Love and romance is overrated but self-love is undervalued. Not enough people and experts are dedicated to promoting self-love. While there are plenty of self-help gurus and experts writing about how to find a significant other, few advocate cultivating love from within. Too often people approach finding love from a place of seeking it from the outside. A backwards strategy isn’t as great as the opposite, loving “me” before “we”, as bestselling author Christine Arylo explains. Arylo is one of the rare visionaries on the benefits of self-love.
Christine Arylo, MBA., is an inspirational catalyst, teacher and self-love author who teaches people how to put their most important partnership first, the one with themselves, so that they can create the life their souls crave. The popular author of the go-to book on relationships Choosing ME before WE and the self-love handbook, Madly in Love with ME, the Daring Adventure to Becoming Your Own Best Friend, she’s affectionately known as the “Queen of Self-Love.” Arylo founded the international day of self-love on Feb 13th and is the co-founder of the self-love and empowerment school for women, Inner Mean Girl Reform School. She explains more about the self-love practices she teaches in the following interview.
What is the "receive a love letter every month" subscription from your website about?
I am a big believer that we all need small but mighty boosts of inspiration and guidance to keep us on track in our day to day lives. There is a lot of fear out there in the world that can get you all spun out and freaked out, but when you have a constant connection to love, fear has less of a chance to get into your head. Every week I send out a Love Letter with a video focused on a small but mighty ways to increase your connection to love – be that self love, love in relationship to others, or divine love. It’s free. Anyone can join. It’s my weekly gift to the world.
Describe what the Madly in Love with Me program is about and how does it work?
Madly in Love with ME is the self-love movement I started in 2006 to bring awareness to self-love. It started in my girlfriend’s living room in Chicago with one event and a vision in my heart to create a world in which every child born could be connected to love, and stay connected to love for their entire lives… which of course starts with self-love. Self-love is not something we really understand as a culture. It feels esoteric, self-indulgent and maybe even a little like something you shouldn’t talk about in public. But most of the disease, depression and unhappiness we experience stems from a society that constantly tells us we are not enough. So my mission is to make self-love a tangible reality for the world. Loving yourself is something you choose every day – you either choose love or fear, shame, blame and anger. Today Madly in Love with ME includes retreats, books, online courses, a club, thousands of love ambassadors, a free self-love kit (www.ChooseSelfLove.com) and even an international holiday on February 13th – put it on your calendar.
When I first read your story of how your previous engagement ended I was inspired by how you turned a letdown into a movement of self-love for yourself and others. How did you choose the resources and healing programs to support you on your journey when it first happened?
So many of us hit places in our life that can feel like rock bottom or pretty darn close. And in that moment you have two choices, to choose to open to love or choose to contract into fear. Contracting into fear keeps you stuck in the same patterns – which is why you keep dating the same person, experiencing the same struggles, etc. But when you open your heart to love, and take the foundational promise of self-love, “I promise to love myself first. I will never settle for less than my heart and soul desire again” the providence can come up to meet you and provide you with lots of people who can help you find a new path. Over a decade ago, when my engagement ended and I thought my life was over, I made that promise to myself and I have never broken it. Staying connected to my heart and soul has led me to create a life I love, a marriage I love, and a large soul family of people I adore. Make the promise, and then keep it.
How come it is so hard to have self-love? What strategies have you discovered have worked the most effectively to help people develop more self love in their lives?
Here’s the thing about self-love, most of us know the things we should do to love ourselves – only have respectful relationships, go for our dreams, believe in ourselves, eat healthy, etc. etc – but most people cannot give themselves permission to take the self-loving act. We’ve been conditioned to believe that giving to ourselves is selfish. We get afraid if we do what we need to take care of ourselves we will lose the love of others. We are afraid that if we go for our dreams we will starve. Lots of fear and lots of misunderstandings about self-love, which is why I wrote the self-love handbook, Madly in Love with ME to straighten it all out, and give people real steps to self-love. Self-love is not a black or white scenario as in either you love yourself or you don’t. There are ways that you do a really great job, and others that you don’t. For example, you can have great self-esteem but low self-respect and be successful in your career but a disaster in your love life. You need to be aware of and grow all 10 branches of self-love.
What is the 40-Day Fear Cleanse? Is fear at the root of lack of self-love or is it much more complicated?
One of the biggest reasons people do not make self-loving choices is because of the fear that is lurking around inside of them that they are totally unaware of. And what you can’t be with or you can’t see runs you. One of the most powerful things I have done to actually be able to make self-loving choices, especially in the area of going for my dreams, saying NO to relationships that didn’t serve me, taking big risks like changing jobs, moving cities and becoming an entrepreneur was because I learned to tell the difference between the voice of fear and the voice of love within me. I learned to have more faith in love than in fear. The 40-day Fear Cleanse is a program anyone can take that helps you identify the unconscious fears that are running in the background of your life in all areas – relationship, money, career, body, etc – and then transform those fears into more self empowering beliefs and actions so you can make the changes you want in your life. I co-teach the program with NY Times best-selling author Gabrielle Bernstein and a bunch of our friends, like Kris Carr, Marie Forleo, and Rhonda Britten. You can do the cleanse at any time – just go to www.thefearcleanse.com.
You also have a "Love Club" but it's not about finding someone to love, but finding ways to be more self-loving, how does membership work in the club?
Self love isn’t something you achieve, it’s a practice you get better at day after day, year after year. And like anything you want to master, if you want to improve, you have to put focus on it. I mentioned the 10 branches of self-love that we all need to grow – which are the foundation of the book Madly in Love with ME and The Love Club. Each month we choose one branch to focus on growing, our members from around the world receive an in-depth video from me, a self love daily practice, a meditation, a live call with me, and other inspiring adventures through the month, as well as a community. It’s super simple, super easy and meant to flow into your life as a reminder of your commitment to yourself. And we’ve priced it at $20 a month so anyone can participate, www.JointheLoveClub.com
Describe your professional background and life before you started Madly in Love with Me.
Okay, so the truth is that I am a recovering achievement junkie and doing addict. Yep, for the first 30 years of my life, I was all about getting the good grades and climbing the corporate ladder, which I did. I graduated with my MBA from one of the best business schools in the U.S., Kellogg, and was a marketing executive for big brands like Visa, Frito Lay and Gap. I had always wanted to work in fashion, so working for The Gap as my last corporate job was a dream come true for me. While I was working there, I just had this calling that I was supposed to go out in the world and guide people to fall madly in love with themselves. I didn’t know exactly what that looked like or how I was going to survive and pay for my lifestyle doing it, but I trusted my Inner Wisdom and I stayed true to my promise to never settle. Two books (with one on the way), many courses, lots of retreats and founding a school that helps women and girls transform their inner critics (Inner Mean Girl Reform School), and I have proven that if you follow your heart and your Inner Wisdom anything is possible.
How does "Wake Up Your Inner Wisdom" differ from your other workshops?
One of the biggest areas of self-love that people struggle with is self-compassion and self acceptance. People, especially women, put a lot of pressure on themselves, are really hard on themselves and no matter how much they do, they never feel like it is enough. In 2010 I co-founded a school with Amy Ahlers called Inner Mean Girl Reform School. We have served over 22,330 women and girls on 6 continents with our Inner Mean Girl Reform School program, Inner Mean Girl Cleanse and Wake Up Your Inner Wisdom events. In this event we help women identify their Inner Mean Girl and then begin to teach them how to tune into their Inner Wisdom when fear, shame, blame and anger shows up.
After being heartbroken by your previous fiance how were you able to open up to your partner Noah? How was your relationship different from the onset compared to before, given all the self-love work you developed?
When our heart gets broken, we have the choice to close it off in fear of getting hurt again or we can open it to love again. However, what is really important, and I can’t stress this enough is that when starting a new relationship, you do not stuff your partner into your emotional wounds – no hole stuffing. You have to take responsibility for healing your own love cracks, and you also have to make and keep the commitment to never settle for less than your heart and soul desire. Which doesn’t mean making a man list, but means know what your dreams are for your life and then find a partner that can support those dreams. I was so committed to my own healing and my own dreams that Noah and I created a relationship based on our wholeness not our holes
Why are love relationships different when the people involved had self-love before they formed a partnership?
If we don’t make the conscious choice to love ourselves, we look for others to provide us with what truly we can only give to ourselves. This creates co-dependency and unhealthy relationships, the kind where you feel like you can’t leave even if it’s not the right relationship because you are afraid of losing love. When each person has committed to the first two gates of self love – “I will never settle for less than my heart and soul desire” and “I only have loving respectful relationships” they can create strong partnerships based on love and wholeness. I didn’t know how to do this before I chose to love myself and before I met Noah, we just aren’t taught these things. This is why I created my book and 40-day self love practice Choosing ME Before WE, to give people the tools we need to create the happiest relationships of our lives, starting with ME.