Self-love is one of those things you probably regularly hear about but rarely really do.
For some, it’s hard. For others, easy.
Or perhaps you find it easy to love yourself when things are going well, and hate on yourself when things are not.
In reality, self-love can be as easy as showering in the morning, preparing yourself a delicious meal, or lying on your bed listening to your favorite album or watching your favorite film.
However, like everything else, it takes time to go from zero to self-love hero.
And we can’t leave it to anyone else—it’s an inside job.
If we do rely on others to keep our hearts full of self-admiration and appreciation, we allow others to determine how we feel, what we do and what direction our life takes…
And that can lead to all sorts of strange approval-seeking behavior.
To hell with that, right?
You are amazing. So let’s get started.
What is Self-Love?
Self-love is an attitude. It’s the source from which all your thoughts and actions blossom from when your mind is healthy.
It’s accepting and adoring yourself no matter what happens, reassuring yourself when things go wrong. It’s keeping your standards high enough to only let in what you really deserve (100% good stuff!).
That Beastly Beast
So why aren’t you there already?
Most people love themselves in some ways to some degree.
Others unconsciously torture themselves with negative self-talk that they have developed during their life.
That beastly beast that lives in your mind, spouting things like: “You look fat/ugly/ridiculous in those jeans.” It tells you you’ll never be as successful as your brother/father/friends. So why even get out of bed.
How do you get rid of it?
You kinda have to starve that beastly monster until it fades away for good!
It sounds mean, but it’s the only way to banish it from your life. Stop listening. Make up your own mind.
To begin, question every negative thought about yourself that comes into your mind. Gently persuade yourself that you’re worth much better treatment. In other words, know when to tell your brain to shut the f*$& up!
You may even recognize people you know in there. Your family’s false beliefs, inaccurate conclusions, as well as other toxic waste of unknown origin. That inner critic can adopt almost anything from anywhere.
It takes self-love to edge out that beast, but it can certainly be done with a little determination.
Meanwhile, I want you to spend plenty of time spoiling the hell out of yourself.
How Can You Begin?
Indulge in the following.:
1. Know yourself
What do you believe, value and like? Who are you?
Once you tie down the characteristics that make you who you are, you can love those things.
2. Stand up for yourself
Being assertive and having boundaries is a way of showing those around you that your opinions and needs matter.
Knowing your value and communicating it is an important part of loving you.
3. Learn to say “no”
It seems counter intuitive, but saying “no” is one of the most important aspects of loving yourself.
Say “no” to people who try to take advantage of you. Say “no” if you don’t want to do something or don’t feel good about it. Say “no” to a job that isn’t as well paid as it should be.
Demand and expect respect. Practice a little, and it’ll get easier with time.
4. Give yourself some R&R
Ah, me time.
It’s you time! Being busy is great, but it’s essential to rest. People who love themselves don’t let themselves get all frazzled.
Prioritize and do what matters most, but don’t forget to put yourself high on that list.
5. Know and use your strengths
Once you know who you are and what your strengths are, you can play to them.
Great at talking to people? Find a way to use those talents.
6. Let yourself off the hook and forgive yourself
Are you hard on yourself? Maybe even harder on yourself than anyone else in your life ever was?
It’s time to cut yourself a whole bunch of slack. Forgiveness is healing, and letting yourself off the hook for imperfections and mistakes is really important if you want a happy life.
Everyone who tries to make progress in their life makes mistakes. We all do. So embrace your humanness and concentrate on learning from the mistakes and growing through them, instead of feeling bad.
We’re always doing the best we can with what we have, and without those mistakes, you might not be quite as awesome and strong as you are today.
7. Take care of your body
Health is priceless, and regular exercise, health food, lots of water and plenty of sleep make for a happy you.
So give yourself the gift of health.
8. Surround yourself with amazing people
People who treat you with respect, lift you up when you’re down and inspire the hell out of you will enrich your life beyond measure.
The act of choosing those people is the act of love.
Letting go of abusive, unkind and negative people is, too, though it is often a challenge.
9. Have fun by yourself
Having fun alone can be so rewarding, but it’s easy to prioritize others and forget about yourself, isn’t it?
You could take yourself out on a date, do a spa day at home or go for a walk in your favorite park. Treat yourself in any way you want, and enjoy.
10. Do something nice for someone
Taking your grandma out or giving a special someone a foot rub can also feel really good and warm the cockles of your heart.
Give it a go.
11. Write down your successes
Noting down anything you have accomplished makes for fantastic self-love ammunition when you’re feeling low.
Add to it every day and re-read as much as you like.
Another funny exercise is writing yourself a love letter. It’s challenging! But it will really help you pin down things you like about yourself.
Like nothing else: a study carried out at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Erasmus University Rotterdam shows that focusing on positive aspects of a partner can cause you to feel more love for them.
There’s no reason why this couldn’t work for self-love, too.
Dealing With Others
The ironic thing about self-love is that it can often manifest in the world around you.
Especially in the people you come into contact with. Everyone, in fact.
You can’t control another person’s behavior, but you can control how you react to it.
The more conscious you are of yourself and your own value, the better able you will be to love yourself in any kind of company.
Nancy Colier, a psychologist and writer for Psychology Today says that when someone refuses to listen to and value your point of view or you’re having problems within a relationship with someone, ask for what you need, specifically and clearly.
Patiently ask the person if they would be willing to simply listen to what you’re saying. Ask for what you need to hear. Is the person willing to give it to you?
Expressing yourself in a difficult environment can be a real challenge and take enormous effort, but you deserve to be heard and valued.
If you try this technique and there is no hope, perhaps that person doesn’t deserve to be in your life any more.
A Video on Loving Yourself