When you look in the mirror what do you see? Too many of us notice our imperfections and what’s wrong with us, rather than what’s right with us. We critique ourselves and think unproductive thoughts, such as “I wish I had thicker hair”, “I wish I had younger looking skin”, “I wish I was thinner”, I wish my eyes were green, and so on. We often think the grass is greener on the other side OR that we will achieve true happiness when something distinctive happens or changes in our lives (i.e. getting married, getting a new job, joining a gym, finishing university).
When was the last time you looked in the mirror and openly complimented yourself and/or recognized your true qualities (internally/externally)? When was the last time you reflected on how smart you are? When was the last time you realized how lucky you are? If you’re like most people, your answer will probably range between “sometimes to never”. Sadly, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are simple tools, which we will share with you, to challenge negative thoughts (perceptions) to help you overcome them. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the discovery of self-love (and everything that encompasses it).
Today, self-love is a super-hot topic. Have you noticed the hyped awareness around it? It’s particularly apparent with younger generations and its trending on all social media platforms. Many find it difficult to grasp and have limited understanding of what it really means to “self-love”. If you ask people in your social circles, they will likely tell you that self-love means to self-serve by treating yourself to something you want or like (shopping, going out for dinner, taking a bubble-bath) #sonotrue.
Self-love is non-negotiable and is a fundamental requirement for every human being. It is a necessity in life, which is unique to each person (no two people the same). Every single day we are challenged and bombarded with stressors, pressures and responsibilities. A perfect example is what we are now facing with COVID-19.
“YOU YOURSELF, AS MUCH AS ANYBODY IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, DESERVE YOUR LOVE AND AFFECTION.” - Buddha
Fall in love with loving yourself, become your own biggest fan and believe in yourself. It’s a practice that doesn’t cost a dime or extra time. The only thing you’ll need to do is replace your present inner dialogue from negative to positive. We know this is easier said than done, which is why we are sharing our top five (5) tips to help get you started. If these suggestions don’t relate to you, don’t worry, simply create your own top five (5), write them down and read them every day.
- Be kind to yourself, mentally, physically and socially. Mentally, speak (think) only kind words (thoughts) to (about) yourself. Physically, drink water, eat healthy, exercise regularly, meditate and sleep 7+ hours a night. Socially, choose to speak with people who are supportive, make you smile (laugh) and compliment your life instead of draining from it. When something doesn’t go exactly as planned, don’t automatically assume that you did something wrong. Self-doubt thoughts, like it’s your fault or you are incompetent, are harmful and will block you from achieving your full potential.
Be grateful. Gratitude is a perfect way to practice self-love; there are a few different ways to do it. It’s always recommended to write things down, rather than just thinking about them. Here are a few ideas:
- Daily journaling, a list of what you are grateful for.
- Gratitude jar, every day on a little piece of paper, write down what you are grateful for. Fold up the paper and put it in the jar.
- Be positive. Positivity is essential to self-love. It’s not easy to be positive all the time, especially when you may feel like things are difficult or falling apart around you. We are not suggesting that you are exempt or not allowed to feel down, as realistically we all know how hard life can be. However, practicing positivity is the understanding that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Even when you feel the universe does not have your back, it does. You are allowed to feel frustrated, sad, mad, overwhelmed and annoyed, but don’t let these emotions and feelings prevent you from living your best life (if you do, they are destructive). Every day, keep going, surge forward, remain positive and believe that “this too shall pass”.
- Be intentional. Being intentional is becoming aware of your internal thought process, analyzing how these thoughts can be improved and then making an effort to change them. The power of thought, is incredibly powerful on many levels. When you wake up in the morning (or go to bed at night), try to become aware of your thoughts and if they don’t serve you in a positive way discard them and replace them with strong, positive and affirmative ones. It costs absolutely nothing to be intentional, but will give back to you in spades - ultimately helping you discover the healthiest way of thinking.
- Be true to you. Self-love means recognizing that you are you for a reason, that you are enough and perfect just the way you are. So often people are not true to themselves and they put on an act to get others to like them. They behave in a way they think will gain friendship, partnership, recognition, business deals etc. It’s exhausting! Do not waste your time or energy trying to be someone you are not. You are you, you have unique talents and abilities that are important and essential - embrace and love yourself for being you. Work on being the best version of you instead of trying to be someone you are not.
Are you feeling tired, burnt-out and/or depleted? Often these feelings are a result of you denying yourself the time to do things that have deep meaning, resulting in the feeling of being off-balance, stressed and over-whelmed. Self-care is about finding activities to relax you, empower you and bring you joy.
To start, ask yourself what you need today to feel like you are being true to yourself and your needs. By paying attention and listening to your body and mind, you will notice that they’ll tell you what they need to recharge… pay attention and take action. Break-down self-care activities into two categories: non-negotiable and luxury.
- Non-negotiable activities: are things you absolutely have to do to stay on your game and if you don’t do them you won’t be able to show up as the best version of yourself. If you skip them you may feel tired, scattered, stressed or cranky. A few examples of non-negotiable activities include getting enough sleep, exercising, meditating and journaling.
- Luxury activities: are things you do that make you feel like a million bucks. They are not things that you need to do daily, but when you do you are energized, boosted and invigorated. A few examples of luxury activities include taking a bubble bath, giving yourself a facial, manicure or a pedicure.
Self-care has so many incredible benefits. It helps to reduce stress, improve inner peace and patience, increase energy and productivity, promote relaxation, improve a sense of well-being and it increases the ability to identify with intuition and emotions.
“TALK TO YOURSELF LIKE YOU WOULD TO SOMEONE YOU LOVE.” - Brené Brown
You are worth loving and you are worth taking care of yourself. Self-care and self-love are essential to maintaining a healthy loving relationship with yourself. They produce positive feelings and boost confidence, self-esteem and an overall feeling of well-being. You are important and so are your needs. Never deny yourself, as taking care will only benefit your life and will touch everything and everyone around you in a positive way.