Do you love yourself? Do you love every part of you, both the good and the bad? When you look into the mirror, how do you feel about who you see? Many of us feel an indifference or mild feelings of either like or dislike. Some of us have a hard time finding anything about themselves that they like.
The idea of self-love can feel uncomfortable. For some, the concept of self-love can feel akin to being selfish, conceited or self-absorbed. The media bombards us with images on how to change or improve who we are and how to hide our flaws. This makes it very difficult to accept or adore what we see in the mirror.
To get a little perspective, think of a person that you love or care deeply for. How do you feel about them? what feelings do you have when you think of this person? Do you feel the same way towards yourself?
If the answer is no then you could probably benefit from practising a little self-love. Below are some ways to begin exercising that self-love muscle. They allow you to explore how you feel about yourself and the truth that you are enough as you are.
21 Ways to Practice Self-Love
- Pause - Allow yourself a few quiet minutes to simply be. You don't need to do anything or be anywhere. Just sit in the moment and do nothing.
- Stop Apologising Unnecessarily - Apologising for everything can become a bit of a bad habit. I am not talking about when you have done something wrong. I am talking about things like apologising for how you feel, saying no or changing your mind. You are allowed to do this!
- Give Yourself A Pat On The Back - Recognise your achievements. Encourage yourself when you're doing something new and scary. Try to create a kind inner voice rather than a critical one.
- Look In The Mirror And Tell Yourself "I love you" - I am not going to lie this one felt super cheesy and uncomfortable when I tried it first. I also have to say that with a bit of persistence, it started to make me smile.
- List Things That You Like About Yourself - Do you love your curly hair or how you always hold the door open for people? There must be something you like about yourself. If you find this tricky make this a week long task and add to the list as you find more things.
- Self-Care - If you have read my blog before then this will not be new or surprising. Making time to do the things that excite and inspire you is as important part of being happy.
- Sleep Well - Being tired makes things harder. Give yourself an early night or take a nap when you need to.
- Eat Well - This is about looking after your body. I love the occasional binge on ice cream and cookies too but when you feed your body nutritious and nourishing food you feel as well as look good.
- Be Honest - The next time you are tempted to pretend everything is fine when it isn't, say so. You are entitled to feel how you do and to receive support from others when you need it.
- Stop People Pleasing - You will never please everyone and trying to is exhausting! Do yourself a favour and focus on pleasing yourself.
- Start a Gratitude Journal - When I first heard of this I thought it sounded a bit woo woo but taking the time to think about the positives and what you're grateful for can be really beneficial. It is a way to focus on what is already good in your life and feeling and thankful for that.
- Keep A Note Of Your Success's - Make a success list and write down all your accomplishments, from managed to resist a second slice of cheesecake to rocking that presentation at work! Look back on your list when you doubt yourself and remember all you have achieved.
- Remember The Compliments - What do people compliment you on? If you can't think of any, start another list of the compliments you get from now on.
- ACCEPT Compliments - When someone compliments you, don't dismiss it. Accept what you are being told as the truth. You don't need to be humble or self-deprecating, simply say thank you.
- Move Your Body In A Way You Enjoy - Dance, walk, run do yoga, swim or go to the gym. Taking care of your body is a way of showing yourself, love
- Give Mindfulness A Try - Mindfulness is about being fully present in where you are and with what you are doing. I am really guilty of thinking about my to-do do list while during other things so have been using mindfulness techniques to practise focusing on the here and now. You can learn more about mindfulness here.
- Write Yourself A Love Letter or Pep Talk - Write yourself a letter, tell yourself all the things you wish to hear. Be kind and encouraging. Read your letter back whenever you doubt your worth.
- Give Up Trying To Be Someone Else - As Oscar Wilde put it, "Be yourself, everyone else is taken"
- Stop Comparing - Chances are there is someone who wishes they were more like you. "Can you imagine not craving to be different than you are right now?"
- Say No When You Need To - You do not have to say yes to everything and everyone. It leaves you empty and exhausted (see people pleasing)!
- Practice. Think of self-love as a new skill, be prepared to mess up and keep trying. You are worth the effort!
If Self-Love sounds difficult...
If this list feels overwhelming pick the easiest and most achievable one on this list and begin there. There is no rush and you can try as many or as little of these ideas as feels right for you. If you find it hard to even like yourself then take it slowly. Think of self-love and acceptance as training for a marathon rather than a sprint. Practice going a little further each time rather than sprinting to the finish straight away.
We are all worthy of love, every single one of us. You are not broken or inadequate. You are perfect just as you are. Think of how you feel about that person you love once more. Can you imagine how you would treat yourself and what you could achieve if you felt that level of love for yourself?