Self-love is a popular term today that gets tossed around in normal conversation. “You have to love yourself more.” “If you only loved yourself, this wouldn’t have happened to you.” “You can’t love another person until you love yourself first.” These are just a few of the self-love instructions that we give or get.
Self-love is important to living well. It influences who you pick as partner, how you interact at work, and how you cope with challenges in your life. I’ve found that when I feel my lowest, when my body has been sick and when I am bombarded with the self-belittling thoughts, the only thing to pull me up and out is drenching myself in self-love. This can be a difficult topic and yet the repercussions of not loving yourself effect you in so many ways.
What is NOT self-love
Many people (as I used to) think they love themselves, but what we feel is rather the liking of self. When you manage to lose a few kilos, when you do your hair and makeup and look great – you like yourself.
When you achieve something big – you like yourself.
When you help another person – you like yourself.
But what when the opposite happens?
If you put on a few kilos, would you still look in the mirror with the love and appreciation? Do you like yourself even when your hair is messy and you got a few pimples on your face?
What we often take for self-love is a conditional liking of the person we are. If you we do something right, we reward ourselves with love. But when we do something bad, we punish ourselves by taking that love away. We become the harshest punisher in our lives.
A person who loves themselves fully is in direct alignment with living a life with more ease and grace. If you feel confused or lost on where to start with your own self-love conversation, don’t worry; I’ve put together a list to help you get started.
Here is my Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love.
Mind your inner voice — The mind is always operating from a place of duality, so to feel inferior or superior is normal. Become aware and conscious of how you treat yourself in your own mind. Pay attention to your self-talk and how it makes you feel. Discard the demeaning thoughts and direct your mind and actions to positive behaviours.
Clear your mind — Observe and understand your current beliefs and values, and the real motivations behind them (make sure you don’t carry other people’s beliefs and values). If your beliefs are not serving your highest good, question why you’re holding onto them.
Practice good self-care — You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
Set boundaries — You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, social expectations, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
Forgive yourself — We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are perfectly imperfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
Practice gratefulness — The next time you are feeling happy and on top of the world make a list of your best qualities, accomplishments and what you are grateful for. It may sound a little corny, but it can be a wonderful reminder when you are having a day that’s less than amazing.
Follow your passion — You know that thing that gets you so excited but scares you at the same time. The thing you really want to do but have convinced yourself it won’t work. You should go do that!
The more you practice acts of self-love, the stronger message you send to yourself: “You deserve it”. It’s an essential, and a fun way to practice self-love.
So just start. And know that if you do – one day you’ll just get it. You’ll wake up and you’ll feel different. You’ll be in love. With yourself.