How do we consciously cultivate self-love? Here are 5 ways

Apr 21, 2020
Written by
Leah Stark
Photographed by
Karlo Gomez

hat makes a human being beautiful?

There is an undeniable radiance that seems to effortlessly overflow from certain people we encounter, a sort of je nais se quois that can only be encapsulated in one humdinger of a word: beauty. 

This vibrant being does not necessarily boast modern physical beauty standards like an oddly specific waist-to-hip ratio, but this person certainly has something figured out. This person has cultivated something powerful within themselves. This person has fierce dedication to self-love. This person has inner beauty. 

When we nourish ourselves with love, we become beautiful from the inside out.  It takes a conscious decision to evolve in this way, but when we do, life unfolds before us, ripe with abundance, and beauty starts to manifest in the external world around us.

All of this talk about creating inner beauty begs the question: how do we consciously cultivate self-love? It begins with acts of self-care, which I know, is a buzzword that’s probably been so overused that it’s lost all meaning. So bear in mind, self-care looks different for everyone, and it’s not all bubble baths, face masks and scented candles (although these certainly have their place). It can also look like screaming into a pillow and soaking it with tears of deep release.

Here are some ways that seem to work across the board:

  1. Get inspired and cultivate your own creativity. Each and every one of us without exception holds within powerful creative energy. It certainly doesn’t require a paintbrush to be an artist; we can unleash our inner creativity in countless ways, and as we do, our outer expression comes to life in a magnitude of beautiful ways. It can even be as simple as throwing together enticing ingredients + spices that you find in your pantry to create a brand new soup that the world has never before seen. Creativity can look like a nature walk of picking weeds and  wildflowers to create a pastoral bouquet. It can look like putting together an amazing outfit. As long as you get into that flow-zone where you forget that time and space exist, you’re doing it right.
  1. Feed yourself to feed your soul. When we’re conscious about what we put into our bodies, not only do we feel good physically, we send the message to ourselves: “I care about you.” Food can be either poison or medicine, so why not make choices that heal you? Like mom always says, eat your veggies (and fresh fruits)! Here’s another common phenomenon: if you rush to the nearest cup of coffee every time you feel an energy dip, you’ll enjoy instant gratification...with a heaping spoonful of adrenal fatigue. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee. It’s all a matter of moderation. Fortunately, nature is lush with other, healthier energy boosts, like maca, cacao, and the huge variety of functional mushrooms that are on the market. Try for an adaptogenic dose of energy, and forgo the afternoon cup of Joe. It’s a real challenge to let our inner beauty radiate when we’re not well-nourished. 
  1. Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a best friend. Having thoughts is a part of the human experience, and we all have certain ways that we’re used to thinking about ourselves. If you said the things to other people that you regularly say to yourself, what would these relationships be like? Would you have friends? How can you best shift your self-talk in a way that creates a beautiful relationship between you and yourself? Look at it this way: you get to be your best friend for the rest of your life, and you’re always by your own side, be kind to yourself! Enrich the love within and let the most important relationship in your life flourish.
  1. Nurture the physical body to deepen self-love. Here’s where the “bubble baths and face masks” school of thought comes into play. Sometimes, that form of self-care is exactly what we need to send ourselves the message that we deserve relaxation, luxury, and a sensuous relationship with self. Infuse a candle with heartfelt intention, light it, get into a hot bath or a steamy shower, and lather up with creamy soaps while that candle sends your intentions straight into the cosmos.
  2. Take care of your gut. Did you know that the gut is 95% responsible for serotonin release in the brain? And, since serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and ultimately makes us happy, we gotta give lots of tender loving care to our intestines. Even if it seems a little nerve wracking at first, try cleaning yourself out with a good old fashioned enema, colonic, or simply down a healthy dose of fiber.  

Once you’ve found a personalized flow of self-care activities, practice, practice, practice. Many of us have carried painful beliefs around for way too long, and getting into a groove of self-nurturing habits can feel awkward at first and it takes time for our neural pathways to catch up. And, it’s profoundly worth the effort. Get ready to shine your inner light brighter than ever, you beautiful soul! 

Cover Photo: SundayGirl - Liz Gardner
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