So I know the whole 'self-love' thing can sound a bit cringey to some, and I get it. We live in a society that places exorbitant emphasis on the external - it often seems as though society is designed to prevent us from waking up. The good news is it doesn't have to be that way. The better news is once you make the commitment to love yourself, I guarantee you that every single aspect of your life will improve. Sure, your circumstances may remain the same, but as Henry David Thoreau once said, 'it's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.'
To be fair, there was a time when I felt uncomfortable about the idea of loving myself fully. I had no idea what that even meant. As it happens, it's turned out to be the single most important lesson of my life. The way we feel about ourselves impacts on every single aspect of our lives, from our health to our relationships, to our work, our faith...everything!
That old saying, 'If you don't love yourself, nobody else is going to love you' gets bandied about a lot and it's clearly untrue! What's true is if you don't love yourself, it's going to be very difficult to soak up all the love others have for you. Also, the relationship we have with ourselves is infinitely more important than those we have with others, and those relationships will only grow stronger as a result because we're so much more open and loving when we're at peace with ourselves.
Here's some tips to get you started on your diet of self-love:
Simply put, mindfulness is the non-judgemental awareness of our experiences in the present moment. I cannot overemphasise the benefits of mindfulness meditation. It's a great way to start the day off and a solid means by which to get to know ourselves better. Over time, it teaches us how to stay in the moment, thus reducing stress and anxiety.
Click here and here for a guide to get started. There's loads of lovely guided meditations on YouTube worth checking out.
2. Be Kind to Yourself
Do something nice for yourself every day. It doesn't matter what it is as long as it makes you feel good. There's nothing I love more than cooking myself a delicious, nourishing meal after a long day.
3. Healthy Body, Healthy Mind
Look after yourself by filling up on nourishing food throughout the day. Get plenty of exercise in. I'm always amazed at how good I feel (mentally) after a run. I can't say the running part is always easy, but it's always worth it! ;) Most importantly, get plenty of sleep! See What Actually Happens While You Sleep and How It Affects Your Every Waking Moment
4. Only Spend Time With People Who Lift You Up
We've all experienced those friendships where you come away feeling as though you've just donated a litre of blood. In the past I've put so much energy into 'dead-end friendships'. Life is far too precious for those shenanigans. Friends who drain the life out of you / aren't supportive of you / can't be happy for you, etc. aren't worth your time and energy. Wish them well and move on!
5. Take Yourself on a Date
This is one of the most fun things to do! You can do anything you want without the worry of keeping anyone else entertained. Take yourself on a walk, to the cinema, to the beach, whatever you want. Spending quality time with yourself is fab & very worthwhile. I often take off on my bike in the evenings to explore new parts of the city I live in. It's the perfect opportunity to spend time alone & it makes for an interesting evening.
6. Live Truthfully
Get honest with yourself and others in your live. Being able to state your needs and wants is a crucial step towards self-love.
7. Practice Gratitude
Before you go to bed for the evening, consider writing a gratitude list - I write down 3 things I'm grateful for every night before I go to bed and pop it into my gratitude jar. Get creative with it and make your own. The very act of looking at the jar throughout the day can shift my mood. It serves as a great reminder of all of the things I'm thankful for in my day-to-day life. Also, going to bed with a feeling of gratitude is so lovely.
8. Forgive Yourself
Holding onto past regrets can weigh heavily on the soul. We're not perfect, nor will we ever be so it's essential to forgive yourself and let past hurts and mistakes go. This is one of the tougher things to do, but it's crucial in moving forward and embracing a full and healthy relationship with ourselves.
Above all else, Have Fun!
Love and light to all x