It’s easy to see why self-love is so important and why without it we might make some pretty disappointing choices. But being able to see why something is good for you, is a million miles from being able to put it into practice!
Safe to say that it’s sometimes easier loving those around you than loving yourself.
There’s a great quote by Dr Steve Maraboli and it says… “love yourself enough to take the actions required for your happiness. Love yourself enough to cut yourself loose from the ties of the drama-filled past and love yourself enough to move on.’’
You don’t need to have a PhD in Psychotherapy to understand that self-love is a close relative of self-esteem and self-worth. And you also know that life has the uncanny ability to provide us with the opportunity for self-worth and self-esteem to be gradually eroded.
What does self-love really mean?
Before we begin on what you can do to work on your self-love, let’s just set out what we do and don’t mean by the term. Self-love is about embracing who you are in all its full glorious technical. The amazing, the good, the bad and the ugly. Self-love isn’t about being a Saint it’s about accepting who you are – warts and all. No matter who you are or the life you have lived, you are worthy of your own love.
Just for the record, self love is not about reveling in arrogance, big headedness and conceitedness. Neither is it about being narcissistic or self-absorbed. However, if you do recognise yourself in this don’t beat yourself up about it. Just acknowledge them, and know in time that you can release them without drama.
Here are some ideas on how you can begin to nurture your self-love and start building this formative relationship with ourselves:
1. Be mindful
Start noticing self-criticism and self-judgement. Once you start noticing your behaviour, you can start changing it. When you notice you’re putting yourself down, you need withdraw your mental energy from such thoughts. Bring your attention back to your senses – what can you see, hear, and feel? By doing this, you break the pattern of thought. If you repeat this often enough, it will re-programme your bad habit.
2. Take care of yourself
Look after yourself in every way possible. This means eating good wholesome food. Exercising such as, walking, yoga, swimming, anything that gets the body active. Make sure that you are well-rested and sleep well. Ensure there is a healthy work/ life balance, and that you enjoy quality time with your family and friends. Make time for doing the things you enjoy, the things that bring you pleasure. Do whatever you can to make your life healthy and happy. Nurture and nourish yourself recognising that you are worth it.
3. Set healthy boundaries and learn to say no
You have to be ‘selfish in order to be selfless.’ Self-love is about accepting who you are without criticism and judgement. But what ties in with this is making healthy choices? If it will have a detrimental impact on you, it doesn’t serve you or a higher purpose, then don’t do it!
4. Be discerning
The drawback from anything or anyone that compromises your health and well being in mind, body and/or spirit. Life is too precious to put yourself in the position where you can be abused or hurt (physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually). Self-love is about taking responsibility for who you are, and this should extend to protecting and looking after yourself. It is worth noting here that often when you begin the process of healing there will be some people who won’t like it. The key is to surround yourself with people who will love you unconditionally, and not impede your growth.
5. Forgive yourself
Taking personal responsibility for your actions is appropriate however there is a tipping point, this can slide into guilt and self-recrimination. Whilst it’s easy to do, it is of no benefit and actually causes you further harm. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes. It’s completely natural to get things wrong, surely the purpose of life is to learn and grow? So from here on let go of guilt and forgive yourself (or be at least be open to the possibility of forgiving yourself). Forgiveness is at the heart of healing and powerful shifts occur within when you begin to adopt this mindset.
6. Start working with yourself on a deeper level of connection
Try meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. Explore any of these ancient practices that enable you to connect with your true self and the innate wisdom that lies within you. All of these practices enable the channels to open up and provide you with a platform in which you can build a happier and more contented life that has respect, self-worth, and self-love at the heart of it.
7. Be patient with yourself
Learning to value, appreciate and love yourself takes time. You are effectively forming a new relationship with your self. If this was with a new friend you would allow the relationship to mature and build gently over time. It is no different when building a new relationship with yourself. Be patient and kind. Keep smiling too, don’t take it all so seriously that you lose your humour.
If you start to embrace all or even some of the ideas here, you will find that you begin to gently carve out a new relationship with yourself. You will be amazed at how liberating it is to free yourself from the shackles of self-criticism and loathing. Love of the self is vital to becoming a healthy, whole, happy human being. The more you work at this the deeper your self-awareness, self-connection and inner peace will be and the brighter you will shine. Like the ripples in the pond, your light and love will shine out and touch the lives of those around you. You will begin to attract in the love of others and you will see for yourself how love is the link that connects us all together.
Any questions do drop us an email at [email protected] and remember we always love to know how you get on.
Fiona and Gavin