No matter what we choose to do with our lives, I think we can all learn to love ourselves a little bit more. I don’t mean in an egotistical or vain way, or even that selfies rule! Self-love is all about being supportive and kind to ourselves, feeling like we are valued, that we are nice people and we give ourselves the time, care and love we deserve.
As busy people with family’s, jobs, homes, hobbies and friends in our lives, we can find it difficult to find some ‘me time’. Sometimes, we just need to make the decision to love ourselves enough to do something relaxing or fun to bring our minds and bodies back into balance. This can be as simple as taking an hour to soak in the bath, reading a book, watching a film in peace, going out for a long walk, or shopping and treating yourself to something new.
So why is it that everyone close to you can see the love, light and awesomeness of you, but you?
We all have the option to make choices, and a key one is your attitude. We all have a tendency to believe in self-doubt, listen to the self-criticism and feel we are not good enough.
Therefore, everyone deserves a healthy dose of self-love. But we also need to be honest with ourselves; no one is going to give this to you, it’s a gift that comes from within.
If we were to sit with our best friend or our kids when they were feeling the self-doubt, what would you say to them? You’d offer words of encouragement, tell them how brilliant they are, and offer great advice over a cup of tea. So why can’t we talk to ourselves in the same way?
Instead we put on a brave face, smile to the outside world and tell everyone we are ok, when actually, inside our heads we are really struggling to like ourselves, let alone practice a little self-love.
4 ways to give yourself the gift of self-love
1 . Watch your self-talk
You know that little chatterbox in your head that doubts everything you do, have done, or will do? This is your self-talk. Thoughts and ideas that pop through your head at random times, and won’t stay quiet when you want to go to sleep.
Our biggest mistake is to listen to these thoughts as though they were real. They feel real, yes, but they are just thoughts and feelings which only become real when we take action on them. They are not the real you, and every moment you spend listening to these thoughts is a moment wasted. None of us has forever to waste, so let's use these moments more wisely.
Next time your chatterbox starts to make you feel anxious or doubt yourself, remember you are too smart to waste precious moments listening to something that just isn’t real.
Speak to yourself with loving kindness. Notice the words you are using, write them down if you need to, and look for patterns of negative words or phrases. These are the words etched on your mind because your body is always listening, so change the words! Keep post it notes with loving words around the house, and read them aloud whenever you pass them.
Be as kind and compassionate to yourself as you would to a child. Children believe they can be whatever they want to be, and so should you. Tell yourself over and over ‘I love myself’. It feels weird at first and a little uncomfortable but uncomfortable is a place where we learn to change our beliefs. Eventually, you will be astonished at how this starts to feel. Even if you don’t believe it at first, keep going; you will find it starts to feel good and you'll want to continue.
Love yourself enough to let go. Anger and resentment don’t hurt others, it just hurts you. You can't control what others do, think or feel, but you can control your own thoughts and feelings.
You don’t have to like what happened or agree to become best friends any time soon, but forgiving them will allow you to move forward with peace and freedom.
Do it for you.
Forgive yourself the little things too. What you said, what you did, what you wished for. You’re not perfect, and neither am I, and that’s ok. We’re human, flawed and make mistakes. Start to see mistakes as pivotal points of self-growth and learning.
We are all human, we all make mistakes, but we can all be kinder to ourselves too. Take baby steps towards changing your thoughts and feelings into more positive ones, and remember you create a richer, deeper, vibrant and fulfilling life by being true to the real you, mistakes included.
3. Learn to accept love
Self-love is a feeling of acceptance and takes practice. It also creates the foundation for all you can be, and all you can offer to the world.
Getting to know the real you is a life long project, and we need to remember our past does not control our future. There are lessons in life that have made us who we are today, but they are not a life sentence and shouldn’t reflect who we are now, or who we choose to be in future.
Fear which stems from past experiences stops us from fully living in the moment and being able to create a nourishing and loving environment.
It’s ok to feel fear. Feel it, accept it, but don’t let it stop you.
4. Open your heart chakra
Find a place to sit quietly and meditate. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes, focusing on the in breath and out breath before continuing. Now, open your heart chakra. Imagine a door in front of your heart, and open it to the world around you, then send love into the world. Focus on sending out this love for a few more minutes. Feels good, right?
Now switch, and start to receive love from the world. Not as easy is it? Most people find this harder to do, and I was shocked at how hard I found this. Just keep focussing on the positive. Hold the door open and slowly let the love in. This gets easier with time, I promise you.
It’s not selfish to create an environment that nurtures and enables you to flourish. We all need to start feeling good about our lives, bodies, personalities, uniqueness, strengths, and weaknesses. Everything that makes you, YOU.
We can’t take care of our family and friends properly unless we learn to find balance in our own health and wellbeing. Once you create this habit, you will find relationships with family and friends flourish, and so will other areas of your life.
Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love