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Last Updated on June 9, 2020
Self-love is really a fairly simple concept. It refers to the ability to regard yourself positively in a variety of aspects. When you embrace self-love, you think highly of your appearance and body image, as well as mental and emotional characteristics. You accept yourself as you are, but you are also excited about growing and improving every day.
Self-acceptance doesn’t rely on waiting until “someday” to start living and enjoying your own company.
There are so many benefits to self-love. When you truly love yourself, you’re more satisfied with your life. You’ll see that you have agency and are in charge of the ways in which you choose to respond to what happens to you. This also leads to greater self-esteem. You’ll have better relationships with others when you’re comfortable with yourself, too. That’s because you won’t be worried about or negatively affected by their opinion of you. You’ll also have the self-worth required to create boundaries and stand up for yourself when you’re not heavily invested in how others see you.
Loving yourself makes self-care easier because you’ll understand that you deserve to expend energy, time, and resources on yourself as much as you do on others. You’ll also be more likely to pursue your goals with gusto when you view yourself as worthy of attaining them. When something negative does occur in your life, you’ll be better able to handle it due to your reserve of confidence. You’ll be more optimistic when facing hurdles instead of feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
In addition to being able to handle obstacles more easily, self-love can help you to better handle rejection. If you’re turned down for a job or a date, you won’t feel as hurt because your identity and self-worth don’t depend on that outside influence. You’ll simply have improved life satisfaction in general when you learn to love yourself and to accept your own value.
Now that you have an idea of some of the benefits that come from loving yourself, you’re ready to move on and discover some ways to embrace the concept and make it a part of your everyday life. As we move along in our series, you’ll come closer to incorporating these values into your own life and feeling more comfortable with the belief that you’re as worthwhile as the people you take care of every day.
What Exactly is Self-Love?
There are a lot of misconceptions about self-love that might make it difficult for you to accept that the concept is one that’s actually good for you. When people hear the term “self-love,” they often think that it means being overly fixated on yourself or narcissistic. That’s not the case at all. What self-love means is simply having a positive regard for yourself. It involves caring about your health, happiness, and wellbeing. It also requires you to avoid sacrificing yourself for others or settling for less than you deserve. These are all perfectly acceptable, even desirable, actions.
Habits of Self-Love
There are some habits you can adopt that might help you to better practice self-love. One way to do it is to stop being so concerned with others. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for other people.
However, it does mean it’s best to stop worrying about what others think or comparing yourself to others. Instead, it’s okay to center yourself sometimes.
Also, remember it’s okay to make mistakes.
Mistakes allow you to grow.
Another habit of self-love is to trust your own decisions. Second guessing invalidates your feelings or worth.
Finally, being kind to yourself is one of the most important habits associated with self-love. Remember to treat yourself as kindly as you would treat someone you care about.
Ways to Cultivate Self-Love
There are some specific steps you can take to cultivate self-love. I’ll share just a few here. For one, it’s important to pay attention to the messages you tell yourself. When you catch yourself saying something negative, take a moment to reframe that message. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll never get the promotion,” consider changing it to a more positive statement such as, “I have the qualifications for this job, and I won’t know if I can get it unless I try.” Another way to gain more self-love is to engage in self-care. Eat well, take time to rest, and enjoy leisure activities. When you feel recharged, you’re better able to manage life.
How to Practice Self-Love
By now, you should have a fairly good idea of what self-love is and why it’s important. You know that confidence and self-awareness are essential components of loving yourself. What you might be wondering is how to start practicing self-love on a regular basis so that you can begin to internalize new messages and rid yourself of that pesky naysayer once and for all. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to cultivate self-love on a regular basis. Take a look.
Focus on the Here and Now
Too often, we find ourselves looking at the past with longing or waiting for someday. It’s hard to love yourself and your life when you don’t appreciate what you have in the moment. Centering yourself on the present, being mindful, and practicing gratitude are quick ways to cultivate an appreciation for what you have right now.
Work on Your Goals
Setting goals that reflect your values will help you to feel you’re living a life of purpose. You’ll know you’re taking real steps toward growing as a person when you’re regularly doing things that will bring you closer to your desires. Proactively using your time rather than just absent-mindedly going with the flow and putting out fires is quite empowering.
Boundaries are an important part of self-care. Setting boundaries means you put yourself and your needs first sometimes. This is a healthy approach to life and ensures you have the energy to take care of the things that matter. Saying no to toxic relationships and unnecessary obligations will free your spirit and keep you from becoming burnt out.
Take Care of Yourself
It can be hard to take time for yourself in this busy world full of obligations. This is especially true when you’ve gotten in the habit of putting yourself last on the list. To experience true self-love, you need to start giving yourself higher priority. You can do this by eating well, exercising, taking time for a hobby, pampering yourself, or any other activity that focuses on your wellbeing.
Most of all, you must learn to forgive yourself to truly love yourself. We all make mistakes. It’s a part of the human condition. Some of those mistakes will be serious and life altering. Allowing yourself understanding and care regarding those things will show you that you’re still worthy despite your faults. This is a crucial lesson on the road to embracing self-love.
These are just a handful of examples of some ways you can easily begin the practice of self-love. If even this many strategies seems overwhelming, feel free to begin trying just a couple.
This is a process that takes time, effort, and practice.