Do you struggle with having a healthy view of yourself? Does the self love phenomenon leave you confused and numb because you don’t know how to practice self love and weren’t modeled positive, self-affirming behaviours? Then this video is for you.
While we might think that self love is a narcissistic pursuit and self-centered, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The ability to be self aware, with a strong dose of self worth and self care, creates happier, well-adjusted lives. You never have to compare yourself or concern yourself about what the next person is doing again because your own life is so exciting.
Researchers Eric Fields and Gina R. Kuperberg, from the Department of Psychology at Tufts University, explain that: “Positively biased self-views are argued to be a key component of healthy psychological functioning, influencing self-esteem, motivation, and determination. Indeed, a lack of a self-positivity bias (or even a self-negativity bias) may contribute to mood and anxiety disorder.”
So if self love seems frivolous to you, you might be missing out on some amazing benefits that would permeate throughout your life. If you’re interested in some practical ways on how to learn to love yourself, here are a few tips to help you on your way.
- Get To Know Yourself
Do you ever wonder how other people seem to just be so comfortable as themselves and know themselves inside out? Does your brain buffer when you hear the dreaded “So tell me about yourself?” A lot of us have been there and a fun solution actually exists for those moments.
Take an A4 paper or your notes on your tablet and put your name on the top. Divide the page into 4 parts. Label these quadrants as likes, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths. Now, start filling in the spaces under those quadrants. You don’t have to do them in order, just go with your flow. It definitely helps to be alone and allocate time for this exercise, however long you feel comfortable. Also, definitely save these pages (because there will be many).
The purpose of this activity is to essentially get to know all of you, flaws and all and to accept and embrace it. Think of it as dating yourself. You hang out with yourself, giving you all of your attention and really engaging with who you are. You will, over time and consistent practice, truly know who you are and what you are capable of.
- Avoid Negative Self-talk
Do you find that your inner critic is more ruthless than others? Does that inner voice sound like a tape repeating hurtful and discouraging things, constantly feeding you fear? As humans, we struggle with some form of doubt every now and then. However, as we enter into a new chapter of being the love to ourselves we wish we had, the negative self-talk has got to go!
Dr. Kristin Neff asks: “What type of language do you use with yourself when you notice a flaw or make a mistake? Do you insult yourself or do you take a more kind and understanding tone? If you are highly self-critical, how does that make you feel inside?” Paying attention to how you internally talk to yourself is the most important step in learning how to cultivate self-love.
- Create Personal Rituals
Do you start your day on a bit of a disorganized foot? Do you not feel grounded or guided in your daily life and feel disconnected from yourself? Creating a ritual, be it daily or weekly, can help ease this issue.
Rituals are meaningful practices with a deep sense of purpose. As opposed to a habit, rituals require you to be a bit more mindful and focused. Take time out of your busy day for self-care rituals, whether it’s physical activity, meditating, journaling or praying.
The benefits of creating these personal rituals are stated by Dr Deborah Khoshaba : 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.
- Be Compassionate Towards Yourself
Do you tend to beat yourself up with cruel self talk? Do you not allow yourself to do anything until it’s perfect or close enough for you and still judge yourself for not being good enough? This behavior is harmful to you as it affects your sense of self worth and self esteem. By not giving yourself any grace for being flawed or human, you stunt your own growth and withhold love from yourself.
Self-compassion is similar to showing compassion to other people. It’s a practice of noticing that you are suffering and then offering yourself understanding and kindness. Kristin Neff, PhD, stated in her book “Self Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself” that “You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are.”
A suggestion here is to practice embracing whatever emotion you feel. Instead of repressing it or letting it completely overwhelm you, you acknowledge it as it is and also how you can be later. For example, say you are feeling sad. You acknowledge that emotion is normal, that’s currently how you’re feeling and you can settle into it and it can eventually pass.
- Discover Your Self Love Language
Author Gary Chapman wrote a book, The 5 Love Languages, about the ways that people show and receive love. In it, he reveals forms, namely: words of affirmations, gifts, acts of service, physical touch and quality time. These love languages can also be applied to the self in many different ways, depending on the love language that you resonate with.
Joyce Marter, LCPC, expressed a sentiment on how to use this system for your own personal well-being. Imagine how you treat yourself on a daily basis as if you were another person, in a relationship with you. By discovering your self love language, you can incorporate daily self-love practices that are specially catered to you and make you feel better. If you have Receiving Gifts as your love language, you can, for example, buy the things you want that bring positivity into your life or investing in your interests or bucket-list experiences. The purpose of this is to learn to become comfortable in your own presence.
- Make Space For Self-Reflection
As humans, we can be extremely hard on ourselves, especially if it’s in the aftermath of a setback .Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan. No matter how well we plan. We punish ourselves for mistakes when we can instead learn from them.
Instead of self blame, you can use these failures as an opportunity for personal growth. Some examples of self-reflection can take the form of a weekly review, a journaling session, a regular meeting with a trusted friend to reflect on your recent experiences and challenges or in therapy, if you are able to attend.
Remember, there are no failures if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
The journey to true self-compassion and love is a long one but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. Instead, think of all of the versions of yourself you’ll get to meet and the experiences you’ll have as you devote yourself to you.
As you can see, just a few changes can nurture more self-love. If you choose just one or two of these self-love actions to work on, you will begin to accept and love yourself more.If you’ve gotten this far, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to watch this until the end. We hope that you’ve enjoyed the video and that you feel a bit more confident about implementing more self loving rituals in your life. And remember : you matter!
*Asghar, D. A. (2022, February 14). The science of self-love: The evidence-based benefits of Loving Yourself. Ness Labs. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://nesslabs.com/self-love
*Khoshaba , D. (2012, March 27). A seven-step prescription for self-love. Psychology Today. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love
*Hailey Gamba. (2021, October 15). Dating YOURSELF And Prioritizing Self Care/Self Love! GRWM +how to date yourself after a break up. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://youtu.be/5Kf23zynzjk
*Marter, J. (2016, February 2). Applying the 5 love languages to self-love: How to love yourself. Psych Central. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/success/2016/02/applying-the-5-love-languages-to-self-love-how-to-love-yourself#1
*Sandoiu, A. (2018, March 23). The importance of self-love and how to cultivate it. Medical News Today. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321309#Moving-away-from-perfectionism
*Seppala, D. E. (2017, June 28). The scientific benefits of self-compassion. The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Retrieved December 13, 2022, from http://ccare.stanford.edu/uncategorized/the-scientific-benefits-of-self-compassion-infographic/