Understanding the definition of self-love is the first step toward learning to love oneself. Picture the affection you have for a spouse or a good friend: You are mindful of their defects, but you respect how those flaws contribute to the ones you care about, respect, and love. Now, channel all of your compassion, tolerance, and compassion into yourself. “Self-love means accepting your strengths, weaknesses, and everything in between,” explains Hannah Elise Rose, LCPC, a Baltimore-based therapist. She claims that when you have self-love, you can admit your faults and seek to change or make reparations, but you can also embrace yourself rather than obsess over your flaws.
According to research, having positive sentiments about yourself is a key component of success and happiness. Self-love can be unsettling at first. Gradually introducing self-love practices can be beneficial. People can grow to love themselves by exercising loving-kindness, self-compassion, self-gratitude, and forgiveness.
Have you ever had trouble loving yourself? If that’s the case, you are not alone. We have an understanding of our own value and worth when we respect ourselves. We do not need others’ approval or for them to tell us that we’re good enough, clever enough, or gorgeous enough; we already know. As a result, we have a high degree of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence.
We have more bad feelings and self-focused sentiments when we don’t love ourselves. For instance, we might feel:
- Disproportionate Anger
- Excessively Driven (To Prove Ourselves To People Who Doubt Us)
We may also be compelled to consume substances that make us feel good in the short term but harm us in the long run (Wegscheider-Cruse, 2012). To cope with negative feelings, we could turn to drinking, narcotics, sex, eating, shopping, or work engagement.
Why Is It Important To Love Yourself?
You may be harsher on yourself because you do not love yourself. Negative self-talk, such as “I’m useless,” “I’ll never accomplish this,” or “I’m not intelligent enough,” are examples of negative self-talk. Stress, depression, and hopelessness can result from these mental processes.
On the other hand, research suggests that having positive sentiments about yourself is a key component of success, popularity, and happiness (Crocker, & Knight, 2005). As a result, self-love may be essential to living a happy life.
Fortunately, self-love is something that can be developed through time.
Although it is not easy to boost our self-esteem and start loving ourselves, we do have the ability to enhance the lot of positive emotions we have about own selves. You can start to love yourself more with a variety of science-backed methods. However, bear in mind that they may be difficult at first. It’s possible that you don’t feel at ease giving yourself the kindness and respect that you deserve. So take your time and, if necessary, ease into self-love tactics gradually. Here are a few best ways to love yourself to get started:
Begin A Conversation With Your Higher Self.
It is not as difficult as you would imagine communicating with your higher guidance. The trick is to be willing to learn about self-love. The solutions may come quickly or gradually. They can appear in the form of words, visions, or dreams. The solutions will emerge when your mind is interested in learning.
“Loving oneself” is sometimes thought of as a sensation that may be summoned. “What should I do to like myself?” rather than “How else can I feel the love for myself?” is an effective method to approach loving oneself.
You have now acknowledged your grief, moved on to understanding, start a conversation with your emotions, and connect to your spiritual direction at this point. This includes performing one of the loving deeds you identified in the previous section, ‘Starting discourse with your higher self.’ These activities, no matter how insignificant they appear at first, mount up over time.
Check-in with yourself after you’ve taken the loving decision to see whether your sorrow, anger, and humiliation are subsiding. If you don’t find the truth and loving deeds that bring you tranquillity, happiness, and a profound sense of intrinsic worth, you go again through the steps.
You’ll find that loving yourself enhances it all in your life, including your relations, well-being, health, capacity to actualize your goals, and self-esteem, over time. To be capable of loving and connecting with people and forming deeper relationships, you must first love and communicate with yourself. The secret to living a passionate, fulfilling, and joyous life is to love oneself.
Self-compassion requires being sympathetic to oneself (expressing compassion and care). Dr. Kristin Neff, a self-compassion expert, defines self-compassion as “self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness” (Neff, 2003).
Practicing Loving Kindness to Yourself and Others
Loving-kindness Meditation is a sort of meditation that can be used to create genuine kindness toward oneself and others. It means saying things like “may you be joyful” or “may you be free of pain” to specific people and yourself. Focus on the phase of the meditation where you visualize love flowing towards you to start embracing yourself more.
Individuals who completed 6 weeks of forgiveness therapies for the treatment reported less anger, stress, and sorrow than those who did not receive the instruction, according to research (Harris, et al., 2006). They felt more optimistic right after the session and 4 months afterward as well.
Feeling thankful for who we are and what we have accomplished is one sort of gratitude. For instance, we can say “thank you” to ourselves for putting our health first. We could also pat ourselves on the back for trying to make someone else happy. Alternatively, we could be thankful for our adorable cheeks, cool and collected demeanor, and ability to bake the finest cookies. So, each and every day, take a moment to start noticing the aspects of yourself that you are truly thankful for.
It’s critical to take steps to demonstrate our love for ourselves. It’s exactly the same as if we were dating. Even if our companion claims to love us, if they do not show it, we may not strongly feel it. As a result, demonstrate to yourself that “you love you.” You can do this by deciding to take the evening off from work, purchasing something that will aid you in achieving your goals or making a stand against a workplace troublemaker. Any act of kindness that demonstrates self-love can assist you in realizing that you love yourself.
Most of us find it difficult to accept ourselves as we are. Fortunately, we can take steps to strengthen this fondness and build a life that makes us truly happy. Hopefully, these suggestions may help you in getting started.
After you have put in the effort in learning to appreciate yourself, you will be up for any task. Assume you’re giving a significant talk at work. You will go into the room with self-assurance if you respect yourself. If you are nervous, you will recognize your feelings and be kind to yourself. Because you will be less terrified of criticism, you will be able to take more strategic risks in whatever you provide. When a higher-up pushes you to finish a separate project at the same time your talk is due, you will feel comfortable setting limits, such as expressing “I can’t focus on that right now.” You’ll be upset if the talk doesn’t go well, but people who appreciate themselves don’t allow that to influence their perception of themselves as valued.
“Imagine getting a knocking on the door from certain unpleasant guests — guilt, uncertainty, dread, and self-hate — after the ill-fated talk. Rather than letting them in to make you feel bad, self-love enables you to open the door, see the visitors, decide to say ‘No, thank you,’ and lock the door, she explains. “If that’s not empowering, I don’t know what is.”
Begin By Pursuing A Pleasurable Pastime
When you are down on yourself, it is easy to get wrapped up in a rut. Choose a hobby, game, or art that you genuinely enjoy. “Chances are, if you enjoy doing it, you’re also pretty good at it,” says Jamie Katoff, LMT, a marriage therapist in San Francisco. When we are doing something we like—and doing it well—we enter a condition known as ‘flow,’ which boosts confidence and enjoyment. Learning to remain in that condition daily will result in increased perceptions of self-esteem and self-love.
Investing extra time filling in an adult’s coloring book, focusing on a difficult jigsaw puzzle, caring for your lush gardens, creating a sumptuous dessert, writing in a diary, having an at-home yoga session, or even enjoying a fun word game could be one way to do so.
Are you yet to discover what actually delights you? The masterclass provides a wide selection of classes offered by well-known celebs and industry executives (think: Annie Leibovitz pieces of training in photography, Margaret Atwood teaching writing skills, Misty Copeland teaching dancing); Craftsy offers instruction in everything from candy making to quilting. You can also use an app to learn another language, such as Duolingo.
Focus On Improving Your Lifestyle
A well-balanced diet is more than just about maintaining a slim physique. Indeed, intriguing evidence from the burgeoning field of nutrition psychology suggests that eating well can help alleviate anxiety and depression, as well as improve mental health. Women who ate more fruits, veggies, fish, meat, and whole grains were less likely to feel anxious and sad than those who ate mostly manufactured, sugary and fried meals, according to research published in the American Journal of Psychology. In a similar manner, a 2016 research of over 12,000 Australians found that those who increased the number of servings of vegetables and fruits in their meals were healthier, happier, and more content with their lives than those who kept their diets the same.
“Focus on food that makes you feel nourished and makes your body feel good,” says Kelley Kitley, LCSW, best-seller author of MY self: An Autobiography of Survival and a Chicago social worker, who suggests consuming whole, clean meals like fruits, vegetables, lentils, and whole grains. While there’s no disputing the appeal of brownies, potato chips, and other simple pleasures, if you’re looking for a healthier alternative, try dark chocolate-covered almonds, air-popped popcorn, or one of these junk food substitutes. (Do you spend a lot of time traveling? These on-the-go foods, recommended by nutritionists, will leave you satiated in between stops.) Foods high in iron, folate, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), potassium, magnesium, thiamine, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin A, zinc, and vitamin C have also been found to aid in mood regulation and depression prevention. Seafood (particularly crab, clams, and tuna), green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and vibrant peppers such as broccoli and cauliflower come to mind.
Being outdoors close to nature makes us feel better, according to research. Spending time outside caused pleasant emotions in a 2010 research reported in Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine, while a 2015 study showed that it can help alleviate stress. (Not to mention the fact that it has been linked to increased creativity and intellect.)
Hamilton used himself as a test subject for the newest studies in brain neurochemistry, psychotherapy, personal development approaches, and neuroscience. In his 2015 book I Heart Me: The Science of Self-Love, he discusses the findings and suggests dozens of practices for improving self-love. Tuning into his posture and body language was one of Hamilton’s first important steps toward self-love. “Your mind and your body have a two-way relationship,” he explains. For approximately a month, he did a “power posture,” a technique popularized by social psychologist Amy Cuddy that involves standing tall with your palms on your hips. He would notice himself slouching during the day and draw his shoulders back. These small gestures provided Hamilton an “inner sense of value,” according to him, “which alerted my facial muscles to soften and allowed me to convey compassion.”
Keep Affirming Notes At Hand
We have a tendency to be harsh on ourselves, which is why it’s critical to practice self-compassion. Here’s a simple way to do it: Write 10 to 15 positive abilities or attributes about yourself on a pile of sticky notes. (If you’re having problems coming up with something, ask friends and relatives to define you.) Then post each memo around your house—on the next to your lamp, bathroom mirror, on the fridge, on the cabinet, and so on,” proposes LaQuista Erinna, Ph.D., a clinical (licensed) social worker and owner of THRIVE Behavioral Health & Consulting in New Jersey.
A further option is to write yourself a letter. This is especially beneficial when you are going through a difficult moment. In fact, according to research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, people writing a self-compassionate letter each day for a week had fewer depressive symptoms and were happier for 3 months afterward. To do so, write one paragraph admitting that you are going through a difficult time, a second paragraph telling yourself that you are not alone in your struggles, and a closing paragraph concentrating on positive adjustments you can do to feel better. Then, display it in a place where you spend more time so that it reminds you to be more sympathetic to yourself.
Also, because the average individual spends roughly a fourth of their week at work, making your desk seem nice is vital to demonstrate self-love when at work. If you are working remotely, try using notepads at your desk to accomplish this. If you are in an office, however, you might choose something a little more subdued so that the inspirational messages are just visible to you, Kitley recommends. “Put optimistic quotes on your computer’s homepage or your phone’s lock screen,” she advises.
So rather than your abilities and attributes, you might find it more beneficial (and more inconspicuous) to post personal mantras or positive affirmations, which have been proved to increase people’s emotions of self-worth. This might be anything from an inspirational phrase (such as “I am sufficient”) to a phrase from beloved poetry to Oprah’s favorite phrases. “Everything is always working out for me. That’s my mantra—make it yours,” she said during an inaugural address in 2019. “Everything always works out in my favor.” (Can it get any more subtle? You may also get a desktop calendar, diary, or planner with a motivational message or personalized with your favorite line.)
Make A Plan To Get Your Finances In Order.
If you have ever had trouble paying a bill, gathered up a mountain of student loans, or piled up a lot of consumer debt, you understand that money can be a major cause of worry—and that worry may have a negative influence on your mental and physical health. Many of us are unaware of the impact of money on our sentiments about ourselves and our self-worth, which is why it is advised to take an honest look at your financial situation—without being too hard on yourself.
To begin, you must have a complete picture of your expenditure, which you can simply monitor with a personal financial tool such as Mint. From there, you can work out how much money you really need to live on now and in the future, as well as find strategies to decrease costs so you can save for retirement or start a 529 college savings plan for your children. When you have your money in order, you start to feel more relaxed and have more flexibility in your life.
Transform Your Inner Monologue.
To that end, it’s also critical to learn how to adjust what you say regarding yourself. We all engage in some form of negative self-talk, which mostly goes unnoticed. That’s why it’s critical to train yourself to recognize when you’re berating yourself inwardly and to tell yourself to pause.
One method to overcome this is to change your negative self-talk, such as calling oneself dumb, into something much more positive (for example, “I make mistakes along the way, but I am an intelligent and capable person.”) Transforming the way you communicate to yourself is an important element of increasing your self-esteem and, eventually, self-love.
It is a thorough and sympathetic study of your beliefs and behaviors, as well as what’s going on with a situation or a person that is causing you grief. “What am I thinking or doing that is producing the terrible sensations of worry, despair, guilt, humiliation, jealously, rage, loneliness, or hollowness?” inquire your inner self, your inner child. Let your instincts and feelings guide you to the solution.
Ask your ego further about concerns and irrational assumptions that lead to self-abandoning ideas and behaviors after you realize what you are doing or thinking that’s producing these sentiments.
Although this approach may appear straightforward, when’s the last time you truly embraced praise? If you are like a lot of folks, it’s likely been a while. (According to Harvard Business Review research, approximately 70 percent of people link acknowledgment with feelings of discomfort or humiliation.) Part of it could be a desire to be modest (after all, studies have connected humility to effective leadership and better self-control), but it could also be a projection of your own emotions, as it can be difficult to admit that someone else thinks highly of you when you think otherwise. As per the study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, this could explain why persons with poor self-esteem had more unpleasant sentiments after getting compliments.
However, it’s equally crucial to try to internalize praises. “When you’re having trouble seeing oneself in a good light, literally taking somebody else’s word for it can help. Save these praises for a gloomy day (figuratively speaking) and use them as small reminders that you are deserving of love, particularly your own.
Consult A Therapist
Self-love does not imply that you’ll never have a negative idea about yourself again. Acknowledge your intuition to beat yourself up if you’re in a scenario like this, but reflect on how you’d approach a loved one in the same position. According to Greenberg, this makes it simpler to be kind to yourself. Then focus on self-forgiveness. Do something constructive that feels wonderful, she suggests, such as donating to a charity, volunteering, or caring for someone. After you’ve completed it, move on. Forgiveness is a process that takes time. It may take some time. All you have to do now is keep working on it.
A bad relationship, repressed childhood traumas, or other hurdles can all contribute to a loss of self-love that should be addressed by a specialist. It’s worth getting assessed by a therapist if bad thoughts regarding yourself are severely affecting your capacity to carry forward with your life — you’re not getting enjoyment out of things, you’re consistently obsessing on negative thinking about yourself, you are socially withdrawn and isolated, or you have severe trauma, Greenberg explains. She asks her clients, “Whose voice are you hearing when you criticize yourself?” as one of the exercises she uses with them. Have you ever been treated badly by someone in the past? “Imagine yourself as that child and be compassionate,” Greenberg advises if the problem stems from childhood. “Self-love is kind of like becoming a good parent to yourself so you can soothe your inner child.”