“I love myself.”
It’s the mantra — the mental loop — at the heart of Kamal Ravikant’s book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.
It’s hard to love ourselves sometimes: when we feel like we should be doing better, when we feel like we’re not enough — not good enough, not smart enough, not tough enough.
Without giving ourselves a free pass on living in line with our intentions, we can use this mental loop — “I love myself” — to help shift our default view of ourselves to a warm self-reception instead of a cold internal-admonishment.
Kamal found a sense of healing by repeating this phrase to himself in his head, over and over again, in the little empty in-between moments of his life. He found particular relief in returning to this phrase during moments of great pain and self-hatred.
There is a societal judgment about positive self-talk. But even though the mental loop’s phrase — “I love myself” — can feel contrite in some moments, it seems to have a genuinely positive effect on our state if we stick with it.
The “I love myself” mental loop seems to affect our state kind of like a smile does. Thich Nhat Hanh says “sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, and sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.” A psychological study done in 2012 has found support for the same idea — the physical act of smiling seems to lead to higher levels of subjective well-being.
By continuously telling ourselves “I love myself” we can start to make this true, more of the time — even in the moments where we are not perfect.
It can feel selfish or solipsistic, but it’s not. It’s a lot easier to help others when you love yourself.
And it seems to get easier to love yourself, with practice.