Recently, I did something I rarely do: I took a nap in the middle of the afternoon. I was tired and feeling unbalanced, so instead of drowning fatigue in another cup of Earl Grey and tackling my to-do-list (my usual modus operandi), I snuggled up next to Athena my snoozing rescue cat.

Fifteen minutes later, energized and happy, I was ready to go back to work.

Why the shift? I’ve committed to loving myself more deeply and a new process: Whenever I have to make a decision – big or small – I ask myself, “What would I do if I truly loved myself?”

While I’ve only engaged with the process for a few weeks, I’ve already noticed several big shifts. My intuition, that inner voice that knows what’s best for me, has gotten stronger and sharper. I am more in the flow of life swimming downstream with the current rather than fighting against the tide to stay afloat. Life feels more fun and effortless.

This process is powerful because loving yourself changes everything. Self-love dissolves the negative thought patterns and deep subconscious beliefs hanging around your neck, weighing you down and making it impossible for you to fly.

The frequency of self-love shakes up the critical default mode, engineered into your being by parents, peers and the media, that taught you to be unhappy, frightened, guilty or angry. Positive emotions like joy, love, gratitude and peace start to become your new default mode. You’ll be happier and have more inner stability and peace and less self-sabotage.

When you ask: What would a loving me do? You open up to possibilities, realize you have a choice and start to feel more in charge of your life. Life will become simpler and lighter. Instead of making choices driven by fear, shame and guilt, you make choices driven by love. This helps you break old habits and create new ones.

For example, let’s say you’ve been struggling with your weight. You’re in the mall and ready for lunch. The intoxicating aroma of Cinnabons is driving you crazy, but rather than impulsively buying a 940 calorie sugar bomb you pause and ask: What would I do if I loved myself. Wait for it… your intuition tells you to have a healthy salad and if you’re still hungry have a small treat afterwards.

Not only will you change, self-love will change the way other people treat you. When you listen to your intuition and honor your needs (instead of putting everyone else first and longing for approval) you’ll stop trying to please others. You’ll feel empowered respected and more confident, courageous and authentic than you have in years. Plus, you will stop looking to others to make you happy because you are making yourself happy.

Best of all you’ll strengthen your relationship with yourself. You’ll start to enjoy yourself and your own company. Instead of filling your days with things that aren’t important and that you don’t enjoy, you’ll zero in on the things that make you happy – long bubble baths, dancing, painting, hiking, meditating, watching classic moves, reading, seeing live music….

Excited to start the process? Here’s all you need to do.  Commit to asking yourself this question: What would I do if I truly loved me? Every time you have a decision to make pause and ask yourself the question. Feeling overwhelmed, not sure what to do next? Ask yourself the question. It can be over small things like should I read or watch TV or big issues like should I break up with my boy friend or get a kitten or puppy.

Release the worry that you won’t know what to do. The answer will come in a flash – a lightening bolt of intuition and inspiration. It may appear as a feeling or sensation in your body, a thought or an image. You’ll recognize it as truth because the answer will be peaceful and natural rather than fearful or negative. Emotionally it will feel good.

Warning: The old you – that doubtful fearful part that says you’re not good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough… will not be happy. She’ll try to twist you up into a pretzel and make you question your intuition. Ask again: What would I do if I loved myself? Thank the negative voice? Tell it to relax? Have a cup of tea and ask it how it’s trying to help you? Let it go and focus on something else?

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
 – Buddha

Start the habit today and you’ll be grateful for the rest of your life. You’ll shift your energy and open the door to new choices and opportunities. You’ll feel empowered become your own boss. You deserve a life you love, so muster the courage to ask the question, listen for the answer and follow your heart.

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