Heart Allies Part 1:Love Yourself First

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Hello Dear One,

I love that we have this heart-centered connection. In fact, I have this deep aspiration that we build something amazing together as Heart Allies.  

Whether you're lighting up a little or rolling your eyes right now, I feel a glimmer of hope as I sense that, like me, you’re ready to make a positive impact on the world and connect with like-hearted people who want to be part of something bigger. 

The world really needs this.  

We need this.  

As Heart Allies, I imagine us banding together to create a nourishing and inspiring community to elevate our individual and collective consciousness. 

Sounds like fun, right? 

Before we get ahead of ourselves, Part 1 of our Heart Allies Project is embracing self-love. 

Love Yourself First

“Learn to drink as you pour, so the spiritual heart cannot run dry and you always have love to give.” — Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

I love this quote because it reminds me that if I want to live life to the fullest and contribute to the greater good, self-love is a necessary ingredient.  

It replenishes our emotional reserves, strengthens our resilience, and sustains our capacity to show up and face the demands of life.

But sometimes self-love can be tricky and elusive.

Even though we need it, deep down, it takes intention to cultivate it. At least for me.

Especially with so much suffering in our world. There can be layers of guilt or feelings of self-indulgence that keep us from caring for ourselves in a truly nurturing way.

This can sound like:

​“You don’t deserve to take time for yourself while others are suffering.” 

​“Keep going - you’re fine - in fact, you should be able to do more.” 

​“Don’t be weak. . . be that person that can do it all.” 

​“You’re not worthy of rest - play - joy - until __________________.”

Or, it may show up in more subtle ways, like when you hear yourself saying “yes” to something when your heart is saying “no”.

It’s not surprising that we do this - considering all the ways we’re conditioned to put others' needs in front of our own. 

When we’re super dedicated to our work, to caring for and supporting others, advocating for what we believe in, nurturing our communities . . . it’s easy to forget to extend that same compassion and kindness to ourselves. 

It's a recipe for exhaustion, overwhelm, and eventually, burnout.

I know the feeling. 

I spent a good 25 years of my career working to keep all the balls in the air while raising a family, running a fashion business, volunteering, socializing and striving to be a “good enough” wife, mama, stylish boss lady, citizen, sister . . . friend.

I’m grateful for this wonderful life I've had - AND yet, sometimes I gave too much of myself. The constant going and getting, and not always knowing when to say “no” to others, and especially, my own inner perfectionist. There were times I felt like I was on a merry-go-round of "never enough". 

Thankfully, back then, I had a budding mindfulness practice.

“Our meditation practice is the most kind, caring, and loving thing we can do for ourselves.” - David Cabrera

Instead of burnout, I found a nurturing and sustainable path that helped me tune into with my inner landscape. Little by little, I started prioritizing self-compassion and mindfulness to get untangled from overwhelm and start to get clear on what matters most. And then, with confidence and clarity, orient my life around it.    

* * *


Wondering . . . how are you taking care of yourself? 

What gets in your way of loving yourself first

Feelings of guilt or selfishness?

There's a charming 3-minute interview where Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant discuss the difference between selfish and self-full. 


Oprah asks if it’s selfish to put yourself first?

Iyanla replies, “First of all, it’s probably not authentic to always put others first.”

(Ummm. . . I feel that.)


“No, it's not selfish to put yourself first—it's self-full. . . to be as good as possible to you, to keep YOU whole and healthy. That doesn’t mean you disregard everything and everyone, but you want to come with your cup full.” 

If you know Iyanla, you know that her cup runneth over. 

“What comes out of the cup is for y’all, but what’s in the cup is mine! I’ve got to keep my cup full.”

Savor that for a minute, dear one.

Short on time?

“I’m so busy, how can I possibly make space for self-care?” 

Knowing that your time is such a precious resource, be intentional and honor your needs and priorities by setting clear boundaries in your personal and professional relationships. Practice saying “no” to commitments or obligations that drain your energy or detract from your well-being. 

And instead, commit to a daily self-love routine. Even just 5 minutes a day opens up opportunities to nurture yourself and to bring your best into the world in a more meaningful way. 

At the core, self-love is a mindset. A mix of self-acceptance and self-compassion that, with practice, replacing feelings of "never enough" with feelings of contentment. 

Imagine your inner voice saying:

“I am enough.” 

“I belong, just as I am.”

“I’m worthy of unconditional love.”

Over time, as you pepper your day with practices that help you remember that you’re worthy, you learn to embrace yourself from a place of unconditional love and you stop wasting so much time second-guessing, self-judging, overthinking, and committing to things that no longer serve you. 

Self-love expands your capacity and builds your resiliency, opening doors for you to experience greater ease, joy and authentic well-being.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman

Now more than ever.

* * *

Try it On

Loving yourself is the pathway to loving others and the world more fully. In the words of author and psychologist Rick Hanson, PhD:

“Every time you take in the good, you build a little bit of neural structure. Doing this a few times a day—for months and even years—will gradually change your brain, and how you feel and act, in far-reaching ways.” 

So how might you bring more self-love into your day-to-day?

Here are five of my favorite mindfulness practices. Feel free to try them on and see what fits - and by all means, make them your own. 

1. Meditate Daily

  • Set aside as little as 5-10 minutes a day for mindfulness meditation practice. Start with just a few minutes right when you wake up or before you go to bed to cultivate self-compassion and inner peace.
  • Not sure where to start? Join my upcoming workshop to create your ideal meditation practice. Details coming soon, please join the waitlist here
  • Meanwhile, you can meditate with me on Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com/amykuschel

2. Gratitude Journaling

  • In the morning or right before bed, write down three things you appreciate about yourself, your experiences, or the world around you. Cultivating gratitude fosters a sense of abundance and self-worth.
  • Click here to get more ideas from my blog, “Giddy about Gratitude”.

3. Nurture Yourself in Nature

  • Replace scrolling with strolling. Walk the dog, the kids, yourself. Taking a break from screens and technology helps you settle your nervous system and reconnect you with the present moment.
  • Get outside and give your busy mind a rest as you focus your attention on the elements -  see if you can attune to the feeling of the sun on your face, the earth below you, the breeze, the moisture in the air. 

4. Invest in Heart-Centered Connections

  • Call someone you cherish and let them know how much you care about them.
  • Surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you. Need new friends? Seek out community and connection with like-hearted individuals who share your values and support your journey of self-love and personal growth. 
  • My upcoming mindfulness workshop is a good place to connect with heart-centered people. Please join the waitlist here.

5. Self-Compassion Break

  • Throughout the day, pause and offer yourself words of kindness and encouragement, especially when you’re feeling stressed.
  • Notice your inner dialogue and get curious about any negative self-talk. See if you can replace self-criticism with words of kind encouragement, affirming your worthiness and inherent value, because you are enough. You belong, just as you are.
  • Write your favorite mantras on index cards and place them where you’ll see them throughout the day.
  • Here’s a guide to Kristen Neff’s self-compassion break.

“A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life.” - Christopher Germer PhD

* * *


Self-love is not selfish— it empowers you to navigate life's challenges with more calm, clarity, and purpose, reducing feelings of overwhelm and burnout. And, it's the foundation for showing up fully and authentically for yourself and your relationships so you can contribute to the greater good. 

Start small and go easy on yourself. Pick one thing and set an intention to love yourself first by sticking with it. 

If it’s not working, give yourself a break and when you’re ready, try again - or pick something else. Use your life as your lab.

If you already have a regular self-love practice, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Feel free to share what’s working in your life - or what’s inspiring you to get started now.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Heart Allies Project. 

AND please - keep an eye out for details about my upcoming Introduction to Mindfulness workshop designed for Heart Allies. I’d love to know who’s interested, so please join the waitlist here.  

With warmth and compassion,


P.S. If you’d like 1:1 coaching to support you on your self-compassion journey as you bring more mindfulness into your life, send me an email here or book a free discovery session here

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