8 Ways to Practice Self-Love that You Can Do Today
The journey to self-love is a difficult one. I’m going to be real with you. Life is tough and it’s easy to get lost in the motions of your day-to-day life. If you’re anything like me, there are days where I feel completely alone and unloved. But this doesn’t have to be true for you.
Being positive and kind to yourself doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time, persistence, and patience to learn how to love yourself. The following 8 steps will help you get on the road of loving your body, mind, and soul.
1. The journey of self-love begins with eliminating the negative thoughts (self-derogatory talk)
Eliminating negative thoughts can be hard but it’s possible. First, we must identify the type of thoughts we’re having about ourselves. Are they self-defeating or self-derogatory? If they’re the latter then it’s important not to overreact. However if they’re self-defeating such as “I’m not good enough” or “I wish I were different”, then take immediate action to change them. Remember, what you say to yourself matters, and the journey of self-love begins with positive, affirming thoughts.
2. Realize how far you have come in life
Instead of looking inward for what you dislike about yourself, take a step back and try to look at your body, mind, and soul from another perspective: how has it helped and served you? How has this part made you who you are today? Why is it important? What can be learned from this experience? If nothing else, the next time you find yourself in front of a mirror, practice focusing on just one positive quality. Then do so with another. Keep repeating until there’s nothing left to appreciate. Eventually, once enough positivity has built up, you’ll be able to see all of your strengths and realize how far you have come in life.
3. List all of your positive attributes
Begin by making a list of all the things you love about yourself, after all… this is what self-love is all about. This includes your appearance, personality traits, and everything in between. If you find it difficult then just start with the basic physical qualities that everyone has. Then move on to what makes you special. Is it your artistic abilities, brainy-ness, or sense of humor? Whatever it is, don’t forget to include this in the list. Keep repeating the list daily so that every time a negative thought tries poking its way through your head’s defenses, you have a list of reminders at your fingertips. You have so much to offer beyond your looks, so remember to always love yourself.
4. Practice meditation and self-reflection
At first, meditation may seem difficult, but it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of it. The goal is simple. Stop thinking about yourself for once. Although that might sound somewhat counterintuitive, try focusing on other sensations and feelings plucked from the world around you instead, i.e touching objects, smelling things, observing your surroundings. If self-reflection still isn’t working then switch tactics and try focusing on practicing non-judgmental awareness. This act of self-love can be very effective because instead of trying not to notice something and thus focussing on it. We’re encouraged to simply notice everything without reacting. Practice this and you’ll soon feel more connected to the world around you; others included.
5. Approach everything with an open mind
Your belief system is yours alone, so it’s important to follow what feels right for you (even if that means disagreeing or challenging other people). However, if we were all born believing in the same thing then life would be incredibly dull. It’s because of this, that when someone comes to us with a different opinion or way of thinking, our natural reaction is often to invalidate them by either dismissing their ideas out-of-hand or criticizing them in some way. Instead of doing so try approaching their opinions as new pieces of information that are just as valid as your own. This way you’ll find yourself more willing to accept other people’s beliefs and practices.
6. Stop comparing yourself to others
Although this isn’t always easy, it’s an incredibly important part of learning how to love yourself. Comparison is one of the easiest ways in which we can destroy our happiness because no matter what we do, someone else will always be better off than us. Instead, try focussing on your own progress and journey through life and appreciate the unique journey that only you are taking. Once you stop putting so much emphasis on others’ lives, you’ll free up a lot of time and energy that would have otherwise been spent trying to keep up with everyone else.
7. Learn the art of self-acceptance
No matter what happens in life, you always have a choice as to how you let it affect your mood and personality. For instance, if someone close to you dies then there’s no denying that it will be a very painful experience for everyone involved. However, somewhere along the line, we learned that this kind of pain should only be expressed in specific ways, e.g through crying and mourning. While these are natural reactions to such an event they’re unfortunately not the only responses available to us. We all have the power to find solace in our inner worlds if we simply give ourselves time and space enough to do so. Eventually, this form of self-reflection could lead to a sense of peace and understanding that may have otherwise seemed impossible.
8. Learn to love yourself unconditionally
There’s no point in carrying out any of the above tasks if you’re still holding yourself back with old, self-defeating beliefs e.g ‘I’m not good enough. Although these might initially seem like helpful crutches, we simply need to remember one thing: it doesn’t matter what we’ve done in our lives up until now because we’ll always be able to choose how we see ourselves in the present and in the future. Stop punishing yourself for past mistakes and start focussing on how much potential you really have as an individual instead. With every new day comes another chance at life which means there’s certainly no need to be limited by past actions, no matter how terrible they may seem.
With this in mind, it’s time to set our goals, cut out the negative self-talk, and start learning unconditional self-love. There will still be times when we lose sight of this goal but if you stick with it then over enough time and patience you’ll soon find that your life has changed for the better. Love your imperfections because that is what makes you beautiful. Don’t compare yourself with others, instead focus on being the best version of YOU!
About the Author
Felix Prasetyo is the founder and writer at Lifengoal.com, where he talks about anything related to personal growth. Download his free ebook “The 8 Relationship Advice I Wish I’d Known 10 Years Ago”, featuring the likes of Simon Sinek, Jay Shetty, Matthew Hussey, and more!