Ah…Self-Love! A phrase that’s so popular these days, but, one which so many people only seem to take at face-value and don’t really know how to truly incorporate into their daily lives! Self-Love is more than just saying nice things to yourself or declaring it on social media. Even though, these declarations in themselves are also good. But, in addition, there are a number of simple and deliberate steps to take and feelings to navigate, in order to truly achieve self-love.
To start with, how does it feel when you say the magic words: “I love you” to yourself? Go ahead and think about it. Be honest with yourself and dig deep beyond the surface. Pause right now, take a deep breath, face a mirror, any mirror at all and say out loud “I love myself”. If you can’t find a mirror, don’t fret, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and say “I love myself”.
Does it feel absolutely right or do you feel slightly uncomfortable or hesitant to say “I love myself” or “I love me”? Does it ring true or make you feel like a fraud? If your answer is in the negative, don’t worry, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of us! Good news is, you are about to turn that feeling around into pure love for yourself, regardless of all the things you consider your flaws.
Whether you’re a newbie on this self love journey or already doing a good job and just looking for ways to create an even deeper connection with yourself, these 9 tips will help you nurture self-love in your life!
1. Use Self-Love Affirmations
This is one of my favourite tips for increasing self-love! It’s such a simple but powerfully effective method. I practically affirmed my way into a higher self-worth! It’s no wonder this is at the top of my list. It’s been proven that the more you repeat positive words to yourself, the more you believe them and the more they impact your life. A great way to incorporate affirmations to your daily life is to add it to your morning routine or daily journaling practice. You can also write on a sticky note and stick to your mirror, fridge or other surface you come across often during your day. This way, you can be reminded to repeat them to yourself while you are getting dressed every morning or just going to-fro in your apartment. Do this for just 30 days, I promise you’ll feel differently about yourself.
Here are 5 of my favourite Self-love affirmations:
- I am love, loved and lovable
- I am brave and courageous. I have what it takes to grow and thrive.
- I am growing and healing and I will be patient with myself through this.
- I choose to love myself wholly and unapologetically. I deserve the love I so freely give to others. I choose myself always, even when others don’t.
- I matter: my opinions matter, my ideas matter, my feelings matter.
You can use them or come up with yours too depending on areas you feel needs special attention in your life. Just have fun with it!
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People
There’s no bigger thief of love for self than comparison. It keeps us focusing on things others have, such that we take complete attention off the things we actually have going for us. And down the rabbit hole we go, into liking ourselves less and less because we are focused on all the wrong things. Aren’t we all guilty? Especially in today’s world of most people posting only the highly-filtered highlights of their lives on the internet and leaving out their struggles.
The only person you should compare yourself to is your previous self.
And I know that is easier said than done, with even the most self-assured of us needing constant reminders. But here’s a tip: identify your Comparison Triggers, be it a social media account you follow or a friend you spend time with and then un-follow them. Yes! Unfollow them. If the friend means a lot to you, have the much-needed conversation with them and give them a very short time to change. If they don’t, start the unwinding process and conclude it sooner than later, otherwise you will both continue reinforcing lack of self-love! Keep your space wholesome and supportive of your growth.
Comparison only leads to one of two things: arrogance in believing that you are better than others OR low-self-esteem falsely believing that others are better than you. Neither belief is beneficial or accurate.-Unknown (paraphrased)
3. Forgive Yourself for Past Mistakes
Learning self-forgiveness is super important in cultivating Self-love. Most people find it hard to love themselves because they’ve erred in the past. The truth is, we have all erred. And as long as we live, we will keep making mistakes that we’ll need to forgive ourselves for, for the simple fact that we are human. Now, imagine a lifetime of holding grudges against yourself? Not healthy, is it? Learn to practice self-compassion and don’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes. Instead of viewing your mistakes as an avenue for punishing and resenting yourself, try to see them as opportunities for growth and improvement.
Action point: Identify the areas where you feel resentment and anger toward yourself. Write them down on a piece of paper and burn it. This should help you let go of mistakes you're holding against yourself. The burning is a symbolic act to help your subconscious mind see them disappearing and so to stop holding unto them. If burning is strange or awkward for you, simply rip the paper to shreds.
4. Accept Yourself Exactly As You Are Now
Isn’t it funny how we expect unconditional love from our friends and families but hardly ever give that same energy to ourselves? Don’t wait till you fix a particular flaw you have or achieve success in something before you start loving and accepting yourself. Accepting yourself as you are doesn’t mean you won’t grow or improve on bad habits or move to higher heights. It means that, regardless of those areas of your life that need improvement, you love yourself wholly and unconditionally. This first step of acceptance is how you heal, grow and flourish.
Action Step: Take stock right now, of who you are now and love every part of you. Include those parts that you consider to be flaws. Healing can only occur through self-acceptance.
Here’s a powerful phrase I learnt from practicing EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) that can help you with self-acceptance: Even though I _________, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” Fill the gap with an area of your life that you think needs improvement. For example: “Even though I keep postponing my Master’s Programme year-after-year, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway”. Saying this to yourself helps you acknowledge improvement areas but wraps it up in deep unconditional love for self
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries involves being able to say “No” to anything that drains, depletes you, stresses you or makes you feel less-than the queen you are, be it in relationships; with friends; family or at work. The more you set and enforce your personal boundaries, the deeper into self-love you will fall. Saying “No” at first is difficult, especially to people you are close to, but the more you do it, the better you are at it. Always know that it’s okay to set boundaries and that you deserve to put yourself first.
6. Loving Yourself should be First-Nature
It is nature’s first law for us humans, the law of self-preservation that somehow we have forgotten! You should never have to earn love, or perform a certain way to receive love from yourself. You are inherently lovable and worth loving simply because you exist. Before you ask why you should love yourself, how about you ask why not?
7. Surround Yourself With Love
The people and things you surround yourself with are either reinforcing your love for yourself or depleting it, however subtly. Choose them carefully. And this includes people you follow on social media because that’s a major part of our lives now. Identify the people in your life who love you unconditionally, respect you, make you feel good about yourself or generally embody good vibes and work on spending more time with them. If you don’t have those people around you, find them.
8. Celebrate Your Small Wins
Don’t wait until you land that million-dollar gig to celebrate yourself. Instead, celebrate those seemingly little daily wins for example, ticking all major tasks off your to-do list or finishing a book you’ve been reading for a while. The more you celebrate yourself, the more you have to celebrate and the better you feel about yourself. Waiting until something grand happens to celebrate yourself, ties your sense of self worth to an event that may never happen.
9. Practice Self-Care
You saw this one coming, didn’t you? 🙂 When you love someone, your first instinct is to care for them, right? Well, this is Self Care in a nutshell. Self love inspires self care and self care reinforces self love. Both concepts are practically joined at the hip and you can’t have one without the other. Self care is the practice of showing love to yourself. Nourish yourself, commit to healthy activities, take care of your body, do things you enjoy, have fun! And contrary to what a lot of people think, self care doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture, It can be as simple as reading a nice book, doing a face mask or even saying nice things to yourself. So, the question is, in what way(s) are you going to care for yourself today?
While self love is one of greatest gifts you can give to yourself, it’s important to note that it is not a set it and forget it act. Instead, it is a continuous lifetime practice. And although it may not be the easiest journey to embark on, it is one of the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do on your way to living a happier and more fulfilling life.