Self-love has become a buzzword that is used in the media without a real understanding of what it really means to practise self-love. When I started my self-love journey, I absolutely had no idea of what it actually meant to love myself. I was still attached to toxic relationships, I was still living to make other people happy.
Self-love can be easily confused with living your best life and convincing yourself on social media that you are happy for the sake of other people’s validation. It is more about acceptance of self, learning how to love yourself in your entirety while reaping the happiness and well-being benefits that come from self-love habits.
- How to know if you dont love yourself
- Why is self love important
- What self love is
- What self love is not
- What is the feeling of self love?
- 17 Ways to learn to love yourself and be happy
How to know if you don’t love yourself
Have you ever felt insulted after spending time with someone, that in hindsight, when you were with them you weren’t able to recognise or voice that you were being disrespected?
When you don’t love yourself, you set the bar so low for how people treat you that you don’t even realise when people violate you. An insult might sound like a joke, a backhanded compliment might sound like a compliment.
You accept the bare minimum from others due to not loving yourself. Things like basic respect, honesty and kindness should be the norm, but if you have been devalued, you would set your standards low, ignore the red flags and your justification for that would be – but they are “nice”. You accept them as being nice enough, yet you find yourself tiptoeing around them to keep them happy.
Self love test : When you look in the mirror, bare-faced and plain, ask yourself if you’d want to be friends with someone like you.
If you answer yes with no hesitation then you don’t need this article but if the answer is No, there’s work that needs to be done girl!
Why is self love important?
Real self-love requires you to go deeper with yourself and commit to understanding who you are as a person, why you are the way you are and loving the person that is you, just as you would any other relationship.
When you do the work of knowing how to love yourself, you begin to demand more for yourself, from life and you begin to have healthy expectations for how you want to be treated. Self love gives you the power to ask for more because you feel worthy.
Self love is love that sets the standard for how you will allow yourself to be treated and what type of love you will be willing to accept and give to others. Your relationships will always reflect back to you your level of self love.– Favour
What self love actually is
- Love is being fully seen, fully heard and accepted
- Love is selfless
- Love is being patient and compassionate with yourself
- Love is willing to go through hurdles with you
- Love is forgiveness
- Love is persistent
- Love is unconditional
- Love is respect
- Love is acceptance
- Love is nurturing
- Love is trustworthy
- Love is a choice
What self love is not
- Love is not ego(proud, boastful, jealous, rude)
- Love is not controlling
- Love is not selfish
- Love is not abandonment
- Love is not inconsistent
- Love is not disrespect
- Love is not conditional
- Love is not dismissive
- Love is not painful
- Love is not fear
- Love is not going to try to change you
- Love is not abusive
What is the feeling of self love?
Loving yourself is a constant work in progress. It’s a daily practice. When you love yourself you become dedicated to loving yourself every day and in all aspects of your life. You become your own biggest fan. You don’t have to wear clothes you don’t like or find uncomfortable. You don’t buy things because it’s trendy or even feel the need to impress people.
You no longer participate in situations that hurt you just to please others. You are able to set boundaries, having no shame in standing up for yourself. Plus you start to look better, feel better and in return attract better into your life.
You have to feel worthy of love to accept pure love
Read more: Living For Yourself And Not Others’ Approval
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation”AUDRE LORDE
17 Ways To Learn To Love Yourself And Be Happy
You don’t need to do everything as a beginner, choose one that you can easily implement into your daily routine.
1. Appreciate yourself
I want you to do some mirror-gazing, you might need to do this for like a minute or 2. Take the time to appreciate how special you are, even if you feel like there isn’t anything special about you.
Appreciate your body parts and the effort your body is making to keep you alive. Appreciate the fact that out of the billions of people on this planet, there’s only one like you. Appreciate yourself for the courage to even consider working on yourself.
2. Be the person you want to attract
Keep a Journal.
Write down your self-destructive patterns/ thoughts and make a counteracting statement for each one. Change your narrative about yourself and write down the life that you actually want, visualisation using a vision board can put things into perspective.
You alone can manifest what you desire, forget about your past, your past does not define your future. Write down things you like about yourself and things you don’t. Can you actively work on the things you don’t like? If you can’t work on them then find ways to accept it and focus on the things you actually love.
3. Repeat affirmations for self love
Words are powerful and they can be positive or detrimental to how we view ourselves. If you become what you repeat, it makes sense to alter your way of thinking by tricking your mind into confirming that you are totally awesome!
Repeat these words over and over till your mind starts to believe them. Do it at the start of your day and right before bed during your mind’s alpha state. Place self-love quotes on your wall, set affirmation reminders to help reprogram the mind of your subconscious beliefs.
Related: 46 Daily Affirmations For Self Love
I am good enough
I am worthy and deserving of love
I am healing
4. Commit to self care
Taking care of your outer appearance as well as internal. Dress up even when you’re not doing anything and notice a shift in your mood. Check in with yourself. Read self-love books to learn more about how to love yourself and be happy.
Take care of your body by nourishing it with healthy food choices that are good for your gut, since your gut has a huge impact on mood regulation. Take care of your body and notice a change in your mood and productivity. Make sure you don’t neglect your looks. Self care is being mindful of what you expose yourself to, with regards to what you watch, what you listen to and what you internalise.
Read more: Daily Self Care Checklist For Busy Gals
5. Learn your love language
Love yourself using love languages. Take yourself out on dates to spend time with yourself. Figure out what makes you laugh. Do things that make you genuinely happy. Maybe you like words of affirmation, or you like receiving gifts or maybe you feel loved when you engage in simple acts of service. Get to know who you are outside of your relationships and how you want to be loved.
6. Focus on slow growth
Know your passions and discover what you are good at by trying new activities. Believe in yourself enough to accomplish your dreams. Do things out of your comfort zone, be spontaneous, try to get comfortable being uncomfortable, even if that means doing little actions every day that scare you.
Take note of the things that make you feel most alive and continue to do them. Studies show that developing your talents/skills can boost your self-esteem. Also, engaging in creative hobbies can connect you to your femininity and inner child.
7. Practice self forgiveness
Let go of past hurt and learn to forgive those who offended you. Holding onto resentment is only going to stagnate your growth and will leave you bitter. Take the experience as a learning curve, learn your lesson, identify what part you played and how you could be better in future, so you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes.
Love yourself enough to let go of the guilt, the criticism and shame, love yourself enough to not get involved in other people’s mess or your own. Choose love and compassion.
8. Be accountable
Take responsibility for your actions. Stop blaming others. It’s not entirely the other person’s fault. This step is actually an important step because taking ownership of the issues in your life drives change and makes you want to be a better person.
Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get it right after several times or years even, mistakes are part of the learning process, so be gentle. You deserve love even if you messed up so much.
9. Practice Mindfulness
Get in tune with your body. It’s healthy to acknowledge your feelings and emotions even when they are unwanted. Do not suppress your emotions as this will only lead to anger or rage. Learn to address them as they come up, sit with yourself and understand why you feel that way.
It might be tempting to drown yourself with distractions but the emotions you are avoiding will turn into a bigger demon. It’s like avoiding laundry or sweeping dirt under the carpet, the mess is still there it doesn’t go away it just gets bigger!
10. Use your voice
Speak up for yourself – don’t hold back when voicing your opinions and ideas. You can express this respectfully and people don’t have to agree with your opinions.
You have to learn to stop caring what other people think of you otherwise, you are essentially giving them power over you. No one knows you better than you know yourself, not even your parents.
11. Give Praise
Make it a daily habit to just praise yourself. When you start appreciating yourself for your small wins and big wins, or just for being yourself, you wouldn’t feel the need to fill a void with external validation from others.
If you are always waiting for other people to validate you you will never feel good enough. The goal is to get to a point when you no longer care if people praise you or criticise you.
Set boundaries with yourself and others. I know that it is intimidating especially if you hate confrontations and would rather keep the peace. You must set boundaries if you want a healthy relationship with yourself and others.
The only people who would be averse to your boundaries will be people who want to take advantage of you. Boundaries are the only way to show people how to respect you so take advantage!
Communication is key. If something doesn’t resonate well with you or if you feel disrespected that would be a good time to voice your boundary. Just remember to do it from a place of love.
13. Get comfortable in your environment
Tidy up your surroundings and incorporate things in your house that feels like home to you. Have a cleaning routine. Your home is a reflection of your headspace and if you want to see a shift, start with your space. if you are struggling with your mental health, it can be hard to do mundane things.
What helped me personally was repeating tiny habits when I woke up – laying my bed as soon as I got up, opening the curtains (because I had plants), moving my body and showering.
Sidenote: Plants are so awesome! They come with psychological and health benefits as they are known to improve moods, calm anxiety, filter out toxic air and increase relaxation.
14. Surround yourself with positivity
You are who you spend the most time with, so it’s a no brainer to surround yourself with positive people to develop a healthy opinion of yourself, although it isn’t always easy to implement.
This is SUPER important if you want to see change, even if that means letting go of people you love, that would have to be the sacrifice you pay to love yourself.
You want to be around people who genuinely want the best for you and most importantly make you feel better, not worse. It should be harmonious, not full of extreme highs and extreme lows. They should bring out the best in you not the worse, trust your instincts.
15. Know your triggers.
Triggers are like censors for when things go wrong. They signal to us that there is still work to be done, they show us where we still need to heal.
What is NOT helpful is exposing yourself to situations that trigger you repeatedly.
When a trigger comes up, seek to understand why you might be feeling that way, find the root cause and think of healthy ways to cope. If you feel triggered, don’t expect the other person to be responsible for your feelings. You are responsible for your feelings.
You might want to figure out what healthy coping skills work best for you to enable you to self soothe. This is how you can self soothe an anxious attachment style.
16. Avoid the comparison trap
Comparing is the quickest way to sap your joy. The social comparison theory coined in 1954 by Psychologist, Leon Festinger suggests that it is human nature to seek self-evaluation by comparing ourselves to our peers, we do this by analysing where we are in relation to others and judging where we measure up to on the social totem pole.
The problem with that is you will never feel good enough if you keep comparing yourself to someone else’s ‘amazing’ life. It’s so unfair to you because everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses.
You stop comparing when you realise that everyone is on their own different timelines, your time is coming. The only person to compare yourself to is who you were yesterday.
17. Love yourself
Remind yourself that you are worth it. No matter what other people say, what matters most is how you feel about yourself. Always choose yourself, time and time again. Loving yourself is not an easy journey but it is sure as hell worth it!
What self-love habit have you personally struggled the most with? What self-love idea do you think is most realistic for you to start? Let me know in the comments.