Self-love! The definition of self-love varies from person to person. For some, it’s just a fun day at the spa, and for others, it’s about inner healing and peace. Unfortunately, very few of us make room for self-love in our life.
Sometimes even the concept of self-love is misunderstood. So, in order to start practicing self-love, you should get a few ideas on how to begin. I hope this list can be helpful.
What is self-love?
Simply put, self-love is all about accepting who you are and appreciating yourself. Nurturing growth and well-being is the foundation of self-love, and it can happen only when you learn to treat yourself with respect and kindness. The concept is not just limited to how you treat yourself externally; it is also about your inner beliefs and thoughts.
Some people confuse self-love with overconfidence, but self-love is not about bragging about yourself or trying to look beautiful. It doesn’t even mean that you have to feel good about yourself in every circumstance.
You don’t have to shut yourself off from emotions like anger and sadness. It’s just fine for you to feel these emotions too, like when you make a mistake or do something that you regret. You need to learn to own your mistakes, forgive yourself, and move forward as a better you. When you love yourself, you are treating yourself with positivity, and that is the biggest parameter for personal growth.
Now that you have understood what self-love is, here are seven ways you can practice it:
1. Ditch the concept of perfection
First things first, you need to ditch the idea of being perfect. Improving yourself is a whole different story, but striving to be perfect can affect your life adversely. We live in the era of social media and digital influencers. What you see on your phone and television screen is not all truth and reality.
There can be a sad story behind those happy faces that you constantly see on social media. Such misleading posts keep us wanting to look flawless but always remember the definition of perfection is different for everyone. Recognizing and accepting yourself is perfection in itself. So instead of competing with the standards set by people around you, find the real you.
2. List your qualities and reward yourself
To love yourself, you need to discover yourself. You can do an exercise of listing all of your qualities on a piece of paper. Do not hesitate to mention the qualities about yourself that may not be your favorite. Now, take a closer look at these qualities and be proud of all the good ones. As for the bad qualities, make a point to work on them gradually.
Now that you know you have so many good qualities, it’s time to reward yourself. Self-appreciation is a very important step of self-love, and that is why you need to reward yourself for all the good qualities, and the good things you have done.
Reward here doesn’t have to be something that you can’t afford. You can just take a break from your monotonous schedule and splurge a little. Do that one thing that you have been planning for a long. For instance, having a day out with friends or going on a trip or maybe skydiving, or anything that makes you happy.
While creating this list, you should not be affected by social standards. Sometimes, we consider one of our traits to be negative just because someone said so. For instance, being shy is a negative trait for certain people. But again, your personality does not need to be defined by what people think of you. It’s completely fine if you take time to open up to people. You need to learn that you have a beautiful personality regardless of whether you are introvert, shy, or outgoing.
3. Forgive yourself
Life is full of sad and embarrassing incidents like getting fired from a job, being bullied when you were a kid or having a romantic relationship fall apart. By holding on to these bitter past memories you are missing a great deal of your present life. Do not let any past incidents or mistakes define you in the present. Instead, try to remember how and why it happened so that you can learn from it. Try to become conscious of how it has changed you into a better and stronger person. Instead of blaming yourself, observe how those incidents have shaped your life for the good.
4. Prioritize yourself
When it comes to prioritizing things in our life, all too often we put other people and priorities ahead of our own happiness. Work, family, friends, and kids, it seems that everything comes first. But, do you know if you followed this pattern for longer, you are setting yourself up for failure? To excel in your life you need to focus on yourself first and make sure that you are nurturing yourself with these practices on your self-love journey.
We are often told to give importance to work and family and it’s not completely wrong, but it also doesn’t mean that you completely ignore your personal needs. Put yourself on the top of the to-do list and take out some time for self-care. If you aren’t showing up for yourself, you won’t be able to show up in a full, loving state for your friends, family, and work colleagues.
You need to listen to what your body is telling you. Every morning, find the coziest corner of the house, get a cup of tea or coffee and evaluate the day ahead. Recognize your emotions and plan your actions accordingly.
Make sure you are getting enough exercise to stay fit. It’s great if you are a regular at the gym, but if you don’t like working out, that’s also fine. Just choose a fun way to be on the move. There are many options like Zumba, swimming, dance, or any sport of your choice. At least one hour a day should be set aside for things that you like to do.
Another important phase of self-love is keeping a check on what you are eating. Just because you are always on the run doesn’t mean you have to follow an unhealthy eating pattern. Always remember that the ingredients on your plate are going to impact your mental as well as physical health. Plan ahead and keep your plate light, yet full of nutrition. Make sure there are enough green leafy vegetables, proteins, and fiber on your plate. Loving your body is part of loving yourself and should be a staple of your self-love journey.
5. Let go of toxic relationships
The people you spend most of your time with play a huge role in shaping your personality. Look at the closest bunch of people you spend the most time with and observe how they are with you. Are they loving, and supportive or are they abusive, negative, and overpowering?
Some relations in our life are just toxic and if you are in one such relationship, you need to confront them and create certain boundaries. These people can be anyone a friend, colleague, relative, or even a spouse. It is difficult to have these discussions with people you care about, but after you do it, you’ll feel very light as if a weight has been lifted. You’ll thank yourself for making these difficult changes.
Remember it’s your life, and you do not owe anything to anyone. But, you deserve all the good things in your life. So, stay around only those people who are supportive and uplifting.
6. Try journaling
Negativity is the biggest hurdle between you and your self-love journey. Your human mind is bound to come across negative feelings and thoughts, but with a bit of practice, you have the ability to overcome these negative emotions, learn from them and take them as guidance on how to make positive, loving changes in your life Journaling can help you address these negative emotions as they pop up.
Make a routine of writing a journal every day, or at least a couple of times per week, and mention what you liked and disliked about the day and what emotions came up that day. Because this exercise is for self-love do mention how much time you spent on yourself and how this made you feel. According to psychologists, journaling reduces stress and anxiety and improves overall mental well-being.
7. Meditate and let go
You need to understand that you can’t control every aspect of life. Instead of trying to control the situation and people around you, learn to respond to it in a better way. If there is something you don’t like, just let it go. If something is making you anxious, take some time to meditate. Meditation helps you to stay mindful about your feeling and thoughts. It’s also a great way to self-reflect. So, breathe in and breathe out, whenever you feel anxious.
The idea of going on a self-love journey can seem a bit demanding, but once you make it a habit, you’ll be glad that you stuck with it. Self-love is the basic need of every human, but it’s often overlooked and ignored. If you are on your journey to find love and contentment, you should practice self-love. The love and satisfaction that you are looking for outside are there within you. Just nurture it and you will find little to feel happy and calm. Self-love is the only way to build a life that truly shines. All the hesitation, limiting thoughts, and self-doubt can come to an end if you learn to love yourself.