“Life consists of small things. They become great if you love.” — Osho

Loving yourself is always the first recommendation made by personal development books in order to live a better life. Most people claim they love themselves, but very few of them live their lives according to their desires. Bearing this in mind, we should question our answers to the question of “Do I really love myself?” So, how do we really know if we love ourselves or not? Is there a way of measuring it? What’s more, if we realize we don’t love ourselves enough, how do we start? Where do we begin?

It’s said that the outer world is a reflection of the inner one. I completely believe in this based on my own experiences.

If the outer world is a reflection of the inner world, we can say, “Our relationships with others are reflections of our relationships with ourselves.” If we go a step further, we can also say, “We love ourselves as much as we do others.”All of us have many people we love deeply—such as mothers, fathers, spouses, children, and friends—as well as other creatures such as pets. These are common sentiments we all share. Therefore, it might not be so easy to get a correct answer by considering those we love. So, let’s look at it differently by reversing the above proposition and saying, “We love ourselves as little as we do others.”

From this point of view, we can perceive more concrete clues about how little we love ourselves. Now, consider the people whom you dislike, who you think dislike you, who seem like enemies, who trigger negative emotions in you, who make you feel unsafe, and who make you feel threatened. How intense are the negative emotions you feel?

To some degree, most of us carry negative feelings about certain people in our lives. Some of us have very strong negative feelings about a specific person. For example, anger and hatred directed toward an adulterous husband or lover is typical of such intense feelings. Some have negative feelings that are less intense but directed at more people around them. Resentment and anger  felt toward colleagues who make us feel excluded in the workplace is an example of this.

There is some good news, though: If you work on one aspect of this problem, you will automatically improve the other aspect as well. For example, if you truly forgive someone who makes you feel intense resentment and anger, you will also love yourself more, and you will be rewarded by improvements in every area of your life. If you alternatively work in the other direction and practice loving yourself more, your relationships with others will automatically get increasingly better.

The path of forgiveness is a challenging and arduous one, but it is also the fastest and most effective one. (By the way, I discussed this issue in greater detail in another article in issue 14 of The Wise.)

The other path of practicing to love yourself takes a little longer, but it eventually merges with the first path. Since this helps you to forgive others, it enables you to more easily progress on the first path as well.

So, what can be done to promote self-love?

There are many techniques based on meditation, positive affirmation, healing, and tuition available out there. In this article, however, I would like to share a method I developed that you can easily apply to your everyday life. To make it a little more fun, I gave it the tongue-in-cheek name of spiritual body grooming.

During transformational breathing therapy, my dear coach, Mustafa Zeynel Oktem, suggested I should apply body lotion to improve my relationship with myself. This way I would both care for my body and feel myself physically. As a person who rarely uses facial and other skin creams, I found this suggestion a little absurd, but I decided to give it a go anyway. While regularly doing it, I also developed it further by enriching it with affirmations. It eventually became a post-bathing ritual and took under five minutes to complete. This method improved my inner relationship and helped me to love myself more.

So, here’s my magic formula.

1. Get yourself a large bottle of body lotion

Buying in larger quantities is usually more economical, and you’ll be using it regularly anyway. If you use a lotion suitable for your skin, your skin condition will improve significantly after a while. I personally like Neutrogena’s scentless body lotion, and I would recommend it to everyone.

2. Apply it to your body!

Simply apply the lotion to each area of your body while thinking about positive affirmations. Here are the affirmations I use for each area:

  • Face: The love in my heart is shining brightly on my face. Everyone sees the beauty of this love on my face.
  • Left Shoulder: I completely forgive myself.
  • Left Arm: I can easily achieve my goals.
  • Right Shoulder: I completely forgive others.
  • Right Arm: I’m helping others to achieve their goals.
  • Throat: I easily express my soul to this world. It finds expression with ease in every way.
  • Chest area (left): I love myself, and I feel compassion for myself.
  • Chest area (right): I love others, and I feel compassion for them.
  • Chest area (middle): I love and am loved. The endless love in my heart spreads in all directions, and this love comes back to me exponentially.
  • Abdominal area: I accept the power coming from my soul, and I help others to accept the power from their souls as well.
  • Naval: I fulfill my responsibilities with pleasure. I am the best support in my life.
  • Sacral chakra: I am creative, and I apply my creativity to all areas. It easily finds expression in the world.
  • Hips: All my needs and comforts are easily met without needing to ask others.
  • Left Leg: I progress through life with confident steps. I trust in the flow of life.
  • Left Knee: I am flexible. I can easily adapt to any situation or condition.
  • Right Leg: I help others to progress confidently in life. I help them to also trust in the flow of life.
  • Right Knee: I help others to be flexible. I help them to easily adapt to any situation or condition.
  • Left Leg: My feet are firmly on the ground. I’m safe.
  • Right Foot: I help others to keep their feet firmly on the ground. I help them to also be safe.

Finally, when brushing and styling my hair, I think about how I easily arrange my life and give shape to it, according to my desires.

I compiled these affirmations based on the book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, the significance of certain parts of the body in transformational breathing, and my own imagination. You can also create your own affirmations. For example, maybe you prefer to focus on a specific affirmation. Or maybe you just want to say to your body, “I love you and thank you for the great service you’re giving me.” Whatever makes you feel better, just do it and take a step toward loving yourself more.

When you consider how often we have a shower or bath, you can see how quickly this method will yield results. If you hug and kiss yourself afterwards as well, I guarantee you will feel immediately better.

Even just looking in the mirror and saying “I love you” is very difficult for some people, so hugging and kissing would be too much for them. Men may be particularly hesitant about it, but the one who loves you most in this world should be yourself. We should express this love on a physical, mental, and spiritual level at the same time. Applying lotion to the body works on the physical level, thinking about affirmations works on the mental level, and feeling positive emotions works on the spiritual level. All of these promote integrity within ourselves.

What’s more, nobody is watching you, so nobody can judge you. It’s your life, and you’re free to love yourself to your heart’s content.

You could also adapt this basic method to other routines. The first that comes to my mind is a kind of spiritual bath. When you take a bath, think about these affirmations while rubbing your bath sponge over each part of your body.

If you can think of other good variations or new ways to love yourself more, please share them. Continue to love yourself more and more every day.

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love—that is the soul of genius.” — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart