Many years ago, I was asked to finish a sentence and little did I know it at the time, but my answer would change my life.
I was struggling, working so hard at my dreams and feeling like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was studying prosperity mindset, trying to change my thinking around money with the intention of attracting more of it, and with my nose to the grindstone, my life was passing me by.
My answer to the question was simple, and may it demonstrate to you that there are no “right” or even “good” answers with questions like these, there are only revelations and epiphanies, sometimes priceless ones at that.
I share this exercise with you now in the hopes that it changes your perspective, and (God-willing) your life.
Finish this sentence: If I really loved myself, I would _____________.
Furthermore, I challenge you to phrase the statement in a positive manner, avoiding words like “not” and “quit” and “stop.”
“If I really loved myself I would quit smoking”
“If I really loved myself I would release the need to smoke and breathe deeply and easily” – or – “If I really loved myself I would take excellent care of my lungs and my body”
Here’s another example: “If I really loved myself I would stop being so hard on myself” – would be better worded as – “If I really loved myself I would be kind to myself and treat myself with patience and generosity”
Or your statement might be really specific, like these:
“If I really loved myself I would resign from my job and get paid to paint.”
“If I really loved myself I would leave my spouse and find a partner who loves me as I am”
“If I really loved myself I would take a nap every afternoon.”
Can you feel the difference in the positive statements that focus on what you would do, as compared to the statements that focus on what you would quit or stop doing?
As I said, my statement was simple. But it was the impetus that changed everything.
This is what I wrote that day:
“If I really loved myself, I would get a massage every week.”
Maybe that sounds silly, or too simple, or superficial. But I was so hard on myself then, harder than anyone else, and taking care of my body was so far down my list of priorities, you might as well have labeled that page “Crap I don’t care enough about to even consider.”
But when I heard that statement, “If I really loved myself, I would…” a massage was all I could think of. I wanted to finish it as “get a massage” but then I realized that sounded pretty lame, since $50 (at the time) would have been enough to prove my own love to myself. So I stretched, and chose something that at that time was out of reach for me financially: “If I really loved myself, I would get a massage every week.”
I thought about that statement often. Can you guess what happened?
I started meeting people who got weekly or bi-weekly massages. They weren’t millionaires, either. Heck, some of them were probably in the lower middle class earnings bracket.
I thought, “Why not me?”
Then I started working on self-love. I was kinder to myself. It started in baby steps, like putting lotion on my tired feet, and reminding myself to breathe deeply and to stretch. But soon the most amazing thing happened.
I attracted a trade with a massage therapist/pilates instructor.
Now that may not sound amazing to you, but here’s the interesting part: she (yes, SHE!) insisted that we trade dollar for dollar instead of hour for hour.
I thought that was a little strange, considering my rates were so much higher than hers. But she insisted it was necessary for the particular way she did her bookkeeping, so I agreed.
That meant I got 3 massages PER WEEK for each ONE healing session I did for her. And it was HER idea to do it that way. Wha????
Yes, I was feeling the LOVE of myself! Eventually, my much-neglected and very tense muscles loosened up and I switched over to one massage per week and two private pilates sessions.
As a result of pilates, my posture improved, my core (always a weak area for me) got markedly stronger and for the first time since I was a very small child, I became grounded in my body.
Eventually, after many months, we were both ready to move on and we ended the trade, but to this day, I maintain all of the benefits of that pilates work, and the luxurious decadence of knowing what it means to have THREE massages a week.
And you know what else? When I want a massage now, I just book it. I don’t need to justify it with some minor ache or pain, I don’t need to rationalize the cost or the self-indulgence.
That one simple statement: If I really loved myself, I would get a massage every week – it changed my life and my relationship with myself forever. This is why I’m sharing this simple exercise with you – in the hopes that it will help you to begin to shift something BIG for yourself.
“If I really loved myself I would _____________________”
Now just because this was a life-changing statement for me, please don’t feel as though YOU have to get it “just right.”
Honestly, “a massage every week” seemed a little silly to me at the time. I had judgments about it when I first wrote it, and I remember I almost changed it. But I knew it was true for me, and that’s what mattered. And now, all these years later, it’s made all the difference in my life.
What is true for you right now?
If you really loved yourself, what would you do?
Think about it.
Write it down.
Try it on.
And watch what happens.