Today, I have been reading up on self-love, in a continued effort to learn about self-improvement and therby improve myself. Self-love still sounds a bit weird to me. It sounds arrogant, bordering on narcissistic even. There is this concept of radical self-love. It says goodbye to “I am okay, you are okay”, because we are all more than just “okay”. We are great! However, though the aim is radical self-love, this self-love also extends into high esteem for others.
How do you practise self-love? There are many ways. Some people see it as spoiling themselves, but it is much more. We don’t just spoil the other people we love either, after all. We also take good care of them and we tell them we love them. In addition, we encourage them to go out of their comfort zone. We should do the same to ourselves. I am the most important person in my life. You are the most important person in your life. Treat yourself like you are.
The first step towards self-love is realizing that you are the most important person in your life. Practise positive self-talk everyday. You could do this by:
- Starting the day with an affirmation. You can choose standard affirmations, but it also helps to say something that makes you happy about yourself specifically, such as a positive thing about the previous day or the day to come.
- Challenging your inner critic. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you. You cannot always control your every thought, but practise thinking positive thoughts about yourself and challenging negative ones.
- Stopping to compare yourself to others. You are unique, so there is no-one who will be exactly like you. Therefore, there is no need to compare yourself to others, who might be better at some things than you are. Only compare yourself to yourself.
- Celebrating your wins, no matter how big or small. Be proud of what you have achieved. Reward yourself in a caring way if it helps.
- Forgiving yourself for mishaps in your life. We cannot always be cheery, positive people. Beating yourself up over a negative attitude, however, makes that attitude worse.
Another step is self-care. Self-care means giving your body the nutriiton, exercise, rest and comfort it needs. For exaple, eat healthfully, sleep well, avoid cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, and exercise regularly. You need to take extra care of your body when physically ill.
Mental self-care involves taking good care of your mind. For example, practise mindfulness, meditation or relaxation techniques everyday. I do yoga a lot to take good care of both my body and my mind. You can also take good care of yur mind by challenging yourself cognitively and emotionally. Cognitive challenges include brain gym, but also lifelong learning. For example, take up a distance learning course in a subject that interests you or go on a site like Busuu to learn a new language. You can emotionally challenge yourself by challenging negative self-talk and by going out of your comfort zone with your goals and aspirations. Emotional self-care also involves following your passion.
Self-love is also reflected in the relationships you have with others. Eliminate toxic relationships and surround yourself with people who appreciate and care about you. In turn, you will need to practise being appreciative of and caring towards othes. For example, express gratitude when someone is kind to you. Treating others with love and respect will make you feel better, too.