In this article you will learn more about how highly sensitive people and empaths can implement radical self-love in their daily lives.
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Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
When I was 22 I discovered that I am a highly sensitive person and empath. It was at a challenging moment in my life, as I spent time recovering from some past traumas during therapy.
Somehow, I just could not seem to be as happy as ‘everyone else’. Oftentimes, I felt anxious, worried and overwhelmed. Self-love was a term I didn’t know at that time. All I could do was to give my love and friendliness to others. They were on top of my priority list.
My therapist brought up that I may be a highly sensitive person and empath. Also, she mentioned that it may be time for me to put self-love first. Before that conversation, I convinced myself that self-love was selfish and egoistic. Nonetheless, it was a false perception of my ego in order to keep me small and insecure. Because that’s where the ego thrives.
After therapy I realized that my therapist may be onto something and dove into the topic radical self-love. For the past 7 years, I discovered all types of techniques that help me to love myself more.
Something I realized in this self-love journey, is that highly sensitive people and empaths have different needs when it comes to self-love. Due to our increased sensitivity and empathy, we process input differently compared to less sensitive people. Moreover, we require more downtime in order to truly thrive.
Therefore, I created this special radical self-love guide for highly sensitive people and empaths. Hopefully, it helps you to develop a deeper, more loving relationship with yourself.
Here’s What You’ll Learn:
- What Is Radical Self-Love For Highly Sensitive People And Empaths?
- Common Signs That You Need Radical Self-Love In Your Life
- Radical Self-Love Methods For Highly Sensitive People And Empaths
- The Self-Love Journey For Highly Sensitive People And Empaths Begins Here
What Is Radical Self-Love For Highly Sensitive People And Empaths?
Generally speaking, radical self-love is the act of loving yourself to a degree where you understand that who you are is more than enough. Moreover, you are fully aware that you are good enough, despite eventual flaws and shortcomings. Instead of bashing yourself over and over again for past mistakes, you embrace them with love and patience.
Practicing radical self-love helps you to feel content and calm in life. It provides you with the ability to appreciate yourself. No matter where you are in your personal growth journey.
Radical self-love for highly sensitive people and empaths means embracing your sensitivity and extraordinary abilities and investing in yourself. Oftentimes, we tend to look at our shortcomings. For example, I remember always feeling bad about not being able to keep up with ‘the rest’. Also, I struggled to relax and take time for myself to recharge (while ‘the rest’ worked inhumane hours). This was something I felt incredibly guilty about.
We who are highly sensitive people and empaths need to realize something important. To be specific, that radical self-love is our key towards fulfillment and happiness in life. By taking care of our own needs first, we will have more energy and joy. This helps us when we want to help others with our gifts.
Common Signs That You Need Radical Self-Love In Your Life
I can imagine that you wonder whether you actually need radical self-love. Perhaps, your mind and ego continuously try to convince you that self-love is selfish and bad. Moreover, you may be unaware that radical self-love is the solution to some of your current challenges. Therefore, I summarized some of the common signs of a lack of self-love amongst highly sensitive people and empaths for you below.
One of the most common signs of a lack of self-love amongst highly sensitive people and empaths is low self-esteem. For instance, you may compare yourself to others and measure your self-worth based on what they are doing.
Seeking Validation From The Outside
Another common sign that you should practice self-love is that you oftentimes seek validation from others. Rather than believing your own thoughts about yourself, you ask others what they think of you and everything you do.
Because of the need to seek validation from others, people-pleasing is a common sign that you lack self-love as well. Do you put others needs in front of yours all the time? This may be a clear sign that you should invest more time in radical self-love.
Feeling Overwhelmed And Stressed Out
Highly sensitive people and empaths who lack self-love oftentimes experience feelings of overwhelm and stress. Because of their people-pleasing tendencies, they give everything they have to others instead of themselves. As a result, they pour from an empty cup. Consequently, this results in feeling overwhelmed and stressed out.
Strong Inner Critic
Do you oftentimes experience negative self-talk where you bash yourself unnecessarily? A strong inner critic is a sign that you should invest more time in radical self-love. Because highly sensitive people and empaths tend to overthink, a strong inner critic can easily take over our inner talk.
Struggling With Believing Compliments
Highly sensitive people and empaths who need self-love often struggle with receiving compliments. Although they seek validation from the outside, hearing that validation and internalizing it is challenging for them. As they do not believe what they hear, it can be tough for them to accept the kind words and actually believe them.
Radical Self-Love Methods For Highly Sensitive People And Empaths
Did you relate to some of the signs above? Then this is your sign to start practicing radical self-love. Below, you can find 7 ways to practice self-love as a highly sensitive person and empath.
#1 Heal Your Past Traumas
Looking back at my own self-love journey, it began at the time I started working on healing my traumas. As mentioned, I started therapy when I was 22 years old. It was there I uncovered the things I did not want to look at previously. For example, I faced bad memories from my time in elementary school and wounds from past, non-healthy relationships. It was incredibly confronting and at first I felt as if I was feeling worse.
However, experiencing heavy emotions when healing is very normal. In fact, it are all the suppressed emotions that you are feeling at that moment. Nonetheless, once you start feeling these emotions instead of resisting them, you will soon realize a lightness within you. The bottled-up emotions are gone and you can start to heal these wounds in a calm and conscious way.
Highly sensitive people and empaths who want to practice self-love benefit greatly from healing first. Instead of neglecting what you are feeling, you become authentically honest with yourself. Moreover, you begin to understand that a part of self-love is to embrace every part of yourself, also the dark aspects from your past.
Once you heal your wounds, your memories from the past along with the people in those memories will no longer have power over you. Finally, you will be in charge of how you feel about yourself. That is the first step towards radical self-love.
#2 Understand Why You’re Here
Once you have uncovered bad memories and started your healing journey, it may be interesting for you to ask yourself the following question: “Why am I here?”
This is a deep question that many people wonder about. Every person enters this planet for a reason. Moreover, you are here to fulfill your life’s purpose. But what is that purpose? How do you know what you are destined to be in this life?
Highly sensitive people and empaths have a tendency to think deeply and seek a higher purpose in life, so this question may be very interesting for us to investigate. When I started healing, discovering my higher purpose became more and more important to me.
The only place you can find an answer to that question is within you. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. Your ‘system’ will tell you where to go in life. Once you find your ‘one thing’, your body will show you that you are on the right path. You will feel a sense of inner peace, excitement, and fulfillment when you have discovered your higher purpose.
Something that truly helped me in confirming that I am on the right path, is to look at my Human Design chart. When I discovered it, it amazed me to see that I am already doing many of the things I am ‘designed’ to do in this life. It was a nice confirmation to have that I am on the right path.
Living according to your life purpose is the ultimate act of self-love. You do something that you are good at, that you love, that the worlds needs, and that you can get paid for.
#3 Identify Your Self-Talk
One of the biggest blockages for practicing radical self-love is negative self-talk. Many of us struggle with a strong inner critic. However, this often is an unconscious voice in your mind. A voice that runs on auto-pilot.
For me, it was a real eye-opener to identify my inner self-talk. In cooperation with my coach, I visualized everything I was telling myself on a daily basis with this self-talk exercise.
Inner Self-Talk Exercise
In this exercise, you identify the different things you tell yourself and place them on a bus. The thoughts that you hear the most, you place in the front seats of your bus. Consequently, you add the more silent thoughts further back in the bus.
It is a very confronting task that I experienced to be deeply emotional. I was surprised to see that the loudest thoughts in my mind were negative things such as ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I don’t deserve happiness’.
Once you realize which stories you keep repeating about yourself, you can start to decondition your mind and give these thoughts less power. Does that mean you will never struggle with negative self-talk again? No. However, by becoming aware of your inner talk, you can tackle it at the core.
How To Stop Inner Self-Talk
Instead of running negative thoughts on auto play, you now stop them once you become aware of them. In those moments, acknowledge them by thinking:
“I notice that I am thinking thought X. This is a thought from moment X and does not relate to the present moment. Thank you mind, for trying to protect me.’
Why the last sentence? Oftentimes, negative thoughts are trying to protect us. Because they are linked to a negative situation, your mind will start relating new, exciting, and perhaps similar situations to that past experience. Therefore, once your mind acknowledges certain patterns from the past, it will do everything in its power to stop you from that ‘danger’ again.
How? Through negative self-talk! Why? Because it works! It is how we are wired, especially when we are highly sensitive people. However, this mechanism oftentimes keeps us in our comfort zone, where growth rarely happens.
Therefore, repeat the sentence above when you notice negative thoughts. Stop the thought at the core by acknowledging it and telling yourself that this thought relates to your past. This way, you will notice more self-love within and dare to take more risks in the future.
#4 Practice Self-Affirmation
Earlier in this article, I stated that a common sign of a lack of self-love is the need to seek validation outward. In order to break that pattern and start practicing self-love, highly sensitive people and empaths can apply self-affirmations in their daily lives.
This is an incredibly powerful method to use in combination with tackling negative self-talk. However, we don’t only use self-affirmations when struggling with negative thoughts. We also apply them as a habit in our daily life.
Think about the things that currently make you feel the most insecure. Write all of them down. Once you have created a list of all these insecurities, start to create positive affirmations.
For example, if you think that you always lack money, replace it with the powerful affirmation: “I attract money and am financially abundant.”
Throughout the day, repeat your positive affirmations to yourself and feel the positive energy of those statements. For example, put up an affirmation on your bathroom mirror and repeat it to yourself loudly whenever you look in the mirror.
Also, you could download an affirmation app like ‘Affirm it’ to receive notifications of your positive affirmations on your phone at random moments of the day, week, and month. I find this method to be incredibly powerful to focus on maintaining a positive attitude. Additionally, affirmations have strengthened my love for myself.
#5 Set Healthy (Energetic) Boundaries
As highly sensitive people and empaths, we are more receptive to feeling the energies of others. Our empathic side sometimes even wants to carry these energies for other people in order to make them feel better. However, it is not our place to take over energies.
Yes, we can feel them in our bodies, but it is important to return these energies to the sender at the end of the day. This is called setting healthy energetic boundaries.
Returning and reclaiming energy
One of the self-love methods you as an empath or highly sensitive person can try is to visualize where you want to feel the energies of others.
I, for example, put one hand around my other hand’s wrist and repeat to myself, that negative energy only is allowed to be felt in my hands. This way, I can still help people by attuning to their needs, but not take over their heavy energy in my entire body. After trying this method and encountering negative energies, I felt a tingling feeling in my hands. It was amazing to see how that energetic boundary worked.
Moreover, try to always return energy to its rightful owner by the end of the day. You can intentionally do so by tuning into your body and feel the places where it feels like you are holding onto energy that isn’t yours. Visualize how you pull the energy out of that place, like pulling weeds out of the ground in your garden. Visualize how you return the energy to its owner.
In addition, it is wise to call back energy that you have given out throughout the day. It is important for you to disconnect from any connections that may be draining you. If you find this challenging, you may want to give this meditation a try:
In the end, setting healthy energetic boundaries is a major act of self-love and self-respect. For me, it was a life changing insight that helped me to take better care of myself and ultimately love myself more.
If you struggle with negative, or toxic people in your life, you may want to discover the book ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People: How to Reclaim Your Power from Narcissists and Other Manipulators’.
#6 Learn To Reduce Anxiety
Highly sensitive people especially often struggle with anxious feelings. Due to their heightened activity in their amygdala – the part of the brain responsible for freeze, flight & fight reactions – HSP’s often are anxious. Hence, a major aspect of self-love for highly sensitive people and empaths struggling with anxiety is to learn how to reduce anxious feelings.
There are many ways to become a less anxious person, but I found EFT – the emotional freedom technique – to be particularly useful. Within EFT, you tap on acupressure points on your body. By doing so, you send signals to your brain to calm down and tell it that the situation is safe. Oftentimes, EFT goes paired with using specific statements while tapping.
In this video, you will learn how to do EFT tapping on yourself when you are anxious:
#7 Rest And Recharge Without Guilt
Highly sensitive people and empaths need to rest and recharge more frequently compared to less sensitive people. However, I know from my own experiences and those of the HiSensitives Community members, that this can be a tricky one.
In society, resting is looked at as unproductive and lazy. Preferably, everybody works crazy hours in order to keep the money machine going. However, this is an outdated way of living. Humans are not designed to live this way. Sadly, many people are driven by ego and do not understand that.
It is easy to want to follow the crowd and neglect your own needs in order to fit in. However, there is a big risk that you will eventually burn out. Remember that we are not designed to live life at that pace.
Therefore, one of the most radical self-love methods is to be kind to yourself and rest and recharge without guilt. By listening to your body and resting when it tells you to rest, you will be way more productive and happy, than if you neglect those needs.
For example, while writing this blog, I noticed halfway that I became tired. Instead of pushing through and finishing the blog with low energy, I meditated and took a power nap first. Afterward, my words easily flew into this article, because I took time to rest.
If I would have continued writing while I was tired, it probably would have taken me three times longer to finish, because inspiration does not come from a place of exhaustion. Moreover, you as a reader would have felt that my energy was off. Energy is transferred in many ways, also through words. Hence, rest without guilt.
The Self-Love Journey For Highly Sensitive People And Empaths Begins Here
Are you ready to love yourself more and work on your personal growth? Your personal growth journey and radical self-love begin here at HiSensitives.
On our personal growth platform, we aim to share the best personal growth articles and resources with you. Also, we have a wonderful free community for highly sensitive people and empaths on Facebook. Here you can read more about our community.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey towards more self-love and hope to connect with you on our socials and/or community!