Practising self-love enables you build confidence and resilience. It enables you to make healthy choices, have good boundaries and say, ‘no’ when you need to. It means you are kind and compassionate to yourself. Self-love is the corner stone of living a happy and fulfilling life.
Often confused with arrogance loving yourself isn’t about becoming a narcissist but accepting who you are, just as you are. Treating yourself with love and respect sets a standard for others, it reduces your tolerance for nonsense. Boosting your self-love takes time but there are some simple steps you can start right now. Here are my top tips:
1. Self-love is reflected in how you talk to and about yourself
How you talk about yourself to others is a big insight into how good your self-love is. Do you put yourself down, speak about yourself in derogatory terms and bat away compliments? Small steps in accepting compliments and speaking positively about yourself is a winning start.
Next is how you talk to yourself. Most of us have an internal voice but is yours negative or positive? If it is a negative, critical voice the chances are it is an actual voice in your past such as a parent, relative or teacher. Notice who’s voice you carry, when and how often you hear it. Observing your internal dialogue enables you to build self awareness around this inner critic. It’s useful to draw a spider diagram noting down your observations including how this internal voice does or doesn’t serve you. When you notice your inner critic is talking name it, “oh that voice is criticising me.” Naming it creates distance and a pause, you can then redirect your attention. By doing this, you break the pattern of thought. If you repeat this often enough, it will re-programme your bad habit.
2. The child within
Poor self-love goes hand in hand with having low self worth and poor self esteem. Modern psychotherapy has revealed that there is a link between such mindsets and childhood wounds and trauma. It is obvious that abuse, of any kind, will damage a child’s well being but causes do not end there. Overly critical, erratic, smothering and controlling parenting styles as well as academic, social, cultural and diversity issues can all cause children to grow up wounded. You can begin to gently dialogue and connect with your inner child with compassion. You might like to place a childhood photo of yourself somewhere you will see it frequently. Whenever you see your photo extend love and compassion to that little child, if you feel inspired begin to journal out your thoughts and feelings.
3. Treat yourself like a good friend
Whilst I believe in personal responsibility it is worth considering how much more critical and judgmental you are on yourself than a loved one. Do you treat yourself like your own best friend? This is a very useful benchmark to use. When you find yourself judging, condemning or being unkind to yourself stop and ask yourself, “is this okay? Would I allow my friend/loved one to say this about themselves, what would my advice be to them?”
I strongly believe that getting something out of your head and onto paper is very cathartic. So you can take the above exercise exploring your answers on paper. Imagine a friend, colleague or loved one has written to you asking for your advice on the issue problem you have. Write your advice and feedback to them either as a letter or in a simple spider diagram? You’ll be surprised at how much more reasonable the responses you give are than the ones in your head.
4. Self-love is about being able to say ‘no’
You cannot pour from an empty cup so it is important to be able to put yourself first and to say ‘no’ if that is the right answer. Many people feel uncomfortable saying ‘no’ but it’s an essential word if you want healthy boundaries. Here then are some ways you can help yourself start saying ‘no’ if you find it hard:
- pause before you answer to give yourself space to think
- tell the person you will think about it and let them know
- tell the person you will get back to them when you have checked your diary or with the family
- ‘I can’t help with that but I can do …….’ (and offer an alternative that is easier for you)
5. Self-love is every aspect of your life
Nurturing, nourishing and looking after yourself is self-love in action. 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 that bring you pleasure, what makes your soul sing and brings your joy? Start making time to do the things that make you happy. If you’d like some more ideas on how to live a more meaningful and spiritual life then do check out my blog (https://earthmonk.guru/live-a-more-spiritual-life/)
6. Start working with yourself on a deeper level of connection
Meditation, mindfulness and yoga are all deepen self-love by enabling you to connect with your true self and the innate wisdom that lies within you. These wonderful ancient practises 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. Improving self-love takes time
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.
Small steps done little and often can achieve great results when it comes to improving your self-love. If you start to embrace all or even some of the ideas here you will begin to carve out a new relationship with yourself. Self-love is at the heart of becoming a happy and fulfilled person and the more you chip away at your connection with self the more contented your life will be.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you did stay tuned as I hope to release some eBooks and courses in the forthcoming months on how you can live a more spiritual and happy life. You can also to my monthly newsletter in which I share more spiritual insight as well as unique offers on my clothing with soul. You might also like to join my beautiful community of Facebook friends @earthmonkclothing.