What is self-love? What does it mean to you? Where did the term even come from?
Self-love starts or should start from the love and attention you are given as a child; from your parents and loved ones, your environment, and so forth. But nearly all of us will have had experiences when we were younger that affected our self-love/esteem.
A lot of us will have learned that love and attention were given to us for the things we did like good grades, as opposed to just being yourself. Some of us will have struggled with how we looked or felt, and some of us may have experienced bullying. There will also be people who struggled with their self-love because of issues formed in adulthood that have affected them having a love for themselves.
How do you achieve self-love?
The first step to finding self-love is self-awareness. I truly believe that, as adults, when we realise that our self-esteem was affected (in either our childhood or adulthood), we have a duty to ourselves to recognise what caused us to feel low about ourselves. It’s then our job to counter this by finding solutions to instil self-esteem.
All the time I hear people saying “I have no confidence because…”. I always say, “OK, that must have been awful for you – but what are you doing about it now?”
I believe that, say, for example, if your father said hurtful comments to you as a kid, you have no excuse to let those comments affect you as an adult. You are no longer that person. It’s a part of your life, but it is not your life. It is not you. To continue to live by a story created in the past is to choose to suffer. The experience was not nice but that doesn’t mean your life has to be the same now. There has to come a time when you realise you can be strong (again).
The secret to self-love is to love yourself unconditionally. You need to form a loving relationship with yourself. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have in your life. So you need to be happy with who you are. You need to feel comfortable in your own skin.
Be unapologetically you, stop waiting for permission to be happy in yourself. If being unkind to yourself was going to work, it would have worked by now. You do not need anything to love yourself. You don’t need cars, houses, lovers, fancy clothes or holidays. You need to find self-love through constantly working on yourself.
Here are seven secrets that helped me find self-love:
Bringing these tips into your life will enhance your self-esteem and enable you to flourish as the unique and wonderful human being you are meant to be.
Appreciation of who you are, what you are, what you do and what you stand for. Appreciate your good points and don’t hide them away. If you ask the average Brit to name something they like about themselves and something they don’t, you can guess which one generally gets emphasized.
You have a duty to appreciate yourself so that others can appreciate you too. So, let your guard down and let people in and accept compliments. You are unique, so let your light shine brightly.
Acceptance of yourself. Let go of comparisons and expectations and accept who you are. What others think of you is not your business. And if others can’t accept you for who you are then they don’t deserve to be in your life. Embrace who you are, including your imperfections and accept the things you cannot change.
The things that cannot be changed, cannot be changed, so what is the use of pondering on it, complaining and moaning? Feeling sad and upset won’t change anything.
Or, if you can change something, take action and be courageous.
3. Kindness to yourself
You are not your mistakes or your trials and tribulations. Spend time with and on yourself being kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you do your best friend. If your best friend was being hard on themselves, what would you say to them?
Reframe your negative self-talk. Learn to think for yourself and not take on board comments of others.
Be with people who bring you up and visit places that make you happy. Get out of your head, into your heart and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Beating yourself up or feeling guilty isn’t going to work, or blaming yourself for yours or someone else’s behaviour towards you. If someone treated you or is treating you wrong be nice to yourself and leave them out of your life.
4. Looking after yourself
You have to take care of yourself. So, perform daily and nightly rituals such as meditation, visualization and positive affirmations.
- Take pride in your appearance.
- Train your mind daily.
- Exercise your body.
- Eat properly and regularly.
- Get the right amount of sleep.
5. Value your contribution to the world
What are you passionate about? That is your sense of purpose and you need to live it and own it. If you are a really busy person, then make sure to factor in time to fulfill your passions.
What actions are you taking with your passions? Do you have more than one purpose/passion?
6. Daily gratitude
If you are being grateful, you cannot be sad at the same time. So, live with an attitude of gratitude.
Keep a journal and write down at least one thing you are grateful for every day and then think about it and really feel the gratitude.
7. Help others from the bottom of your heart
Helping others makes us feel good, as well as the people we have helped. So, go out, help others and bring some warmth to your heart. Try carrying out a random act of kindness.