I have created 2 sets of exercises that will help you explore the concepts of unconditional self-love. One, is a set of therapeutic line drawings that are like the images of a coloring book and the other is a 10 page exercise in unconditional self love that will help you find self-love during difficult times.
Therapeutic line drawings:
There is no wrong way to use these line drawings. I will make some suggestions on how to use them but if you feel like doing something different than what I have suggested, then by all means, follow your heart because that is what will be right for you.
First print out all ten line drawings. Look at each one and then choose an image that you feel most drawn to. You may be drawn to an image because it reminds you of how you feel or how you want to feel. Or you may choose an image because it’s message is meaningful to you.
Before you begin coloring, consider creating a nurturing environment around yourself. You might want to turn off the phone, play some relaxing music or make your favorite tea. It would also be nice to take a few slow and deep relaxing breathes before you begin.
Color in your line drawing any way you like. You can use colored pencils, ink, magic markers, paint or crayons. You can even add some glitter glue to emphasize something spiritual or healing within the drawing. And, you can add your own words to further personalize the image.
As you color, it may remind you of when you use to color in your coloring books as a child. This alone is a nice feeling and can be therapeutic. Allow yourself to remember the joy you felt as a child and allow yourself to remember the dreams of your childhood.
Also, as you color, you may find yourself merging with the women depicted in the drawing. You may merge with her strength, peace or even her pain. As you connect with her by coloring her in, you are in contact with an aspect of yourself. Allow this experience to become what ever it wants to be. (I believe it is through creative expression that we hear the voice of our spirit the loudest.)
There are two line drawings among the ten that are particularly meant for you to write words inside of. These two images are EXPRESSIONS OF SELF LOVE and FREE YOURSELF. In EXPRESSIONS OF SELF LOVE, you are to write words inside the hearts that express messages of love to yourself. Such as: free yourself, center yourself, know yourself, value yourself, speak to yourself with kind words, don't compare yourself to others, listen to your feelings, forgive your mistakes, and slow down. In FREE YOURSELF, write in the space of the ropes the different ways you inflict suffering upon yourself without knowing it. Such as through: self-doubt, worry, guilt, shame, jealousy, impatience, unrealistic expectations, critical self-judgment and unhealthy habits.
Both of these two line drawings will help you to become more consciously aware of how you love yourself and how you hurt yourself. As you become more aware of both, it will expand your ability to love yourselves in a more caring and accepting way. (download the line drawing pdf here).
An Exercise in unconditional self love:
This exercise is meant for you to choose one challenge in your life and then focus on that one challenge as you answer the questions. That challenge may be a health issue, the health issue of a loved one, a relationship issue, a work issue, the loss of a loved one, a divorce, financial difficulties, or the lack of direction in your life. It could be anything that challenges you and causes you to suffer in some way.
Print this exercise and take your time. It is not meant to finish over night because people realize different things at different times. You can do this exercise with each challenge in your life that you face.
If you like, you can put this exercise into a special notebook and then that notebook can be your “Nurturing Self love notebook.” You also can keep favorite quotes and photos inside your notebook by using pocket protector sleeves or by making a pocket from cardstock material and taping it to the back inside cover of your notebook. (download the exercise in unconditional self love here)