6.4
March 23, 2019

A Self-Love Practice for when we’re Struggling to see our Radiance.

Am I worthy?

Too many mornings, I wake up with the dreaded thought, do I have what it takes?

Then comes the landslide: I didn’t study hard enough. I haven’t traveled enough. I’m too judgmental, too old. I’m a bad businesswoman. I don’t earn enough money. My fingers are ugly, my nose is too big. I’m aging, and my skin doesn’t glow. Cellulite has taken over my legs, and are those wrinkles on my carefully moisturized décolletage?

Before I finish brushing my teeth, I’ve whipped myself with hundreds of self-deprecating thoughts that I didn’t even realize I was thinking. Most of the time, I don’t even realize these automatic thoughts; I simply recognize sluggishness and call out for a hot teacup of English breakfast to prop me up.

When I once asked my friend, Danya, what makes me valuable? The wise woman that she is shot back with the question to end all further questioning on the topic: “Why do you have to be valuable?”

She said, “Your expression is joy and love; you are a joy beam. Isn’t that enough?”

Yes. Yes, it is enough.

Yet, in almost every nook and cranny, we can find proof to the contrary. We live inside a system where sheer “being-ness” doesn’t add to the GDP, and too many messages on the street, Facebook, and the ‘Gram seem to remind us that we aren’t good enough, that our voices pale in comparison to those around us who appear more brilliant, funny, conscious, insightful, kind, powerful, rich, young, accomplished.

Our families question our dreams and desires. Friends attempt to protect us, all the while shaming us. Usually, our loved ones are well-meaning, yet the messages leave a sticky residue like duct tape, while we desperately attempt to find the next person to love us, affirm us, and prove to us that we are the special gems we’d all like to believe we are.

Here’s the rub:

No amount of fan mail, pep calls to the enthusiastic sevens on the enneagram, or five-star reviews will squelch the morning routine of inner trash talk. Believe me, I’ve tried. Nope, this matter, for sure, is a self-love fix. I know we all know this, just like I knew it a few years back when I was forced to confront my fears after a stranger took one look at me and assessed, “You are afraid.”

Heck yeah, I was afraid. I was scared of being found out that I was inferior, not worthy, a dull bulb pretending to have wings. In the face of that fear, I did the only thing I knew to do: write.

Through the writing, I discovered my true wings. Through the writing, I found all the beauty I could be, the strength in my features. I found peace in owning who I am, and I uncovered a bounty of love. I wrote my way to being a motherf*cker who was worth it. All of it.
~

It starts with changing the conversations we have with ourselves

I have come to realize that our perception of ourselves is in direct correlation with the conversations we are having and the stories we empower. Whether an established writer or a just-for-fun journal-er, we all have the luxury of ditching old, negative dialogue and speaking new conversations. We also have the power to dismantle old stories in favor of new ones. We can mold a new scene, revise a chapter, rewrite our resolutions.

Through writing, we can alter our thought patterns and imprint new ideas that become part of who we are. That is what I did. That is what I do. And, let me assure you, those stories stick!

When we ditch the old, negative imprints and speak new conversations, life changes, we change, and our perception of ourself changes. These new conversations can be the gateway to not just a wholesome, authentic love and appreciation for the glory of who we inherently are, but also the new imprinting in our being will impact future words we speak and our next actions, thereby creating new patterns aligned with our values and deepest desires. We are so loveable; we are so f*cking worth it.
~

Put the practice into motion

And no, we don’t have to write a novel to imprint a new life of love and gratitude for ourselves. James, an energy worker I had the pleasure of meeting, taught me that simple “I-am-me-and-you-are-you” statements can bring us back wholly into ourselves, rightfully empowered as us, with no excuses, no pretense, and no validation needed. Just the loving acknowledgement that I am uniquely me, and who I am is perfectly complete with all my nuances. Same goes for you.
~

Here is a simple invocation I wrote to give myself that much-needed oomph:

I am Me.
I take back my power.
I do not need to ask you about Me.

I do not need your permission
to decide for Me.
I am Me.
I own the Power of Me.

It’s My Right.
My Body.
My Mind.
My Soul.
My Journal.
My Heart.
My Boundaries.
My Comfort Level.
My Wrongs.
My Inefficiencies.
My Glee.
And I love them.

I love Me.
~

Take on the self-love challenge

For the next three mornings, take five minutes and write “I-am-me” love notes or invocations to call forth the spirit for protection, support, and inspiration.

When I began to write and speak these I-am-me love notes to myself, I moved myself out of a depression and the deep hole of shame, and into a state of gentleness, joy, honor, and delight. The simple act of love-lettering myself gave me access to an inner success I had never known and a peace and comfort that has stuck with me. As a bonus, I even became über-productive.

When I catch myself feeling beaten or giving away my own power and sense of self, I can immediately take it back, plant myself firmly, and feel happy and loved no matter what anyone else does or doesn’t do. Love notes can cradle us when we are sad, reinforce us when we take on the next big step, and acknowledge us for all our grace and missteps. But, these love notes are only ours to write. From anyone else, they don’t have the same potency.

Write your love notes with pen and paper, type them, paint them, or speak them out loud. Write the words that feel true for you in your heart. Then speak them, out loud, lingering on the “Me.”

As you speak the words you write, notice how you feel in your body. Notice your energy shifts throughout your day. When energy dips, whip out the “I-am-me” invocation and say it out loud again. Feel the strength in the simple act of kindness that only you can give to you.
~

Need help? Try these inquiry questions:

To get ideas flowing, feel free to use the following inquiry questions to discover where you’d like extra support, love, acknowledgement, and “shoring up.” Then build your invocation in response to your inquiry.

What is tender for me right now?
How do I wish others would love on me?
What challenges am I currently facing?
What in my life, if transformed, would change everything?
Where do I feel I need permission?
Where do I want forgiveness? Or, where are am I having a hard time forgiving?
What can I let go of?
What excites me? Inspires me?
What do I want to be acknowledged for?
Where/when/to whom do I often give away my power?

The takeaway

One self-love letter a day can do wonders for our spirits and our walk in the world. Let Danya’s wise point—“You are you, isn’t that enough?”—be a reminder that our expressions, whatever they are, are worthy.

You are loveable. You matter—yes, you do. No question about it.

Though you may still catch yourself delivering damaging thoughts to the dazzling woman in the mirror—I know I do—you also, moment-to-moment, have access to your own arsenal of valentine notes to infuse self-love when you need it the most.

author: Elizabeth Bartasius

Image: Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

Image: Elephant Journal on Instagram

Editor: Kelsey Michal

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James Craft Apr 29, 2019 10:35am

Loving me. All of me. The anxious me, the arrogant me, the less than enough me, the funny me, the lost me, the capable me, the socially awkward me, the introverted me, the loving me, and I could go on. And on. This will be hard as I exchange my me for approval, for peace, to lower my anxiety. It is a life-long practice. I am going to try to write myself some valentines. I will be forwarding this article to a friend who needs to love herself as well.

chevylsmith Mar 26, 2019 1:57pm

Yes! Fantastic motivation and reminders for when I need a self pick me up- thank you!

Carrie Dunning Mar 25, 2019 8:44am

Thanks, this is helpful!!!

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Elizabeth Bartasius

Elizabeth Bartasius is the author of the upcoming novel, The Elegant Out, praised by Kirkus Reviews as “[A] riveting tale of maturing womanhood and an insightful peek into the creative process.” To access her complimentary I Am Me printable download with self-love letter writing prompts and 11 invocations for courage, power, grace, and best love ever, visit her website.