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How to Strengthen Your Self-Love Muscle

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Why this might be the most important exercise you do today (or ever)

Burpees, lunges, squats… what if these aren’t the key to a better body? Good endorphins and weight-loss are the most common reasons people give for exercising, but what if you could have these health benefits without even leaving the couch? I’m not at all saying exercise isn’t important, I’m merely suggesting that there might be one muscle that needs the most attention - our self-love muscle.

It may sound silly but give me a chance to explain. See everyday from the moment we wake we are telling our bodies how they should feel. Many of us wake up thinking about what we ate yesterday, so we can calculate how much self loathing to take into shower with us. Some might look in the mirror and feel disgusted, some avoid looking in the mirror altogether. Not even 20 minutes since waking and we may have already set ourselves up for failure.

The hardest thing about strengthening our self-love muscle is acknowledging when we’re being self-destructive. For some of us these negative thoughts are so ingrained that they’re not a thought anymore, they’re a belief. Tell yourself you’re fat and ugly everyday and it doesn’t take long to believe it. Athlete’s train each and every day to stay on top of their game, this is no different. We have to train our self-love muscle until we start to see improvement. Doing an exercise once really has very little effect.

So what do I mean by ‘exercise’ your self-love muscle? Like physical exercise there’s no one-fits-all answer here. You might be someone who feels their most beautiful after spending time with family, or you might be someone who feels their most beautiful after time spent alone reading a book. Whatever makes you feel good about yourself, do more of that. Whatever makes you feel shitty about yourself, do less of that. Seems obvious right? It is, you just have to keep practicing and commit to the process.

The truth is when we feel good about ourselves we want to nourish our body and take care of ourselves. We’re more likely to choose a healthy snack rather than the 6-pack of donuts. Also what’s amazing is that when we have a strong self-love muscle we can enjoy all of life’s indulgences without guilt or bingeing. We’re more in tune with our body and what it needs. That doesn’t mean you’ll never over-indulge, it just means that when you do you don’t have to punish yourself for the week after.

I know what you’re thinking, when is she getting to the bit about me losing weight and having a better body? Well guess what, this is merely a by-product of self-love and will naturally happen as you love and respect yourself - I promise. One thing you can do right now is write down all of the things that make you feel good about yourself, as well as all of the things that make you feel bad. Now you have acknowledged this you have a personalised list of ways to strengthen your self-love muscle, as well as a list of things to avoid or watch out for.

The hardest part about this process is taking the initiative to start showering yourself with self-love, even when it feels unnatural or uncomfortable. Something you can do absolutely anywhere is just say “I am beautiful”. Tell yourself this multiple times a day and you’re already beginning to exercise that self-love muscle.

It’s amazing how many things will begin to change for you when you commit to trying this process. Research suggests that it takes 21 days to form a habit - keep yourself accountable for three weeks and see what happens. I guarantee that anyone who is determined to strengthen their self-love muscle will see so many improvements in this time; from improved mood, weight loss, more connected relationships… there’s really nothing to lose.