Turns out most people are surprisingly clueless about how to effectively practice self-love.
Though the vast majority of us can – at times – be self-aware, self-possessed or even a bit selfish, overall we seem to have no idea how to treat ourselves with a little love, care and compassion.
This is a huge mistake on our parts. The sooner we realize that practicing self-love (within reason) should be our first priority, the sooner we can all become truly content and blissfully happy.
That’s because our sense or fulfillment and validation will come from deep within us, rather than some outside source.
Why Self-Love is Important
When we talk about self-love, we are referring to a sense of self-appreciation or self-respect that grows when we engage in actions that force us to evolve as individuals. In many ways, these actions involve improved self-care, cultivation of new interests and hobbies, as well as the willingness to have novel experiences.
By taking ourselves out of our comfort zones and facing our fears, chasing our dreams or learning new skills, we can begin to accept and deal with our shortcomings by discovering and focusing on our strengths.
Then we can use those strengths to cultivate other strengths, thereby expanding our abilities and growing our sense of self-worth and self-love. What we also have to realize is that by placing value on our abilities to grow, we are making others follow suit.
We are, in-effect, showing them that we know how important it is to evolve as human beings, and that we are actively doing just that for no other reason than our desire to improve ourselves, which then helps us effectively practice self-love.
Furthermore, those who are able to foster a sense of self-love have a good chance of becoming better at loving others, as well as receiving more love ourselves.
Think about it like this: A person who is able to accept his or her own flaws is probably better able to understand and accept them in others. And, if we can’t love ourselves, how can we possibly expect other people to love us?
Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love. – Thomas Traherne
Simply put, learning how to effectively practice self-love will dramatically change the way others perceive us, but it will also significantly alter the way we perceive ourselves, which is immeasurably more important and transformative.
How DO you effectively practice self-love?
Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself. – Tyra Banks
1) Start with a little bit of introspection
It is incredibly important to figure out what makes you happy and what you really want to get out of life. So, take a bit of time to get in tune with your feelings and desires. Once you do, use that information to take charge of your choices.
When making decisions, always keep you intentions at the forefront of your mind. Ask yourself if the path you are on, or are about to embark on gets you closer to what you want? Are you challenging yourself in a way that will make you grow? Are you learning something new? Does the path excite and motivate you?
If it does, then by following it, you will become stronger and evolve as an individual.
2) Don’t get distracted
It is very easy to forget about your long-term aims when something that’s instantly gratifying comes along. It is, however, your job to keep the bigger picture in mind at all times.
That’s why keeping focus on your goals is crucial for anyone trying to effectively practice self-love. Always remember to check whether or not what you want in the moment is what you need to fulfill your ultimate dream. If it’s not, move on.
To help yourself stay on track, consider writing your goals down and reading them every night before you go to bed. Try scheduling your tasks for the day ahead, the day before. Or, work out a schedule you can stick to.
3) Accept yourself
According to pretty much everyone, this is one of the most difficult things to do. And yet, it’s a well-known fact that spending precious time trying to become someone you’re not is going to make you dislike yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to other people, because you have absolutely no idea what their world is actually like. Instead, strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be. And when you get sidetracked, simply try to find your way back.
Remember, accepting yourself is a process, so don’t get discouraged when you experience setbacks. The important thing here is to keep moving forward without resentment.
4) Accept others
Never judge a book by its cover, and always make sure to keep an open mind.
Fact is, this world is full of very, very different people. And, whether you like it or not, they have the right to live their lives the way you have the right to live yours.
Other people will often make choices you disagree with. Your job is to be supportive when needed, critical only when necessary, and emphatic whenever possible.
By accepting others as they are, you will become a better humanist. And, you are probably going to expand your own world view by learning how to see from other people’s perspectives.
5) Forgive yourself
One of the most difficult relationships you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. To practice self-love, you have to learn to forgive yourself.
YOU will make mistakes and decisions you will ultimately disagree with. And while it’s important to learn from them, it is arguably even more important to learn how to forgive them. Remember – no one is perfect and that is totally OK.
Those who practice self-love realize that the actual goal is to learn from their mistakes, strive to make amends, and then move on with their lives, which is all part of learning and learning is part of life.
If, however, you are truly struggling with an issue, it’s best to seek the guidance of a mental health professional. You only have one life, don’t waste your time being unhappy with yourself.
6) Take care of yourself physically as well as mentally
Make sure to nurture your body in every sense of the word.
Though this may seem like common sense advice, a lot of people still forget to drink plenty of water, eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, get enough recreation, wear clothes that make them feel good, and maintain friendships as well as personal relationships.
In other words, you have to set your own standards and strive to live up to them. Think of this aspect of self-care as self-respect, and you must never, ever forget to respect yourself.
7) Surround yourself with beauty
If you believe you are worthy of having beauty in your life, then it’s up to you to seek it out or create it for yourself. Doing so will noticeably boost your creativity, fuel your imagination, and facilitate feelings of admiration for life.
Whether it’s people, animals, art, architecture or nature, make sure to regularly surround yourself with what you perceive as beautiful.
Also, keep in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, which means you don’t ever have to explain your thoughts and feelings on the subject to anyone.
8) De-clutter your spaces
You may be surprised at the amazing mental clarity and relief you’ll experience once you de-clutter your work and living spaces.
Life is too short to hold on to things that are not helping you grow or live better. Plus, do you really need a bunch of dust collecting stuff?
Throw away anything you don’t absolutely need. Sometimes, letting go of the old allows you to usher in the new.
And if you’re worried about preserving memories, start a scrapbook where you can keep small tokens of past experiences.
9) Set boundaries
It’s immeasurably important to make sure you set clear and concrete boundaries for yourself and others.
When you’re depleted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, you have to get back to neutral by putting yourself first and everything else on the back-burner.
There’s no time like the present. Cut out toxic people from your life, aim to correct maladaptive behaviors, and carve out time for relaxation and reflection. Trust us, you’ll be happy you did.
10) Limit social media activity
While it’s nice to catch up with old friends, find out what’s going on in the world, or watch a few cat videos, it’s best to limit your social media activity when trying to practice self-love.
Scientific research shows that too much exposure to social media can amplify low self-esteem, narcissism, and anxiety. In fact, studies reveal that people who frequently use Facebook report higher depression rates and decreased well-being.
Isn’t it so much better to spend this time doing something that can enhance your life? How about taking up a mindfulness and mediation practice instead?
11) Indulge yourself
Everyone needs to spoil him or herself occasionally. Regardless of what it is that you do to unwind, make sure to do it often.
Take a relaxing mineral bath, book an exotic vacation, sign up for that luxurious massage you’ve been putting off, or subscribe to receive Merkaela’s quarterly box.
In other words, find any way that you can to take a little “me” time. By making you feel good, you can then take that positive energy and spread it to others.
That’s the strange thing about happiness, you can’t create it for others if you have not experienced it yourself.
Self-love is really a foundation for everything, and however you practice or express that is so, so important. – Solange Knowles
As you read this blog, hopefully, you were able to grasp the vital and undisputed connection that exists between self-love and self-respect, both of which are tied to dedicated and consistent self-improvement.
When we choose to challenge ourselves by trying new things, expanding our world-views, and learning more about how we handle unexpected situations, we gain a better sense of who we are and what we’re capable of.
In other terms, facing challenges and striving to be better tomorrow than we are today gives us new chances to pursue unexplored opportunities, learn new skills, develop stronger characters, sharpen our problem-solving abilities, define our values, and be proud of who we are.
This is why self-love is really about expanding our wings and coming into our own. After all, it’s a well-known fact that complacency is a poor drive for personal growth. Simply put, those can effectively practice self-love will have more interesting and fulfilling experiences.
That’s why we’re challenging you to practice self-love starting today!
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