Self-love can be tricky to pin down, because as author Patricia Martin says, “When it comes to ourselves, love is often just a feeling and not something we can practice. So, we don’t.” While we may love ourselves, most of us don’t know how to love ourselves in meaningful ways.
Here are 6 ways to practice self-love:
1. Remind yourself that “You Are Enough”
Behavioural therapist Marisa Peer believes that the biggest disease affecting humanity is our belief that we are “not enough”. In her 2015 talk for MindValley, she explains how this underlying belief is collectively leading to unhappiness, stress and self-sabotage. One trick she describes to break this habit is to post notes to yourself where you can see them – on the bathroom mirror, in your car, as a reminder on your phone – that say, “I am enough”, for 30 days. The idea is that this belief will eventually permeate your subconscious and lead you to make better decisions through an improved sense of self-worth.
2. Stop the self-judgement
All of us have an “inner critic” ready to scold us if we fail at something. Unfortunately for most of us, this negative inner voice is a long-ingrained habit, and very few of us talk to ourselves positively most of the time. But would you talk this way to your friends, your family, your children? One way of changing this narrative is to cut the chatter within your mind in the first place. There are many ways to do this: immerse yourself in a hobby you love, do something kind for someone else, take a yoga class or meditate.
3. Preserve your energy
Next time you interact with someone, ask yourself: do you leave them feeling tired and low afterwards, or do you feel energised and lighter? Being loving towards yourself means prioritising people in your life who uplift you (or at least keep you on an even keel) rather than draining your energy. This can be difficult to do with, for example, a close family member, but it helps to be aware of the effect people’s energy has on you, and to limit how much you let them affect you.
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4. Clear the clutter
While cleaning out your sock draw and rearranging your bookshelf may seem insignificant in the greater scheme of things, the truth is that decluttering your outer world can actually make you feel happier, more contented, and even spark joy – according to organisation consultant Marie Kondo.
5. Stop with the comparisons
Comparison is the thief of joy. In this age of social media, where other people’s lives are so readily on display (and with the mundane or negative parts mostly edited out), that has never been more true. More people are becoming disillusioned and even with the constant comparisons with others. Because when you compare yourself to others, you automatically reduce the capacity for appreciation you have for your own unique life and the people in it. And comparisons by their very nature are deeply flawed: everyone has their individual struggles and hardships (which are hardly ever shared with others on platforms like Instagram).
6. Learn to say no
Carving out “me time” – especially if you live the typical busy modern life is often lowest down on our list of priorities. But giving yourself love means making time for yourself in among all of this, even in small ways. Take yourself off for a nap on a weekend afternoon. Say no to some social engagements and relax in a bath with a good book. Get into bed when you’re sick. Pay for a good haircut every few months. These small things can have a far larger effect on your self-esteem and overall happiness than you think.
We can let busy modern life get in the way of our personal happiness, or we can engineer a more positive state of mind by practising self-love. Which one are you going to choose?
Information provided by Fedhealth