What is ‘self-love’??? Many of us can just look at this phrase and immediately understand what it means. Self-love is to love yourself. But how many of us actually practice loving ourselves? How often? Personally, I’ve had more negative days lately, than days of loving myself. Due to a rough upbringing, and lots of self-esteem issues while growing up, self-love wasn’t so easy for me. I used to think something was wrong with me; I would constantly ask, what kind of person doesn’t love themselves? It took me a long time to realize that there isn’t anything wrong with me; the road to my current self was extremely bumpy and jagged and I just needed to put forth more of an effort. I mean, practice makes perfect, right?
After doing some research on the term, I came up with an in-depth definition of self-love and a few ways that you can practice it.
Self-love: appreciating yourself; accepting your strengths and weaknesses; understanding that you are only human and will make mistakes; having compassion for yourself in your many attempts to find personal meaning; recognizing that you don’t need to explain away your short-comings; focusing on your life purpose and values; doing things that will help you grow physically, mentally and spiritually.
Based on this definition, can you still confidently say that you love yourself? If yes, more power to you. If no, read on to find some new steps you can implement into your life to start loving yourself.
First things first, become more mindful. Knowing how you feel, what you think, and what you want is a big deal. Don’t allow others’ opinions to shape your thought process. Don’t base your emotions on what someone else says or does. Being able to think and feel freely is something we take for granted. Appreciate that you are able to think for yourself and form your own opinions. Embrace your emotions, no matter how annoying they are at times. Remain mindful of who you are and act accordingly.
Set boundaries. Learn to say no to things that go against your peace of mind. Whether it be work, family, a lover/spouse, or friends; if it can possibly harm your mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual tranquility, don’t let it in. Others can only do to you what you allow. Limiting what they can do will increase your happiness.
Setting boundaries goes hand in hand with protecting yourself. Filter the people that you allow in your life. If you have nothing but negative people in your circle, how can you expect to be positive about anything? Removing toxic people from your life will allow you to shine brighter and rise higher.
Forgive yourself. Understand that you are an imperfect human being, like every other human being, who WILL make mistakes. Take each mistake as a life lesson and learn from it. We are our own worst critics, but don’t be so hard on yourself. Erasers and white-out were invented because mistakes happen. See where you went wrong, and do it differently next time.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone is going through their own struggles in life. Don’t take the happy surface for the whole truth. People will show you the glitter to distract you from the dirty laundry underneath. It’s okay to be happy for others, just don’t envy what they have or how they’re living. You don’t know what they had to do to get to that point.
Self-love isn’t just a phrase, it’s a constant action. Putting at least two of the above suggestions into practice will perk up your peace in no time.