Do you want to start loving yourself now? Of course, the answer is yes! We all want to feel that we’re enough and loveable just as we are. But we get in our own way of self-love.
We’re hard on ourselves. Maybe “hard” is a gentle way to describe it. Most of us our BRUTAL towards ourselves. There’s an ongoing critical narrative in our heads. I know you know that voice! It’s loud and downright mean!
You tell yourself you’re not good enough for a million reasons – your bank account sucks, your face isn’t pretty enough, “she” (insert the name of that Facebook “friend” who seems to have it all) is more accomplished than you, you’re fat because you haven’t lost that 15 pounds you promised yourself you would, you don’t have the corner office (or an office at all), you haven’t found the love of your life, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Do any of these self-loathing feelings and thoughts sound familiar? I was able to list them pretty damn quickly because most of them are things I have felt at one time or another.
BUT I have made strides in learning to love myself. It’s taken work but the time I’ve put in has been 100% worthwhile.
I’m not perfect. I still slip into negative thought patterns but I’m able to get back on the self-love train MUCH faster these days.
I want that for you too so I’m sharing my 10 go-to strategies to cultivate self-love.
1. Remind yourself of what you’re good at
When we’re being hard on ourselves and feeling down it’s easy to forget our talents. We tell ourselves we’re not good at anything.
Here’s the thing – EVERYONE is good at something! Whatever it is that you do well, nobody can do it exactly like you! How cool is that?!
Reminding yourself of your strengths is a helpful way to snap out of self-criticism and start loving yourself.
2. Be your own best friend
Sounds cliché but most of us don’t do it so it’s worth mentioning. We can be downright mean to ourselves. Definitely not best friend material.
Ask yourself this – would you say the awful things you do to yourself to your best friend? I bet the answer is no. Then why do we tolerate abuse from ourselves?!
Start treating yourself with the same love and respect you do others.
3. Practice gratitude on a regular basis
This one is hard to do when we feel miserable and bad about our circumstances. When you practice gratitude on a regular basis you develop and increase love for yourself. You can’t love yourself when you’re focused on how bad you think your life is.
Even when you’re going through tough stuff there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. When you start appreciating the life you have self-love will follow.
4. Honor your needs
I bet you spend a lot of time helping other people get their needs met. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help people out and care for others. BUT are you always doing it to the expense of your own needs?
You can’t love yourself if you’re constantly putting yourself last. When you consistently neglect yourself, you send a message to yourself that you don’t matter.
Honoring your needs is a sure way to start loving yourself.
5. Stop comparing immediately!
We all struggle with this one from time to time. With such easy access to social media, we can compare ourselves to others all day long! We’ve all gone down that rabbit hole of looking at the lives of others and wishing you had what they do.
Here’s the thing – EVERYONE looks good on social media. We see their edited photos, fun vacation, “perfect” family, etc. Rarely is anyone posting the challenging aspects of their life. It’s a false depiction. Remind yourself of the next time your scrolling and creeping!
You will never appreciate your own life and truly love yourself if you’re doing the comparison thing. It’s just not possible.
Affirmations can feel fake and/or hard to do. It’s difficult to say “I love myself” while looking in the mirror during a serious self-loathing moment.
It is often recommended that affirmations be said in the present tense, but I’ve found it helpful to start with “I’m willing to” (fill in the blank). It feels less phony to say “I’m willing to love myself” if you don’t in fact love yourself. Practicing affirmations in this way meets you where you’re at and encourages self-love.
7. Develop a self-love practice
This is something a lot of people neglect because they think it takes too much time. Most of us are spread thin and adding one more thing to our to-do lists seems daunting and impossible.
BUT practicing self-love doesn’t need to take a long time at all. There are lots of ways to love yourself that can easily be incorporated into your day. Affirmations, eating a healthy meal, and going to bed at a reasonable time are some simple ways.
I’m sure you spend a lot of time caring for and loving others. You’re worth the time it takes to show yourself some TLC! Get creative and come up with some easy ways to fit self-care into your schedule.
8. Spend quality time with yourself
This is one of the best ways to cultivate self-love. Having regular alone time gives you a chance to catch your breath, get to know yourself better, and increase emotional well-being. When you’re physically and emotionally drained from daily life it can be hard to feel self-love.
Cutting out the noise of life to practice some TLC is important even if you’re an extrovert. Some mental health professionals recommend having at least 20 minutes a day of alone time. If 20 minutes sounds impossible start small. I get it, life gets busy! Even 5-10 minutes can make the world of a difference.
9. Believe in yourself
If you don’t believe in yourself it’s hard to love yourself. You can’t truly love yourself if you have low self-worth and lack confidence.
Believe that anything is possible for your life regardless of what people tell you. Don’t always believe what you tell yourself either!
You can have, be, and do ANYTHING. Start believing in yourself and your self-love will drastically increase.
10. Say “no”!
Setting boundaries will help cultivate self-love. When you spread yourself thin and say “yes” to every request, you’re treating your needs as unimportant.
I get it, there are some things that you truly can’t say “no” to. However, I’m guessing you say “yes” to a lot of things out of feeling obligated or not wanting to rock the boat.
Will saying “no” upset some people? – yep! BUT choosing to honor your wants, needs, and time will help increase self-love and at the end of the day that’s what is most important.
Until next time!
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