Today, I’m super excited to share our interview with blogger and wordsmith Alexandra Franzen on how she practices self-love. Mara and I started our self-love interview series with the intention to share what self-love looks like for a variety of amazing women around the world. We not only want to demystify self-love; we want to empower you to experience it.
I love Alex’s enthusiasm and energy and her powerful, interesting and unique way with words. Her pieces always inspire me to pick up my pen and take great care of myself.
I remember reading her piece about investing in yourself in Julie’s e-book Build Your Biz and Blog with Love, which is all about how self-love can help you build an inspiring and profitable business and blog.
I grabbed my journal and immediately wrote down these words: “I ‘invest’ in myself and my business whenever I do, buy, learn or even think something that makes me feel stronger, more capable and more creatively potent…Whether I’m working or playing (or somewhere in between) I want to feel electric, sought-after, affluent, sensual and free. Any investment — of cash, time or energy — that helps me feel the way I want to feel is a good one.”
Alex is the epitome of empowerment. Her words remind me that I am worthy and empower me to focus on my needs and dreams. She shares more of her uplifting and energizing wisdom below.
1. How do you practice self-love?
The word “love” stems from the Old English word lufian, meaning: to cherish, delight in, approve.
I practice self-love whenever I choose to cherish, delight in, and approve of myself — instead of criticizing myself!
Sometimes, I literally say to myself — out loud – “Alex, you are doing such a good job.”
Other times, I will think to myself, “Alex, be gentle with yourself.”
Other times, I will ask myself, “Alex, how could you make this easier & sweeter?”
It might sound ridiculous, but I think of my entire life as one big, endless practice of self-love. The practice never really “starts” or “stops.” It just flows.
2. What book is a must-read for self-love, body image or a related topic?
I’m Proud Of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers by Tim Madigan left a profound impact on me! Mr. Rogers is a huge hero of mine, and his life serves as a reminder that being kind to yourself & others really can change the world.
The book revealed a few things about Mr. Rogers that I didn’t know — like the fact that he went swimming every morning, took a nap every afternoon, played piano for his TV production staff, and wrote beautiful, hand-written letters to his friends. Very loving & nourishing activities, for such a busy & famous man!
3. What are your favorite ways to move your body?
I’ve been practicing yoga — with varying degrees of devotion! — for about 12 years. A few years ago, I moved into an apartment located directly above a yoga & pilates studio, and that’s … well … completely spoiled me.
I recently started exploring hula hoop yoga, which is insanely fun. And in the warmer months, I love walking around the lake near my apartment, bicycling to coffee shops, and dancing at live music shows — especially loud electronic & industrial music! Boom boom boom!
4. What’s one or two things you wish women knew about appreciating and loving themselves?
There’s a social medicine study that shows that positive emotions are literally contagious. When one person in a circle of friends becomes healthier & happier, it creates a measurable ripple effect, extending through her friends, family and colleagues.
The study confirms what we all (secretly) know to be true: When you take care of yourself & take responsibility for your happiness, everyone benefits.
5. Who are your heroes?
Oscar Wilde (pure hedonism!)
RuPaul (self-love & confidence to the max!)
Mr. Rogers (absolute compassion)
Pema Chödrön (who doesn’t love a Buddhist nun?)
Violet Eden (fictional character from a supernatural teen romance series called Embrace. She’s part angel — so ferocious & strong! And! The publisher that publishes the Embrace series is also my publisher, so I feel a special kinship.
6. What do you think is your greatest obstacle in loving yourself?
Phew. Good question.
Sometimes, it feels as though the entire world is designed to make us feel terrible about ourselves. Not thin enough, not rich enough, not seductive enough, not smart enough, not quick enough. Watch 4 or 5 TV commercials in a row, and you’ll see what I mean!
There are many, many industries that profit … when people hate themselves.
7. How do you work to overcome it?
I think at a certain point, you have to decide, “You know what? I’m choosing to like myself — even if it means living in an alternate reality of my own creation.”
And then: Turn off the TV. Saturate yourself with inspiration. Surround yourself with uplifting friends. Onward & upward!
8. Anything else you’d like readers to know?
YOU are doing such a good job.
More About Alex Franzen:
Alexandra has been spotlighted on over 50 blogs & radio programs on creativity & entrepreneurship, including American Public Media’s Marketplace, The Daily Love, BlogCastFM,Kind Over Matter and LifeByMe, and in a handful of books, including Grow Your Handmade Business, When Talent Isn’t Enough and The Declaration of You!
She’s been called a “profoundly gifted wordsmith” and a “twinkling, magnanimous talent” with the power to “describe the indescribable” — and her wildly sought-after writing intensives are priced at $1,500 a day and booked up to 9 months in advance.
Learn how to write with astonishing ease at AlexandraFranzen.com.
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Last reviewed: 24 Apr 2013