When I wake up in the morning and take a long hard stare in the mirror I can easily list 3 things I dislike about myself. But when I try to list 3 things I love about myself, it gets a little more difficult. I never realized how often I put myself down or how negatively I spoke about myself, until one day my partner pointed it out.
I am better than that, and I know it. I never realized how unhealthy it was until I began researching and practicing self-care and self-love. When I practiced caring for myself, I noticed how it affected me, but also how much it affected the people around me.
“Self-love” sounds a little cheesy and maybe a little selfish, but it’s not. It’s the medicine that keeps us happy and whole. When you allow yourself to love you deeply, you will see how much you flourish personally, professionally, and everything in between.
When we were children, we were taught so much about caring for others and to be nice to our neighbor, but when are we taught to care for ourselves?
Eric Fromm was a social psychologist, who pointed out that love is an art form that takes dedication and practice. Love is not something you “win” or are “given”. Like any love relationship, it takes dedication and most times a lot of work. If love was easy, no relationships would ever fail. Good for us – we have a forever relationship with ourselves and we need to focus on that.
How to Practice Self-Love:
Acknowledge Your Emotional State
Unfortunately, no one can be happy all the time (even though it would be great). Have you ever asked your friend or partner if they are okay? And they say, “I’m fine” when you can see that they aren’t? It’s frustrating. But it’s more frustrating when we do that with ourselves just to get through our days.
Stop saying, “I’m fine.” And start saying, “At this moment I am not okay, but I will be.” And then act on it. I can certainly get into funks and I have to remind myself that it’s okay. But from that point, I try to figure out what I can do for myself to fix it. Sometimes fixing it can be working out and trying to “sweat out” the feeling you are having. But it can be shedding a tear or two, lying in bed with a bowl of ice cream and binge-watching a crime show. Both are okay. It’s all about what works for YOU.
Take Care of Your Body
SLEEP, EAT, EXERCISE, and HYDRATE. The four simple things our bodies and brain need to function correctly often get overlooked. Sleeping eight hours a night, eating nutritiously balanced meals daily, exercising thirty minutes a day, and drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day are the key ingredients. They nourish your body, keep your brain healthy, and support your mental health.
Self-love is a choice. It is forgiving your past mistakes or actions, understanding them, and knowing they made you stronger. It’s about being aware of your losses and knowing that you have found more than you’ve lost. It’s being able to communicate with yourself about life (past, present, and future) without judgment and hate. To be able to move on and be the best version of yourself, you must learn to forgive yourself.
Practice Self-Talk – 3 Things I Love About Myself
Okay, this might feel super weird, but I challenge you to say out loud right now three things you love about yourself.
- I love that I am funny
- I love that I am patient
- And I love my eyes.
Practice positivity. Instead of saying “There’s no way I can get all that done by this weekend,” try saying, “It is going to be a lot of work, but I’ll take it step by step.” Instead of saying “I am so nervous about this meeting,” try saying, “I am so excited to see what I can get out of this meeting.”
Talk yourself up with self-love and you will start to see what a difference it can make in your mood and your life.
Self-love is how you view and treat yourself. Learn and practice to understand and respect your needs. It’s okay to say no to your friends and stay in because you need it. It’s okay to put yourself first. Once we start practicing self-love, we can truly realize how amazing we are and how much we have to offer to the world. Commit to yourself.
You deserve love and to be loved.