We all have experienced loving others and being loved by others to some extent. But very few of us have experienced self-love. For many, the idea of loving our self seems alien and sounds like a new age philosophy. Loving oneself is not a new age philosophy. Buddha said this about self-love some thousands of years back– “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
Self-love is not a luxury or a philosophy. It is a need. We all deserve our own love. When it comes to our self, most of us feel guilty about past mistakes. We have too many unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and we are harsh, unkind, and critical towards ourselves. We have a negative self-talk that keeps running in our minds.
So, why is self-love a need? In energy terms, every person is surrounded by an aura, which is a total of one’s thoughts, emotions, and energies. When a person keeps thinking negatively about oneself regularly, these thoughts and emotions stay in aura and attract the same kind of thoughts from others. If you think you are unsuccessful, then others too will think the same about you because that’s what your aura is radiating. If you think you are ugly, others too will think and make you feel the same.
Most of the time, the outer world reflects your inner world, and your experiences in the outer world reinforce what you think and feel about yourself in your inner world. If you want others to love you, respect you, admire you, the first step starts with you doing it yourself. Loving oneself is fundamental to one’s happiness in life.
We all know, to some extent, how to love others. But how to practice self-love? Here are some pointers.
16 ways to practice self-love:
1. Accept your body as it is. Your body could be underweight, overweight, short, or tall and might not look like how you want. But your body supports you unconditionally in your life. Our body works 24 hours a day without taking a break, and it tries its best to adapt to our unhealthy and unconscious choices like junk food, lack of exercise, stress, etc. Love your body for what it is. While you are bathing or exercising, just take a few minutes and thank your body. Tell your body loving and appreciative words and send it love.
2. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Don’t feel guilty about the past. Learn the lesson from your mistakes and try not to repeat the same mistake. Don’t continuously think about your past mistakes. It drains your energy and time.
3. Appreciate yourself. Maintain a journal and write one positive quality about yourself every day. When you start appreciating yourself every day, you will find more wonderful qualities in yourself.
4. When you look in the mirror, smile at yourself wholeheartedly and lovingly and say words of love, appreciation, and encouragement.
5. Build your self-esteem. Know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Appreciate yourself for your strengths and work on your weaknesses one step at a time.
6. Do activities that make you happy. Pursue your interests and hobbies. Many of us expect others to make us happy, but why wait for others when we can create it ourselves? Don’t expect others to make your happiness their priority. Make your happiness your priority.
7. Celebrate your small and big successes. Maintain a success journal. Write down in this journal these successes and congratulate yourself. Give yourself a nice treat whenever you achieve some success like you built a healthy habit or gave up a bad habit, or you did something you feel proud about.
8. Demonstrate your love for yourself through your actions. Nourish your body with healthy and delicious food and exercise, your mind with positive thoughts and emotions, your spirit with prayer and meditation. Be conscious of what you are feeding your body, mind, and spirit every day.
9. Now and then, gift yourself something that you enjoy for no reason and celebrate being you. You don’t need any big accomplishment to celebrate your life. Living everyday life with all its challenges and joys itself is an accomplishment.
10. Spend quality time with yourself where you take a break from the happenings of your life. Relax reading a book or meditating or dancing or doing anything that makes you happy. Reflect on your goals and review your life.
11. Be proud of your accomplishments of the past, and take pride in your ability to achieve things. Keep your mementos or medals in a place where you can see easily. This helps you to easily remind yourself of your past accomplishments.
12. Commit to yourself and your improvement because you are important to yourself and your life matters. To reinforce your commitment, you can look in the mirror and tell yourself that I commit to becoming a better person with each day.
13. Don’t let other people’s opinions shape your opinions about yourself. Yes, there will be people who criticize you and find fault with you. Don’t let their opinions break your confidence. Don’t let these opinions become your self-talk, which you keep repeating in your mind. Forgive them and move on.
14. Consciously, practice positive self-talk where you talk to yourself positively. Tell yourself encouraging words and weed out any negative self-talk.
15. Be kind to yourself when you make mistakes. No one in this world is perfect and correct every time.
16. Tell yourself below positive self-affirmations regularly.
I am grateful for my healthy body.
I love my life.
I love every cell of my body.
Life supports me in every possible way.
I am divinely guided at all times.
These are some pointers that help you build self-love. Loving oneself is as important as loving others because the closest person to us is our self. Our journey of love is incomplete without loving ourselves. Accept yourself as you are. Love yourself without any kind of expectations.
“Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” – Louise Hay