When you catch your reflection as you walk past the grocery store window, there are three common reactions. The “I look good,” the “keep walking, I have places to be,” and the “oh… that’s what I look like?”

    I can almost guarantee that everyone has experienced all three of these reactions. And while the last reaction can help someone make healthy choices, it can also lead someone down a dangerous and self-destructive path. Ultimately, the last reaction is what we want to avoid. That doesn’t mean avoiding all reflective surfaces, but rather sitting with ourselves and our bodies until there is a love and appreciation of where we are.

    A great place to start on the self-love journey is to find parts of yourself that you already enjoy. They can be physical and non-physical. Once you’ve identified those parts of yourself, like your eyes, your cheeks, your unwavering bravery, write affirmations based on those parts. When these affirmations are said daily, those identified parts begin to be the first things you see when you look in the mirror.

    Another great way to cultivate self-love is to sit with your body and not criticize it. Meditate by yourself, look at your body, and thank it for everything it does for you. It keeps your heart beating, it keeps your eyes blinking, it carries you everywhere you go. Your body takes a beating as you go through your routine. Make you give it the appreciation it deserves.

    An important step in self-love is to not compare yourself to others. This may mean unplugging from social media for some time. Sites like Instagram are full of Photoshopped and airbrushed pictures, and the constant stream of eerily perfect people has effects on our subconscious. Recognize that the pictures you see every day more than likely are edited to some degree and continue to remind yourself of it. Eventually, the impossible-to-achieve standard you set for yourself will become realistic and obtainable.

    The alignment between our mind and body is incredibly important, but is rarely taught. It takes active steps to achieve that alignment. Take those steps and begin your journey.

    If you need some help with self-love, get the Intimacy Journal from Bringing Intimacy Back. The weekly prompts will help you reflect on your journey of becoming intimate with yourself.