Self-love is the act of valuing, appreciating, and caring for yourself. It involves accepting and embracing your flaws and qualities, setting healthy boundaries, and treating yourself with kindness, respect, and compassion. But how do you actually do it? Let’s find out…
The Definition of Self-Love
Self-love is about recognizing and honoring your own worth and well-being. It’s not about being narcissistic or selfish, it’s about increasing healthy self-esteem, improving relationships, and creating a sense of personal fulfillment.
Learning how to like and love yourself is an ongoing journey that requires consistent and conscious effort, but the benefits are immeasurable and will greatly enhance your life.
The Challenge of Loving Yourself
Loving yourself takes courage because it involves facing and accepting your fears, insecurities, and flaws. This means accepting all parts of yourself, even the parts that society may reject or judge. It also means being vulnerable and putting yourself first, which can be difficult in a world that emphasizes external validation and self-criticism. However, self-love leads to greater self-awareness, confidence, and happiness.
Self-love includes self-acceptance: embracing all aspects of yourself, including parts of your personality you would like to change, behaviors you don’t like, mistakes you have made, and unique qualities that might seem weird. Acceptance creates a foundation for the unconditional love that will help you become your own best friend, coach, and cheerleader.
It is a deep and unconditional form of self-love that leads to greater self-awareness, self-worth, and inner peace. Please bear in mind that walking the path to self-acceptance and self-love is a lifetime journey. No one is expecting you to get there overnight, but the following steps will help you make progress.
8 Action Steps to Greater Self-Love
- Stop Comparing Yourself
Comparing yourself to others often leads to negative thoughts and feelings of inadequacy. It causes you to focus on what you lack, rather than your own strengths and accomplishments. Comparing yourself to others is pointless, because everyone's journey, experiences, and circumstances are unique and cannot be accurately equated.
Also, people only show their highlight reels, leading to an unrealistic comparison and distorted perception of the lives of others. In public we all ‘mask’ the bits we don’t want others to see, yet we know our own flaws, challenges, and issues, so any comparison is completely one-sided.
By constantly measuring yourself against others, you miss out on the appreciation of your own journey and the beauty of your exclusive experiences. Instead of comparing, focus on bringing more self-love and appreciation into your life.
- Start a Gratitude Journal
Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a powerful tool for cultivating self-love. By writing down what you're thankful for each day, you shift your focus to the positive aspects of your life and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. This daily practice helps improve your overall mood and increase feelings of self-worth.
If your mood is a little low it can be tricky to start feeling grateful, but once you do, it will shift your subconscious mind into finding more and more to be grateful about. Creating structure for your gratitude can help get you going when there is mental resistance, for example, an A to Z list.
What are you grateful for, no matter how small, that begins with the letter ‘A’?
How about ‘B’? Then ‘C’?
Now keep going!
A gratitude journal can become a safe space to reflect on your strengths, accomplishments, and what you love about yourself. Our minds are naturally ‘negative’ as we have to avoid danger and seek security to survive, so it takes extra effort to be positive and list down all the reasons you are an incredible human being!
- Nourish Yourself
Eating a diet rich in foods from Dr. Sebi’s Nutritional Guide is an act of self-love because it provides your body with the necessary nutrients and bioelectric elements to function optimally. By nourishing yourself with healthy, whole, alkaline foods, you show your body you really do care, by giving it the best building blocks available.
Dietary self-care will improve your mood, increase energy levels, and boost self-esteem, as well as help prevent chronic diseases, promote longevity and a higher quality of life. Nourishing your body is loving your body. How do you show your body you care?
- Set Boundaries
Avoiding people who don't serve your best interests is important for maintaining emotional and mental wellbeing. Surround yourself with supportive and positive individuals who bring out the best in you, who love you for who you are and make it easier to love yourself.
It’s a new year and a great time to make the decision to limit your exposure to toxic relationships and negative influences that bring you down. Trust your instincts and prioritize your own needs and happiness over pleasing others. Remember that you deserve to be surrounded by people who love and respect you, and it's okay to distance yourself from those who don't!
- Spend Your Time with Love
Limiting social media can be an act of self-love. It allows you to reclaim your time and focus on things that really matter to you (unlike - if you’re really honest with yourself - the vast majority of social media content.) Limiting social media will reduce stress and anxiety by minimizing the pressure you feel to present a perfect image of yourself online.
By disconnecting from social media, you will improve your relationships and engage in meaningful activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Self-love is an act of prioritization, and ditching social media can be a step toward a happier and healthier life. What could you learn in the time usually spent in endless addictive scrolling? What subjects could you engage with that is more meaningful? How would you love to spend your time?
Forgiveness is an expression of self-love because it frees you from the burden of anger, resentment, and bitterness. Holding grudges can weigh heavily on your emotional and mental wellbeing, and forgiving others will help you find peace and move on from past hurts. Forgiveness does not mean condoning harmful behavior, but rather releasing the negative emotions that are holding you back.
By choosing to forgive, you are showing yourself compassion, understanding, and a willingness to heal and grow. Forgiveness is a powerful act of self-love that can shift the weight off your shoulders, providing more space to enjoy life. Would you also like to forgive yourself?
- Write Down Your Positive Traits
Writing about your positive traits is a great way to develop self-love. It helps you focus on your strengths and accomplishments, instead of dwelling on your weaknesses. By reflecting on what makes you unique and special, you can cultivate a more positive self-image and build self-confidence.
Writing provides a healthy outlet to express your emotions and thoughts. This simple act of self-reflection and appreciation is a powerful tool for promoting self-love and improving mental health. We are drawn to focus on aspects of ourselves we dislike and, just like thinking positively, it takes effort to focus on the skills, attributes, attitudes, and inherent qualities we like about ourselves. What would your friends say about you?
- Show Care for Others
Doing loving things for others is a great way to develop more self-love. When you engage in acts of kindness and generosity, you feel good about yourself, this in turn increases self-esteem and self-worth.
Whether it's volunteering, helping a friend in need, or simply spreading joy through small acts of kindness, doing loving things for others is a powerful way to cultivate self-love and improve overall well-being.
Keep Walking the Path
Cultivating self-love is a journey that requires patience, dedication, and effort. By focusing on self-care, gratitude, nourishing food, forgiveness, writing about your positive traits, and doing loving things for others, you will develop a more loving relationship with yourself.
Self-love is not a destination but a continuous process, and with each small step, you will become more self-aware, confident, joyful, and fulfilled. Love yourself and be kind to yourself, and the rest will follow.
“I say to brothers and sisters. If nothing else we do, let us be tolerant of each other – and share LOVE.” – Dr. Sebi