Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.For many people, the concept of self-love might conjure images of tree-hugging hippies or cheesy self-help books. But, as many psychology studies attest, self-love and -compassion are key for mental health and well-being, keeping depression and anxiety at bay. Self-esteem is a coveted “psychological accessory” that has spawned a billion-dollar industry. There are so many programs, articles, books, and products that promise to enhance your self-esteem, one might conclude that our understanding of the trait is quite advanced.Self-love can mean something different for each person because we all have many different ways to take care of ourselves. Figuring out what self-love looks like for you as an individual is an important part of your mental health.Self-love means accepting yourself as you are in this very moment for everything that you are. It means accepting your emotions for what they are and putting your physical, emotional and mental well-being first.
So do yourself a favor, take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and start practicing the following:
Start each day by telling yourself something really positive. How well you handled a situation, how lovely you look today. Anything that will make you smile.
Don’t kill yourself trying to get rid of “weakness”. Understand that no one is good at everything and work on improving your strengths.
Most of the damage to our self-esteem is self-inflicted. Unfortunately, we often respond to rejections and failures by becoming self-critical, listing all our faults and short-comings, calling ourselves names, and basically kicking ourselves when we’re already down. We then use ridiculous justifications to justify damaging our self-esteem when it is already hurting—“I deserve it,” “It will keep me humble,” “It’s a way to keep my expectations low, or “It’s true; I hate myself!” If there’s one “program” we could all start that would do wonders for our self-esteem, it’s abolishing needless self-criticism and punitive self-talk—and that program, is free!
By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
Listen to our bodiesTake breaks from work and move/stretch.Put the phone down and connect to yourself or others, or do something creative.Eating healthily, but sometimes indulge in your favorite foods.
You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
Mindfulness meditation, apart from its apparent benefits for our mental health, is also a great way to boost our self-awareness and esteem. It helps to reign in our anxieties and fears, makes us more open to new experiences, and brings us the much-coveted self-acceptance. It also quiets our minds and self-doubts—thus, removes our self-inflicted impediments to progress and improvement.
Get in touch with your inner dialogue. If it’s anything less than loving, encouraging and supportive, it’s time to make a change. You deserve to be spoken to in the same way you would speak to your best friend, sister, brother, daughter, or son.
Finally, be cognizant that to enhance our self-esteem is not the same as to feel superior to others. The whole process is merely a journey toward re-discovering our own worth as human beings, of what we stand for, and how we want to evolve. It’s that simple.People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want.Finally, to practice self-love, start by being kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to yourself, the way you would with someone else that you care about.