Self-love is a word that is over-used in the personal development community. Of course we want to love ourselves. Who doesn’t? But what does that look and feel like practically speaking in our own lives?

It’s easy to say these words and set these huge, lofty goals, but then you quickly realize you don’t even know what the heck “self-love” means. You may have some vague idea but vague is no bueno, when you are trying to make massive shifts in your life. So let’s break down what I have found self-love really boils down to: Discipline.

Discipline is one of the most effective ways to love yourself. @CosmicChristine (Click to Tweet!)

Set a routine and stick with it. There are certain key areas that I find essential to have discipline. Set your own “non-negotiables,” things you do no matter what is going on in your life.

These seven qualities are keys to having “self-love,” or what I prefer to call having a strong sense of SELF.

  1. A morning and evening ritual. I keep it simple – wash hands, face, shower, light a candle, listen to some music, and write my to-do list for the morning. For evening, I come home, light some incense and    candles, listen to music, cook some nice food or go out to dinner alone or with my loved ones. Then I take a relaxing bath and say thanks for my day  and review what I want to do better for the next day. I pray for others and the world. Set your am+pm ritual.
  2. Your Work. Whether you have a 9-5 job or your own business, you’ve got  to be a hustler and get to work. Create a to-do list and make it realistic for the day and the week. I have yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals. Try to do the same. If you know what you need to do and you see it written down, you are more likely to do it, when you see it. Then put in in your calendar. Scheduling it, makes it real. Get to work.  Discipline is sexy.
  3. Your Money. Look at your money. Fix your credit, know how much you make and know how much your expenses are. My next goal is to tithe 10%. I suggest you do the same for a cause you believe in. (Support my mission, Therapy is Cool. Go to to donate.) Being  conscious around your money makes you responsible and feel empowered to make better and healthier money choices. Make that money. Set goals and get to work.
  4. Your health. Drink water, eat clean and healthy and move your body. Booty dance at home, run, stretch walk, have sex, just move your tush.
  5. Self-Respect. Self-respect means acting and at some point actually believing that you are worthy. Sometimes you need to act as if when you aren’t quite there. If you don’t yet feel you are deserving to only be treated with love and respect, act like it any way. Do not allow people to talk down to you, degrade you, disrespect your time, energy, body, life, home. You clear space the best by respecting yourself. So if you want others to respect you start with respecting your own time. If you set a goal that you want to do, do it. If you need to be somewhere try to be there on time. If you can’t make it or make a mistake, own up and say sorry and try your best to not do it again. Respect yourself and respect others.
  6. Healthy Boundaries. Boundaries are key for healthy relationships. Before I got healthy, boundaries didn’t always feel loving. In fact, it hurt me when people couldn’t see me when I wanted. I took it personally. The more I respected my own light and time and poured love into my life, the more I wanted people to respect that and the more I valued other peoples’ time, energy, space and life. Set healthy boundaries. Say no when you need to. Say yes when you mean it. Honor your truth.
  7. Vision. Vision helps bring more passion and focus in your life. My vision is empowering people to remember their worth and release the negative patterns and blockages holding them back. I make sure I do this for myself every day and I set my daily goal to work towards bringing that vision to life. What’s your vision? Being happy? Then take one step towards that today. Vision allows us to stay on track. Pour some energy on your vision.

With these seven key principles, you will become a healthier and happier self. With a stronger sense of self, you have deeper self-love, and with deeper self-love, you make more conscious decisions that bring about a more peaceful life and more peaceful people. Practice the principles above and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

xo, Christine

Christine Gutierrez is a psychotherapist, advice columnist, speaker, author, poet, and founder of, an online hub that features psychologically-savvy and soulful advice, articles, videos, private consultations, workshops, retreats (both live and virtual), radio appearances, and television projects. “Ancient wisdom with a modern twist” is the motto. She has been featured in TimeOut NY Magazine, Latina Magazine as “The Future 15: The Healer,” Yahoo Health, Ebony Magazine, Cosmopolitan for Latinas, The Conversation, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ricki Lake, Lifetime TV, and more. You can also follow Christine on Twitter and Facebook.

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Image courtesy of Anne Worner.