The dictionary defines self-love as the instinct by which one’s actions are directed to the promotion of one’s own welfare or well-being.
When you first read those words, they seem a little narcissistic and self-indulgent. We are taught (or at least I was) to put others before ourselves. It feels odd or misplaced when we are told to be more aware of our needs and desires. But, I’ve found that when I’m at my lowest point, when my mind and body are used up and I feel like I am being bombarded with self-depreciating thoughts, the only thing I can do is to pour on the self-love and make changes to my mind and body.
How can we learn to love ourselves? Here are six steps to help you find your sense of self and ultimately, self-love.
Step 1: Treat Yourself Kindly
Go easy on yourself. Instead of being your toughest critic, be your own best friend. How do you like to be spoken to? That’s how you should be speaking to yourself. Treat yourself how you like to be treated and show yourself forgiveness along the way.
Step 2: Daily Words of Affirmation
Tell yourself that you are amazing every single day. Even on our worst days, we have light emanating from ourselves. Look in the mirror daily and tell yourself that you are more than enough. Remind yourself what you are achieving and actively pursuing, and that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Step 3: Let Go of the Old
Letting go of the old means letting go of everything that hinders you emotionally and physically. Accept yourself, come to terms with your life, and realize life is yours to win or to lose. If you replace or remove destructive habits and people, you will have the freedom to pursue those lovely activities that make you smile ear to ear.
Step 4: Set Realistic Boundaries
Boundaries are incredibly good for you—they protect your needs and honor your worth. Remember to always trust your intuition with people and places, and if something seems ‘off’, then a boundary probably needs to be set. It is incredibly easy for people to take advantage of others when clear boundaries have not been established. Knowing when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’ will allow you freedom and peace of mind.
Step 5: Commit
You cannot commit to another person, place, or idea until you commit to yourself. Too many people lose themselves in their jobs, families, or significant others because they haven’t taken the time to get to know themselves first. Make the commitment to find out who you are and commit to treating yourself with the utmost care and respect.
Step 6: Avoid Comparisons
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. No one else is you and you are no one else. Stop comparing your life to what you see on TV, the internet, or even your friend down the street. We are all unique and each of us has a quality that is distinctly our own. Own yourself and decide that you are the most amazing person you have ever met—because you are.
Self-love is a lifetime commitment to yourself. There will never be anyone else with whom you have a closer relationship. When you are loving and kind to yourself it crosses over to other relationships in your life. It allows you to be a better friend, a better co-worker, and a better partner. Self-love is about getting in touch with ourselves, our well-being, and our happiness. It allows us to shine our light so brightly that we can’t be ignored.