Self-love is a state of deep appreciation for and understanding of who you are. It means your own well-being and happiness are important to you, as is your psychological and spiritual growth.
Self-love means you take care of your own needs. You don’t settle for less than you deserve.
Because we are so different as human beings, my self-love will inevitably be different than yours. No hard and fast definition will cover the self-love experience and expression of everybody.
So, it is important to figure out exactly what it means to you.
What is your concept of self-love?
See if any of the following ring a bell:
- Your self-talk, and the talk you use when you talk about yourself, is filled with kindness and love
- You prioritize yourself
- You don’t judge yourself all the time
- You’re always true to yourself
- You set healthy boundaries
- You’re always nice to yourself
- You’re forgiving of yourself
Self-care and self-love are closely related. The one can be an expression of the other.
- We hear our bodies when they talk to us
- We give ourselves a break when we need it
- We disconnect from the world and do something creative every now and again
- We watch what we eat, but indulge on occasion – WITHOUT JUDGEMENT
If you accept yourself just as you are, and accept every part of you, you are loving yourself. It means you probably accept your emotional world for what it is, and you put your emotional, physical, and mental well-being before anything else.
The how and why of self-love
If you love yourself, your choices in life will be healthier. You will end up taking routes and making choices that enhance your well-being. Things that bring new adventures into your life, and inspire you to make more profound decisions. And in the end, because you love yourself, you’ll have healthier relationships with others.
So, how do I practice self-love?
- Become mindful of what you think and feel and want
- Make sure your actions are based on need rather than want. By taking care of what you need, you’ll avoid patterns of behavior that are detrimental to you.
- Make sure your self-care is in place. Nourish yourself with rest, good food, and healthy activities.
- Be kind, gentle, compassionate, and patient with yourself – more so than you would with anybody else you care for deeply.
What if my self-image is bad?
Low self-esteem and a bad self-image stand squarely in the way of self-love and a healthy relationship with yourself. Remember, your relationship with yourself is the primary relationship in your life.
And the way you view and relate to yourself has a direct impact on the way you view and interact with the world around you.
We’re all hard on ourselves on occasion, and we all have days where our self-esteem is down way below zero. This is natural.
But, if this becomes chronic, you really should be doing something about it. Chronic low self-esteem has a habit of spiraling downwards. It gets out of control and before you know it you have things like depression and anxiety knocking at your door.
Loneliness follows close on their heels.
What can I do?
The first, and probably the easiest way to stop the progression of low self-esteem and a bad self-image, is to start practicing affirmations.
This is also the quickest way to get back to a place where you can have a healthy relationship with yourself. In other words, where you’ll have a healthy sense of self-love.
What are affirmations?
In short, affirmations are words or phrases you repeat to yourself daily to make them a part of your thought cycles. For example – I am happy, healthy, and at peace. This is a great example of a good, solid affirmation.
But affirmations go way beyond just the words or phrases you speak. They cut deep into the world of science too.
A belief is simply something you tell yourself, or someone else tells you, over and over again. When you hear it enough, and repeat it enough, you start believing it to be true. And once you believe it to be true, if you continue to repeat it to yourself, it becomes a part of your deepest belief system.
It all has to do with the neural pathways in your brain – and without getting too deep0 into the science of it all, that repetitions of a series of words or a phrase, take the phrase from something you hear to something you believe, to a part of your belief system.
Can you begin to imagine how powerful that is? And that you have that kind of control over your inner world with something as simple as an affirmation?
Well, it’s true, and it’s been proven by scientists. Psychologists and psychiatrists use affirmations as part of therapy programs precisely because of the power they have.
Tell me how.
It’s simple. We’re going to give you a list of affirmations a little way down the page. But before you get there, let’s just tell you what to do with them.
They’ve all been designed to improve your self-love and rekindle your relationship with yourself.
So, pick one, or two, or three. Write them down. Then start by repeating them to yourself first thing in the morning – preferably as close to waking up as you can. One of the affirmation gurus, a lady called Louise Hay, suggests using the affirmations while looking yourself in the eyes in front of a mirror.
In the beginning, it may feel a little odd, but see it through. It will become a habit in no time.
Halfway through your day, find a quiet spot somewhere, and do the same again.
And then, the last time before you go to bed.
Do this every day. Once you’ve done it for about two weeks, affirmations will be a habit. You’ll continue to do it like you brush your teeth every morning.
Your self-love affirmations
- I love and accept myself exactly as I am
- I love and accept myself without any conditions
- I accept unconditional love from myself
- I am completely at peace with who I am
- I am completely at peace with where I am
- My love is enough for me
- As I stand here, I am perfect
- As I stand here, I am enough
- As I stand here, I am whole
- As I stand here, I am a growth
- As I stand here, I am evolving to become my best self
- As I stand here, I love myself
- As I stand here, I forgive myself
- As I stand here, I am completely at peace with my past
- As I stand here, I am proud of myself
- I am beautiful on the outside and the inside
- I know I’m doing the absolute best I can
- I love learning to love myself
- I love being a work in progress
- I love seeing myself in a new light
- I know I deserve love
You’ll start feeling different in a day or two – guaranteed!
In fact, if you want an inspirational story to get you going, follow this link. It’s the story of Heather Mathews.
Heather had a life many can only dream of. But like many of us, she was aware that something was missing. She couldn’t pinpoint it, but there seemed to be a gaping chasm in her happiness.
So, Heather made work of it. She read, and she reflected, and she spoke to a lot of people who know a lot of stuff.
The result of Heather’s journey is a completely different life today. She’s being the best version of herself, and she gets to be, do, and have whatever she wants out of life.