Whether you’re reading this in the run up to the most loved-up day of the year, or you’re looking to practice self love in way that suits you, it really doesn’t matter. Ignore the title, tell yourself that you deserve to be happy, and then work your way through this 5-minute read.
Along the way we’ll talk you through a variety of different ways that you can fall in love with yourself, love who you are, and really start to love life along the way. With all this in mind, let’s dive right in and get started…
Why is loving yourself important?
Loving yourself may feel like an odd notion that conjures up images of vanity and self indulgence, but we mean something different by it. What we’re talking about is the act of giving yourself permission to put yourself first. It’s about taking the time to refresh, relax, and reflect in a way that allows you to give your best to everything else you have to do in life.
The act of self love is a central part of a healthy, balanced approach to living and one that will be essential for your mental health over the years ahead. To give you a few sparks of inspiration and ideas to get things moving, we’re going to talk through 5 key ways you can make self love a key part of your day.
Remember who you were yesterday
One of the traps that many of us fall into is looking at the airbrushed images of other people and their lives, and then wishing that we had exactly what we saw online. In the age of social media likes and a seemingly never ending quest for aesthetic perfection, it’s certainly an easy trap to fall into.
To dodge it you need to start thinking about comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not to what someone else is today. Life is a journey that’s all about taking enjoyment from the things that come your way, so why not embrace the way that you’ve overcome them and continue to move forward.
Is there a time, place or space you can look back on in your life and practice true gratitude for not being in that space now?
The idea here is not about showing yourself that there is always someone out there who has it worse than you, but to show yourself that you have improved, even if it’s only in one tiny area. You’re on your own journey so as long as you can sense yourself getting somewhere, you have something you can hold onto when you’re feeling a little blue. Keep going!
Treat yourself like you’re someone you’re caring for
If you have a few too many take out meals or you sleep most of the weekend away in front of Netflix it’s tempting to be hard on yourself. On the one hand you need to perk yourself up and bring your motivation back to life, but on the other you don’t want to be overly critical of yourself to the point where it damages your sense of self belief.
By remembering to talk to yourself as if you were someone you are caring for, you can take the hard edge off some of the language your internal dialogue uses. Simply by being that little bit kinder and more understanding when you’re reflecting on what’s happened, you can allow your self confidence to emerge from the other side largely intact. It’s the constant self recriminations that will grind you down over time, so practice a few of the following and do your best to keep them at bay:
- When you’re using your internal dialogue to be hard on yourself, ask yourself how a friend in your exact same situation would react if you rang them up and starting speaking to them in this way
- Ask yourself if what you’re doing is highlighting the need to do things better and then giving you the belief that you’re the one who can do it, or it started off that way and has now gone off on an underproductive tangent
- Write down some of your thoughts and say them out loud to yourself when you’re feeling a little better and calmer. If you feel like all they’re doing is putting you down, the chances are that you need to be kinder to yourself
See failure as a learning opportunity
Failure is something that seems to be fading from public consciousness in so many ways today, especially when you consider how people love to flock towards the idea of innate talent and geniuses who just ‘turn up.’ The truth is that anytime you see a musician or elite sportsperson make it look easy, what you’re actually seeing is the culmination of thousands upon thousands of hours of practice.
Along the way even the most gifted individuals will have encountered untold failures, had to dust themselves down, pick themselves up, and learn from them. If they fell at the first hurdle and decided that it meant whatever they were doing just wasn’t for them, they wouldn’t have gotten to where they are today.
While you might not feel like you’re trying to be elite in a chosen field, the idea of embracing failure as a powerful learning tool is as applicable to you as it is to anyone. The idea that you can cruise through life without ever having to tailor and adjust your approach to any number of tasks and situations so it fits better with the world around simply isn’t realistic. Embrace failure as a chance to learn and improve and you really will start to love yourself for all the right reasons.
Try a few of these and you’ll soon see what we mean:
- Make a journal entry at the end of every day with a line down the centre of the page. Put your successes on one side and your failures on the other. Right down why you think you succeeded and what you could change so that the chances of failure are minimised next time around
- Tell yourself that every time you fail you’re actually just eliminating an approach that won’t work. Therefore the more times you fail, the closer you’re getting to homing in on the best possible approach to take
- Every time you fail, write down the positive result that has come from it. That way you’ll be able to see that every failure actually contains the opportunity to learn, develop, and grow, and that this is a silver lining which is well worth a setback or two along the way
Next up, you want to start picturing what your new way of life would be like…
Visualise what you really want out of life
We all add things to our online wish lists or repost gift ideas online, but what if you really sat back and thought about what it is you wanted out of life. It could be material, emotional, or just about anything else you can imagine, provided it’s what you really want in life.
To love yourself you have to give yourself permission to dream from time to time, and that doesn’t mean it’s just daydreams that will never come true. Anyone who has ever built the kind of dream life that you’re picturing right now once believed they could do it. If they’d never loved themselves enough to conceive that their new way of life would even be possible, they’d have never made it to where they are right now.
Simply by picturing where you want to get to in the future and allowing yourself to think about how you could gradually get there one step at a time, you can show yourself a confident new outlook on life that could make all the difference.
Tell yourself that you deserve the lucky breaks you get
Last but not least, you don’t want to be hard on yourself when you have a lucky break in life. Our society is one that will so often begrudge people a stroke of good fortune once we see that it puts us at a perceived disadvantage, which can in turn make those lucky beneficiaries feel that they are somehow undeserving.
The truth is that good luck and bad luck touch all of our lives more times than we perhaps even realise, so why should you feel bad when you have an upturn in your fortunes? Tell yourself that this is some sort of reward for your diligent approach to life and you’ll be able to enjoy the moment without loading yourself up with guilt.
What happens next?
The secret to loving yourself is to remember that you can take control of the way you feel simply by talking to yourself like you’re responsible for caring for someone else. You’d be kind, empathetic, and encouraging to them irrespective of what they were going through, so why should you settle for talking to yourself in any other way. And if you need a little support along the way, we’re always right here too.
Image Credit: Adrian Fernández