We’re all aware of the term Self-Love as it’s extensively expressed in social media, chats with friends, and in counseling sessions.
“You can’t love others if you don’t love yourself” Or, statements such as: “You should love yourself” or, “Why don’t you love yourself?” are common, but how many of us understand the true meaning? Or, what it takes to show ourselves love and compassion?
Let’s get it right from the outset, self-love is not about instant gratification. Splurging on new clothes, pedi’s, and mani’s, going for a massage, or soaking in a bubble bath. It runs so much deeper than pampering or spoiling ourselves with gifts.
It’s about doing introspection and facing one self. Making peace with both our light and dark sides and showering ourselves with unconditional love, acceptance, and appreciation. It’s about learning to hold ourselves in high regard, take care of our well-being, our happiness, and putting our needs first. A person who is on a journey to discovering true self-love is firm in their belief in themselves, they do not sacrifice their well-being to please others, and they will most definitely not settle for less than what they believe they deserve.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? If only it could be achieved overnight. But, like most worthy practices, self-love is an ongoing custom that grows over time through actions taken that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual progress. In essence, it’s a never-ending journey.
Self-love should be the foundation on which we aim to build an abundant life. When we acknowledge the internal work that needs attention, and expand the practice from there, a sense of acceptance of ourselves – just the way we are, encompassing our weaknesses and strengths – will start to blossom. In addition, we will find a new appreciation of our quirkiness and uniqueness. And the negative opinions of us from others will not affect us.
Instead of becoming affected by our shortcomings, we will choose to take good care of ourselves, speak kindly to ourselves, and refrain from finding fault and criticizing our beings.
You know you. You love you. And you accept you.
The way we feel about ourselves at this very moment, and how we could feel about ourselves plays such a vital role in life. Unknowingly, our level of self-love influences our lives in many ways through the choices we make. This includes choosing a partner, the image we project, how we cope with challenges, and how we interact with people.
It has become a buzz-word in society: self-love. And we want to believe that we are all practicing gurus, but are we really? Do we hold enough wisdom of what this term really means?
I did some research recently as I too am aware of the significance of this journey and want to participate in it with you. I found some practical ideas on where we can start together:
- Let’s QUIT the Comparing Game:
We live in a competitive world, so comparing ourselves to others is the norm. Social media falsely portrays images, captions, and status updates of friends seemingly living their ultimate life, reaching their goals and being in happy, fulfilled relationships, climbing corporate ladders. Their lives seem perfect… C’mon people! We all know that most of it are not real! Our immediate reaction is that we aren’t there. We aren’t achieving all these things, what is wrong with us!? STOP focusing on social media and the “success” you see there. We need to realize that we are all on our own journey. It may be prosperous for some but they too have their hard moments, their bad days, their failures, their inner turmoil, their self-loathing. Let’s rather start enjoying our own unique journey in life. Our own goals, strengths, and achievements.
- STOP Trying to be PERFECT:
Striving to be the perfect wife, mom, employee, or partner is out of the question in this journey. It adds no value to put ourselves under this much pressure to constantly strive for perfection. Do you know what goes hand-in-hand with the obsession with perfectionism? Shame and fear. Fear of failure and feeling shameful if our project or goal did not materialize. Shame and fear will directly cease our journey to self-love, so let’s stop trying to be perfect – it’s unrealistic. We are humans, and we need to learn the art of being just that – the art of being fully human. If we know we are giving everything we can, and trying our best with what we have then that is enough.
- Our Tribe Should be Good People:
Not everyone who crosses our path will add value to our life. Therefore, let’s be wise in who we spend time with or, give our energy to. It should be people who uplift us, who care about us, and love us exactly the way we are. If you know you are entangled in a toxic relationship, it’s absolutely necessary to get out. Going forward being aware of establishing healthy boundaries with friends, partners, co-workers, and family is critical in the journey to self-love.
- Let’s Love Our Bodies and Speak Kindly to Ourselves and About Ourselves:
It’s difficult to remember that our value doesn’t lie in our physical appearance. This ties in directly with the constant comparison to others and social media constantly adds fuel to the fire in this step. But let’s try from today. Let’s love our curves, or freckles, let’s speak about our bodies for the miracles that they are, and be thankful for our health.
Let’s listen to our bodies and provide nourishment through what we eat and drink. We cannot all be a size 10. So, let’s work with what we have and take care of our bodies just as we are. Working at controlling our thoughts and what we say to ourselves takes practice. I want you to join me in starting to speak to ourselves from this moment as we would speak to someone we love dearly, as they are. We wouldn’t tell our friends that they are useless so why are we so quick to say this to ourselves! Let’s stop being so critical and judgmental of ourselves and start using gentle words in our thoughts and focus on all our strengths.
- It’s OK that I made a Mistake and it’s OK to Forgive Myself for it:
We all make mistakes, and it’s OK. So, let’s stop being so hard on ourselves. The important part here is to be kind to ourselves when this happens, to take the lesson learnt and move forward. We are not our mistakes. Again, we are human, we tried something and it failed. Let’s not dwell on a mistake. Let’s distance ourselves from people who are constantly reminding us of it. Let’s embrace our pasts, forgive ourselves, and use the lessons learnt as stepping stones to future achievements.
- Me-time and Putting Myself First:
Living in a never-ending race of fulfilling several roles at once like, being a parent, partner, wife, husband, employee, and friend robs us of finding time for US! Meeting everyone else’s needs is overwhelming and leaves us with a sense of neglecting our own wants and needs. Listen up! It’s time to start putting our own needs first. We are going to take time out, recharge, and find ourselves. Let’s spend quality time on our own doing things that leave us feeling good and pampered without feeling guilty.
- I Have the Ability to Make Good Decisions:
I know deep down inside what the best choices are for me, and I am leaving the debilitating self-doubt I’ve had in making the right decisions or doing what is right for me behind. Instead, we should trust our inner voice more, do the research, and believe that only we can make the best-informed decisions for ourselves. It shouldn’t be based on others’ opinions of our lives.
- I am Teaching my Inner Voice to be Kind:
What are we saying to ourselves? “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not clever enough”, “I’m not worthy, and will never achieve anything”. “Without someone to love, I will never be happy”. These are all limiting, negative beliefs that are holding us back from truly loving ourselves. Our own narratives that we’ve made up and continuously tell ourselves. Let’s take the time to work through all of these “beliefs”. In need, reach out to a Life Coach who can assist in smashing these old beliefs and instill new commanding convictions. We are worth it!
- I am Nourishing my Body and Taking Care of ME:
“A healthy body triggers a healthy mind” – is a true story. Wholesome food, water, vitamins, and exercise are what our bodies need to feel good and taken care of. Prioritizing annual check-ups is a must. Being mindful of what we ingest and the quantities we take in is important. Participating in healthy activities, exercise, and getting sufficient sleep will see us glowing and at peak performance.
- I am completely ME and I Live in the Moment:
I am learning to live in this moment and be fully present. Be cautious of creating or having expectations, attachments, and desired outcomes. Let’s rater take a breath and just “be”, without compromise and remain authentic. Allowing ourselves to feel everything by leaning into emotional pain and sadness, and celebrating success and feelings of joy is good practice. Our feelings and emotions are valid and should be felt, experienced, and acknowledged. It brings about clarity in that we are not our feelings, they are merely by-products of our emotions.
There it is, the first 10 basic steps to start this journey of self-love. Something to practice and work at every day. In addition to the practical pointers of where to start, we should adopt patience – it’s not an overnight goal. By being consistent in our efforts to really love ourselves more, the fruits of our labour will show in time. It will manifest naturally in our self-image and who we are. How we accept and love ourselves will show in the people, and circumstances we attract – all factors in supporting our overall well-being.
Join me today in making the choice to start loving ourselves. Taking care of our emotional and physical well-being and being true to our core. It will be one of the most powerful gifts we give ourselves.
Should you require assistance in getting rid of your negative and limiting beliefs, please feel free to reach out to me. Together we can create a whole new you!
Debbie Hartmann, Life, Relationship and Teen Coach @My Kinda Life Coaching.