We’re always told, “love yourself” because if we don’t, then who will? But what does self-love even mean? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary:
Self-love: regard for one’s own happiness or advantage.
Self-love is perhaps the hardest practice because it challenges the outside world. From the moment we are born, we are given love from the outside world (our parents, friends, siblings, significant other). But there comes a time when we feel lonely, even when the people who love us constantly surround us. This is where self-love plays an important role. It is hard to appreciate the love we get from others if we aren’t able to show that same love to ourselves first. Self-love, in general terms, is listening to what your body wants and listening to your inner voice.
Self-love isn’t something that’s going to build over night, but there are some really easy things to incorporate in your daily lives to help achieve self-love. Here are some of them:
1. Take some time to be alone
This is the first and quite possibly one of the most important steps. Spending time on your own will help you get comfortable with who you really are and what makes you happy. I know the idea of going out by yourself might sound a little weird and it might even sound boring, but try it out. It is an essential part to developing that self-love everyone always talks about. Turn off your phone for a day and go on a walk, or an art show, a paint night, or explore the city by yourself. This exercise will help you remove any discomfort you might have and help you grow to relish yourself.
2. Choose intuition over ego
Ego and intuition are two complete opposites. Ego is based on the outside world and is based on constantly seeking approval, but intuition is based on finding true happiness and love. Learning to listen to your inner voice and following your intuition can be challenging at first, but becoming aware of it can help you make the right choices and eventually lead to true happiness.
3. Take a few minutes to appreciate yourself
Take a few minutes every morning or every night to list things you appreciate about yourself. It could be something little as appreciating the fact that you’re a good listener or that you did something nice for somebody during the day. Doing this on a daily basis helps you create a more positive self-image.
4. Learn to forgive yourself
Realizing the past is the past can help us be open to more acceptance. This eventually leads to emotional healing that we may need to feel happier. We tend to be the hardest on ourselves than anyone else. However, it’s important to realize we did the best we could at the time and will do better in the future. When we start to realize that our past mistakes contribute to who we are today, we also realize that mistakes are a part of the experience we need to grow as a person. Cut yourself some slack! Realize that mistakes are inevitable. Move on.
5. Be real
Be assertive and speak up. By letting others control what you do or say, you are giving them power to control your happiness. The way we interact with others is a direct depiction about how we feel about ourselves. The more comfortable we become with expressing ourselves, the more self-esteem we build.
6. Remember that the future is yours to control
Our past tends to come back and torture us at the worst of times. Get out of the cycle of thinking of what you could’ve, should’ve, and would’ve done. It’s not going to help and it’s definitely not going to make the future better, so why bother? The future is and always will be in your hands, and you will always be in full control of it. Instead of thinking about the past, think of your future goals and make a plan for yourself. Strive to become the best version of yourself possible. This consists of starting with simple things such as making a new workout or diet plan, trying something new, building positive and healthy relationships, and, the most important of all, surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you!
Being kind to yourself is perhaps the most single important thing you can do to attain self-love. When you truly feel self-love you will see a positive change in your life. Life will begin to feel lighter, relationships will improve, and your sense of deserving good in life will go up. When you love yourself, you attract people who love you just as much. Learn to be comfortable in your skin, because that is who you will be for the rest of your life.