Posted on 02-01-2017
Before anybody else can love you, you have to love yourself.
You’ve heard this many times before. But what does it mean to love yourself? And how do you actually do it?
For various reasons, many of us find it easier to love others than to love ourselves. Sometimes we’re truly quite awful to ourselves. We subject ourselves to a harsh inner critic, unhealthy relationships, and toxic substances.
But regardless of the reasons for your lack of self-love, it’s time to start caring for yourself and treating yourself with the love you deserve. Instead of being selfish, as many fear, this self-love is a blueprint that shows others how to love you.
We put together 12 ways to love yourself. Many are simple and straight forward. Some are a bit harder. You don’t have to use all of these ideas, but you’ll find many overlap and work nicely together.
- Know yourself. It’s impossible to love yourself if you don’t even know who you are. Invest in discovering what you believe, value, and like.
- Say “no” when you need to. Boundaries are an essential form of self-care because they let others know that you deserve and expect respect.
- Don't compare yourself to others. Others aren’t better or worse, more or less than you; They’re just different. You have value just as you are and accepting yourself means there’s no need for comparisons.
- Allow yourself down time. Are you busy, busy busy? It’s time to slow down and allow your body and mind to rest. You don’t have to do it all. Prioritize what matters most and let go of any guilt in saying no. Rest is rejuvenating and a basic form of self-care.
- Be truly present. Our lives are full of distractions. Many of these things are fun and worthwhile, but they can be draining and keep us from truly knowing and being ourselves.
- Be honest with yourself. This one can be harder than it seems. Some of us as so good at self-deception that we don’t even know we’re doing it. Honesty is key in all relationships and your relationship with yourself is no different. Clearly you can’t love your entire messy self if you’re lying, minimizing, or making excuses. True self-love means taking responsibility and accountability.
- Let yourself off the hook for your mistakes and imperfections. You’re hard on yourself. You’re probably harder on yourself than anybody else. Cut yourself some slack and embrace your humanness. Mistakes are normal. Imperfections are part of what makes you you.
- Make fun a priority. Put something fun on your agenda every week. Don’t neglect it or cancel because you have too much work to do or your kiddo needs help with his history report. Just like rest, we all need fun in order to feel good. Don’t skimp on this important need.
- Practice Gratitude. Gratitude is one of the simplest ways to focus on the good in yourself and in your life. Try identifying 3 things you’re grateful for when you wake up every morning.
- Take good care of your body. Good health is truly priceless. Give yourself the gift of feeling physically well – exercise regularly, eat healthfully, drink water, get 7-8 hours of sleep most nights, have a regular pamper session.
- Speak kindly to yourself. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to a loved one. Don’t cut yourself down, call yourself names, or criticize yourself.
- Surround yourself with people who treat you with kindness and respect. Who you spend time with reflects how you feel about yourself. People who feel worthy surround themselves with positive people. Sometimes loving yourself means you have to end relationships with abusive or unkind people.
What will you do this week to love yourself more?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!