what i learned from 31 days of #selfielove

in august i decided to try a little experiment.

the theme in our elevate mastermind was worthiness, and my aim when it comes to shifting mindset is to teach practical, actionable strategies.

i am NOT interested in a bunch of inspiring bullshit lip service about how mindset is important without talking about the actual strategies that make a difference.

i’m interested in the HOW.  (my brain is always asking: ok, that’s nice, but HOW??)

anyhow… worthiness.

one of the strategies that i teach in my worthiness workshop is self-love as a path to self-worth. if we want others to believe that we are worthy, valuable, deserving, enough… we must first think these things of ourselves.

and i think we all surely do have ways in which we show ourselves some love, but i also think we need to keep stepping it up… to engage in acts of radical self-love.

so in order to step up my own self-love i set myself a challenge to post a selfie every day through the month of august… and as an act of self-love, to post the photo WITHOUT beating myself up… to love myself up instead.

now i am not one for posting a lot of selfies on social media (unless i am taking a photo of myself with a beer and a book on the beach in the sun to induce a little bit of envy in my northern hemisphere friends and family who are suffering in the cold).

so this whole #selfielove challenge was indeed a genuine challenge for me!

getting started…

on day 1 i was a little bit uncomfortable: my ‘go to’ reaction upon taking my own photo was indeed to beat myself up: look at those bags under your eyes, what is going on with your hair, wow that’s a terrible angle.

i caught myself and stopped myself… looked at myself in the eyes and said outloud: i love you. just as you are. you are enough. just as you are. and then posted the damn thing!

by day 3 i was getting the hang of it… posting my selfie and loving myself up in the process, feeling really good about it!

then on day 4 i woke up with three giant pimples growing on my face. i looked in the mirror and just started to laugh. “hello upper limit problem… nice to see you today!”

(ps: if you have not read the big leap, you must! the basic premise is that we all have upper limits to how good we feel and when we trigger our upper limit – when we step towards our true potential – our fear sets in and subconsciously we will sabotage ourselves so that we stay in the same, safe, small, comfy space where nothing bad happens.)

in that moment i could see my three pimply pals for what they were… i had triggered an upper limit of self-love and self-worth! i quickly hopped into our #lighthouserevolution community group and shared my pimples and my story, and then posted my selfie anyways… continuing my big leap towards my highest, brightest potential.

stepping it up…

after that, the daily #selfielove continued on easily… i used it as a chance to explore and share the things that i do in my life that are indeed acts of self-love. once i realized how easy it was getting to post a selfie each day i figured it was time to step it up.

in week 3 i set myself a challenge to state out loud in the comments what i love about myself… ooooh wow, that was hard! but it was good, as it pushed me to really love myself up in a bigger way!

and then in week 4 i decided that i would share some of the aspects of me that maybe not everyone knows about… really embracing, owning, and loving those parts of me that i keep hidden away sometimes. sharing the authentic me, the real me, the imperfect me.

(i even purposely started posting the selfies that did not have the ‘automatic skin smoothing filter’ applied – because the whole point of this exercise is about loving yourself exactly as you are.) 

so in the end…

i’m so glad that i set out on this 31 day challenge – i absolutely do feel that i built up my own sense of worthiness, and i encourage you to challenge yourself to a radical act of self-love such as posting a selfie every day! but i actually experienced many lessons, beyond self-love.

read on for what i learned along the way... 

31 days of #selfielove

31 days of #selfielove

on consistency:

i’ve learned that setting a daily challenge and tracking it in some way works really well for me (this is also how i wrote my book in just 24 days last november with NaNoWriMo) – so a daily photo posted to instagram was a great fit. i don’t like to miss a day once i have the chain going, plus this was a way of pushing out of my comfort zone a little (versus something like just writing in my journal about why i love myself!)

so i challenge you to set a time frame for your own act of self-love – at least 21 days if you really want to notice the full range of emotions and upper limits!! if daily doesn’t work, maybe weekly for 52 weeks? and also have a way to track it so that you stay accountable and don’t break the chain. you might even set yourself a little reward to help push through the moments of discomfort!

on ego:

a few people mentioned to me that they didn’t think they could do a #selfielove challenge like this because they felt it would be egotistical or narcissistic to post a photo of themselves every day… i mean who wants to see you talk about you all the time! anytime i teach about worthiness, confidence, self-value the ‘ego fears’ come into play somehow.

here’s my take on it.

self-love, self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-value… these are indeed acts of the SELF… of the higher self, the inner self, the soul. the higher self is all about evolving, creating, growing. narcissism is an act of the ego which is all about the here and now, material existence and self-preservation.

so self-love actually has nothing to do with ego: especially when we share our self-love story from a place of humility (i am not better than you, i am simply enough), empathy (loving myself up so that i have lots of love to give others), integrity (walking my own talk), and vulnerability (sharing the real me, pimples and all).

on visibility:

many people also told me that a #selfielove challenge like this definitely triggers their fear of being so visible and prominent… again that whole “no one wants to see my face for 31 days!” fear. i think this is even more of a reason to do a #selfielove challenge – we must push out of our comfort zone and remember that our light is not meant to be hidden away.

the thing about comfort zones is that they are ever-expanding… so if you are comfy being visible in some ways (sharing your story perhaps) but not others (sharing your selfie perhaps), or with some people (your friends perhaps) but not others (your family perhaps, or your customers), then this is why a challenge like this is so valuable.

we must keep pushing our own boundaries past what feels a little bit uncomfortable, keep expanding into new levels of voice, visibility, authenticity, vulnerablitly, and more. this is how we grow and step towards our highest, brightest potential!

on stepping up:

speaking of stepping up… depending on your situation there are ways to step up your #selfielove challenge and make it even more powerful.

try not just posting a photo, but looking at yourself right in the eyes of the photo and naming out all of the things that you love about yourself. then try listing them right in your comments, or adding text onto your image!

try sharing (and loving) the real you… imperfect, authentic, quirky, weird, wonderful you! try no make-up or bad hair, pjs or worn out gym wear, bed time or morning chaos. remember this is about loving yourself as you are, because you are exactly enough just as you are.

try sharing (and loving) the things about you that you often keep hidden: your secret dreams, your obsessions, your shadow side, your spirituality or beliefs, your hidden talents or gifts, your greatest challenges… it is very hard to shine your light in the world when you are busy hiding you.

on connecting:

by posting daily selfies and being more visible, while also using it as a chance to share more of yourself, you open yourself up to greater connection. people connect with people. (not logos. not product photos. certainly not stock photos. and not even quote images.) posting a photo of your authentic self allows people to connect with you in a more authentic way: it builds trust and it allows people who care about the same things you do to find you!

i did not set out on this challenge to build visibility or to grow my audience… i did it for me as a path to building my self-worth… but i did indeed notice these things as a beautiful side effect! i didn’t track numbers but i noticed that my instagram followers grew every day and my #selfielove posts generated a lot of engagement!

on your inner critic:

the #selfielove challenge is a great way to get to know your inner critic… that inner voice that tells you that you are not enough, or perhaps that you are too much! in order to build self-worth and self-confidence it is very important to identify the voice of the inner critic.

that voice that says: who am i to…?, who will even care?, wow this is really self-absorbed of me!, but what if i offend people?, why even bother? – that voice is trying to keep us small and safe where nothing bad will happen. but you can’t let it have the say! really, would you talk to your best friend like that? don’t talk to your selfie like that!

part of our job here is to spiral with our stuff… to understand our fears and worries, to shine a light on any resistance or blocks that can get us stuck. so when little miss critic whispers in your ear “who am i to…” you can say “aha! BINGO! caught ya there. listen, you are not driving this bus. but thanks for the helpful info you just showed me.”

on your life:

our inner critic wants to point out the stuff we can’t or shouldn’t do. our ego reminds us of our past failures and our fears of the future. we mustn’t let these moments become the album of our lives… we must fill the pages with snapshots of love, worthiness, celebration, value, gratitude, success, confidence… this is what we do when we post our #selfielove: we fill the pages with the stories of our highest, brightest self.

this way, when we flip through our life’s album, the story of self-worth is the one we see most prominently (rather than the unworthy one).

when i mentioned doing the #selfielove challenge, one of our community members shared that she thought it was an important way to document your life. so often women – mums for sure, but also entrepreneurs too – are the ones behind the camera. we are telling the stories of our children’s lives or of our customer’s needs or of the work we are here to do.

social media helps to create an album of your life and your work, and putting yourself into that album is so important.

ask yourself: what do i want to be known for? share more of that. share more of you.

a bonus:

at the end of your challenge you will have a great selection of photos of you! i use these now all over the place when i am posting on social media, engaging in groups, sharing my work… it’s great!

and so…

unworthiness is about feeling not enough. not smart enough, not good enough, not ‘big’ enough, not special enough… whatever that voice is saying. the opposite of not enough is plenty. it’s abundance. and not an abundance of what you have… but of who you are.

#selfielove is about recognizing and honouring the abundance of who you are. just as you are. because you are enough. you are worthy. you were born that way.

have i inspired you to embark on your own #selfielove challenge? i will join you! this was such a powerful experience, i have decided to do it again, and i would love for you to join in for the month of october. simply use the hashtag #LHselfielove on social media, i will be there cheering you on.

if visibility and expanding out of your comfort zone feels like a big challenge to you, i invite you to come along to the elevate mastermind – our theme for october is standing out: increasing visibility, amplifying voice, and expanding comfort zone – you will get the additional support and tools that you need to overcome resistance and BE SEEN!

karen guntonComment