* Is there someone I’ve been avoiding because I’m afraid to take care of myself with that person?

* Is there someone I need to reach out to, or show love? Do I need to make an amend?

Related: How to Stay in Love? 50 Secrets of Happy Relationships

Day 9 – Overcome Fear

Fear can hold many of us back: fear of failure, fear of what others might think, fear of making a mistake, even fear of success.

You might find yourself refraining from taking action, until eventually life becomes limited.

You might find yourself thinking, “I can’t do it well enough!” or, “Look at what happened last time!” or, “What if . . .?”

This sort of statements usually reflects shame disguised as fear.

Remind yourself that doing your best is good enough. And that even your failures and mistakes may turn out to be important learning experiences that are necessary for an upcoming success.

Feel the fear, but do it anyway.

Related: Facing Your Fears: 5 Truths About Fear And 5 Ways To Conquer Fear And Get Unstuck

Day 10 – Let Go of Guilt

Most of the time, the things you feel guilty about are not your issues.

Someone else would violate your boundaries, and when you challenge their behavior, the person gets angry and defensive and you feel guilty.

Guilt prevents us from setting the boundaries that would be not only in our best interests, but also in other people’s best interests.

Don’t allow yourself to be controlled by guilt.

You’re not crazy or wrong for setting boundaries and to insisting on appropriate treatment.

Day 11 – Accept Anger

Being grateful and positive, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel angry.

Anger is a healthy emotion.

We don’t need to seek it out or dwell in it, but we shouldn’t ignore it, either.

Growing in self-love means that you need to shamelessly feel all your feelings, including anger, but also to take responsibility for what you do when you feel angry.

Because if you don’t allow yourself to feel angry when you have to, you’ll end up feeling angry and hateful towards yourself.

Day 12 – Allow Yourself to Feel Good Feelings

When talking about facing our own feelings, we often focus on pain, fear, and anger. But there are other feelings available that you need to allow yourself to feel.

Many people feel guilty to allow themselves to feel good feelings like happiness, joy, peace, contentment, love, closeness, excitement, etc.

Some people are always waiting for the other shoe to drop and constantly sabotaging their good feelings.

It’s okay to let yourself feel pleasurable feelings without analyzing or worrying about the future and about what other people are feeling.

21 Days to Grow in Self-Love

Day 13 – Acting As If

“Acting as if” can be a powerful tool to practice positivity when you don’t have enough motivation to act positively.

Making a conscious decision to “act as if” can help you shift your feelings easily and unstuck yourself.

One study conducted by Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard University, revealed that High power poses increased testosterone by 20 percent and decreased cortisol (stress hormone) levels by 25 percent, which helps boost confidence and reduce stress.

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is “The Wonder Woman” pose where you simply stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips.

Day 14 – Express Gratitude

Every day we face challenges, interruptions, delays, and changes.

We often feel overwhelmed or are busy preparing for the next challenge, we can’t see the lessons in these experiences.

A powerful way to get yourself through the most stressful of times, is expressing gratitude. Learn to say thank you for these challenges, because only then are you going to be open to learn the lesson.

Start practicing gratitude by writing at least 5 things you’re grateful for everyday, until gratitude becomes a habit.

Related: Improve Your Life & Happiness With The Power of Gratitude

Day 15 – Stay in the Present Moment

One of the main reasons behind our worries and fear is constantly asking ourselves the question “What’s going to happen?”

Whether you ask this about our careers, relationships, recovery, it’s easy to tangle yourself up in worrisome and fearful thoughts

No one can or should predict the future. Worrying about what’s going to happen next prevents you from functioning effectively today.  

The best contribution to your future is to stay present, do your best and assure yourself that what’s going to happen tomorrow will be for the best.

Clear our mind of the residue of yesterday and fears of tomorrow.

Now is the only time you possess. And it is enough.

Related: How To Meditate? A Beginner’s Guide To Meditation

Day 16 – Facing Your Problems

Many of us avoid facing our problems. This denial became a way of life—our way of dealing with problems.

We often spend more time and energy reacting to a problem than we do to solving it. We miss the lesson – the point from having a problem.

A problem doesn’t mean life is horrible or that you’re a defective person.

Problems are our way to grow up as individuals and become mentally stronger.

Start facing your problems. Make sure the problem is yours, because if not, then maybe you should consider setting appropriate boundaries.

Seek the best solution. Sometimes this means setting a goal and taking an action, or asking for help, or gathering more information, or letting go.

Learn your lesson and trust your ability to solve any future problems.

21 Days to Grow in Self-Love

Day 17 – Become Mentally Stronger

You don’t always have to be strong to be strong.

Sometimes, strength is expressed in being vulnerable, in allowing yourself to make mistakes, in allowing yourself to feel scared.

Sometimes strength is expressed in allowing yourself to cry in front of others, in opening up about your pain and hurt.

Part of loving yourself is to give yourself permission to “fall apart” when we need to.

Related: Building Mental Strength: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

Day 18 – Accept Imperfection

Why do we hurt ourselves by thinking that we’re inferior while believing that others are perfect?

The expectation of perfection whether from us or other people is never valid.

Expecting yourself to be perfect slows the process of growing in self-love – it put you in a guilty and anxious state.

Remind yourself that it’s okay to be who you are and that doing your best is good enough.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have to learn from our mistakes or that we shouldn’t improve. It simply means that encouraging and approving of ourselves is the best way to help ourselves stay on track.

Start accepting who you are – accept your past, your limitation and your strengths, your physical self, as well as our mental, emotional, and spiritual self.

Related: Raising low self-esteem: 18 Ways to Build High Self-Esteem

Day 19 – Negotiating Conflicts

Conflicts are part of relationships—with friends, family, loved ones, and at work.

It’s important to face these conflicts and solve problems in relationships or else both people will end up with unresolved feelings of anger and victimization that intensify the problem and waste time and energy.

Problem solving and conflict negotiation skills are acquired and improve with time and practice.

Some problems can be worked out and worked through. Other times, the problem is a boundary issue we have, and there is not room to negotiate.

To resolve conflicts, we must be willing identify the problem and what both people really want and need, let go of blame and shame, be flexible, and focus on possible creative solutions.

Related: Resolving Marital Conflict: How to Repair Your Marriage

Day 20 – Give

Becoming a healthy giver can be a challenge.

Many of us got caught up in compulsive giving—usually motivated feelings of guilt, shame, obligation, or pity.

But compulsive giving don’t work. It backfires.

Knowing this, you might have stopped giving in order to focus on yourself and on growing in self-love.

However, healthy giving is part of growing in self-love.

The goal is balance giving that is motivated by a true desire to give, with an underlying attitude of respect for yourself and others.

The goal is to give, and not feel victimized by our giving – to  choose what you want to give, to whom, why, and how much.

Ask yourself the following questions:

* Are you giving because we want to, or because you feel it’s your responsibility?

* Are you giving because you feel guilty, ashamed, or superior?

* Are we giving because you are afraid to say no?

* Are you giving so that people will like you? Are you giving to prove you are worthy?

* Are the ways you are trying to assist people helpful, or do they prevent others from facing their true responsibilities?

Growing in self-love includes a healthy cycle of giving and receiving. It might take time to learn how to give and receive in healthy ways. Be patient. Balance will come.

Related: How To Give Up Being Selfish? (8 Ways To Be A Little Less Selfish Every Day)

Day 21 – Find Balance

Loving yourself doesn’t mean going from one extreme to another – from taking care of everyone but ourselves to refusing to focus on anyone’s needs but our own.

The goal of growing in self-love is to find balance.

You can learn to give to others while taking responsibility for yourself.

Conclusion

Self-love means being responsible for yourself while choosing to no longer be victims.

Self-love doesn’t lead to isolation and self-indulgence; rather it helps you better love others, and learn to let them love you.

Self-love isn’t selfish. It’s your way to love others.

21 Days to Grow in Self-Love

What to Read Next?

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Plans start at $31,96 per week + 20% off your first month.

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Learning-To-Love-Yourself-_-21-Day-Self-Love-Challenge

Resources

  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book More Language of Letting Go, © 1990 by Melody Beattie. All rights reserved.
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