We are all pretty familiar with the term “self-love.” It’s flung around a lot these days, and more so when we’re feeling ourselves. However, self-love is more than just external confidence; it is something that must be instilled deeply within us. It is possible to be confident but have a deep lack of self-esteem, and that is contrary to the true meaning of self-love. We use the term judiciously, but do we actually apply it correctly? Do we really wholeheartedly love ourselves? Sure, we can love ourselves when things are going well, or when we are feeling good, but do we love ourselves through the darkest of days? Self-love grows as we embark on a journey of personal development, and by that I mean our physical, spiritual, and physiological growth. Each and every one of those aspects directly links into self-love.
I used to ask myself, “How do I love myself through my mistakes?” It certainly doesn’t magically happen overnight. It’s a gradual process, and below are seven steps to put into practice to achieve the goal of self-love:
1. Put yourself first. No, putting yourself first isn’t selfish, it is vital. As we grow up, our priorities change and the burden of responsibilities take over. We start to slide down our own list of priorities. We get so caught up in taking care of others we forget our needs, and if we are not fulfilled and happy within, how can we give to others? People around you will benefit greatly if you are genuinely happy within. Do the things YOU love and enjoy.
2. Being self-aware. Self-love without self-awareness is useless. They go hand-in-hand. Reflecting upon your thoughts, actions, decisions, and general behavior is so important. If you truly love yourself, wouldn’t you want to be the best version of yourself? It can be hard to admit your true emotions even to yourself, but it’s important to truly connect and be honest with yourself. Self-awareness is critical in order to eradicate negative behaviors.
A lack of unhealthy boundaries with people can leave us feeling drained, disrespected, anxious, unfocused, open to hurt and manipulation…the list is endless. Set boundaries that your are comfortable with, and be sure to communicate to others why you are setting these boundaries. This will ensure that you are limiting negative interactions in your life.
3. Self-care. Taking care of yourself by fulfilling your basic needs is another obvious, yet crucial aspect of achieving the goal of self-love. Eating well, being mindful of your physical health, good sleeping habits, and limiting or giving up bad habits will have you feeling good from within and raise your energy levels.
4. Forgive yourself. Mistakes are a natural part of life. It’s actually where you learn the most about yourself. Every situation gives you an opportunity to elevate, or sink. If you are clinging on to negative situations you’ll hold yourself back from progressing. Learn to let go, and elevate.
5. Set boundaries. A lack of unhealthy boundaries with people can leave us feeling drained, disrespected, anxious, unfocused, open to hurt and manipulation…the list is endless. Set boundaries that your are comfortable with, and be sure to communicate to others why you are setting these boundaries. This will ensure that you are limiting negative interactions in your life.
6. Invest in the right people and be aware of your environment. Your environment has a massive impact on your growth and so does investing in the right people. The most beautiful friendships and relationships are when you challenge and motivate each other. An unhealthy relationship is usually only one person investing, and getting little or nothing back. Be conscious of who you bring into your inner circle.
7. Find your purpose and stay focused. We are all blessed with unique gifts. Discovering what they are, and how best to use this gives you a sense of purpose. You will appreciate your strengths and qualities.
Once you raise your standards within yourself, you naturally start attracting and allowing others to reciprocate. Love is a powerful emotion that so many of us try to block. Be love, feel love, give love. It all starts with you. Show others how to love and treat yourself by how you love yourself.