As with anything in life, teaching yourself self love will require not only your time and patience, but deliberate and intentional practice. Self love is arguably the hardest form to cultivate, but it is possible to find! I know because I was lucky enough to find it for myself, though I still work at it daily.
Below I have listed 5 ways to teach self love for you to try and share, because I believe we all deserve a slice of the love we so freely give to others!
1. Clean Up Your Mental Diet
We live in a very visual world. One where people are posting and sharing their lives freely and openly with others through social media platforms and that has subsequently left many people comparing their lives and themselves to others as a result. What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed the rest of your body. Take the time to reflect upon what you see in your daily life, and make edits.
Maybe it’s time to unfollow those accounts you’ve been comparing yourself to. Instead find a good book to read. Take a walk on the beach instead of scrolling through your phone. When your mind is clear and filled with only the things that make you feel good about yourself, it is easy to culminate self love.
2. Find What Makes You Most Happy, Do It Often
Think about 4, 5, 6 year old you. How everything around you was new and exciting and your mind wasn’t worried about what other people were doing or saying but only focused on the next new and exciting thing.
Find that again. Hold onto it like hell. Make yourself a list of anything and everything that brings you joy. It could be an article of clothing, a place, a person (or group of people), a song or even the way you feel with a fresh coat of nail polish on your fingernails.
Find those things that make you happy, and surround yourself with them as frequently as you can. When you fill your days with the good things, it pushes the bad things further and further out of your life, making room for new and exciting things to fill your mind, heart and soul with.
3. Create Positive Affirmations For Yourself
Every morning when you wake up, start your day with a positive thought. When you look in the mirror, try to say one positive thing about yourself. Even something as simple as:
“I am beautiful.”
“I am worthy.”
“I am kind.”
The brain is a powerful muscle, and one that reacts positively to reinforcement and repetition. Say something to yourself enough times and eventually you start to believe it! Your morning sets the tone for your whole day, and when the first thought in your head is positive and self supporting, it will help you to carry those thoughts over throughout your day. Make a list of affirmations and repeat, repeat, repeat them to yourself daily.
4. Make Yourself Priority #1
Get rid of anything and anyone that takes away from your happiness and prioritize yourself. This may sound harsh, and it certainly can be, but if you ever want to be truly happy and feel self love, you have to eliminate anything that has previously prevented you from doing so. If your job makes you miserable, quit! If your best friend brings you down, then maybe you need to break away from that friendship and fill your life with people who encourage and support you. Nothing in this life is permanent, and more importantly nothing in this life is a requirement.
We each have the ability to edit our lives as frequently as we want, but many of us are held back due to fear; fear of hurting not just our own feelings but the feels of others. Do not tie your happiness to any one or any thing. Trust yourself. It is okay to be selfish, especially when it comes to your happiness. The moment you stop worrying about others opinions of you is the moment you are able to open yourself up to the love you want and deserve.
5. Be True To Yourself
One of my favorite quotes is “be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Pretending to be something or someone you are not is a waste of precious time and energy. Instead of conforming to meet someone else’s needs, accept that not everyone we meet will be—or has to be—our friend. It can feel like our lives are composed of a series of auditions at times, and that instead of sharing our true selves with others we try to fit into a roll that think will please those around us.
The right people will love you for exactly who you are. We often make the mistake of thinking that we need to change ourselves to meet the needs of others when in reality, the only person whose acceptance we need most is our own. Self love is not something you find in a new outfit or identity, it is on the inside. It takes more than a new outfit or haircut, or any of those other things you use as a band-aid. It takes YOU. Those things can guide you in the right direction, but it is you and only you who can commit to the challenge of learning to love yourself.