Self-Love and how to practice it in our daily lives

It is very common knowledge that we cannot give what we do not possess. This theory extends not only to material possessions but also our own qualities and character traits.

When we talk about love, an omnipresent and a natural phenomenon, we cannot overlook the very fact that to be able to love someone/something, one has to be able to love oneself first. When we can love ourselves well, we can love others well too! Self-love is an essential and indispensable building block of our being.

Self-Love begins with complete acceptance of who we truly are. Being able to appreciate our uniqueness, recognise our flaws, treat ourselves with kindness and respect all through the highs and lows of life while supporting our physical, psychological and spiritual growth is what loving oneself is all about.

The best example of self-love can be the love we have in our relationships with other people. Once we love someone, we accept them with their darkness and their overall personality. While loving them, there could be times where we feel let down, disappointed and angry at them, after all it is practically impossible to stay positive all the time, right! But all through those difficult moments we still remain in love with them and choose love over everything else. Now, that is what loving yourself also looks like. We may feel weak, incompetent, insufficient in ourselves at times and also go through a lot of negative emotions towards ourselves, but every time we must choose to love and respect our own self and embrace our darkness and vulnerabilities.

Loving yourself truly is the key to a good life. Without it one can easily fall into the habit of people-pleasing and perfectionism. One can become overly self-critical and lose self-confidence while always seeking approval from other people. We are more prone to accepting abuse and mistreatment if we don’t love ourselves because of the absence of healthy boundaries that usually comes from not valuing ourselves.

We end up neglecting our own needs, always putting others first and not prioritising things that are in our best interest, if we don’t feel worthy about ourselves. Self-sabotaging behaviour is also an outcome of the lack of self-love.

There are some very simple practices to cultivate self-love and these can be done on a daily basis. Let us see what they are:

  1. Start journaling about your emotions. Pen them down and vent out your stuck-up emotions. Journaling will help you observe yourself and work on yourself too.
  2. Write about things you are grateful for in a day. Start noticing good things than focusing on what went wrong.
  3. Find one thing that you love doing for yourself and do it! It could be getting yourself your favourite dress that you’ve been putting off for so long, going for a walk in the park, watching your favourite movie, listening to the music you love, whatever that makes you happy.
  4. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Try not to be too self-critical, give yourself a break as you would to a loved one. Don’t be hard on yourself all the time, be human to yourself first, right!
  5. Learn and practice forgiveness towards yourself. We all are flawed beings and are capable of making mistakes. By being forgiving towards ourselves, we can learn to be forgiving towards others as well.
  6. Stop comparing yourself to others. Focus on yourself and your journey. Each one of us has a different path to follow and we are all made different. Therefore, comparisons are unnecessary baggage we carry. Focus on yourself and live intentionally and authentically.
  7.  Limit your time on social media. The core component of self-love is refraining from self-judgement and comparison to others. Research has found that constant scrolling on social media can lead us to comparing ourselves with what we all we see, eventually affecting our self-esteem adversely. Too much of screen time can alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness and fear of missing out.
  8. Give yourself a compliment every now and then. Stand in front of the mirror in the morning and appreciate how far you’ve come. Compliment yourself on your small wins or any efforts that you make. Complimenting ourselves can bring about a shift in the relationship we have with yourselves and in our mindset as well.
  9. Take care of your body by adopting healthy practices like exercising regularly, taking adequate sleep, waking up and going to bed on time, eating healthy. There is no better way to express love to yourself than by taking care of your physical body, it all starts here!
  10. Practice setting healthy boundaries with the people around you for your mental and emotional wellbeing. Learn to say no to people, it is also called Vitamin N (NO)! Express your discontent in a healthy manner to people if they make you feel uneasy or shortchanged or ill-treated. Respect yourself enough to not be misused by anyone.
  11. Respect towards self comes first, even before we respect others.
Author: Aumtara