Self-Love Practice & Exercises

Helpful Printouts

Exercises / Practices

Fill them out for self-insight when needed.

Hearing Your Inner Critic

Fearlessly acknowledge your Inner Critic, taking a step toward Self-Compassion.

Track Your Harmony

Get in touch with your bodily sensations, both positive and negative.

Helpful Reference

Hang them on your fridge or keep them nearby to re-visit as you learn.

Freedom of Mind Slogans

These slogans from Al-Anon are helpful for anyone, no matter where you are.

List of Sensation Words

Get to know these words, and get to know your feelings.

Helpful Exercises from the Web

Loving Kindness meditation by Jack Kornfield

A simple, 12-minute audio meditation to shift your perspective to compassion and joy.

Self-Compassion Exercises from Dr. Kristin Neff

Dr. Neff’s full list of Self-Compassion Exercises.

Meditations and Practices by Chris Germer

A fantastic collection of audio and written meditations and practices.

We also recommend checking out Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, PhD. It’s full of exercises and prompts encouraging you to dive in and write through your process of growing in Self-Love.

And we have a substantial list of books recommended on the resources page for this section.

A Few More from the Self-Love Section

Practice: Craft Your Personal Mantra

See what it’s like to consider making up your own affirmation/mantra/slogan.

Two simple “rules” for you to consider while coming up with your own:

  1. Let it be true
  2. Let it be simple 

Once you have consciously constructed the self serving and loving thought, practice repeating it in your mind a few times now, and throughout the rest of the day.  Allow yourself to continue repeating it. Notice what happens in regard to your self-perception and therefore the world around you.

Having these mantras on-hand can be useful in the critical moments following limiting narratives.

In the 3-5 seconds we’re usually inhabiting, we can use this positive habit to transform self-destruction into self-love.

Loving yourself begins within your mind, and affirmations/mantras/slogans can be an anchor to redirect your inner-critic. (More about the inner critic within the barriers page.)

Practice: Accept in the Moment

As you find yourself moving through your day, take a moment to pause every once in a while and ask yourself “in this moment, do I accept myself just as I am?”  Without adding a qualifying judgment onto the process of questioning, simply become aware of how you are relating to your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Get honest about what stories, what categories, and what judgments you are holding in your mind about what you are experiencing. From here, you have a choice to soften, bring in loving kindness, and compassion for yourself. You may also benefit from employing the practice of mindfulness.

While loving yourself in moments of self-judgment may feel foreign, start by simply noticing what the thoughts you are having about yourself/your present moment experience are.

Practice: Witness Consciousness

Sit in a comfortable position.Start to notice yourself simply sitting and being breathed.Employ your imagination and visualize an owl sitting in a tall tree above you.This bird can see you, and there is a lot of physical space between the bird and yourself.Now imagine that Owl as your Witness Consciousness.It looks out for you, taking note of what you’re thinking and how you’re talking to yourself.It is neutral and honest.It sees.You can begin to nurture your relationship with this part of yourself throughout your day.You can begin to witness yourself in your thoughts with perspective, opposed to being under and inside of them constantly.

To take the practice a step further, you may find The Work of Byron Katie to be helpful in discerning what thoughts are true, serving, and worth continuing to carve out pathways for.

Exercise: Self-Reflection

Take a moment to ask yourself the following questions presented by Tara Brach, PhD, in her book Radical Acceptance. Write down your answers, and hold on to them. You may want to revisit these questions after reading through the whole Self-Love section.

How do I view the state of my mind?

  • Do I judge myself for not being intelligent enough? Humorous? Interesting?
  • Am I critical of myself for having obsessive thoughts? For having a repetitive, boring, mind?
  • Am I ashamed of myself for having bad thoughts- mean, judgmental, or lusty thoughts?
  • Do I consider myself a bad meditater because my mind is so busy?

What do I think about my emotions?

  • Do I accept my emotions and moods as they are?
  • Is it okay for me to cry? To feel insecure and vulnerable?
  • Do I condemn myself for getting depressed?
  • Am I ashamed of feeling jealous?
  • Am I critical of myself for being impatient? Irritable? Intolerant?

What are my opinions of my behaviors?

  • Do I hate myself when I act in a self-centered or hurtful way?
  • Do I feel disgusted with myself when I eat compulsively?
  • Do I punish myself internally when I smoke cigarettes or drink too much alcohol?
  • Do I feel that I am always falling short in how I relate to my family and friends?
  • Do I feel something is wrong with me because I am not capable of intimacy?
  • Am I down on myself for not accomplishing enough- for not standing out or being special in my work?”
  • Am I ashamed of my outbursts of anger?

As you can see, there are a lot of nuances to what you literally “think” about yourself, within the framework of the ‘self’ being broken down as your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Self-Love The Mind The Body Spirit Self-Compassion Barriers Bridges Self-Love Practice & Exercises Self-Love Resources