Self love has become a buzzword of late, and it seems that the world is now plagued with a social media-induced mental health crisis.
Since young, we’ve been conditioned to seek perfection and excel in every aspect of our lives — so much so that we’ve forgotten what it means to truly accept and love ourselves.
What Self Love means
In its essence, self love is placing priority on your happiness and well-being. While it may sound narcissistic or self-absorbed to love yourself first, that couldn’t be further from the truth — self love isn’t at all selfish.
And there are plenty of benefits to reap from self love, such as better health, more positivity and less anxiety.
But what does practicing self love really mean?
Here are 10 simple ways to start your journey towards self love (trust us, it’s going to be worth it).
1. Practice self-awareness.
Self-awareness is about understanding ourselves intimately. People who are self-aware:
- Are honest about their thoughts, feelings and desires.
- Know the triggers behind those thoughts, feelings and desires.
- Have a better sense of control over themselves and their situations.
- Are able to see things from other people’s perspectives.
This takes being honest with ourselves and cultivating a habit of self-assessing and self-evaluating on our thoughts, feelings and actions.
Being self-aware also empowers us to make choices that contribute to our well-being instead of our detriment.
We know what we want in life, and we don’t hesitate to pursue it.
Never say or do things simply out of habit – choose to be intentional.
2. Learn to set boundaries.
When you spend too much time worrying about what others think about you, you begin to blur the boundaries between prioritizing yourself and the people around you.
Realize that it’s okay to say “no” if you need to.
If you need some personal space and downtime from socializing, respect your time enough to protect it from being taken away by activities that drain you or don’t align with your personal values and growth.
This doesn’t mean you are a bad friend or lover – when you love yourself, you are simply prioritizing yourself first, so that you can be the best version of yourself when you are with them.
3. Let go.
Surrendering often comes with a negative connotation because we associate it with someone who is weak and vulnerable.
The truth is, surrendering to circumstances that you have no control over is being kind and compassionate to yourself to accept the things that you cannot change, and allowing yourself to just let go.
The moment you master the art of letting go, you’ll notice that things naturally fall into place — and you’ll start to feel much more liberated.
4. Practice self care.
Self care goes hand-in-hand with self love. In other words, if you practice self care, you are practicing self love, and vice versa!
Start by nourishing yourself with healthy foods and adopting a consistent (and realistic) exercise regime.
The trick is in the little things — even if it’s something mundane or simple like brewing yourself a cup of chamomile tea or practicing yoga, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain from pampering your mind, body and soul.
Create a self care and self love ritual that you can commit to doing every day, or every week — the key here is to only include activities that will uplift, rejuvenate, and inspire you.
5. Forgive yourself.
How often are we too hard on ourselves? Answer: Too many times.
We tend to have a bad habit of beating ourselves up for falling short of expectations or making mistakes, but our flaws and failures are exactly what makes us human.
Realize that you are not at fault for any abuse or trauma that was ever dealt to you. Forgive yourself for the mistakes that have already been made instead of feeling guilty about them.
Remind yourself that you are a better version of yourself than the person you were yesterday, and that you should never let your past define who you are now.
6. Date yourself.
Seriously, try it. And by this we really mean treating yourself the way you’d treat someone you love.
A romantic relationship with your compatible other half is one thing, but have you ever tried being there for yourself?
Buy yourself some fresh flowers. Marvel at your own reflection in the mirror and give yourself a compliment. Treat yourself to that cake or shopping spree without feeling guilty about it.
Carve out time to do things that make you happy.
Most importantly, learn to genuinely enjoy and love your own company.
7. Find your tribe.
You know that group of friends that will never judge you for being you? The ones that go out of their way to support you regardless of your social status or how much money you have?
That’s your tribe.
Your self love journey doesn’t have to be lonely — allow the people you trust to uplift you with their positive energy, and do the same for them.
This also means eliminating toxic relationships from your life — if someone introduces more negativity than positivity in your life, it can make you feel emotionally and mentally drained.
Remember: You get to decide who stays in your life and who doesn’t. There’s no room for someone who is judgmental, controlling, deceptive, or manipulative.
8. Eliminate your inner bully.
We all have a nasty inner voice in our head that appears at our worst moments and loves saying things like, “You’re not pretty enough” or “You don’t have what it takes”.
Unfortunately, this bully doesn’t just appear overnight — it is something we spend years cultivating, and we allow it to take control of our emotional and mental state.
Every time you notice negative inner thoughts creeping up on you, tackle them head-on and say: “Not today”.
9. Express yourself in your own unique way.
Bottling things up is the opposite of practicing self love.
We may not be able to control our emotions, but we can definitely manage our reactions. Think about it — aren’t the best love songs the sad ones?
When you experience pain and go through struggles in life like breakups or a bad day at work, try getting creative instead and turning these sources of negativity into something beautiful.
This could come in the form of painting, writing, creating music, or even exercising.
The point is to find your happy place and to use it as an anchor that you can always count on to reclaim your peace, discover self love, and explore the deepest parts of yourself.
10. Trust yourself.
Last but not least, learn to trust your gut when it comes to making decisions and judgments. Trust that you have everything you need to handle even the toughest of situations.
Self love is like a garden that you are the sole caretaker of — you need to put in the work to water your flowers daily and remove the weeds if you want it to flourish and thrive.
Self love is never about being perfect. It’s about accepting yourself for who you are today, and choosing to boldly stand in front of the world to say: “This is me.”
Have a story to share about your self love journey?
You could make a difference in someone else’s life today. Share your story by writing to us.