Self-love is a mindset. It's a mindset that's necessary if you want to have great mental health and in general, live a great life. I'm going to try to avoid making this like a lot of self-love posts out there. Instead, I am going to actually give you practical tips that will help you get to a place where you feel good about yourself and who you are.
What is self love?
Self-love doesn't need a definition. It means exactly what the word states...loving yourself. Or as I like to put it, loving THE HECK OUT OF yourself.
Why does self-love feel so hard to develop?
One of the biggest reasons people struggle with self-love is because they constantly compare themselves to others. There's a quote that says "comparison is the thief of joy". It's true. One of the best ways to immediately feel unhappy is by comparing yourself to others. Social media also doesn't help with this.
Another reason we all struggle with self-love is because we have made our lives so busy that we literally don't have time to take care of ourselves. Unfortunately, this "busyness" does not work in our favour because so many of us are the unhappiest we have ever been as a result of it. If you keep yourself busy to the point where you don't have time to take care of yourself, your body will eventually crash.
The good thing is that developing self-love doesn't have to be as hard as you think it is. I have a few steps outlined below to help you get started!
How do you develop self-love?
The first step, before we get into the actual steps, is to start making a daily intention to put yourself first. It's about waking up in the morning and choosing to make decisions that align with who you truly are. Give yourself permission to feel loved by yourself. When you live life from a place of self-love, EVERYTHING gets better.
Step 1. Reflection Exercise!
This is a critical first step to do before you move onto anything else and only takes 10-15 min to complete.
Take the time to reflect the type of life that you want to be living. What do you envision for yourself? As you're doing this, imagine the type of person you want to be. What characteristics would you embody if you were living your best life? Get as clear as possible.
It's important for you to have a clear vision of this because this is what you want to embody on a day-day basis. A part of loving yourself is acting as your authentic self. It becomes easier to act as your authentic self once you are clear what your authentic self actually is.
Step 2. Get in tune with your body.
Start asking yourself throughout the day, "What do I need right now?". We keep ourselves so busy that we can't even fully understand what our bodies need. We live in a world of disconnected minds and bodies.
Another critical component of loving yourself is being able to recognize what you need in specific moments. The more you start asking yourself what you need, the clearer it will get. When you know what your needs are, it's a lot easier to fulfill them. Do you need nutritious food in this moment? Do you need to step outside and get fresh air? Do you need to call a friend? What do you need in this moment?
Step 3. Stop feeling bad about putting yourself first.
Don't ever feel bad about this. You literally become a better you when you start putting yourself first and EVERYONE benefits from this in the long run.
How do you work on this? Challenge those negative thoughts every time they come up and practice being your own BFF. Remind yourself that you need to do this to be a better you and that it helps everyone long-term.
Step 4. Schedule YOU time.
If you are serious about developing self-love and putting yourself first, then literally schedule that time in. We all schedule meetings, social gatherings, time to eat etc. but how about scheduling time for ourselves?! You are just as important as all those other things you need to do.
I try to do something for myself for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. This is my time to care for me and to be there for myself. So take a few minutes right now to add in some you time to your schedule.
Step 5. Cut out and/or let go of everything and that doesn't serve your self-love.
This one's a hard one for a lot of people. There's just something about letting go of things we have been comfortable with for years, even though it's not good for us, that's hard for us to do. But, do you want to live a life of comfort or do you want to live a life where you radiate with self-love? The choice is yours.
Let go of the toxic relationships. Let go of the bad foods. Let go of all the habits that tell your mind and body you hate it. Let go of anything that doesn't serve your self-love.