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the SELF LOVE WORKBOOK a life-changing guide to boost self-esteem, recognize your worth and find genuine happiness Shainna Ali, PhD Text copyright © 2018 Shainna Ali. Design and concept copyright © 2018 Ulysses Press and its licensors. All rights reserved. Any unauthorized duplication in whole or in part or dissemination of this edition by any means (including but not limited to photocopying, electronic devices, digital versions, and the internet) will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Published in the United States by: Ulysses Press P.O. Box 3440 Berkeley, CA 94703 www.ulyssespress.com ISBN: 978-1-61243-882-5 Acquisitions editor: Bridget Thoreson Managing editor: Claire Chun Editor: Renee Rutledge Proofreader: Shayna Keyles Cover and interior design: what!design @ whatweb.com Cover art: © Champ008/shutterstock.com Interior art: © shutterstock.com—page 6, road © Efimova Anna; page 14, road signs © Orca; page 14, suitcase © Golden Sikorka; page 24, storm head © VectorKnight; page 27, blindspot © rumruay; page 41, glass © Aleks Melnik; page 52, toolbox © Alexander_P; page 56, cat mirror © Ken Cook; page 64, brain © Mavr88; page 81, slingshot © shockfactor.de; page 82, stopwatch © Best Vector Elements; page 86, present © koya979; page 97, hats © SofiaV Layout: Jake Flaherty Distributed by Publishers Group West IMPORTANT NOTE TO READERS: This book has been written and published for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice or to be any form of medical treatment. You should always consult with your physician before altering or changing any aspect of your medical treatment. Do not stop or change any prescription medications without the guidance and advice of your physician. Any use of the information in this book is made on the reader’s good judgment and is the reader’s sole responsibility. This book is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and is not a substitute for a physician. This book is independently aut; hored and published and no sponsorship or endorsement of this book by, and no affiliation with, any trademarked brands or other products mentioned within is claimed or suggested. All trademarks that appear in this book belong to their respective owners and are used here for informational purposes only. The author and publisher encourage readers to patronize the quality brands mentioned in this book. CONTENTS INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 1: SELF-LOVE The Importance of Self-Love What Self-Love Isn’t Obstacles in Self-Love Roadblocks to Self-Love Preparing for Your Journey Seven Segments of Self-Love CHAPTER 2: SELF-AWARENESS Emotional Exploration Emotional Awareness Emotional Equations The Depth of Emotions Mindfulness Self-Knowledge Cultural Exploration Highlighting Strengths Finding Blind Spots Feedback CHAPTER 3: SELF-EXPLORATION Getting to Know You The Independent Interview My Story My Mission Statement Cultural Exploration Intersecting Identities Inner Conflict Exploring Inner Conflict Creative Exploration CHAPTER 4: SELF-CARE Fill Your Cup Your Wellness Your Wellness Domains My Current Wellness My Future Wellness Striving for Balance My Wellness Plan Self-Love Date 100 Ways to Cope Coping Skills Journaling Creative Self-Care Listening to Your Emotions Coping Toolkit Bad-Day Band-Aid My Comfort Zone Exploring My Support System Challenging Self-Care CHAPTER 5: SELF-ESTEEM Acknowledging My Worth Me for Three My Personal Qualities Subjective Superlatives Confident People My Self-Confidence Understanding Self-Efficacy My Self-Efficacy Role Models My Inner Dialogue Unhelpful Thinking Formulas for Countering Challenging Unhelpful Thinking Petal Perspectives: Improving Positive Self-Talk Me Messages Trash Toss Building Blocks Motivational Messages Affirmations Positive Playlist CHAPTER 6: SELF-KINDNESS Nice Notes Love Letter Encouragers The Bully Versus the Friend Letting Go of Negativity Room for Growth The Gracious Gap Filling in the Gap Setback Slingshot Self-Patience Embracing Imperfection Self-Acceptance Self-Forgiveness Practicing Self-Forgiveness Gifts of Gratitude CHAPTER 7: SELF-RESPECT Values Core Values Personal Commandments Congruence Boundaries Boundary Boxes The Many Hats We Wear Boundary Ranges Boundary Levels Boundary Circles Your Remote Control Assertiveness Testing Boundaries Tips to Build Better Boundaries Healthy Relationships Improving My Support System Forgiveness Apologies CHAPTER 8: SELF-GROWTH Hopes and Dreams Vision Board Visualization Setting Self-Loving Goals SMART Goals Create SMART Goals Short-Term and Long-Term Goals 30-Day Self-Love Challenge 30-Day Challenge Self-Growth Challenge To-Do List My Self-Growth Map Recognizing Obstacles Handling Setbacks Stages of Change Ready, Set, Go! The Silver Lining Surrounding Challenges Applying a Silver Lining Learned Lessons My Support System Who Supports Your Self-Growth? Giving and Growing Paying It Forward Continued Learning Mental Health Counseling BIBLIOGRAPHY ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR INTRODUCTION Welcome to the beginning of a wonderful, life-changing journey! As you work through this book, you will learn to better understand, accept, and love your true self. The activities and reflection prompts included in the following pages are designed to help you increase your awareness of your own needs, desires, and dreams. By the time you reach the end of the workbook, you will come to understand the value of self-love and how to utilize it in your day-to-day life. Please note that you may be embarking on a new, unfamiliar path. As you make your way through this book, expect to encounter helpful vehicles to support your quest but also be confronted with roadblocks that may temporarily hinder your journey. Although challenging, this expedition is paved with the promise of growth, happiness, and love. Despite the difficulties that might arise on your path to self-love, the simple act of opening this book is a huge step in the right direction! You should be proud of yourself for beginning this process. Instead of staying put in the comfortable routine of your daily life, you’ve chosen to honor your worth, motivation, and passion. You’ve chosen a personal pilgrimage to become a better version of yourself, and this dedication to discovering and loving your true self is incredibly powerful. As you work toward your personal goals, come back to this initial spark of motivation and be inspired! Although you may be fixated on the triumph at the end of the line, please remember that it is often the adventure itself that makes the biggest impact. Before you begin, take a moment to consider how and why you have arrived at this self-love journey. Although self-love is helpful for everyone, the reasons for embracing it may vary. Delving deeper, you may find that the value of self-love changes at different phases in your life as well. The following prompts will help you to reflect on your purpose for setting out on a path paved with self-love. As you begin with these reflections, honor what arises. Try your best to be open and nonjudgmental of your ideas and feelings. If you have been considering a question for some time, several thoughts may come to mind. On the other hand, it’s quite possible that these questions may be new considerations, and you may need to be patient with yourself in the process. As you continue your journey, your reflections may become clearer with time. You are welcome to return to this reflection when the time feels right. What has brought you to this path? Why is this journey important to you? What do you hope to encounter along the way? CHAPTER 1 SELF-LOVE self-love \, self-luhv \ n. 1. The active practice of accepting, caring for, and encouraging oneself Just as water and air are vital to survival, so, too, is the need to love and be loved. Is it possible that a primary part of this necessity is the ability to love oneself? Although not a new term, the concept of self-love has been gaining popularity in recent years. Thousands are being called to consider that love is not just an interpersonal concept, feeling, or behavior but an intrapersonal process as well. We need love from ourselves as much, and perhaps more, than we do from others. The process of self-love begins with the mere task of being able to appreciate you for you. It is crucial to be kind and considerate toward yourself; however, self-love is more than a sentiment. Beyond your ability to tend to yourself, you must remember that self-love is an intentional practice to learn and cultivate. Self-love provides you with the opportunity to see yourself completely, to recognize and value your strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and challenges. It is critical to acknowledge your imperfections and obstacles in order to nurture your personal growth. Self-love is wondrously empowering and validating, yet it is not always an easy task. It is more than indulging in your favorite food and escaping to an island paradise. Within this process, it is helpful to recognize that without darkness there cannot be an appreciation for the light. Self-love also requires the courage to reflect on where you are, the bravery to consider where you want to be, and the tenacity to strive to be a better version of your true self. With an emphasis on the self, this journey is ultimately an independent one. Although it is helpful to unite with others who are on a similar path, at the end of the day self-growth is predominantly dependent on personal effort. The process of loving oneself is a subjective experience. Just because a tip has worked for many does not mean it will work for all. Honor your individuality as you attempt to follow the guidance provided in this book. While fruitful, the process of self-love is not a summit to conquer. Instead it is a continuous practice of caring for yourself. Hence, self-love includes the dedication to prioritize yourself regardless of the chaos that life may bring. Overall, self-love is an all-encompassing practice of recognizing your self-worth, being kind toward yourself, and fostering your self-growth throughout the course of your life. Just as the journey of self-love differs from person to person, the definition may vary as well. Take a moment to consider what self-love means to you. THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-LOVE ASHA As long as Asha can remember, she has dreamed of her prince sweeping her off of her feet in a fairy tale union. She even describes herself as the quintessential hopeless romantic on her dating profile. As she attends wedding after wedding, with a different date each time, she begins to worry. Her long list of short-term relationships has caused her to become discouraged. Asha doesn’t give up. She continues to invest her all into each budding romance, only to be met with heartbreak each time. Feeling like the forever third wheel, she starts to isolate herself from her friends. When her loved ones touch base, she fears the impending awkward exchange in which she has to report time and time again that she hasn’t found the one. MARIANA Mariana had a difficult upbringing. Born to a young mother, Mariana lived with her mother and grandmother growing up. Her mother was often out of the house and didn’t spend a lot of time with her. Fortunately, Mariana had her grandmother, and eventually, younger siblings to keep her company. When Mariana was ten, her grandmother was diagnosed with stage IV cancer, which progressed quickly. The family struggled for several years to make ends meet. Mariana now feels the pressure to drop out of school to help pay the bills. Wanting a better future for herself and her family, Mariana turns to risky side jobs to juggle staying in school and helping her family. DEVON With an empty nest and pending divorce, Devon finds himself reflecting on his life. While he spent decades establishing a notable career as a cardiothoracic surgeon, his time with his spouse and three children seems to be a blur. Although he is happy that he achieved his dream of gaining prominence in his field, he is beginning to recognize the cost of his hard work. While Devon is proud to have been able to support his family throughout the years, he is beginning to recognize that his financial support could not account for his absence. Devon becomes overwhelmed thinking about all of the moments that were missed due to his ambitious path, and how he may never have those opportunities again. Devastated, Devon turns to excessive alcohol use to numb his feelings of despair. Now that you have a definition of self-love, consider how self-love applies to Asha, Mariana, and Devon. What examples of self-love do you see within Asha? What examples of self-love do you see within Mariana? What examples of self-love do you see within Devon? How do you think Asha’s life may change if she improves her self-love? How do you think Mariana’s life may change if she improves her self-love? How do you think Devon’s life may change if he improves his self-love? Asha, Mariana, and Devon are average people not too different from you. Like anyone else, they need self-love. From these cases we catch a glimpse of a time in their lives in which they are unaware of the importance of self-love. At this point in time, Asha, Mariana, and Devon are all unable to see and honor their worth. They do not realize that in order to care for others, we must also care for ourselves. They have disconnected from their true selves and have been facing consequences as a result of that severance. Asha has been focused on finding love, but in the wrong places. She has been fixated on finding someone to love her, rather than seeking to love herself first. Mariana has the best of intentions for her loved ones; however, the pressures of life have caused her to sacrifice until she is depleted and risks being unable to take care of herself or anyone else. Devon’s visible successes caused him to become prideful and materialistic, and while he’s excelled in his profession, he still struggles in matters of the heart. Like anyone else, Asha, Mariana, and Devon are all capable of making the choice to infuse self-love into their lives. With that brave choice, they can explore and reconnect with their genuine selves. They can discover and embrace their strengths and embrace them to improve their quality of life. They can understand their areas for growth and explore them with patience and kindness. As they embrace a self-loving lifestyle they will be able to care for and respect not only themselves, but others well. Without a strong sense of love for yourself, you may experience… • Anxiety • Carelessness • Criminal behavior • Defensiveness • Depression • Hopelessness • Insecurity • Materialism • Negligence • Prejudice • Sadness • Shame • Stagnancy • Suicidal thoughts • Unhealthy coping On the other hand, with a strong sense of love for yourself, you may benefit from gains in… • Academic achievement • Altruism • Belonging • Career success • Confidence • Empowerment • Encouragement • Enthusiasm • Happiness • Inspiration • Love • Motivation • Passion • Relationship quality • Self-care • Social support • Physical health • Parenting skills WHAT SELF-LOVE ISN’T Self-love has been met with critique. However, these appraisals are based on misunderstandings. To help clarify, let’s be clear on what self-love is not. ENTITLEMENT When a person has a sense of entitlement, they may believe they are unconditionally owed something regardless of efforts, merit, or context. This should not be confused with the idea of recognizing your worth. Depending on your perspective on humility and deservingness, you may find it difficult to assert you are worthy of self-love. If this is the case, it may be helpful to consider basic human needs. One could argue that compassion, care, and acceptance are as fundamental as water, food, or shelter. Therefore, recognizing your worth and need for self-love overall is not that ridiculous to seek. Self-love isn’t about why you deserve a billion dollars, a fancy yacht, or a mansion. It isn’t an overtly ambitious jump. It isn’t elite or exclusive, but a core aspect of humanity. SELFISHNESS Focusing on self-love is not the pathway to obsession. Although self-love is a reflective process in which one turns their energy inward, the benefits are not selfish. In actuality, in order to care for others effectively, one must first care for themselves. Prior to taking off on an airplane, the flight attendant assures flyers that in the case of an emergency, regardless of who is nearby, it is critical to first put on your oxygen mask before helping others. We wouldn’t dare tell someone who abides by this regulation that they are truly selfish. Similarly, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-focus is not egocentric; ultimately, self-focus helps you and others. In addition, whereas narcissism may be superficial and vain, self-love is quite the opposite. Self-love delves beyond the surface and isn’t all rainbows and unicorns along the way. Along with recognizing your worth, needs, and goals, self-love requires the courage to distinguish your weaknesses, challenges, and obstacles. Therefore, self-love necessitates humility, empathy, and concern for the self as well as for others. SINFUL A sin is an act that is not only inappropriate but often violent. Self-love is just the opposite. Self-love isn’t meant to go against a principle or moral grounding; it is the enlightened journey to care for yourself in order to prompt a domino effect of care and compassion for those around you. Nevertheless, due to varying concepts of what self-love truly entails, from time to time individuals may view self-love as against their values and beliefs. Just as everyone is unique, their interpretation of scripture may vary as well. If you are struggling with differentiating self-love from sin, it may be helpful for you to research and reflect on whether or not a conflict truly exists. Regardless of your faith or beliefs, it may be worthwhile to consider the commonalities in various world religions. Oftentimes, the tasks encapsulated with being a moral person include benevolence, forgiveness, and personal growth, all of which align well with the practice of self-love. More specifically, the golden rule of treating others as you want to be treated is the essence of self-love. From this common adage, we often jump to the lesson to treat others kindly, but we should not forget the implication requires being kind to ourselves as well. AN EXCUSE Self-love is an active, engaged process that evokes a wealth of positive benefits. Nevertheless, the journey is not always an easy one. A critical component in self-love is recognizing your limits, needs, and worth, and asserting intrapersonal and interpersonal boundaries as needed to uphold them. While this all-encompassing process may include mental health days, massages, and indulging in your favorite home-cooked meal, it is not an exploitation of all things good. Ironically, perpetual pampering could actually be neglectful and, hence, distinct from self-love. The full process of self-love includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Beyond the stereotypically positive perks, self-love also includes the decision to recognize your areas for growth, tailoring a potentially difficult yet necessary plan of attack, and bravely tackling it head on. To an outsider without context, self-love could appear as an excuse; however, it is critical that you not use self-love as your hall pass to escape responsibility, accountability, and difficult situations in general. In contrast, true self-love can be enacted by taking accountability and responsibility as you courageously embark on arduous paths. “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” —Lucille Ball OBSTACLES IN SELF-LOVE “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” —Rumi Recognizing what is holding you back from loving yourself and living a happier, healthier life is a crucial component as you prepare to tackle these challenges on your path to self-love. Since self-love is a subjective journey, the obstacles may vary from person to person. Our unique combination of attributes, such as our history, intentions, beliefs, personality, values, and goals, may coalesce and connect us to the self-love process. However, these characteristics may combine to create roadblocks as well. Although variation is expected, there are some common concerns that impede on the ability to love oneself. ABUSE Physical, sexual, and psychological abuse all provoke consequences that may risk severe impairment. Individuals who endure abuse often have feelings of shame and guilt that inhibit their ability to seek help and heal. Even past memories of abuse can be pervasive and may be triggered, thus distracting from and impeding one’s progress in the present. Abuse often happens at the hands of someone who is known and trusted. This person could be a loved one, such as a parent or partner. This betrayal can foster a lack of trust in oneself and in others, causing one to question their worth and encounter issues with self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-respect. All forms of abuse may yield psychological consequences. Psychological abuse includes pain without overt physical harm, which may cause the severity of psychological concerns to be further ignored, minimized, or difficult to recognize. Sticks, stones, and words can be painful. Name-calling, yelling, insulting, threatening, excluding, mocking, humiliating, and criticizing all have the potential to be deeply painful and powerful offenses that often prohibit a person’s ability to love themselves. COMPARISONS One of the ways we tend to harm ourselves is by drawing comparisons. They may arise out of an innocent observation, and could even be motivational. However, when comparisons morph into pure negativity, they have the potential to form large roadblocks in your journey of self-love. Comparisons become a grave concern when they are habitual, obsessive, and/or constant. It is one thing to utilize a comparison to inform your assessment of your progress, but when exploited, this previously useful tactic feeds your inner self-critic. As negative self-talk increases and loudens, the inner encourager may weaken and fade into the background. Over time, what may have been a seemingly innocuous analysis can carve out an unrealistic, impossible standard paired with a self-defeating mindset that suppresses the ability to love yourself. MENTAL ILLNESS Tending to proper mental health care is fundamental to a successful journey of self-love. While all individuals can benefit from self-love in their lives, loving oneself is not the solution to mental illness. Self-love can certainly be helpful for those who live with mental health diagnoses, especially those pertaining to anxiety, depression, interpersonal problems, and trauma; nevertheless, it is not an appropriate replacement for professional mental health care. Furthermore, consistent setbacks on the path of self-love may point to an unattended mental health concern. If this occurs, it is important to consult with a mental health professional to assist you in shedding light on previously unidentified concerns. Bringing awareness to a prior hidden concern may be an empowering shift in your process. Equipped with a qualified clinician and your will to set out on your self-love journey, you can cross over the hurdle of illness impeding your ultimate success. DANGER Existential psychologist Abraham Maslow asserted that humans have five basic levels of needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization. The hierarchy of needs conveys that the primary needs are sequential in nature. All individuals are capable of arriving at the pinnacle, self-actualization. After a process of surpassing requisite needs, an individual enjoys a sense of genuine fulfillment. To achieve improvements in self-esteem, self-growth, and self-love, you must first establish foundational needs—physiological, safety, and social. Although self-love is a necessity, it is important to recognize priorities. An unwillingness to consider a hierarchy could cause you to become frustrated by placing your energy on self-love when it is not presently possible to be absorbed within that domain. You wouldn’t enroll in calculus without rudimentary mathematic knowledge, and you should approach your needs similarly. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs For individuals who are struggling to put food on the table or even find shelter (physiological and safety needs), the ability to focus on self-love is not unneeded, it may simply be a luxury within that context. If a challenging phase in life shakes your foundation, it is certainly justified if you choose to temporarily pause your current self-love to regain your equilibrium. In reference to the social domain, we need others just as they may need us. When our loved ones need our attention, care, and love, it is understandable to deter from our journey to help them. Our esteem needs encompass how we view ourselves and how others view us as well. While we may often rely on others to serve as a mirror for our esteem, it is important to remember that self-esteem is fostered internally. Therefore, fulfilling our esteem needs are a balance of our views and those of others. Regardless of the level, our needs may be tested throughout our lives, and it is helpful to remember to tend to our fundamentals so we can continue on our self-love journey. ROADBLOCKS TO SELF-LOVE While on the journey of self-love, roadblocks are to be expected. Noting the common obstacles mentioned on the previous pages, take a moment to consider the unique hurdles that may stall your individual progress. PREPARING FOR YOUR JOURNEY This workbook will likely be easy to read, but harder to practice. Unfortunately, simply reading the material will not improve your self-love. To fully engage in this journey, you will need to be open and honest with yourself. There may be moments in which you feel the need to detour from unfamiliar territory. When you encounter areas you are not yet ready to delve deep into, a detour may be helpful. As you continue in your journey, you may gain the tools needed to return to and tackle these obstacles. However, making this a habit and consistently veering around essential points in the process may inhibit your growth. You can skim through the pages of this workbook quite quickly, but processing and applying the core concepts will take more time. This journey will require patience. If you were preparing for a marathon, you would not expect yourself to run 26.2 miles on the first day of training. Chances are that you would not view this as a defeat. Instead, you would intentionally condition yourself for the challenge by allocating the necessary time, energy, and preparations. Furthermore, you would be kind and encouraging to yourself as you strove to reach your goal. Although there can be interpersonal aspects and benefits of self-love, it is predominately an intrapersonal process, responsibility, and commitment. There will certainly be peaks in which you will recognize your growth, and valleys consisting of more difficult moments. Therefore, this process requires courage as you anticipate both wonderful achievements and trying tasks. Your unique, reflective, and engaging journey to improve your overall practice of self-love will persist beyond this workbook as true self-love is a continuous process rather than a destination. What do you need to prepare prior to embarking on this journey? SEVEN SEGMENTS OF SELF-LOVE In the chapters that follow you will travel through the seven segments of self-love. Before you delve into deeper reflection, take a moment to consider where you believe you are in each: 1. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize who you are, how you influence the world, and how the world influences you. Self-awareness encompasses your ability to attune to and take accountability for your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 2. Self-exploration is the courage to delve into learning about yourself in order to improve your knowledge of who you are. 3. Self-care is comprised of a wide variety of tasks that require you to take care of your overall wellness. 4. Self-esteem is the result of how you view your overall self. 5. Self-kindness is the skill of being friendly to yourself. 6. Self-respect is the empowered ability to advocate for oneself. 7. Self-growth is the continual process of seeking opportunities to learn, love, and thrive. Gauge your present status in each of the seven areas and share below. CHAPTER 2 SELF-AWARENESS Through introspection, you are better able to understand your thoughts, feelings, desires, motives, and overall self. In this process you attune to your experiences through intentional and judgment-free observation. Your reflection equips you with the ability to promote your well-being by being conscientious and engaged. Self-awareness allows you to recognize when you are in need of self-love and when you are actively fostering your self-love. Without this recognition you could find yourself lost on your self-love journey. Whether open-ended or prompted, journaling is a helpful tool for tuning into your awareness, connecting you to your inner world, and reflecting at any stage in your self-love journey. Writing will be encouraged throughout this book as a way for you to recognize your views and reactions on a deeper level. Let’s try an open-ended reflection on your self-awareness. Explore your thoughts, feelings, and desires in this very moment. EMOTIONAL EXPLORATION “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” —Dr. Seuss Being able to recognize your emotions, or how you are feeling in any given moment, is a strength and a key part of self-awareness. For example, if you can pinpoint when you feel overwhelmed, you can be empowered to tend to your self-care. The inability to be cognizant of your feelings inhibits your capacity to understand and love yourself. Here are 100 feeling words to help you explore your emotional experiences in the activities provided throughout this workbook. 100 Feeling Words Agitated Alert Alienated Amazed Angry Annoyed Apathetic Appalled Appreciated Apprehensive Astonished Awed Betrayed Bored Calm Caring Chipper Committed Compassionate Concerned Confident Confused Content Creative Curious Dedicated Defensive Dejected Disappointed Disgusted Eager Embarrassed Encouraged Enraged Enthusiastic Excited Fearful Focused Fortunate Frustrated Furious Grateful Happy Heartbroken Honored Hopeful Hopeless Horrified Humiliated Inadequate Independent Inferior Infuriated Insecure Inspired Intrigued Irate Irritated Joyful Listless Lonely Loving Mad Miserable Motivated Neglected Nervous Offended Optimistic Ostracized Passive Peaceful Perplexed Playful Powerful Productive Proud Rejected Remorseful Resentful Sad Safe Scared Sensitive Serene Shocked Stressed Submissive Sullen Thoughtful Threatened Trustful Uninterested Unworthy Vigilant Vulnerable Weak Weak Withdrawn Worried EMOTIONAL AWARENESS Take a moment to tune into your emotions. In this very instant, how do you feel? In this moment I feel… Delve deeper—are you aware of why you feel the way you do? For example: I feel excited because I am learning how to improve my self-love. EMOTIONAL EQUATIONS When reflecting on your feelings, you may have noticed that you can experience a combination of emotions at once. That is perfectly fine. Reflect on how you feel with the following combinations of emotions, or emotional equations, to foster your self-awareness. Relaxed + Creative = Happy + Sad = Excited + Confident = Lonely + Insecure = Inadequate + Foolish = Playful + Cheerful = Important + Thankful = It is common to experience multiple emotions in a given situation. Recognizing that you are likely to have more than one feeling at a time helps you to broaden your awareness in a given situation. If you found it easy to think of times in which you experienced the combinations described, that may signal a strong emotional awareness. Continue to consider combinations to illuminate your emotional experiences and improve your self-awareness. If it was difficult for you, that’s okay. Be patient with yourself. Now that you better understand that feelings can be complex depending on context, you will be able to practice refining your awareness in the present. Feel free to return to these reflections to continue to foster your emotional awareness. THE DEPTH OF EMOTIONS Knowing what prompts your emotions is another self-awareness skill that helps you to better understand yourself and the world around you. Let’s explore your self-awareness. For each emotion below, consider how you are before and after the emotion. Consider what triggers you to feel that emotion and what is the effect of that feeling. Triggers and effects can be thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. They can include other people as well. You can use general examples that are common to you or specific memories from the past. Example from Sam: When… I’m alone I feel… bored and then… I tend to binge watch TV In the example on above, Sam recognized a habit in which she was watching too much TV. Although TV tends to help Sam de-stress, she has recognized that she often loses track of time and feels drained when watching too much TV. When reflecting on how emotions may play into this situation, Sam realizes that she tends to turn to TV when she is bored. Being unoccupied and underwhelmed makes it easy for her to watch episode after episode. Although watching TV fills up her time, Sam wants to use her free time for other hobbies, such as crafting and exercising. Recognizing this connection, Sam has heightened her awareness to turn first to her hobbies instead of TV when she feels bored. The ability to understand feelings is an attribute of emotional intelligence. You were able to practice two aspects of understanding: the root and the effect. The root is what may underlie an emotion whereas the effect occurs as a result of the emotion arising. These reflections allow you to consider the depth of your emotional experience and to begin to understand how your feelings may affect your thoughts and behaviors. MINDFULNESS In our world it is easy to be distracted and often difficult to be present. This reality often blocks our self-awareness. If you are submerged in the chaos of the noise around you, tuning into yourself can be a challenging endeavor. The ancient practice of mindfulness can be a helpful tool to overcome this common hurdle and to improve your self-awareness. The evolution of thousands of years of mindfulness practice spanning across the globe can be interpreted differently from person to person. For the self-awareness purpose of this workbook, we will recognize mindfulness as a sincere state of presence in which you are conscientious, attentive, and engaged. When you are mindful you are not consumed by what has happened or what is to come. Instead you are actively involved in the here and now. Additionally, you are a calm and kind observer who is immersed in the experience and is not inundated by judgments. While mindfulness is a process, several activities noted on the next two pages work to engage mindfulness. Benefits of mindful practice include improvements in memory, sense of self, empathy, and decision making, and reductions in worries, stress, poor coping, and perceptions of chronic pain. Although mindfulness may seem simple, small adjustments have been shown to make a substantial impact. Mindfulness methods have been powerful enough to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and symptoms of distress in cancer patients. Mindfulness does not fit into the stereotype of seated and stationary meditation. Hence, you can practice mindfulness when talking, eating, and walking. When you are mindful, you are engaged and nonjudgmentally observant in the present moment. To be mindful, you play an observer in your own life. If you attune your awareness in a given moment and rid yourself of criticism, you are practicing the essence of mindfulness. Taking this a step further, mindfulness can be used to foster your self-loving practice. Here are three ways to use mindfulness to hone your self-awareness: Breathing: Take note of your breathing. Recognize where the breath enters the body. Note where the breath leaves the body. Begin to slow your breath. As you continue, notice how the breath affects your body. Pay attention to the subtle movement that each breath brings to the body, with every inhale and every exhale. Place one hand on your chest as you continue to breathe. Notice the sensation of the lungs filling with air and decompressing with each exhale. Inhale as you slowly count 1-2-3. Pause. Exhale as you count 3-2-1. Continue as needed. Body scan: Find a comfortable seated position. Soften your gaze. Notice your body. Recognize your posture. Note how your body connects to the seat. Now, bring your awareness to your breath. Slowly inhale and slowly exhale. Begin to elongate your exhales, making them longer than your inhales. Continue to breathe as you bring your awareness to your feet. Notice any tension that you may have in the bottoms of your feet, your ankles, or toes. Take a deep inhale, and on a slow exhale try to relax your feet. Continue to breathe as you bring your awareness to your knees. Notice any tension that you may have in your knees, shins, or calves. Take a deep inhale, and with your next exhale try to release this tension. As your awareness moves up the legs, notice any tension that you may be holding in your thighs, pelvis, or glutes. Inhale, and release this tension as you exhale. Bring your attention up to your midsection, then up to your chest. As you inhale, note any tension in these areas and release with your elongated exhale. Bring your attention to your shoulders through the tips of your fingers. Recognize the tension that may be in your arms with your inhale, and release that tension with your exhale. Finally, notice any tension from your neck to the crown of your head. Take the longest inhale of this practice, and release any tension from the crown of your head to the base of your feet with the longest exhale of this practice. Using this elongated breath, on the next inhale squeeze every inch of your body tight. Curl the toes, create fists, squeeze your glutes, and tighten your face. On the next elongated exhale release this tremendous tension, allowing your body to sink and relax. Continue to breathe as needed. Cloud watching: Mental noise can distract us from our ability to be mindful and self-aware. One thought often breeds another thought. In this activity, focus on acknowledging your thoughts but allowing yourself to be released of them as well. Expend your energy on observing rather than questioning or avoiding your thoughts. Imagine that you are lying in a lush green field, looking up at the clouds moving across the sky. As they scroll from left to right, you observe them and let them pass. Imagine each of your thoughts is attached to a single cloud. Recognize each thought as it enters your scope and allow it to pass with the subtle rotation of the earth. These three activities will help you to train your mindfulness muscle. They may seem simple, but the practices may be quite difficult. Use them as a challenge to become more mindful. Try to be patient with yourself. We all experience storm clouds that affect us as they pass by. These clouds are thoughts that inhibit our presence, engagement, and nonjudgmental positioning. Although the storm clouds are a subjective experience, they often consist of thoughts that are difficult to let go of, future tasks, or random distractions. A key in self-awareness is recognizing where difficulties exist. As you continue to practice mindfulness, notice your storm clouds. SELF-KNOWLEDGE “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” —Anaïs Nin Attuning to your personal awareness allows you to know yourself better. Self-awareness can include fleeting moments, but can also encompass deeper and consistent pieces of who you are. Self-awareness is a requisite for the recognition and reflection that equate to self-knowledge. Knowing yourself is essential to understanding what self-love means specifically to you. It helps you to better understand, and differentiate from, others as well. When you begin to use your awareness to hone your self-knowledge, your reflection can allow you to see strengths and capabilities you may not have previously recognized. Connecting to self-knowledge allows you to consider what contributes to your self-love, what inhibits your self-love, and what you require in your self-love journey. Use the categories below to delve into what you know about you. I am I have I love My strengths My pet peeves I aspire to CULTURAL EXPLORATION “A mind cannot be independent of culture.” —Lev Vygotsky One way to strengthen your self-knowledge is to reflect on the depth of your culture. Oftentimes we may limit our view of culture by a common variable such as race or gender; however, culture is much more. Although you may have similarities to those in your family, community, or country, your cultural composition is unique to you. Your culture can span to include a variety of domains. Within each of these areas, culture encompasses your customs, values, beliefs, and traditions. Pamela Hays’s ADDRESSING framework was created to help highlight various cultural domains and how they may interact. Take a moment to reflect on your identity for each segment. Cultural domains are vast and include where you are from the groups you belong to, the social roles that you fulfill, and the activities that you like to do. Some of these aspects of your culture may be encapsulated in the model above. Although these are common cultural realms, it is not an exhaustive list. Culture varies from person to person. What are some of the additional domains of your culture? 1. Consider the vast variables of cultural self-knowledge and take a moment and choose four of your cultural domains. 2. Reflect on what each piece means to you. How does each domain affect who you are? 3. For each domain, consider if there are aspects of this identity variable that may help your ability to provide yourself with love. 4. For each domain, consider if there are aspects of this identity variable that may inhibit your ability to provide yourself with love. 5. Finally, reflect on how each piece may warrant a different type of self-love. Example: 1. wife 2. love, important role, partnership, support 3. my partner encourages me 4. balance between loving self and loving partner, social pressure of what it means to be a “wife” 5. time for self Reflection: HIGHLIGHTING STRENGTHS As you prepared for your self-love journey, you considered the roadblocks that you may encounter along the way (see activity Roadblocks to Self-Love on page 14). While practicing self-love, you may learn that your strengths can help you to endure difficult terrain. If you take the time to bring your strengths into your awareness you will be able to use them in a time of need. The ability to connect to positivity during a challenging moment may help to support, protect, and foster your resilience. What provides you with the momentum to propel forward on your self-love path? FINDING BLIND SPOTS “Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others.” —Ellen DeGeneres Heightening self-awareness and improving self-knowledge is ongoing within your self-love journey. Regardless of your effort and intention along this path, it is normal to have blind spots. Our knowledge of ourselves, and how others view us, can be distorted and difficult to see. Self-distancing can allow you to step back and reflect on your blind spots. However, even then, your periphery may be limited. With an awareness of this limitation, you can seek help from others to illuminate your blind spots and improve your self-knowledge. The Johari Window was created by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham as a method to help enhance self-awareness and promote personal development. It can be used to help you to reflect on what is within and beyond your current self-knowledge. Each of the four quadrants define a different aspect of knowledge that ranges from what you know about yourself to what others may know about you. Those quadrants are the arena, the façade, the blind spot, and the unknown area. The arena can be thought of as a public space. In this area, you would list characteristics that are openly known both to yourself and others. Visible characteristics may fall into this domain; however, clearly observable traits may be included as well. Imagine that you have just moved to a new town and you have been invited to your first dinner party. Excited to make connections in your new location, you are eager to meet each guest. Even to those who are still distant affiliations, your enthusiasm is clear from your smiling face. The façade, on the other hand, is a domain in which you may have awareness about a personal characteristic that others do not. For example, acquaintances may not know nuanced aspects of your identity, such as whether or not you are charitable or trustworthy. This quadrant includes characteristics you may intentionally hide from others. For example, when meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, you may be nervous but convey a confident and self-assured demeanor instead. If you are successful in minimizing your true sentiments, your suppression qualifies your nervousness to be within the façade. The blind spot includes aspects of yourself that others may see while your own perspective could be lacking. For example, you may think that you are cooperative and open-minded; however, a brainstorming session with your colleagues may cause you to realize that your efforts in collaboration may be interpreted in another way. At these sessions, you may sit back and listen to be polite and receptive, whereas your peers may value hearing your opinions and unique perspectives. The unknown area includes aspects of yourself that you and others do not know. This may include knowledge that is beyond your realm, such as future predictions. However, the unknown quadrant can also include information that simply lies beyond awareness. For example, you may notice that you tend to gravitate to toxic relationships. What may be unknown to you and others is that you may be influenced by the relationships that were modeled to you by your family as you were growing up. Fill in the Johari Window. You may opt to leave areas you do not know blank. However, you could reflect on details not previously known that became illuminated with the help of others. You may also choose to reflect on what you would like to learn to fill these areas. The Room for Growth list (page 79) may be useful to you to draw on here. Johari Window Can you think of a time that something was in your blind spot, hence inhibiting your self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-love? FEEDBACK Feedback from a trusted source, such as a good friend or positive mentor, can help you to see what may exist in your blind spots. Genuine feedback is constructive, caring, and propelled by the opportunity for growth. Can you think of a time when someone may have tried to provide you with feedback to shed light on your blind spot? Were you able to receive this feedback? How can you be open to feedback in the future? Being open to feedback in your journey can help you to grow. As you develop your own view, you can still benefit from the perspectives of others. You may opt to integrate their feedback, or you may self-reflect and choose to respect but set aside that feedback as well. As a continuous process, feedback can be useful in refining your growth process. Imagine you are learning to play a guitar for the first time. You have decided to take lessons from a skilled player to help you. As you learn, the feedback from your teacher helps you to tweak your skills and enhance your abilities. You receive the feedback and can tell your playing has improved. Your progress makes you feel confident in your abilities to learn. Your instructor validates your advancement and provides you with feedback to challenge your new level of skill. In this process, the feedback is not because you are a terrible player. The feedback is used to point you in the direction of achieving your goal. Self-awareness is an important factor in self-love. Practicing self-awareness and introspection helps you to better understand and connect with yourself. In this chapter you were able to delve into different aspects of your awareness, from your emotions to your overall identity. Reflection allows you to recognize and respect parts of yourself that you may have otherwise ignored. Additionally, practicing self-awareness signals you to pieces of you that are in need. SELF-AWARENESS REFLECTION CHAPTER 3 SELF-EXPLORATION “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” —Carl Jung Self-exploration is the courage to learn about yourself to improve your knowledge of who you are. Self-knowledge begins in awareness and develops through the process of self-exploration, as you consider what you know about yourself and continue to explore depths that you may not always connect to, but need to understand in order to love yourself. Without self-exploration you may be ignorant to crucial components of who you are, such as your identity, values, and purpose. Since you are continually evolving as a human being, without self-exploration, you may risk becoming stagnant in your self-love journey. Your self-exploration path may include twists and turns. You may encounter pieces of you that were previously unknown, as well as other pieces you have only seen glimpses of in the past. Finally, you may be able to anticipate what you will encounter due to a heightened sense of self-awareness. Whatever the case, what may be different this time is the willingness to pursue, rather than to avoid, your exploratory path. What do you anticipate you will encounter in your self-exploration? GETTING TO KNOW YOU Take some time to get to know you. Ask yourself the following questions in order to delve a bit deeper into your self-learning process. What is my favorite color? What is my favorite band? Who is my favorite artist? What is my favorite book? What is my favorite movie? What is my favorite food? What is my favorite animal? What do I like to do for fun? If I had only one wish, what would it be? What is my proudest accomplishment? What are my strengths? Who do I love? What new activities am I interested in or willing to try? What am I ashamed of? What am I worried about? Where do I feel safest? If I wasn’t afraid I would… What do I like about my job? What does my inner critic tell me? When I’m feeling down I like to… I know I’m stressed when… What do I do to show self-love? What is my happiest memory? What am I passionate about? What am I grateful for? Did some additional questions pop up? Share them and the answers here! THE INDEPENDENT INTERVIEW Self-exploration is a continuous process in which the effort to better understand your true self is persistent and consistent. This process is prompted in moments in which your self-awareness recognizes the need to discover a deeper depth. Your self-awareness can be triggered by external events (e.g., conversations with others, current events); however, the impetus to look within must come from you. The previous prompts helped you to begin your self-exploration. Now, try to practice self-exploration with both questions and answers that come directly from you, in any domain you like. Choose whatever topic comes to mind, allowing new questions to come up without judgment. MY STORY Knowing your narrative can illuminate the history that has shaped who you are today. Use the prompts below to detail your narrative. When I was born… As a child I enjoyed… Some of my challenges included… My favorite memory is… I faced obstacles along my path that… I was able to grow by… I’ve learned… Use this space to share additional important chapters that may not have been encapsulated above. Since self-exploration is an ongoing process, your narrative is bound to continue. Use the prompts on this page to explore your future story. What do I hope to learn in the future? What do I hope to experience in the future? What do I hope to happen in the future? MY MISSION STATEMENT “Those who have a why, can bear with almost any how.” —Viktor E. Frankl Reflecting on your narrative helps you better understand who you are and allows you to live a connected and loving life. Considering how far you have come lays the foundation for you to think about the second half of your story, your personal mission. Adding onto your hopes for your future, take a moment to consider your purpose. Your mission statement allows you to thread together the past and future by connecting deeply to your identity. Here are prompts to assist you in exploring your personal purpose. Use the lines on this page to brainstorm and create your mission statement. • What is your life’s purpose? • What is your calling? • When do you feel most fulfilled? • What contributes to your overall well-being? • What do you want to accomplish? • How do you want to live your life? • What makes you happiest? • What moments have felt the most purposeful? • How do you want to be remembered? CULTURAL EXPLORATION “Our diversity is our strength. What a dull and pointless life it would be if everyone was the same.” —Angelina Jolie In Chapter 2, you had an opportunity to begin to heighten your awareness of aspects of your culture and how they may affect your self-love. Now, you will delve further into understanding the complexity of your culture in order to better understand who you are. Previously you selected four domains. You may use those; however, challenge yourself to see the various aspects of who you are. Remember, components of your culture may include elements such as age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, heritage, ability level, relationship status, social roles, education, career, and hobbies. Brainstorm the components of your culture, then select eight of these components for the following activity. INTERSECTING IDENTITIES Oftentimes, we consider the aspects of our culture independently. However, culture is complex. Our identities are better understood by exploring how the different pieces of ourselves intersect and interact. Place the labels in the corresponding circles. For each intersection, consider what this convergence means for you. For example, what does it mean to be a young parent? What does it mean to be Asian and American? What does it mean to be bisexual and male? INNER CONFLICT “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” —Mahatma Gandhi By this point you may have learned a bit more about who you are. Nothing may be entirely new, but the way you are reflecting may be. You may have encountered pieces of yourself that are consistent in theme, but it is also possible that this exploration may have highlighted ways in which there may be inner conflict. In order to give yourself the love you deserve, you must first recognize when there is dissonance within you. This may take the form of discordant thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, experiences, and behaviors. As two like magnets, these forces may repel and cause you unhappiness. You must then work toward reducing the tension. You have the power to foster internal congruence and to live a life in which your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, experiences, and behaviors align. Examples: You value honesty and trust, but are cheating on your partner. You feel hurt when people say negative things behind your back, but you continue to gossip with others. You want to buy a house, but you carelessly spend your paychecks. EXPLORING INNER CONFLICT Take a moment to consider an inner conflict you may have. Place the contrasting factors in the opposing boxes below. When you excavate an inner conflict there are three points to consider: 1. Where does this conflict arise from? 2. How does this conflict affect me? 3. How can I take charge to achieve congruence? CREATIVE EXPLORATION You have delved into the depths of your true self, excavated potential conflicts, and addressed how to achieve alignment. Self-exploration can be a mentally and emotionally draining process of discovery. However, it is a critical process in understanding how to better love yourself. When you take part in potentially arduous reflections, it’s essential to check in with yourself and take care of yourself. As you prepare to learn about self-care, tie the elements of self-learning and self-nurturing together by considering metaphors that define you. Embrace your creativity and use the space below to write, draw, or doodle. In order to know how to love yourself, you must know yourself. Delving deep into your identity requires courage. In this chapter you bravely explored your narrative in the past, present, and future. You were able to connect to who you are and the life you wish to live. SELF-EXPLORATION REFLECTION CHAPTER 4 SELF-CARE “There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” —Aldous Huxley Self-care is a holistic process that we all need in order to foster presence, engagement, wellness, and self-love. Self-care is not a singular skill. Instead, self-care includes a wide variety of tasks tailored to meet your diverse needs. Although there may be similarities between self-care strategies, self-care is subjective and tends to vary from person to person. Common dimensions of self-care include physical, creative, spiritual, natural, social, and personal. Examples of self-care activities include getting adequate sleep, practicing mindfulness, taking part in hobbies, and meditation. Oftentimes, self-care is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is important to give yourself the ability to reflect on and tend to your wellness. Neglecting your personal needs can cause you to suffer from deterioration in wellness and self-love. For example, you may notice increases in anxiety, distractibility, anger, and fatigue. You may also experience decreases in sleep, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion. Ongoing exposure to stress without proper self-care can put you at risk for serious consequences such as depression and heart disease. Therefore, self-care is a continuous process of proactively considering and tending to your needs and maintaining your wellness. As a preventative measure, self-care helps you to consider and implement strategies prior to being faced with challenges. As a coping skill, self-care helps you to recognize when a new need calls for your attention. As an ongoing process, self-care helps you to develop resilience and compassion for yourself in your overall journey of self-love. Self-care can be tricky. It is easy to forget to take care of yourself, particularly before your loved ones. When you are low on energy and short on time, you may be especially likely to give up your own needs for the sake of someone else. Over time this can be dangerous. Also, when caring for others, it is helpful to demonstrate the importance of taking care of yourself to set an example and deter them from self-neglect as well. If someone you know is stranded on the side of the road because their car ran out of gas, do you empty your gas tank for them? Instead, you would likely use what you have to help that person get gas for their tank. Although kind, giving up all of your gas to help someone else creates a new problem altogether. The more effective way would be to fill your tank so you can better help someone fill theirs. FILL YOUR CUP How do you fill your self-care cup? Provide three examples below. Let’s take this a little deeper. Why do you turn to these methods? When you follow through with these examples, how do you feel? When you lack the time or energy to follow through with these examples, do you notice a difference? YOUR WELLNESS To expand your self-care strategies, it will be helpful to take a step back and understand your overall wellness. Wellness is a multidimensional concept of health. Self-care encompasses the methods that you utilize to support and maintain your wellness. The definition of wellness may vary from person to person. Just as self-care is subjective, wellness is often subjective as well. How do you define wellness? Did your definition include physical well-being? That is a common response. But it is important to realize that wellness is often more complex, as it includes several essential dimensions. If wellness relates to our bodies, then thoughts and feelings are worthwhile to consider, since what affects our health goes beyond the body. Do you feel your best when you set aside time for your loved ones? Do you feel healthy when you are mindful of your nutrition? Or perhaps you feel happiest when you dedicate a portion of your energy to a higher power. YOUR WELLNESS DOMAINS Are any of these common areas of wellness important for your well-being? Circle the ones that resonate with you. Career Community Creative Cultural Educational Emotional Family Financial Friendship Gender Intellectual Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Relationships Leisure Life Planning Love Mental Nature Nutrition Physical Sexual Social Spiritual Work Write all of your wellness domains here. Including the domains circled on the previous page may be helpful. However, it is your wellness. Add in your own wellness categories. Choose words that resonate with you. Using the words you brainstormed above, divide your wellness into five to eight categories. Having a clear understanding of your wellness domains will help you to foster your well-being. MY CURRENT WELLNESS Now, think about your wellness in a given week. Ideally your wellness would align with the time and energy you spend on each domain per week. However, if you are disconnected from your wellness, it’s possible that most of your time is taken up with other activities that do not correlate with your wellness categories. Create a snapshot of your current wellness. Using your wellness categories, create a pie chart to show how you spend a typical week. Then, use the snapshot to answer the questions that follow. Are some parts of your time going to something beyond your wellness? If so, is that acceptable for you? Are you happy with the division of your energy? What areas would you like to increase? How will you do that? Are there areas you would like to decrease? MY FUTURE WELLNESS “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” —Rabindranath Tagore Considering your reflection from My Current Wellness (page 43), what would you like your wellness wheel to look like? What are your impressions of your future wellness? Did your categories remain the same or did you need to remove unwarranted domains and/or add new domains? Do you believe your ideal wellness is feasible? Why, or why not? Are there some challenges to achieving this? STRIVING FOR BALANCE In order to shift from your current snapshot to your ideal wellness wheel, what do you need to decrease and what do you need to increase? For example, you may notice that you need to make more space for time to yourself. Relatedly, you may observe that the social piece of your wellness is bigger than it needs to be for balance. Hence, you may try to adjust time from your social domain to fuel your personal wellness. Now that you know what your ideal wellness ratio looks like and what may need to change to get there, think about all of the possible things you can do to fill each wellness slice. You don’t need to master meditation hour or escape to an island paradise to fill your wellness wheel. Of course, those can be considered; however, brainstorm tangible tasks that you can easily do in your everyday life. Bigger items are encouraged, but remember that small efforts can add up as well. Divide the space below into each domain and consider all of your options. MY WELLNESS PLAN Now that you have a variety of ways to fuel your wellness domains, it will be helpful to think about how to incorporate these aspects of wellness into your everyday life. In loving myself, these are the things I would like to do for my wellness. Daily: Twice a week: Weekly: Every other week: Monthly: At least once per season: At least once a year: SELF-LOVE DATE “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” —Oscar Wilde Tending to your wellness provides the foundation for self-care and shows that you recognize your self-worth. To maintain your self-esteem and foster your happiness, it is important to treat yourself similarly to how you treat the special people in your life. Just as you wouldn’t think twice about spending the time, energy, and effort to show appreciation for a loved one, you can do the same for yourself. Consider your wellness and how you receive love. Take a moment to plan a date just for you. Think about what you might need, where it may take place, and when it could occur. 100 WAYS TO COPE Wellness and coping are similar, yet different. Wellness is comprised of your general efforts to maintain a positive well-being. Coping is comprised of the active methods you use when faced with stressors. Ideally, wellness would occur whether or not you’re having a difficult day. Coping skills can be similar to those you use for general wellness, but often they are intentional and specific ways to handle the effects of a hardship. For example, spending time with your friends may be an important part of your social wellness. However, if you are faced with a difficult decision, you may choose to cope by calling a friend to have him/her help broaden your perspectives, calm your fears, and encourage you to make the right choice. Here are 100 examples of things you can do to cope: 1. Attend a concert 2. Attend a sporting event 3. Bake 4. Breathe deeply 5. Call a helpline 6. Call an old friend 7. Clean 8. Color 9. Cook 10. Craft 11. Create an affirmation 12. Create boundaries 13. Dance 14. De-clutter 15. Donate 16. Do something nice for someone else 17. Draw 18. Eat a healthy meal 19. Exercise 20. Embrace silence 21. Forgive someone 22. Garden 23. Get a massage 24. Get a manicure 25. Get a pedicure 26. Give a compliment 27. Give a hug 28. Go outside 29. Groom yourself 30. Hydrate 31. Journal 32. Knit 33. Light a candle 34. Light incense 35. Listen to music 36. Listen to a podcast 37. Listen to your favorite song 38. Look at old photos 39. Look at the sky 40. Make a gratitude list 41. Make a positive playlist 42. Make a mandala 43. Make travel plans 44. Meditate 45. Meet a friend 46. Nap 47. Organize 48. Paint 49. Plan a trip 50. Play a game 51. Play a sport 52. Play an instrument 53. Play videogames 54. Play with a pet 55. Practice assertiveness 56. Practice mindfulness 57. Practice safe sex 58. Pray 59. Read 60. Read affirmations 61. Relaxation techniques 62. Rearrange furniture 63. Rest 64. Run 65. Say no to negativity 66. Set a goal 67. Sew 68. Sing 69. Smile 70. Solve a puzzle 71. Spend time in nature 72. Spend time with positive people 73. Stretch 74. Study 75. Take a bath 76. Take a break 77. Take a mental health day 78. Take pictures 79. Take a shower 80. Take your vitamins 81. Therapy 82. Think positively 83. Try a DIY project 84. Try a new recipe 85. Unplug from social media 86. Use a fidget toy 87. Use essential oils 88. Use visualization 89. Volunteer 90. Walk 91. Watch funny videos 92. Watch the sunset 93. Watch your favorite movie 94. Watch your favorite show 95. Work 96. Write a letter 97. Write a poem 98. Write a song 99. Write a story 100. Yoga COPING SKILLS Are there additional coping skills you would like to add? 1. In the 100 examples of coping strategies, check each box that you have used to cope in the past. 2. Use a strikethrough to show which coping skills are unhelpful for you. 3. Place a star next to each coping skill that has been helpful for you. 4. As you try these skills, update the list over time. JOURNALING Journaling is a reflective strategy. Various styles of journaling can allow you to nonjudgmentally explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, confront deep conflicts, and experience a curative self-loving escape. So far you have had a few chances to use journaling methods. In Chapter 2, Self-Awareness, you had the opportunity to utilize an open-ended journal prompt. Also, at the end of each chapter you have had the opportunity to use journaling to review and reflect on the topics in each section. In a smaller form, many of the activities call for a small, succinct reflection. As you can see, journaling methods can range from general to specific, with several examples provided below. Open-ended: This type of journaling is intentionally broad to allow for enhanced exploration. For example, you may choose to reflect on self-love without constraining your exploration to a specific prompt. Release: Also known as a stream-of-consciousness prompt, this is an open-ended type of journaling in which you intentionally purge every thought that comes to mind in that moment. Yes, even the thought “I don’t have any more thoughts” gets released if it comes to mind. This style is often effective with a timer set for a short amount of time. If you’ve had a heated argument with someone but need to go back to work, you may use this method to release and help you to reset. Review: Similar to the prompts at the end of each chapter in this book, a review journal can help you review a particular event, theme, or topic. While doing so, you are able to revisit the topic and take your reflection deeper. This type of journal is commonly used at the end of the day. For example, you may wish to reflect daily on your self-care practices. Plan: A planning journal allows you to brainstorm your aspirations. You can explore possible methods to help you tangibly achieve your hopes and dreams. This method works well in conjunction with the review style of journaling, as you can reflect on what has occurred and how to improve over time. Gratitude: A gratitude journal generally consists of open-ended prompts that are broadly focused on what you are thankful for. However, you may choose to explore specific realms of gratitude. For example, for one entry you could reflect on things you are grateful to have achieved and in another you could focus on the people you are grateful to have in your life. What type of journaling do you enjoy? CREATIVE SELF-CARE “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” —Albert Einstein Although everyone can benefit from self-care, not everyone benefits from the same types of self-care activities. The 100 Ways to Cope on page 46 are common ways that people practice tending to their needs; however, it can be helpful to tailor your self-care tasks to your individual identity. For example, someone who loves understanding how things work could find tinkering with a gadget peaceful and enjoyable. Someone who loves seeking adventure could find it fulfilling for their needs to check off skydiving from his or her bucket list. These examples are personalized, and although others could share in their enjoyment, they’re not necessarily common coping mechanisms, but still just as helpful. Reflect on who you are. See page 35, My Mission Statement, for some perspective. What are the creative ways that you may cope? LISTENING TO YOUR EMOTIONS Feelings can serve as practical, powerful signals to help you recognize when you are in need of self-care. The ability to recognize this signal can help you in your self-love journey. You may find that certain coping skills may work better for some emotions over others. (See page 21, Emotional Awareness.) Place a corresponding coping skill on the lines below. Example: If you know that calling a loved one helps to lift your spirits, then you may wish to put “call a loved one” next to “sad.” Even when you are unclear about your current feelings, tuning into the emotions you wish to have can help you select the appropriate coping skill. Place a corresponding coping skill on the lines below. Example: If you know that taking a warm water bath helps to calm you, then you may wish to put “take a bath” next to “relaxed.” COPING TOOLKIT Challenges are a normal part of life. One self-loving practice is to proactively prepare your coping kit, or go-to coping skills that are effective for you. Further, you have the opportunity to decipher the right skill for the right context. You wouldn’t use a hammer when you need a screwdriver, and coping skills may also have specific purposes. Taking the time to equip yourself with effective coping skills helps you to be well-aware, prepared, and more likely to cope effectively. What was the last difficult situation you encountered? How did you cope? What tools are presently in your kit? What tools have you tried that are not for you, and may not belong in your kit? What tools would you like to add to your kit? BAD-DAY BAND-AID “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” —Confucius A bad-day Band-Aid is a helpful item to place in your coping kit. Proactively considering your coping skills can help you manage, achieve balance, and move a step closer to happiness. It’s helpful to have a wide list of coping skills to tailor to any given situation. All coping skills are not created equal, and they can vary from person to person. It is helpful to know what coping skills are effective for you. While it is helpful to have a selection, your bad-day Band-Aid is your go-to coping method for a difficult day. What is your bad-day Band-Aid? MY COMFORT ZONE Your environment can play an important role in your self-care. It is helpful to consider what type of setting works well for your wellness. In your safe space you feel comfortable and relaxed. In your comfort zone you are able to let your guard down and be vulnerable. You may already have a place in mind, or you may have to create a comfort zone. In the space below, sketch your safe space. Be sure to include key items or attributes. EXPLORING MY SUPPORT SYSTEM Positive people provide a wealth of support for self-care and wellness, particularly when you are depleted. Your social support system is made up of the people you can turn to for help. Individuals who care for you may signal your self-care necessities when they see something in your blind spot. Furthermore, they can care for, encourage, assist, guide, and motivate you along your self-love journey. Begin to explore the realms of your social support in the space below. List all of the people that have or can help to support your wellness, self-care, and self-love. CHALLENGING SELF-CARE “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” —Lao Tzu Not all parts of self-care are pleasant, but at the end of the day, they are all positive. A critical component in self-care is the self-awareness to recognize that there may be gaps in your wellness. Furthermore, self-care requires the courage of self-exploration to improve your self-knowledge. Hence, self-care can include challenging tasks that are for the betterment of your overall self. Examples of challenging self-care: • Setting boundaries with others • Creating limits for yourself • Confronting someone who consistently hurts you What are the challenging tasks in your self-care? What do you need to empower you to tackle these difficult duties? Self-care is an essential self-love practice. In this chapter you were able to delve into methods of maintaining your well-being, from highlighting practical coping skills to recognizing deeper needs that require fulfillment. Self-care is foundational in loving yourself, and maintaining your self-care is an ongoing way to love yourself. SELF-CARE REFLECTION CHAPTER 5 SELF-ESTEEM It is common to confuse self-esteem with terms such as confidence, efficacy, and worth. Although these terms are related, it is important to recognize what self-esteem is by itself. Your self-esteem is how you appraise your worth, and how you think, feel, and act because of your assessment. Low self-esteem is associated with a poor valuation whereas high self-esteem signifies a strong sense of worthiness. Hence, your esteem consists of beliefs you hold about yourself. In essence, it is how you judge your personal value. Low self-esteem is associated with stress, depression, prejudice, materialism, relationship insecurity, and poor coping. Low self-esteem is a known risk factor in the development of mental health problems such as eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. While having healthy self-esteem is deemed essential, some common misunderstandings arise around it. For one, high self-esteem is often interpreted as the gold standard. In reality, a secure sense of esteem fluctuates. While individuals with very low self-esteem are often more vulnerable, on the opposite end of the spectrum, an individual with very high self-esteem could be defensive and irrational. Additionally, the need for healthy self-esteem is often acknowledged in earlier years, adolescence in particular. But tending to self-esteem is crucial throughout the lifespan. It is important to see self-esteem for what it truly is and to avoid confusing it with similar concepts or diluting it with false associations. Building a healthy sense of self-esteem is a helpful practice of self-love. Fostering your self-esteem helps you to better understand yourself and develop a healthier sense of identity. Furthermore, seeing self-esteem as an assessment of our worth helps us to consider humanity and universal rights. In honoring your worth in your purest form, you respect the value of others as well. Hence, self-esteem can be a helpful factor in your personal journey of self-love, yet the benefits may have a broader impact on the world around you. ACKNOWLEDGING MY WORTH “The world needs a sense of worth, and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile.” —Fred Rogers Take a moment and consider your worth. As discussed in What Self-Love Isn’t (page 11), acknowledging your self-worth does not make you prideful, selfish, or entitled. Strip away your titles, achievements, and experiences. You, as a human being, are worthy. By just being alive you are valid, important, and enough. I am worthy of… ME FOR THREE Self-esteem encompasses beliefs we hold about ourselves. This can include adjectives that describe personality, appearance, habits, interests, roles, and experiences. Set a timer for three minutes. In that time, write as many attributes about yourself as you can in the space below. MY PERSONAL QUALITIES There are typically three ways in which we think about ourselves: positive, negative, or neutral. You may not realize when your mental tone turns from positive to negative. Sometimes thinking negatively can become a habit. However, the way you see yourself affects you. Think about your self-evaluations like a bank account. When you think negatively about yourself, you withdraw from your account, whereas positive thoughts can enhance your balance. Recognizing these internal transactions is helpful to heighten your awareness and empower you to monitor your self-love. Place your brainstormed attributes from Me for Three in the chart in accordance with how you view these characteristics. For example, you may place optimistic in positive, talkative in neutral, and bossy in negative. Keep in mind that your categories should be based on your own perspectives. For example, while others may see being talkative as a skill, others may see it as negative; what matters the most is that you may view it as both. While reflecting, it is possible that you may have recognized qualities you did not remember in the three-minute range. Feel free to add more to have a thorough view of you. SUBJECTIVE SUPERLATIVES One way to learn about your personal qualities is to receive feedback from others. Feedback (see page 29) is a helpful tool to broaden your perspective. However, sometimes you can become too dependent on what others think and you may lose sight of your own views. In the space below, take a moment to give yourself credit for your awesome traits. These can range from simply highlighting a strength to warmly rewarding yourself with a superlative. You can use the prompts below and make your own. When you consider things that other people have said about you that may be true, feel free to add to the personal qualities chart. CONFIDENT PEOPLE Confidence can be defined as the trust you have in yourself. Can you think of three people that you believe have a large amount of self-trust? On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being little to no confidence and 10 being as confident as possible, draw a symbol on the number that corresponds with each person you select. How do you know these individuals are confident? What do you believe helps them to have high confidence? What do you believe hinders their confidence? Thinking about confident people that you admire can help you to view confidence in an inspirational and non-threatening way. Observing confidence in people you know can help you to set examples for yourself. Also, examining what fosters their confidence can allow you to consider methods to improve your own self-trust. MY SELF-CONFIDENCE “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” —Henry David Thoreau Think about a time in your past in which you did not trust yourself. Describe that event below. Think about a time in your past in which you trusted yourself. Describe that event below. Looking back, did you have any reasons to trust yourself? Looking back, what reasons did you have to trust yourself? Did anything stand in your way at the time? Did anything cause your trust to waver? If you compare and contrast these events, what do you notice? How confident are you in this present moment? Draw a symbol on your selected number on the scale of 1 to 10 below, with 1 being little to no confidence and 10 being as confident as possible. How did you decide on this number? Are you happy with this number? What could make this number decrease? What could make this number increase? UNDERSTANDING SELF-EFFICACY “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” —Nelson Mandela When thinking about your current confidence level, you may have found it difficult to pick a number from 1 to 10. This prompt encouraged self-awareness. Since self-esteem is a personal assessment, you may have struggled to rid yourself of outside influences and connect to your inner voice. Even when you were empowered to make your own analysis, you may have found yourself recognizing how broad confidence can be. Another way to look at your self-trust is to consider your belief in your abilities, otherwise known as self-efficacy. No one is perfect, and regardless of your hard work, intentions, and effort, you can’t do it all. You have both strengths and weaknesses. Using the concept of self-efficacy allows you to better understand your skillsets, deficits, and all that lies in between. Self-efficacy allows you to honor your talents. In the areas in which you may be lacking, acknowledging the lens of efficacy over confidence allows for a flexible way of seeing yourself. For example, you might have low self-efficacy about your ability to run a marathon tomorrow and to complete it within 4 hours and 20 minutes. This does not mean that running a marathon in 4 hours and 20 minutes is impossible, it just means that if you were not previously training for such an endeavor, it would be a bit absurd to set such a standard. Your confidence may be low, but recognizing that it is understandable that you do not have certain abilities needed to take on this feat tomorrow is a healthier perspective. On the other hand, if you have been training for a marathon for months, previously completed a marathon in a similar time frame, and just so happen to have a race day tomorrow, perhaps you have high self-efficacy in this area. MY SELF-EFFICACY For each of the following prompts, consider the range of your self-efficacy from low to high. For each ability, place a symbol along the line to indicate your level. Provide a rationale for your ability judgment. ROLE MODELS Role models can be a resource to improve your self-esteem. Earlier you considered individuals that you believe are confident (see page 60, Confident People). As you delve further, you may be able to use their self-trust as an example of how to foster your own. Individuals who are familiar to you can be helpful role models as you may have the ability to inquire about their own self-love journey. For example, a friend that you may believe has high self-esteem may be willing to discuss their path toward healthy self-esteem. From that conversation, you may be able to find insightful points to consider for your own process. A role model does not need to be limited to someone you know personally. Historical figures, fictional characters, and influential celebrities could have the potential to inspire you and assist you in boosting your self-esteem as well. Use the lines below to list the names of the people you admire. What self-esteem lessons can you learn from the individuals you listed? MY INNER DIALOGUE “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” —Walt Disney In order to truly consider your esteem, confidence, and efficacy, you must be able to tune into your inner dialogue, or self-talk. Listening to your internal chatter can help you to notice your personal assessments. The messages included in your internal script may range from positive to negative. While intently attending to your self-talk, you may also notice that the content could be affecting your esteem, confidence, and efficacy. Like heavy weights, your negative self-talk could be dragging down your assessment of yourself. On the other hand, positive, helpful thoughts can help you to feel empowered and unrestrained. Being mindful of your self-talk is a practice of self-love. Some examples of negative self-talk: I’ll never be able to find time for myself. I can’t do anything right. No one likes to be around me. Considering the examples above, what are some negative statements you have said to yourself? Oftentimes our inner chatter can go unnoticed. However, negative self-talk hinders our self-love. Paying attention to our thoughts can help us to recognize when unacceptable negative thoughts are hijacking our cognitions and creating barriers to self-love. Also, from recognizing our negative statements, we can be empowered to transform these patterns into positive thoughts and foster self-love in the process. UNHELPFUL THINKING Negative self-talk can often be distorted or irrational. Nevertheless, regardless of accuracy, negative self-talk can be a powerful and deleterious force on self-esteem. Therefore, addressing and transforming negative inner dialogue can be a self-loving practice. The first step in addressing negative self-talk is to become aware that the given thought is unhelpful. This may seem simple; however, lack of intentionality means lack of regulation for unhelpful self-talk. Without realizing the problem and its influence, you can unknowingly surrender your self-esteem to the strong influence of negative self-talk. After understanding the influence of negative inner dialogue and catching such unhelpful statements, you may have the opportunity to widen your perspective and alter your thinking. Some common styles of distorted thinking can be seen in negative self-talk. Understanding these irrational thinking patterns can help you to illuminate an unhelpful internal statement and motivate you to change the statement. The process of changing a statement from negative to positive can improve self-esteem and overall self-love. Consider these examples of distorted thinking. Check off each example that you have used. Filtering: seeing things through a limited lens while ignoring a broader perspective. For example: Good things never happen to me. Overgeneralization: widely applying a single view and expecting it to be true for all situations. For example: Of course she doesn’t want to talk to me, no one ever does. Labeling: arriving at a particular judgment based on skewed and limited information. This can include name-calling or reducing someone or something to a singular title or perspective. For example: I didn’t do well on that exam, I’m stupid. Jumping to conclusions: prematurely arriving at an answer without having sufficient evidence. For example: He hasn’t responded yet, he must be angry with me. Catastrophizing: assuming the worst-case scenario is likely while ignoring other possibilities. For example: I’ll never get married. Polarized thinking: seeing things dichotomously, or as one way or the other, without acknowledging the gray area that often lies between. For example: I didn’t get the promotion; I’m a failure. Personalization: taking things personally or assuming responsibility for things that are beyond your control. For example: She didn’t say hello to me, she must not like me. Should/ought/must: Enforcing unrealistic, high expectations on yourself or others that make it difficult to attain. For example: I should have been a better partner, then I wouldn’t be single. Magnification: exaggerating the influence of a detail or situation. For example: That was the worst presentation, but the audience enjoyed it. Minimization: reducing or ignoring the emphasis of a detail or situation. For example: Thank you for complimenting me on my award; it isn’t that big of a deal though. Mind-reading: assuming to know what others think or feel without considering the facts. For example: She thinks I’m an idiot. Fortunetelling: having a strong conviction that something will happen. Predicting the future without sufficient evidence. For example: I’m not going to get the job. Emotional reasoning: being misled by your feelings. Allowing your emotions to convince you of what is occurring in reality. For example: I feel scared, I must be in danger. FORMULAS FOR COUNTERING “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” —Maya Angelou Recognizing that a thought is distorted may prompt you to change your thinking process. How can you transform the examples of unhelpful thinking listed previously into helpful thoughts? Using your self-knowledge (see page 25), create formulas for each thinking error to help you modify your thinking process and improve your self-talk. Reflect on the examples of distorted thinking that you checked off on page 65 For each, provide a sample statement that has crossed your mind at one point in time. If possible, try to use a statement that has affected you recently and/or has influenced you greatly. Then, use the formulas you created to help you arrive at a kinder thought. CHALLENGING UNHELPFUL THINKING “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” —Eleanor Roosevelt Self-awareness is key in recognizing when you may be experiencing distorted thoughts (see Self-Awareness on page 17). Without this recognition, you may struggle to realize when there is a pertinent need to change your flawed thinking. Furthermore, not all forms of negative self-talk qualify as unhelpful thinking. You may have negative thoughts cross your mind that you know are negative but they may seem logical and helpful (see page 64). On the line below, provide an example of a negative thought that has deeply affected you. If possible, try to choose a thought that still affects you today. It may be helpful for you to select a thought that you may struggle to change, even after applying the formulas you tailored. Considering the negative statement you provided, answer the following questions. They can help you to challenge your unhelpful thinking. YES NO Is this a self-loving statement? Is this thought helpful? Is it in my control? Is there someone I can seek feedback from on the accuracy of this thought? Am I blaming myself unnecessarily? Am I holding myself to unrealistic standards? Am I jumping to conclusions? Am I taking this personally when it may not be a personal matter? Am I making assumptions? Are there exceptions to this negative statement? Is this thought accurate? Do I have evidence to support this thought? Can I test my assumptions? Could there be other perspectives? Are there other ways to think about it? Would I say this to a friend? PETAL PERSPECTIVES: IMPROVING POSITIVE SELF-TALK The flowers below can be used to help you begin to reconsider and challenge your unhelpful thoughts. Reflect on your inner dialogue and consider your commonly used negative statements. For each flower, place one example of negative self-talk in the center. Then, use the petals to brainstorm ways to counter that negative thought. You may find it helpful to consider the formulas you created as well as the questions to challenge negative self-talk. Try your best to create positive and powerful perspectives that are infused with self-love! ME MESSAGES Sometimes self-talk may not necessarily be distorted or negative, but can still be unhelpful. This may happen when the statement isn’t congruent with who you are. (See page 37, Inner Conflict.) Since these messages float around in our heads, we assume they are our messages. However, these may be messages that we adapted from other people. It is possible that these statements can be practical points of feedback, but it is also possible that they are unhelpful messages that conflict with our true self and cause distressing inner dialogue. (See page 27, Finding Blind Spots.) Take a moment to think about your self-talk. What are some examples of statements that are truly your own and what are examples of statements that may be influenced by others? TRASH TOSS You can’t control others’ statements, but you can consider when a message is consistent with who you are, helpful, and self-loving. Some of the statements in the “other” section above can be feedback that can be used to prompt self-exploration (see Chapter 3) and self-growth (see Chapter 8). Highlighting some of the statements in this exercise may cause you to realize that they are not consistent with who you are. You may have unknowingly held on to useless negative statements that have inhibited your self-esteem. For example, you may be affected by inaccurate comments from a pushy past partner. Or, you may be pressured by unrealistic expectations you have received from societal standards. When you realize a statement is both incongruent and unhelpful, it may be time to consider tossing these thoughts in the trash. What thoughts belong in the bin? BUILDING BLOCKS You can increase your positive thoughts and improve your self-esteem by reflecting on your strengths, achievements, abilities, and successes. Taking the time to consider these truths can cause you to recognize your worth, improve your self-trust, and enhance your beliefs in yourself. The building blocks below can help you to build your self-esteem. The prompts can help you to lay the foundation of positive self-talk. Feel free to use the blank space to expand on positive statements of your choice! MOTIVATIONAL MESSAGES Motivational messages can help to fill a void in your self-esteem. Difficult days are inevitable; however, it is possible to find inspiration in those trying times, boost your self-esteem, and provide yourself the self-love you deserve. These useful words often arise from your loved ones, role models, or other people who’ve left an impression on you. Use the hearts below to write motivational messages that inspire you. Here are examples of inspirational quotes. Select the ones that resonate with you, and hence could be useful for you. • “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” —Eleanor Roosevelt • “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” —Nelson Mandela • “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” —Franklin Roosevelt • “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” —Maya Angelou • “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” —Winston Churchill • “I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald • “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” —C. S. Lewis Add your favorite inspirational quotes here: AFFIRMATIONS Motivational messages can come from within you. Many times, these are the most powerful, as you are the expert in you. Affirmations are practical, positive self-talk statements that can empower you and boost your self-esteem. Here are some examples. Select the ones that resonate with you: I can learn from my mistakes. Life is beautiful. Practice over perfection. Never give up. I am powerful. I can make a difference. I am enough. I am worthy of love. I am lovable. Positive mind, positive heart, positive life. I believe in myself. I choose kindness. I can. I am courageous. I love myself. Anything is possible. I am fortunate. I am ready. Create an affirmation of your own: Practice saying this to yourself at least one time per day. POSITIVE PLAYLIST “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.” —Arthur O’Shaughnessy Music is powerful. It can lift you up at any time, but this is particularly impactful when you are down. When your self-esteem is low, listening to a good tune or two can help to boost your self-esteem. Therefore, turning up the volume when you are feeling depleted can be an act of self-love. Create a positive playlist to help you turn up the dial when your self-esteem is low. Bonus points for singing, dancing, or playing along! If you need help exploring the emotions that these songs evoke, you may find it helpful to revisit the 100 Feeling Words on page 17. How you view yourself can greatly affect your self-love. Negative thoughts can taint your view of your worth and can serve as obstacles in promoting self-loving practices. On the other hand, a positive mindset can help you to create a sturdy foundation to foster your self-loving practices. SELF-ESTEEM REFLECTION CHAPTER 6 SELF-KINDNESS Self-kindness is the skill of being friendly to yourself. Self-kindness is associated with happiness, optimism, curiosity, conscientiousness, intrinsic motivation, emotional intelligence, and well-being. Self-kindness can be helpful in reducing stress, anxiety, self-criticism, avoidance, and depression. It can include how you tend to your needs and practice self-care. It can also encompass your approach to a negative thought, feeling, prompt, or situation. For example, having the self-awareness to tune into your needs and practice self-care is a gesture of self-kindness. Your self-kindness is also demonstrated in times in which you are faced with hurdles in your path. During such times, treating yourself with care instead of judgment and criticism is a crucial act of self-love. Self-kindness is the balance you strive for between being dedicated to personal growth yet mindful of the need to be accepting, compassionate, patient, and grateful along the way. A strong sense of self-kindness allows you to acknowledge difficulties as a normal part of life, and to respect yourself as you progress on your self-love journey. You have already learned some helpful ways to practice self-kindness, such as challenging unhelpful thinking (page 68), creating motivational messages (page 72), or employing affirmations (page 73). Thinking about the definition of self-kindness, how are you nice to you? NICE NOTES A simple way to show yourself kindness is by being affirming and encouraging (see Affirmations on page 73). Craft thoughtful messages and jot them on small notes. To see one of these kind reminders often, place it in an area in which you will see it repeatedly, or you may also choose to place it where you will see it inf