How to do Self-Love

15 February 2024 | General

I’m sure you have heard the cliché; you need to love yourself first. But what the heck does that mean and how do you do it? If you are baffled by the concept of self-love, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this essential life skill remains a mystery to many. So, let’s demystify it. Firstly, you need to let go of the concept that self-love is selfish or egotistical. You can practice self-love while also being considerate and respectful of others. You also need to start seeing love as something you do, not just something you feel. Stop waiting for that warm fuzzy feeling to magically show up and do something to cultivate it. With this new mindset it’s time to get curious about love.

So, what is love and how do you do it? Once you know that, all you need to do is apply it to yourself. Ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers. What is my definition of love? How do I express love? How do I receive love? What makes me feel unloved? Hopefully you have a long list of words and ideas. Can you identify themes? If your answers involve broader concepts such as trust and respect; break these down further. How do you give and receive respect/trust? By the end of the exercise, you want to have a list of actions. This will tell you how you do love.

While you will have your own unique list, I’m going to hazard a guess at some of the main themes. Let’s go through them and explore how you can apply these to yourself.

Listen to Yourself
Feeling heard is one of the most common ways we receive love. Think about the last time you felt heard in a relationship. How did you know you had been heard? What about when you listened to a loved one so you could hear them? You most likely tried to understand how they felt and what needs, values and desires they were expressing. What would this look like when directed at yourself? You can listen to your body, your gut instinct and your emotions. Ask yourself; What needs and desires are they communicating to me? Are these aligned with my values? What is in my best interest? How can I attend to my needs? What do I need to do to take care of myself? (I have previously written a blog about self-care. This one is a good one to review now)

Do What you say you are Going to do
Feeling heard is one thing, but it doesn’t carry much weight unless you can trust that action will follow. We trust others when they act with good intention and do what they say they will do. So how much do you trust yourself? Do you act with good intention toward yourself? Do you do what you say you will do for yourself? Chances are, you are probably breaking your own promises all the time. You press snooze, eat the chocolate bar and put off the vacuuming until tomorrow. These may seem small, however, with each broken promise your self-trust is eroded. Therefore, by adopting a no broken promise philosophy you can rebuild trust in yourself. Try it out today. Say “no broken promises” every time you are about to act against your best interest. It’s so simple but in my experience, very effective.

Appreciate Yourself
Once you have done what you say you are going to do, acknowledge your achievements. Feeling valued and appreciated for our contributions is another common way we receive love. Unfortunately, we rarely congratulate ourselves for getting things right and frequently berate ourselves for getting things wrong. Not breaking a promise is a win. Achieving a goal is a win. Celebrate them! You can do this by sharing them, rewarding yourself, documenting them or simply complimenting yourself for a job well done. Once again, think about how you show appreciation to others and then apply this to yourself.

Show Kindness and Compassion
Now let’s circle back to berating yourself for doing things wrong. That’s not love. You are going to break a promise and get things wrong. You will have bad days and make mistakes. You will get sick, injured and feel emotionally spent. At these times, be kind to yourself. Are you your own worst critic? Do you say things to yourself that you wouldn’t dream to say to others? If so, choose kind and compassionate words to replace the harshness of your inner critic. Express compassion by acknowledging, what you feel and why you feel it. Then allow flexibility to act in your own best interest at the time. What does that look like? It has been a massive week, I’m exhausted. I need a rest.

Hopefully you are feeling all loved up. If you have more themes on your list we haven’t explored, keep going. You should have the hang of the process by now. The main thing is you recognise, there are so many actions you can do each day to love yourself. If you want to explore this topic further, I would love to explore it with you.

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