How to Love Yourself
If you find it difficult to maintain a constant level of self-love, then these 5 tips may be the thing to help it finally stick.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had a pretty rough time figuring out how to love myself. First of all, we as human beings are constantly in the process of changing so it can feel extremely difficult to love someone when you cannot securely grasp who that person is. Second, there are no instructions and as someone who really loves that little instruction pamphlet that comes with everything, this fact is very unnerving. Third, the term self-love is extremely broad and while a broad definition is great, it doesn’t give you very much to go off of.
So instead of feeling overwhelmed at tackling self-love head on, dip your toes in the water first by implementing small habits into your life that can lead to enormous growth in the self-love department.
#1 Send Loving Thoughts to Yourself Once a Day
Making the decision to love yourself can be extremely overwhelming because it’s hard to know where to begin. The tip that really helped me in the beginning was to start small to end big. My small start began with sending one loving thought to myself a day. I would usually do this in the evening before I went to bed or first thing in the morning when I woke up. It can be as simple as “May I get a good night's sleep” or more specific like “May I get over this cold in 2 days.” Anything counts, as long as it’s loving and about you. It takes 10-seconds or less, so even if you are busy 23 hours and 59 minutes a day, take part of those spare 60-seconds to wish yourself well, because you deserve it.
#2 Stop Punishing Yourself
This was a biggie for me. While I was righteously marching on my journey of self-love, I noticed I was criticizing myself for all the instances where I could have been kinder, nicer, or not as tough on myself. It was as if I had both the carrot and the stick and was using both simultaneously. Self-love is hard enough, we do not need to be even harder on ourselves. So let’s put down the stick, we are only going to use the carrot.
#3 Words of Affirmation
We give out compliments all day—our friend, neighbor, a passerby—but what about ourselves? If you catch yourself in the mirror and think you look good, tell yourself you look good! Wink at yourself, check yourself out, give yourself that once over glance—whatever you want to do to remind yourself “Yeah, I look good and I know it.” If checking yourself out isn’t your thing, then compliment your brains, heart, tenacity—anything! Because you are awesome and you should definitely acknowledge the ways in which you are.
Some of you may believe there is nothing to compliment yourself about and that’s okay. We are not running a race here because there is no finish line. If at this moment you feel there is nothing lovable about yourself, then head on back to #1 and practice doing that until you feel comfortable enough to give yourself a compliment.
#4 Make a Gratitude List All About You
Gratitude is a great action to practice, especially when you’re feeling a little blue. But one thing that I have found really helpful is to take that gratitude list and make it all about me. What am I grateful for about myself? It can be as broad as my gift of sight or as specific as the ability of my hair to grow an inch per month. Whatever you are grateful for, make sure to write it down so that you can whip out that list the next time you forget how great you are.
#5 Find the Actions that Feel Loving to You
There is no roadmap on how to love yourself. You know the best way to love you, so find the acts of service, rituals, and little treats that make you feel loved and make it a habit to practice them as often as you can.
I love treating myself to a decaf coffee in the afternoon on some days and other days I like to get into my PJ’s a little early so I can give myself more time to wind down for the night. Other times it is a physical action like hugging myself. It may sound silly to do so but it’s amazing how loving the action can feel and when I’m really down and blue, doing this little action can make a world of a difference.
Remember that you do not have to like yourself completely to be able to love yourself unconditionally. It’s a journey, not a race, that we will be on for the rest of our lives. So let’s show ourselves some love along the way.