As I looked at the young man in the mirror last week, I didn’t like what I had seen, I had added more weight than I expected. The thing about weight is that it seems sudden even though it’s been building up for a while, you may notice you’ve added a little weight and it may seem inconsequential and then one day it becomes very evident that you’ve let yourself go. I have been at home for about six months and this was the result, home is the least productive place for me, I always fair better when I’m away from my parents.
I criticized myself a lot but that’s when it hit me, learning to love myself is the most important thing, weight can always be lost if I’m ready to lose it. To be honest, weight was just a physical representation of how I felt: annoyed, tired, lazy and too comfortable, I was annoyed that I was still home, I’ve never been home this long and it pricked me.
In this week’s blog post, we’re going to be exploring how to love yourself, in other words how to practice self-love. Let’s gooo!
What is Self-Love Anyway?
These days we hear a lot about self-love or loving yourself especially on social media but do we really know what it means? Society hammers into us the importance for loving others but it seems be to willfully ignorant when it comes to self-love even though humans are selfish beings.
To me, with all things being equal, self-love is the ability to acknowledge and appreciate oneself, be honest with oneself and to correct oneself and ultimately to continuous improve oneself. You can dumb it down to say it is the ability to always take care of yourself.
Why is Self-Love So Important?
Time and time again, I’ve heard stories both from family members and others who talk about people they give money regularly to and when they don’t give them one time for any reason, they become ungrateful and it seems they get selective amnesia about all the money they’ve been given before. Suddenly, you’re a wicked person, like my mum said when you have money you have to sort out yourself first before you think about others.
Loving yourself is probably the greatest thing you can do for yourself and for those around you. Self-love with yourself boosts your self-confidence and esteem levels (see 12 Tips to Boost Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem), increases your self-worth, minimises your self-doubt (see 5 Amazing Ways to Deal with Self-Doubt) and it will generally help you feel more positive. It may even become easier for you to genuinely love other people if you’ve learned the art of self-love.
Furthermore, according to Katherine Hurst from The Law of Attraction, “If you can learn to love yourself, you will be much happier and will learn how to best take care of yourself. When you are truly in love with yourself and happy, you should stop comparing yourself [see Stop Comparing Yourself! It’s a Losing Game] to others so much and should find yourself more confident, not worrying as much about what others think.”
Some additional benefits of self-love include: increased love, acceptance, and compassion for yourself and others; more tolerance of your flaws and weaknesses; enhanced self-forgiveness and self-trust; healthier mind set; improved ability to discover and fulfill your purpose (see 7 Methods to Help Find Your Life Purpose); improved relationships and friendships; improved work life; increased access to new opportunities; improved mental health (see 11 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health), etc.
What You Need to Keep In Mind
Self-love isn’t selfish. Why? Because without taking care of yourself, you are incapable of truly taking care of others. Self-love actually is beneficial to yourself and to others around you. When you are able to genuinely love and accept yourself, you are able to love and accept others much more fully.
To use an analogy, how can an empty jug be used to fill up someone else’s glass? It’s not possible! In the same way, it’s not possible for us truly give love when we are empty ourselves because we cannot give what we don’t have.
You are most definitely the most important person in your entire world. This is absolutely essential to keep in mind. This is true because no one can care for you as much as you can and people don’t really care as much as we think they do (see How to Stop Caring What People Think).
Your entire life is experienced through yourself and nobody else, you cannot truly live through someone else. It is always important to remember that you’re your own person, even if you’re a twin your fingerprints are different from your twin and that shows your uniqueness. When it comes to your understanding of reality, you’re the only thing that matters. This means that your reality depends on how much you love and take care of yourself.
Your relationship with yourself is the most defining factor in shaping the kind of life you live. It becomes a problem when you cannot love the person who you will live your entire life through, you cannot swap bodies with people, this is not Freaky Friday. The less you love, listen to, and understand yourself, the more confused, angry, and frustrating you will be and the reverse is true as well.
How to Love Yourself
How do you treat the people you love and respect? Aren’t you kind to them, patient with their thoughts and ideas, and you forgiving when they make a mistake? (SeeWHO HURT YOU?? How to Forgive & Let Go). Don’t you give them space, time, and opportunity? Don’t you make sure they have the room to grow? Don’t you tell them to take care of themselves?
Now think of how you treat yourself…
Do you give yourself the love and respect that you might give your loved ones? Do you take care of your body, mind, soul and needs; Such as sleeping properly, bathing and exercising regularly, eating healthy, meditating, expressing gratitude, having fun, accomplishing your goals? (See How to Set Your Goals and Smash Them).
How many of these daily activities do you allow yourself? And if not, then can you say you truly love yourself? The truth is that you can’t truly say you love of yourself if you don’t spend ample time taking care of yourself and actually take your own advice regularly. At the end of the day, self-love surpasses a mind-set, it goes well into the actions you take and the decisions you make. So, without further ado, here are some tips for how to love yourself, body, mind, soul and all.
1. Learning Regularly
Learning regularly is a very strong part of personal development. There is so much knowledge in this world that no matter how much time you spend learning you will never learn or know everything. This does not mean that one shouldn’t learn, in fact it’s the opposite, as human beings, learning new positive things regularly is good for our mind and soul, knowledge is food to the mind and soul. Plus, if you don’t learn regularly, you will be left behind, we all have things we are naturally better at and those are where our main focus should be but we should also try to learn things in several fields.
Ultimately, what I’m preaching here is skill acquisition, skills are necessary tools we need to build the future we need, the fact that you’re reading this on a device means that humans used skills they acquired and improved over the years to build it. If they can, you can also use your skills to do something meaningful if you decide to learn on a regular basis. For more info, read my two blog posts on skills, 21st Century Survival Skills and 7 High Income Skills You Can Learn Online for 2019.
2. List Your Positive Attributes and Reflect on Them Regularly
If you habitually look down on yourself and think negatively of yourself this can be difficult but it’s not impossible, it is important to know that self-love can be difficult and it takes a lot of work. According to Trudi Griffin from wikiHow, you should “try to find one positive thing about yourself to add to the list once a week. At the end of each day, reflect on your entire list.” She gives some guidelines on how to go about making your list.
Make your list very specific: Instead of using general adjectives to describe yourself, try listing specific actions or attributes that describe who you are and what you do. For example, instead of simply saying "I’m a kind hearted person," you can write "I regularly volunteer at the local orphanage and I give them some of my used clothes. This makes me a kind hearted person." As you read and reflect on your list, remember that each item on the list, however insignificant it may seem, is a reason that you are worthy of respect and love.
3. Learn to Discern Your Thoughts
You will hear a lot of things throughout the course of your life, you may be conscious to some and unconscious to others. You will be told that you’re too fat, too slim, too ugly, too short, too dark, your personality is too bland, you must be perfect, putting yourself first is selfish and preposterous blah blah blah.
Not all of these untrue and unhealthy perceptions will be apparent but soon enough, you may end up absorbing some of these unhealthy perceptions into the river of your mind-set and belief system, thereby polluting it like a toxin. In fact, many of these toxic perceptions probably have already been absorbed by us. This brings me to an interesting quote by Gary Vaynerchuk which keeps coming to mind: “If your voice in your head is mean to you, remember that someone manipulated that voice and instilled it in you. Kill that fake voice and find yours. I love you, now love yourself.”
Discernment is such a huge factor when learning how to love yourself, it helps separate the lies and the truths you tell yourself because loving yourself involves unlearning a lot of things that you thought were true or useful.
According to Aletheia Luna from Loner Wolf, “To learn how to be discerning you need to question everything. Yes, this can be tiring, but it is worth every ounce of your effort. Why? Because being discerning will help you to sort through a lot of mental rubbish, antiquated beliefs, and harmful ideals. Learning to say “NO, that’s not true” helps you to discover what the truth actually is. And the truth is always grounded in love (but again, you will have to discover this for yourself). The more clarity you have, the more you will be able to support and stick up for yourself.”
4. Leave Your Comfort Zone
Our comfort zone can be very tempting, it can seem like an oasis in a desert but in reality, it is a mirage, it’s just more barren land because nothing really grows there only mediocrity. You cannot truly love yourself if you don’t step out of your comfort zone and take risks, it’s even riskier to constantly stay in your comfort zone. As humans we can’t really experience true happiness if we don’t step out of our comfort zone and try new things (see 06 Ways to Live a Happier Life).
If you’re struggling to love yourself, then you’re staying in your comfort zone way too much. Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t mean you must go sky-diving if you’re scared of heights or anything scary like that, sometimes you just gotta put one foot out of your comfort zone and slowly take your whole body out of it. What I mean is that you can take it one step at a time and gradually step out of your comfort zone by doing the little things, little things that are new and can make you nervous, it’s all about taking the first step! (See 3 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone).
So, how can you leave your comfort zone behind? First, write down what you want to do, it can just be one thing and then out and do it. Soon enough, you go about doing many things you could only dream of and then you’ll believe in yourself and the power you within you.
5. Be Your Own Bestie
Many people are their worst enemy because of how harshly and negatively their self-talk is. If you were step into this kind of person’s river of thoughts, you’ll soon discover that you’re like fish in poisoned water, too toxic to survive in. It makes you wonder how they themselves can survive in such a toxic mental environment.
If most of us spoke to others the way we spoke to ourselves or others spoke to us the way we speak to ourselves, we would be friendless! You are with yourself 100% of the time, through all the ups and downs so it becomes very essential that you become besties with yourself, it will make your life much easier and simpler.
To really practice self-love, it is important for us to consciously change our relationships with ourselves, and treat ourselves with compassion and consideration just as we would with a best friend. This involves being there for yourself when it’s hard, motivating yourself, having fun with yourself, rewarding yourself when you deserve it and a whole lot more. More importantly, it’s about learning to trust yourself more. The way to start doing this is to spend more quality alone time getting to know yourself and discovering what makes you, you.
Self-love isn’t always easy, some days you messed up and may feel so bad that it may feel like you can’t love yourself, some days you feel on top of the world, other days you just feel like you’re in the middle of it, this is all part of the process. Self-love isn’t always constant or on the same level, it’s like a hill or waves of the sea, sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low. You may lose friends on this journey and it will hurt you but you should remember that if they truly cared about you then loving yourself wouldn’t be an issue.
My article is kind of shallow and doesn’t do this topic enough justice, if you want a more in-depth article on self-love you can check out Aletheia Luna’s article, How to Love Yourself More.
QOTD: “Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support you’d show to a good friend. When faced with difficult life struggles, or confronting personal mistakes, failures, and inadequacies, self-compassion responds with kindness rather than harsh self-judgment, recognizing that imperfection is part of the shared human experience.” - Kristin Neff
WELL, THAT’S IT FROM ME GUYS, NOW…
In what ways do you show that you love yourself? Or do you have any extra tips for how we can love ourselves more? Comment below. Help me and others by Sharing this on social media, SUBSCRIBE to my blog for awesome weekly content and to get my free e-books. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. See ya next Monday!
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!