Self-love is underrated. Often associated with vanity and narcissistic behaviour, most people don’t love or value themselves enough. Yet it’s paramount to having a good quality of life and being fulfilled.
It impacts the decisions and choices we make, the way we interact with others and the partner we choose. It’s not just about ‘loving yourself more’ or ‘finding love in a relationship’.
It’s more than that. It’s about being true to your needs and fulfilling them. It’s about self-validation and self-respect and recognising when you need time and space for yourself and when you’re ready to share it with others.`
It’s more than feeling good. It’s about being true to our values and purpose on a daily basis. It’s about being able to accept who we are — our strengths and our weaknesses and still be happy with who we are. It’s about showing compassion to ourselves despite our imperfections. It’s about acting in ways that help us grow, mature, become stronger, develop as well as meet our needs. It’s not about seeking an external relationship where we will be loved. It’s work that we have to do for ourselves. We have to put ourselves first and prioritise us, so that we can be the best versions of ourselves for our own sake and others’.
How do we start practicing self-love? How do we create more of it in our life? Here are 6 wonderful ways to start today:
- Become self-aware and act on what you need — not what you want. Be truly aware of what you think, need and feel and be brave enough to act on this (and this might not always be what you want — sometimes what you want can lead you astray.) This should be independent of what anyone else might want for you. This is true fulfilment and it’s often seen as the difference between those who truly practice self-love versus those who think they do.
- Learn self-care. Be mindful of your basic needs to stay healthy. These include proper nourishment, exercise, sleep and fulfilling social interactions.
- Establish boundaries. Set limits to activities (whether this is work or leisure) that deplete your energy, that cause more stress than it's worth or that have the potential to self-harm. This can be either in a physical or mental capacity. It’s about self-respect, nurturing your needs and recognising your worth. This makes it easy to love yourself.
- Establish strong connections and bin those that are not serving you. The right people in your life hugely influence how much you love yourself. ‘Schadenfreude’ friends — friends who obtain pleasure from your misfortune or suffering are immediate red flags in your friend circle and should be remove immediately. Life is too short. You need people who will support you during tough times and who are also there to celebrate with you during happy times. You’ll have a lot more self-respect as well as self-love.
- Let go. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, for the negative consequences of bad decisions and for the pain and suffering you might have brought on yourself or others. Accept your humanity, be compassionate towards yourself — this enables self-love. Growth is found in failure.
- Live your purpose and values. Purpose gives us meaning — if we find this and fulfill our values — we truly thrive — and we can’t help but love ourselves. This offers us true validation and sense of accomplishment.
Even if you are able to only action one or two of the above recommendations, it will make a substantial positive difference to how you feel, how you interact with others and the choices and decisions you make. You’ll find that you appreciate yourself more, you’re kinder to yourself and that you’re able to positively answer the age-old struggle everyone faces at different points in their life: Am I good enough? Yes you are.
Plus, you’ll relate better with others, you’ll love others for who they are, warts and all and you’ll even find that the right people and lucky situations start to manifest bringing beneficial opportunities.
If you’re interested in reading more about self-love, I would encourage you to pick up one of the following books — you’ll be glad you did.
The Self-love Experiment: 15 Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate and Accepting of Yourself by Shannon Kaiser
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
The Secret Daily Teachings by Rhonda Byrne
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