Hope For The Journey

Getting Your Inner
Spark Back: 5 Tips
to Loving Yourself

We are born looking and freely accepting love. Babies and toddlers thrive with love and attention. They ask to be held, they ask for toys and presents, and they feel they deserve them. When we’re very young, we simply somehow just “know” that we are amazing and deserve nothing but goodness.

But then something happens…

Maybe we didn’t get the love and attention we deserved as children. Maybe someone we trusted misused us. Maybe the “love” and attention we received was used to groom us into a sexual abuse experience–to make us confused as to what is good and what is bad–whether we are good or we are bad.

Then, we get programmed by kids at school and various media outlets. We hit puberty and our hormones kick in and suddenly instead of being awesome and lovable, we believe we aren’t good enough, smart enough, or good looking enough.

The good news is, you can fall in love with yourself all over again.

Here’s 5 Ways to Show Love to Yourself

1. Make Time for Yourself


Little kids spend a lot of alone time playing. And during this alone time, they are really connected to their inner world. The “us” in this inner world is the real us, not the us in the business suit or rush-hour traffic or grocery store line. Spend quality time just with you so you can reconnect to the “you” you’ve forgotten.

Allow for that forgotten creativity and playfulness of youth.


Let yourself be silly. Let yourself enjoy experiences just because they feel good. Play, laugh, and let yourself be merry.

But Beware the “Back Draft”


If it has been a while since you really connected with yourself, there is a good chance that you might have some built up emotions waiting to be processed. Sometimes this can feel like a phenomenon firefighters call a “back draft”. In a fire, if a door is closed, a fire can seem to die down because of a lack of oxygen. However, if you open that door quickly, oxygen will rush in, feed the fire, and an explosion will result.

Emotions can be like that–waiting quietly in the background and then coming at you in strong waves. If this happens and you can tolerate it, know that it will rise and fall all on its own. All you need to do is breathe through it or access your support systems, and the emotions will process through and out. But if it’s bigger than that or it starts to affect you in larger ways (like you can’t go to school/work or it’s impacting your body or relationships), you may need to seek extra help and support to safely get you through it.

Going back to our back draft example, a trained firefighter knows to touch the door knob first. If it’s hot, they will drill small holes to allow small amounts of oxygen in which limits the explosion. This is similar to how good trauma therapy works. Your therapist will help you learn how to recognize the warning signs of strong emotions, how to process through them safely, and ultimately how to put the emotional fire out.

2. Say “No” More Often


When we constantly put others’ needs before our own, we tell our subconscious mind over and over that we do not matter. If you are a people pleaser, get into the habit of saying “no” to others and “yes” to yourself more often.

If you are a parent, know that taking care of yourself makes you a better parent.


It is not selfish to also think of your own needs. In fact, it teaches kids to do this for themselves as they grow up and gives them the opportunity to develop independence and self-reliance (rather than just reliance on you).

When we say “no” more often, it makes space for us to say “yes” to things that are really important. Suddenly our lives get focused and our days become better prioritized.

3. Do What You Love


Maybe when you were young you wanted to be a painter or singer or photographer, but an adult “talked some sense into you.” Well, there is no reason you can’t explore these passions as a hobby now. Doing what you love is one of the best ways to love yourself more.

Sometimes, our clients tell us they don’t know what they love.


The longer you spend in perfectionism and people-pleasing, the harder it will be to remember what makes your heart sing. The good news is that you can always discover and re-discover just by letting yourself notice how you feel.

Try out things you used to like. Try new things. Sometimes you love something for a lifetime and sometimes you love something for a season. The important thing is finding and doing things you love.

4. Speak Your Truth


When you constantly tell other people what they want to hear instead of telling the truth, you silence yourself. This, in turn, kicks your self-worth to the curb. This is true for things as simple as how you answer the question, “How are you today?” It’s equally true for things that are harder to talk about–things like histories of abuse or neglect.

Don’t be afraid to always be authentic and truthful.


Sure, you’ll sometimes have to find graceful and tactful ways to share your truth with others, but it’s the best way to love yourself.

And if speaking your truth causes you feelings of panic or overwhelm, then know that you may need some extra help working through that pain. Once you do, you will be better able to feel comfortable in your own skin. You will be better able to let others in authentically.

5. Get Help


When our self-worth is low or non-existent, attempting to love ourselves can feel impossible. Really, though, it’s just a skill that needs to be practiced. You can learn ways to help yourself cope, become resilient, and show yourself love in all kinds of ways. For example, we have developed a series of free videos that teach practical skills for building resiliency and grit.

Know When To Seek Professional Counseling


If you have experienced a sexual trauma or any other kind of traumatic experience and have never worked through that pain, you will probably need to heal first before you can make progress in truly loving yourself. If you suffer from self-esteem issues, speaking with a therapist can help you recognize where these issues came from and how to work through them to truly love yourself.

If you’d like to explore treatment options, you can get started now. We would be more than happy to discuss how one of our specialized therapists may be able to help you get your spark back.

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