Firstly, what is love?
A dictionary definition of love is
‘an intense feeling of deep affection for someone.’
We all feel love towards other people, whether it be your family, partners, friends or your children. We all have the capacity to love in some form or another, so let me ask you a question………Do you love yourself?
I asked my hubby this and he replied “I don’t know – that is a really weird question!”. Do you think it’s a weird question too?
So, let me ask you, does this question make you cringe or roll your eyes a little? Do think that if you answered “YES” then this would make you big headed or vain? Or are you on the opposite end of the spectrum and do you struggle to like yourself, let alone love yourself sometimes and you think that the question is a little bit ridiculous?
If you answered “NO” to the question “do you love yourself?”, then ask yourself without judgement and with curiosity why is this? Is it the physical aspects of yourself that you don’t like or are there elements of your personality that you struggle to accept? Were you told at an early age that you’re not good enough and this has become your belief still to this date? Do you look at others and wish you were more like them and less like yourself?
The truth is that we are who we are, whether we like it or not and the only person guaranteed to be with us for the whole of our journey through life is ourselves! So, it makes sense to at least try to take some steps towards increasing our feelings of self-love and self-acceptance towards ourselves.
Here are some suggestions for you for you to have a read through. Some might work a treat for you, and you may wish to explore these further. And some may not resonate with you at all at all and this is totally fine as we are all different.
Mirror Work and Affirmations
“Love is the most powerful healing force there is. You can take this love out into the world and silently share it with everyone you meet. Love yourself. Love one another. Love the planet and know that we are all one. And so it is.” Louise Hay
Have you ever looked in the mirror properly where you actually look into your own eyes? Louise Hay’s ‘Mirror Work’ talks about the importance of really seeing who you are in the mirror and learning to say positive affirmations to yourself whilst looking into your own eyes. This is a really powerful tool and whilst you may feel utterly ridiculous doing this to start with, it’s amazing how much easier it becomes saying these positive things to yourself.
This sounds so cringe but start of by saying to yourself in the mirror “I love you”. Repeat it 10 times and do this every morning when you get up and hopefully, you’ll soon start to feel a shift.
Other mantras and affirmations can be used, and you can make your own one up relevant to your situation. Whilst it’s more powerful if you say these in front of a mirror, you could also say them when you wake up, or whenever you wish.
Even if the affirmations are not true yet, the idea is to keep saying them, and if you say them enough then they will start to become true. There are so many Pinterest boards with affirmation ideas so I’m not going to list them all here but a good one to start with is the simple, yet effective “I am enough” affirmation.
On the subject of Louise Hay, this is a fab guided meditation from Louise Hay herself about self-acceptance and self-love if you’re interested;
Stop Criticizing Yourself!
A biggie when it comes to self-love. Unhelpful thoughts and negative self- beliefs can cause so much inner turmoil within and the key for reducing these is awareness. Being aware that a thought is just a thought and that that the thought might not necessarily be true is a good place to start. When you have an unhelpful thought that has no benefit for you in the present moment and serves you no purpose it is beneficial to be able to identify this and to try to shift the perspective around to a more positive stance.
Next time you have a negative thought about yourself, ask yourself “would I say this to a friend or loved one?” The answer is almost always no. So then why are we so tough on ourselves? We are our own worst critic and sometimes we just need to acknowledge this in order to turn the thought around.
Next time you find yourself criticizing yourself ask yourself “is this helpful?” and “is this something a loved one would say to me?” If not, then ask yourself “why am I saying this to myself?” This takes time and we are all going to be critical of ourselves at times, but the main thing is that we acknowledge our feelings and turn the self-criticism into self-kindness.
Work on Self-Acceptance
Self-acceptance includes accepting yourself as you are today. This includes working to accept the whole you, flaws and all. Most of us aren’t happy with parts of our bodies and want to change them and most of us have aspects of our personalities that we wish were slightly different. This again is a long process that few of us actually are successful in doing completely but it’s important to take steps to work on your self-acceptance otherwise you’re always going to want to look younger, thinner, fitter, prettier etc.. We’re only on the planet a short time, so what is the point in being at war with ourselves the whole time?
There are so many books about self-acceptance out there which you can invest in to help with your own self-love journey. My favourites include;
The Gifts of Imperfection- Brene Brown
You are a Badass- Jen Sincero
Body Positive Power- Megan Jayne Crabbe
The Goddess Revolution- Mel Wells
Adopt a Growth Mindset not a ‘Perfection’ Mindset.
Something that I wish I had learned earlier. It is so important to accept that failure is inevitable from time to time. We all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Nobody has a perfect life despite all those perfect images you see on social media. When something happens that didn’t go the way you wanted, rather than see it as a failure, ask yourself ‘what can I learn from this?’ Again, there are lots of books about adopting a growth mindset you could read including the book ‘Mindset’ by Dr Carol Dweck.
When things go wrong, ask yourself “What can I learn from this?” Don’t be afraid to try again. When Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb, he failed 1000 times before he got it right!
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.
This comes up time and time again and it is so important with the concept of self-love. If you are feeling that your self-esteem is a little low, one thing you can do is to write down all of your good qualities so that you can see what an awesome person you are and that you shouldn’t need to compare yourself to anybody else. If this is a struggle for you, you could ask friends or a loved one what your strengths are? You will be so happy with their responses I promise and when you realise how amazing other people see you as being! Hopefully, this will give your self-esteem a boost and it acts as a little reminder that how you see yourself can be very different to how other people see you!
This was covered in the social media blog, but any Instagram or Facebook accounts that make you feel like crap, please delete them! You just don’t need that in your life! Follow people who are motivational, who empower you, who are all about self-acceptance and who are real and authentic.
Be Kind to Yourself
It’s simple, there’s not much more to say other than remember to treat yourself to the same level of kindness that you would give anyone else. We can be so hard on ourselves and are often our own worst critic. Be kind to yourself, always!
Put Yourself First
Self-care does come into the concept of self-love and is so important that SOMETIMES YOU NEED TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST. To love yourself, you really do need to invest time into yourself regularly and to prioritise the things you love doing. Even if it is for 15 minutes a day, take that time to read your book, meditate, have a bath, phone a friend, watch an old Friends episode or something on Netflix. Whatever you do, just take time out for you doing something you enjoy!
Get your nails done if it makes you feel better, if you get the benefit form complementary therapies, have regular treatments. If exercise brings you joy, take time out to do it. If nourishing your body with wholesome goodness makes you feel better about yourself, then prioritise your nutrition choices. Have a think about what elements of self-care you need to work on and make time to do these things,
So, with it being Valentines weekend and love is in the air, please make sure that you love yourself first. Or if you don’t love yourself, then please at least look to see how you can take steps to increase your levels of self-acceptance, self-esteem and self-love. You are awesome, please remember that!
Take care my lovelies and look after yourselves x