“Your greatest responsibility is to love yourself and to know you are enough.”
Self-love goes beyond doing face masks and drinking enough water every day to fill a children’s blow-up pool.
Instead, it focuses on making peace with who you are. Being kind to yourself is one of the most important things you will do in your life because it has the biggest impact on the most things. Your life is transformed by self-love – relationships improve, you find motivation, your self-esteem goes up, and you develop the belief that you deserve good things (which you do!)
But self-love, also known as self-compassion, doesn’t just appear out of thin air; it is something that needs patient practice. It is easily neglected, followed by feelings of guilt, and is often incorrectly linked to conceitedness. Here are my tips for practicing self-love, whether you are a self-love veteran or are just beginning your journey.
1. Grow In Kindness
Although this may seem a strange place to start, the way you treat those around you has a huge impact on how you treat yourself. By showing kindness to others, in whatever small way you can, you train your brain to respond to every situation with gentleness and grace.
Kindness is a choice. It may come more easily to some than others, but you will always have the ability to choose to be kind. Find a few small things you can do during your everyday life that shows kindness.
- Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog.
- Bake cookies for your colleagues.
- Phone a friend to tell them how much they mean to you.
- Let someone into your lane when stuck in traffic.
- Smile at cashiers, every time.
When kindness towards others becomes a habit, it’s easier to treat yourself in the same soft way.
2. Cherish Your Own Company
A pivotal part of any self-love journey is the moment you realize you genuinely enjoy your own company. Our days can get so full of other people’s noise that we forget to take notice of our own thoughts and feelings. Take time to hang out with yourself! Read a book that inspires you, play your favorite songs and sing along loudly, or try out a new recipe you’ve been putting off for months.
Prioritizing time alone is crucial to developing self-love because you learn who you are and what excites you. Think about it – it’s impossible to love someone who you don’t know.
3. Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Not having proper boundaries in place leads to both physical and mental exhaustion. Take a couple minutes to sit and think about who in your life uses up more of your time and energy than they should. Then, ask yourself why you have allowed that to happen and whether you want to let them continue or not.
Learning to say ‘no’ and set boundaries can be incredibly scary, especially the first time you do it. But this is a skill that you will carry with you for the rest of your life, and is worth practicing!
4. Keep A Journal
Journaling is a powerful tool in any self-love journey. The number one point here is that there is no wrong way to journal. Experiment with different techniques and get creative!
Here are some journaling prompts you can work through or questions you can answer:
- What are your favorite ways to be kind to yourself?
- Are you holding on to past mistakes? Write about them!
- What do you believe defines a person’s character?
- Do you hold yourself to the same standard that you hold friends and family?
- What choices have you made that you are proud of?
You could also keep a daily record of how you feel about yourself – a documentation of how your self-love grows.
Remember that your journal is here to serve you, not the other way around. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to keep your journal perfect if it doesn’t need to be! Try throwing grammar out the window, putting neat handwriting in the closet, and burying self-criticism in the backyard.
5. Forgive Yourself
Self-love goes hand-in-hand with self-forgiveness, and it’s difficult to have one without the other. You will struggle developing self-love if you are holding on to past events and not letting yourself move on. Reflect on mistakes you have made and ask yourself why you have not been able to move past them. Why are you holding on to guilt? You can try writing through all your thoughts in your journal and figure out where you can begin forgiving yourself for not getting it right all the time.
6. List Your Accomplishments & Celebrate Them
You are amazing! Make a physical list of reasons why this is true and put it up somewhere you’ll see it every day. Include anything that you have felt proud of yourself for, big or small. While this is one of the easiest ways to show kindness to yourself, it is also one of the most effective ways to grow self-love.
7. Seek Daily Laughter
Prioritize things and people that make you laugh. Having a good chuckle is a brilliant way to recharge your energy and boost your mood by releasing inner tension and leaving you in a much better starting position to build on your self-love. Find something that tickles you pink and set aside time each day to fully enjoy that thing. This could be a podcast, a comic strip, a YouTube account, a funny book, or a sitcom.
Practicing self-love is a kindness that will bring you rewards for the rest of your life. It won’t always be easy, and some days may seem impossible, but it is always worth any bit of effort you put in. Take the P.S. Love Yourself Quiz today and find out where you are in your self-love journey!