“Learn to love yourself” is something we hear all the time. The more you love yourself, the better you’ll take care of yourself. Practicing self-love impacts your health, longevity, self-esteem, self-confidence, and success. Self-love and self-care go hand in hand. You cannot give from an empty cup.
When you love yourself, you make yourself a priority. You are worthy of your own love. This is NOT narcissistic selfishness! This is about knowing your own value and worth down to your very bones. It’s about understanding that the only validation required does not come from outside of self. But how do you truly practice self-love?
Here are some practices to enhance your self-love:
1. Take time to celebrate all you have accomplished.
View yourself in a positive light more often. One of the easiest ways to do this is to remember your triumphs. Maybe you excelled on a team in middle school. Remember your high school or college graduation day. Think about that time you received a promotion or a time when you were very creative.
We tend to spend plenty of time remembering our failures. What if you choose to celebrate your wins instead? (And the “wins” include the lessons learned from those perceived failures.) Try celebrating for a month and see what happens!
2. Be kind to yourself.
You are your own worst critic. You are harder on yourself than anyone else. I know this because we all do it. How many times have you said to yourself, “I am so stupid!” or “That was dumb!” or the plethora of other self-loathing statements we tend to make. Choosing to practice self-love means catching that “inner critic” and teaching her to speak kindly.
Showing kindness to yourself—as you would a child—is that first small, sweet step.
3. Forgive yourself.
You’ve made a few mistakes. Who hasn’t? You are human and you make mistakes. However, it’s time to give yourself a break. Beating yourself up over a mistake is self-harming. Forgiveness frees you from that prison. It is one of the most loving gifts you can give to yourself.
You would do the same for someone you care about, so do it for yourself.
4. Practice mirror work.
This beautiful practice, made popular by Louise Hay, is simple yet profound. Begin by looking into a mirror, deeply into your own eyes. Look past any perceived imperfections as if you are gazing into your own soul. State aloud, “I love you. (Your name), I really, really love you!”
The key with this practice is to stay with it. It will feel silly at first, and then you may feel increasingly uneasy, but if you stick with it, you will find that it gets easier and easier.
When you can gaze at your own reflection and truly say you love yourself, you are well on your way to owning your worth and happiness.
5. Honor your body temple.
Take care of your body. Your body is the home for your soul. It is the physicalness of who you are. It is the vehicle through which the Divine expresses through you as YOU! When you eat non-nourishing foods and do not move your body, you’re harming the body temple. Obviously, this isn’t a good example of self-love. Choose to honor your body temple.
When you make choices that honor your body temple, you are practicing self-love.
6. Appreciate your uniqueness.
Sometimes we overlook our own uniqueness. If some see us as quirky, we tend to view that as negative rather than seeing our weirdness as what makes us unique.
Embrace and celebrate what makes you uniquely YOU!
7. Practice gratitude.
Appreciate your amazing and powerful body! Express gratitude for your amazing mind. Show appreciation for the people in your life that love you. Gratitude/appreciation is an amazing practice that will benefit you in so many wondrous ways!
What about yourself do you deeply appreciate now in this moment?
8. Focus on what brings you joy!
We often don’t put enough priority on the activities that bring us joy. In many cases, we even feel guilty when we engage with something that bring us pleasure. This needs to stop. Life is supposed to be joyful. You want to be doing at least one thing each and every day that makes your soul sing!
What will you choose to experience joy today?
9. Smile and be kind.
Please do not underestimate the power of this simple practice. Smiles are contagious and so is kindness! Hold that door for a stranger. Compliment someone. Notice how good you feel when you smile and express kindness.
How will you choose to show some kindness today?
Call to Action:
Take one or all of these practices and use them! Don’t take my word for this. Conduct your own experiment. Integrate these practices into your life and see what happens. Notice what you notice. As immortalized by Whitney Houston, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all!”
Until next time…