In my last two posts, I discussed how to cultivate self-love by thinking of yourself as a small child
and by speaking to yourself as you would a small child or a friend.
In this post, I will discuss how you can cultivate self-love by making a self-love pledge.
#3. Take a Self-Love Pledge
Think of a friend who always has your back and is always rooting for you. Think about how empowered and encouraged that makes you feel. When we know that we have such a friend, it makes us feel strong, secure, and stable. The good news is that you can be that kind of friend to yourself, and one way to do this is by taking a self-love pledge.
You can be your very own BFF.
The first time I took a self-love pledge was around the same time that I fully realized how often I said discouraging things to myself and I made the decision to say only loving and encouraging things. When I realized what a difference this made in my life, I realized how deeply I needed my own friendship. I decided to make a self-love pledge. Sitting in my rocking chair in my office, I put my hand over my heart and said out loud, “Shelly, I love you. I always have your back. You are wonderful, and I will always take care of you.” To my surprise, the moment I said this, tears trickled down my cheeks, and I felt profound relief, like a hundred pound weight had been lifted off me.” I think my Self had been waiting my whole life for me to become friends with it.
Remember the advice in #1: Think of yourself like a little child. Imagine how important it is for children to know that their caretakers are on their side, have their back, and will always take care of them. It is important to realize that as you get older, you are your primary caretaker. Because of this, it is really important that you know that you will always take care of you and be on your side. That is why a self-love pledge can be so meaningful: it lets yourself know that the close person to you (namely yourself) will always be on your side and take good care of yourself.
You can use a self-love pledge like this, or you can make up your own.
If you want to make a self-love pledge, you are welcome to use mine above or you can make up one of your own. If you want to make up one of your own, you might imagine the words you would love a parent or a best friend or a partner to say to you, and you can use those words to make up a pledge to yourself.
When you make your pledge, I suggest you make it a special moment. You can make it a very simple special event or an elaborate special event:
Simple Special Event: Take a moment out of your day in the quiet of your office or living room or in some special place (like a beautiful place in nature) to sit down and say your pledge to yourself. You might put your hand over your heart (like I did) or you might place your hand on your head (whatever feels comfortable and meaningful to you). I recommend that you say your self-love pledge out loud. I found that when I said mine out loud to myself, it felt more real and sincere to me.
Your self-love pledge can be as simple or as elaborate as you make it.
More Elaborate Special Event: If it seems like something you might enjoy, consider turning your self-love pledge into a more elaborate and special ceremony. We have special ceremonies for graduation, for communion, for receiving special awards. Why not have a special ceremony to commemorate our love and commitment to ourselves? I have done both a simple and more elaborate self-love pledge event, and they were both meaningful to me. There are no rules for how you create a ceremony for a pledge. You can create your own out of symbols and activities that are meaningful to you. Here are some ideas you might choose from to create your own ceremony:
Light a candle.
Play beautiful music you love.
Buy yourself flowers to commemorate the event.
Buy yourself a special gift (simple or elaborate) to commemorate the event.
Have a special food present that you like or fix yourself a special meal for your ceremony.
Write yourself a letter to read a year from now that reminds yourself of your pledge.
Take a night or weekend away to make it a more elaborate ceremony.
Invite a friend as a witness or tell a friend about your self-love pledge afterwards.
Choose a theme quote or scripture or picture to symbolize your commitment to love yourself. (It can be spiritual nor non-spiritual).
What other activities or gestures are meaningful to you? How could you make them a part of your ceremony?
You may be wondering what happens next after you take a self-love pledge. After all, it is one thing to tell yourself that you love yourself and will always take care of you. It is quite another thing to follow up this promise to yourself with specific, practical actions. In my next few posts I will be discussing some of these practical actions, but to get you thinking, here is a list of follow-up steps you can take to continue to love yourself and take care of yourself:
You can always create a safe space of love and nurturing for yourself.
Stand up for yourself when people are rude, mean, or manipulative—even if they are well-meaning strangers, family members or friends. You never deserve to be treated badly, and you have the right and the permission to stand up for yourself. If people get angry at you for this, that is their darkness (the technical term is their $%&#), not yours, that they need to deal with.
Say “no” when people violate your boundaries or ask you to do things you do not want to do. If something makes you uncomfortable or you do not want to do it, there is an important reason. Your Self is trying to tell you something. You have permission to say “no”. You can always think about it, change your mind, and say “yes” later, but you never have to say “yes” about something that makes you feel uncomfortable, even if you can’t explain at the moment why it makes you feel uncomfortable. You do not owe anyone an explanation for your feelings.
Shower yourself with these most important gifts regularly.
Recognize that you are never required or responsible for solving other people’s problems. You are only required to show compassion and treat them with respect and the same love you treat yourself. Treating them this way empowers them to be able to solve their own problems, and it helps you know what practice help you can give them.
I will be addressing some of these issues in my next post.
This is your heart feeling happy because you are showering it with more and more love every day.