A Guide to Practicing Self-Love and Spiritual Alchemy
Self-Love – The regard for one's own well-being and happiness
Spiritual Alchemy - Freeing your spiritual self which is trapped within you by the unrefined parts of yourself (e.g. your fears, personal beliefs, self-loathing)
I am not a life-coach, relationship guru or a psychiatrist, but through studying the power of the mind for years and dramatically changing my mind-set and way of life, I have never felt more alive and like I’m living in the moment as I do right now.
Why did I choose to make changes? I was in a toxic relationship, I hated how I looked, I felt lonely in rooms surrounded by people, and I felt like my life was lacking direction. Then one day, I decided that enough was enough. The negative energy and cortisol (stress hormones) my brain was producing was not only harming my mental health and well-being, but also my physical health. But the funny thing was, to the outside world, I appeared happy, healthy, and ‘together’. I had a boyfriend, a car, I was succeeding at university, and my Instagram grid depicted a girl who loved to go out and socialize with a busy, fun lifestyle.
However, I realised that the ultimate source of happiness is not found in your circumstances or your material possessions, but is within you. So to seek happiness, self-love, and spiritual alchemy, you firstly must start looking inwards, deep into your heart and soul.
What makes you feel full and alive? What sets your soul on fire?
Self-love and spiritual alchemy is not just something you can read about in a book and achieve overnight – in fact it’s a process that will never end. Since starting my journey, I'm learning about life every single day and I’m loving it.
Here are my tips on how I’m achieving self-love and spiritual alchemy, and how you can too …
Make yourself your number one priority
Just imagine what could happen if you gave yourself the same care and attention that you give to other people in your life. I used to be so guilty of taking on so many things and projects to distract myself from how I actually felt. I was so busy working, volunteering, supporting and caring for others that I didn’t dedicate any time in the day for looking after myself. To change this, I took a break from some of my activities, to find out if I would miss them or not. Unsurprisingly, I found that some of the things I was doing that took up a lot of my time, didn’t actually make me happy. The feelings of happiness and busy-ness had merged into one thing for me. I felt like if I was being ‘productive’ and ‘busy’, then this made me successful. I was wrong – and I learnt that any time spent enjoying yourself, is time well spent.
Take time to be still
Stillness doesn’t have to be a physical act, but can just be a break from the over-stimulation our brain is constantly experiencing in our everyday lives. How long do you really spend a day without music, technology, other people or physical things? Probably not a lot. I have found although I’m still moving physically, when I’m running I am still. When I run alone for half an hour, without music and without company, I am able to channel all my energy onto just thinking about putting one step in front of the other, focusing on my breathing, and allowing myself to think about any of my thoughts, worries or fears. I’ve gone from previously dreading exercise, to craving my solo run at the end of each day.
Start every day telling yourself something positive. The way you talk to yourself matters, as your body listens to everything your mind says. I surrounded my mirror with positive affirmations, telling myself that I am clever, I am kind, I am beautiful and I am me. When you read these things, and tell them to yourself enough, you genuinely will start to believe
I recently heard someone say, “When we are young we are told to treat others how we would like to be treated. I challenge you today to treat yourself, how you’d like others to treat you”. I found this life-changing – we need to talk to ourselves how we would like other people to talk to us!
Identify your passions
Here is when you find out what sets your soul on fire. To identify what I was really passionate about, I made a mind-map of my life, and all the thoughts I have inside my brain. As I was mapping it all out visually, the same themes kept coming out, like caring for my friends and others, spending time getting ready in the morning (I love beauty products and makeup), and travelling to new places. I realised that these were the things I really enjoyed, and although they aren’t going to be my career, I have decided to dedicate more time to them.
Stop comparing yourself
Nobody is you, and that is your unique power. I used to spend so much time scrolling through Instagram, comparing myself to other people, models and influencers. To stop my unhealthy and self-destructive habit, I came off Instagram for a whole year. I didn’t miss out on anything or loose any friends by not being present on social media – if anything it made my interactions with people more real. Friends would text me their news and successes rather than me seeing it on a social media update, and my screen time in general dramatically reduced giving me more time to put towards my self-love journey.
End toxic relationships
Ending romantic relationships and friendships is never easy, but I’d come to realise that the relationship I was in was so unhealthy and also unnecessary. My relationship took up a lot of my time and energy however I didn’t experience a lot of happiness in return. I also found that I had to get rid of a few friends on my journey too. When I took time off social media, and spent more time reflecting on my thoughts and experiences, I realised that some of my friends were un-genuine, and not particularly supportive of the changes I was making in my life. The friends who stuck by me were genuinely happy and excited about the new, positive person I was becoming. On my journey I have also been blessed to make countless new friends and relationships, as it’s true when they say ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’. Since I began to love and care more about myself, I have found it so easy and natural to meet new, like-minded people, who have a love for life and positive energy, which I love.
Change the way you communicate
Firstly, I changed the way I communicate with myself. I swapped the negative things I’d allow my mind to tell myself, like I was fat, ugly or worthless. I replaced this with positive affirmations (as mentioned above). I then began to change the way I communicated with other people. I decided a facebook like or a tag in a meme was not a meaningful way to communicate with the people I love. So I started writing letters, cards, and more thought out messages. I stopped focusing on replying as fast as I could and began thinking more carefully about the messages I was sending, and thought more about the impact my words could have on others. I found my friendships and relationships with the people I love deepened, and I truly began to understand that it’s not how many friends you have that matters, but how meaningful the friendships you do have are.
Nourish your body
Consume food and drinks that make your body feel good, and in turn you will look better too. I used to crave junk food and drink alcohol every weekend, but when I made simple changes to my diet and lifestyle, and reduced by alcohol intake significantly, I found I had so much less ‘brain fog’ and my thoughts and feelings were so much clearer to me. Little things like feeling hungry or being dehydrated can have huge effects on our brain and mood, and I find that the healthier I am eating, the happier I feel.
Nurture your creativity
Over lockdown I created a goal to develop organic and natural hobbies, that didn’t require me to go out and be around other people. I began to bake, craft and create to fill my free time, and learnt to enjoy being alone and in the company of myself. It’s so easy for us to be surrounded by other people all the time, whether it’s in-person or online, that we don’t look at ourselves the way we look at others. I’ve learnt that enjoying time alone is empowering. It feels so freeing to do and go exactly where you want, and put yourself and your own needs first. I now love my solo trips to coffee shops, and the times in the day I spend alone practising acts of self-care.
Write it down
If you’re like me, you probably have so many thoughts and feelings but feel like you have nowhere to put them? My anxious worries and thoughts used to fester in my mind and make me feel stressed and overwhelmed. When I committed to working towards spiritual alchemy, my anxiety lowered so much I would not consider myself as a ‘sufferer’ of extreme anxiety anymore. To track this progress, I made a gratitude diary, where I wrote one thing a day I am grateful for. I also filled in The Calm Journal which is filled with calming quotes, centering statements, and soothing tips and exercises. It’s become a big part of my daily routine, to sit down and write about my thoughts, feelings and worries. Before bed also, if there is a lot on my mind, I will write down my ‘brain junk’, in which I write down anything that’s floating round in my brain that will keep me up at night. Writing it out, for me, is a huge release of what’s happening inside my head, and makes me sleep so much better.
Set realistic goals and manifest them
You will not achieve self-love and spiritual alchemy overnight, that’s not how it works unfortunately. You need to set small, realistic and achievable goals each day, week and month. I love creating to-do lists, and mapping out a plan for how I am going to get something done.
When setting goals, remember that your mind is a very powerful tool for creation, which is where manifesting comes in to play.
Manifesting - Cultivating the experience of what it is that you want to feel — and then living and believing in that experience so that you can allow it to come into form.
Don’t give up
It’s easy to give up on our goals when we can’t see immediate results, but with self-love and spiritual alchemy, and manifestation, there is a lot to learn and discover, and it’s a process that never ends. Every day we grow, develop and change, and of course life is going to throw many unplanned challenges and experiences at us. Establish a group of people who want to achieve self-love and spiritual alchemy.
Written By Caroline Cartmill
Caroline is 23 years old and from Manchester. She is currently studying at university in Wales to become a Primary School Teacher, but when she’s not studying or working you’ll find her blow-drying her ridiculously thick hair, writing or reading in coffee shops, talking about life live on Instagram or in the middle of the dance floor dancing in her heels and a sparkly dress! She loves life and believe in making the most of every day, which is why you’ll rarely find her sitting still. One of her life goals is to write for a big magazine like Cosmo which she is still obsessed with reading to this day! Caroline is a definite girls girl and believe us females need to stick together to help one another navigate all things love, sex and situationships!