Self-love can mean having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness — taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others.
You've probably heard the phrase a lot, "love yourself!" or "just love yourself more!" But do we actually know what it means, and how to do it?
It's okay if you said no, by the way.
Put simply, at the root of a self-love practice is self-compassion — speaking kindly to yourself even if you make a mistake.
It's also deeply rooted in prioritizing your needs, and taking care of yourself. That can look like many things for different people. Among a long list of self-care examples, the most common are setting boundaries with time, prioritizing health and mental well-being, and getting enough sleep.
With that summed up, here are a few tangible things you can do to work on your self-love practise:
1. Validate your own feelings.
This can be huge. If accepting your emotions is tough for you, take note. Often by giving into what we like to resist the most — uncomfortable emotions, you'll find that they actually pass a lot sooner. If we can start to validate ourselves, with internal language like "I'm feeling really scared and that's okay." or "I'm feeling tired today, and that's okay. It's been a busy week," we begin to see ourselves for the naturally flawed and real human-beings that we are.
2. Build out your support network and surround yourself with good people.
Have you ever taken note of how you feel after visiting with a friend? Did you notice that you either may have felt uplifted and lighter, or heavy and discouraged?
Be sensitive to the way people make you feel when you're around them. Take note and adjust accordingly. Energy is currency, and you want to make sure you only give it where you can get it back.
On top of that, try to build a network of trusted people who have your best intentions at heart. These are people who you feel safe to go to in a time of need. We all need a person to lean on when things feel tough.
3. Set healthy boundaries with yourself AND others.
This is a two-step process. Self-boundaries help to keep you on track. They can look like sticking to a consistent bed-time, not spending over budget, or cutting the screen time back in exchange for another activity like reading or walking.
And boundaries with others can help to preserve your energy, and actually enhance your relationships. Yes, if that's a new concept to you - they really can and are meant to enhance your relationships. Boundaries with loved ones help to make your interactions feel good and healthy to the both of you.
4. Allow yourself to make mistakes.
We all make them. We're all imperfect. So try to reframe your mistakes when they happen. Self-compassion techniques would suggest speaking to yourself the way you would a friend, even if they (you) mess up. Self-compassion can be had in good times and bad, but it’s key difference is that in speaking to ourselves more kindly — instead of running and screaming in the opposite direction, we can embrace the imperfectness of being human, and therefore grow from it rather than condemn ourselves.
5. Allow yourself to rest.
This goes with self-care practises. Make sure you're listening to your body, and giving it what it needs to function optimally. Our culture really praises high-functioning people and productivity, so this can be a tough one for most people. Do your best to acknowledge the feeling that you should be doing more, and kindly remind yourself that rest is productive, and rest is your birthright. Have that nap. ❤️
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