“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown
At this point, you have probably been told a hundred times how important self-love is for your confidence and well-being. You have also probably realized that gaining self-love is easier said than done…
If you believe your self-love needs a bit of work, here is your eight-step prescription for gaining and growing self-love.
1. Handling ‘Negative’ Emotions
From a young age we are taught that certain emotions are bad and that feeling or expressing them should be avoided at all costs. This leads to an unhealthy build-up of negative emotions which can explode under pressure.
Instead of running away from negative feelings, allow yourself time to feel every emotion fully. Feeling negative emotions, such as anger, jealousy, disappointment or distress, does not make you a bad person. When you realize you are upset, approach your emotions mindfully and gently. By simply acknowledging these emotions and giving them space to be felt, you take away their novelty, which opens up space for acceptance and self-love.
2. Needs Vs. Wants
Not many people enjoy change. It is scary, disruptive, and unfamiliar, but it is completely necessary in order for you to grow and gain self-love. It is easy to get caught up in wanting everything to stay the same, but you may need to change some things around.
Work on breaking bad habits that only feel good momentarily and build new ones which will fulfill you long-term. Turn your focus towards things that make you excited about your future and turn away from quick-fix patterns that keep you stuck in the past.
3. You Are A Loved One
One of the most powerful ways to understand self-love is to imagine a loved one experiencing the feelings that you feel. How would you treat them – with impatience and frustration? Or with love and compassion?
Now, treat yourself in the same way you would a best friend or family member. This might be difficult at first, and you may find yourself thinking, “I don’t deserve kindness, or patience.” Challenge this thought! Why does everyone deserve compassion except you? Treat yourself as if you are a loved one, and be kind to yourself no matter what you are doing, feeling, or experiencing.
4. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is different from self-love in that it is entirely practical. Self-care looks like:
- Good nutrition
- Meditation or journaling
- Enough sleep
- Healthy social interactions
By taking care of your basic needs, you train your brain to realize you are valuable and worthy of looking after. This directly feeds into increasing your self-love! What better way to love yourself than by making sure you are properly cared for?
5. Forgive Yourself
Many people struggle with self-love because they hold on to past mistakes which stop them from feeling worthy of self-love. Do some internal digging and find out what you feel guilty about, and what you haven’t forgiven yourself for. If you need to apologize to someone, go do it! Resolve anything that is holding you back from full self-forgiveness.
You are not defined by your mistakes, but rather by how you move forward after making them. If you have made actions to not repeat your past mistakes, then you have every right to forgiveness, and every right to love yourself again.
6. Set Boundaries
You are allowed to say no. Setting boundaries prevents you from reaching burnout, and lets you devote your full attention to the things that matter most.
Here are a few things that you should think about defining boundaries for:
- Romantic partners
- Demanding friends/family
- Draining friends/family
After setting your boundaries, make sure to communicate them clearly. If someone does not respect your boundaries, hold your ground! You set them for a reason and standing up for yourself is the purest way to practice self-love.
7. Manage Self-Talk
Self-talk is the little voice in your head which often pendulums between compliments and complaints. Approach negative self-talk with curiosity – ask questions like:
“How does this thought make me feel about myself?”
“Where did this thought originate?”
“Is there any truth to this thought?”
Your first instinct when dealing with negative self-talk is probably to either run from it, or wallow in it and let it consume you. Challenge yourself to remain neutral after thinking something unkind about yourself.
Once this neutrality becomes more second-nature, start to adopt encouraging self-talk. The trick here is to only say things that are believable at your current level of self-love. If you’re just getting started, saying, “I am the greatest person to have walked this earth!” will feel insincere, and won’t actually help you.
Here are some things you could start with:
“I deserve to not beat myself up.”
“I tried really hard today, and that is valuable.”
“I am capable of loving myself deeply and fully.”
8. Live With Intention
Living intentionally shoots your self-love levels through the roof! By being sincere in all that you do, you begin to respect yourself and find yourself.
Let your decisions reflect your goals and set your goals to be in line with your purpose. You will feel good about yourself, and gain self-love, when you find yourself taking steps towards your dream every day.
Choosing Self-Love: Ps. Love Yourself
Self-love is an action. It is something which requires constant practice, but it will get easier to do over time. Contact us at 954-806-5569 today if you are looking for help and guidance on your journey to self-love.