What does a healing journey to self-love look like? My own began in East L.A. during the ‘90’s. It was a childhood wrought with riots and a rough crowd, panic attacks and depression, and a court-ordered Probation Officer. 

As a teen, I sought out the practice of meditation– not in hopes of spiritual enlightenment, but simply to find a pressure release-valve. Yet at the same time, I was also seeking the exact opposite: a feeling of fullness, to combat the insignificance I felt as a troubled kid. 

Maybe you can relate to the start of my story; though I imagine it’s wildly different from your own. Our individual paths to self-love are as unique as thumbprints. Swirl by swirl, print by print, they’re journeys, not destinations – with different coordinates to mark our beginnings. 

Even still, our paths lead us toward this shared experience: We search for answers that lie outside ourselves, to find the truth within us. In this way, radical self-love means journeying back to a relationship with one’s self. 

Regardless of where you are on that journey (a true rinse and repeat cycle), here are three simple ways to practice radical self-love; to help you return to a place of healing, wholeness and contentment.

1. Practice Presence

The mind wants to be anywhere but in the present moment, though real healing begins when you can pause, take a breath, and be alone with your thoughts. It’s during these quiet moments of solitude where you can truly forge a relationship with yourself. Hence, practicing presence is a direct route to self-love. 

Although we might get glimpses, we can’t expect moments of supreme bliss to be a regular part of our day. That is, if we haven’t created that intention. In other words, we actually need to make space for the present moment. We need to make time to pause and be still; to allow the chance to listen and take in more; to give ourselves the opportunity to move through pain, rather than away from it (because what we feel, we can heal).

We may find long stretches of peace. However, we’ll continue to tumble right back out. Why? It’s because change is inevitable and everything is impermanent. This is why practice is essential. It reminds us of the present moment; it reminds us to return to ourselves. I have always found the most healing simply by being still – and being with myself.

2. Listen to Your ‘Heart Wisdom’

Practicing self-love and self-acceptance cannot happen when you’re looking at someone else’s life. It happens when you MYOB (mind your own business). It’s easy to hold up mirrors in relationships, to look for answers externally, and to respond to life rather than getting clear on who you are and what you believe. Yet the beginning of every relationship is really just you… experiencing yourself. One can sense love, but the experience of it happens within you. In fact, everything about love starts from within. 

Looking externally only prevents us from doing the real, internal work. It distracts us from being aware of our own feelings, thoughts and emotions, and leaves us feeling spiritually vacant. To practice radical self-love, we need to keep turning inward – over and over, again and again. We need to mind our own business, get quiet, listen, lean into and breathe into our ‘heart wisdom’, and let it guide us forward.

3. Cultivate Discernment 

Setting healthy boundaries is a powerful (though less obvious) form of self-love. Oftentimes, that means getting very clear about ‘who’ and ‘what’ takes up space in your life. Although easy in theory, erecting boundaries can be much harder to implement, as it involves clear communication with ourselves and others. 

Put simply, just because you love someone doesn’t mean they get to take up space in your life. There will be some people who just aren’t on board with your healing and growth. It is possible to cultivate love and kindness for them without letting them throw you off track. 

Their response to your individual journey doesn’t mean they are wrong, and it doesn’t mean they are right. It just means they are committed to their own truth – and it may not allow room for your own. Practicing radical self-love means cultivating discernment, setting physical and energetic boundaries that support your journey, and creating space for your own growth and truth. Neither will lead you astray. 

You Are Radically Loved: A HEALING JOURNEY TO SELF-LOVE, By Rosie Acosta. Published by TarcherPerigee (Feb 22, 2022)


  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than twenty years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s new book, You Are Radically Loved: A Healing Journey to Self-Love uses her own journey as a framework for presenting meditations, journaling questions, and practices for identifying and honoring our own radical truths. It’s an empowering and accessible guide to the essential spiritual practices Rosie uses to create a radically loved life. To connect with Rosie and grab your own copy, visit www.radicallyloved.com.