Do you know what love is? Love is more than the physical attraction one has for another’s body nor is it the emotional connection per se. It is something deeper and it begins with one’s self – that is self-love.
Self-love is the simple act of loving yourself in a positive way and allowing others to love you too. When you practice self-love you are able to open your life and your heart to others in a positive way. The people around you start to see a more positive and loving person and they then find themselves wanting the same type of self-love in their life. Your friends and family will see it because you change in a positive way, and with that you are taking care of yourself and allowing yourself to be happy.
The first step to understanding self-love is to identify what makes you genuinely happy. You can do that by asking yourself these important questions: (As you reflect on these questions there will be more trigger questions that will surface that can help you know yourself better.)
- What makes me feel happy and fulfilled?
- Who gives a positive influence in my life?
- What makes me spiritually grounded?
- What are my passions?
- How do I love myself?
- What do I need to let go of in order to move forward?
These are not questions about material objects. These are questions that identify with your emotional needs. In order to love yourself you need to know yourself. No object or other person is going to make that possible for you. You are in control of your own self-love and the way to achieve it is to identify the many ways you can love yourself and grow. Self-love is your own appreciation of yourself, and what you are capable of spiritually, physically, emotionally and psychologically.
How do you practice self-love?
There are numerous ways to nurture self-love in your life. All you have to do is to practice what works best for you. Here are some ways to lead a positive change in your life:
- Morning or daily affirmation of self-love – You can write it down on a piece of paper, and keep it somewhere close. You may write it on the bathroom mirror so you can see it every day, or you may stick it on your bedroom wall where you can see it right away when you wake up. And as you go along each day, remind yourself at least once a day that you are an amazing person, and you deserve the love and attention you give to yourself.
- Take care of your body – Your body needs daily exercise. When you stretch your muscles and work out it helps to increase your strength and health. This in turn keeps you strong and healthy.
- Surround yourself with supportive and positive people – Friends and family who support your lifestyle of self-love are a positive influence on your life. They will not only support you but also encourage you to love yourself. On the flip side, you should remove any toxic people who may negatively influence your life and have never supported you.
- Carve out time every day for meditation – Calm your mind each day with a short meditation. Clear your thoughts and center yourself at least once a day.
- Let go of the things that weigh you down emotionally – Don’t focus on negative things in your life. When something happens that causes you to feel down, don’t allow that feeling to linger. Accept it and move on.
- Do activities that make you happy, follow your passions – It could be painting, or writing, or volunteering at a local shelter. Whatever you are passionate about and would like to do, go ahead and give yourself an absolute permission to do it.
- Do not make comparisons – You are your own person, like no other person in the world. By accepting yourself for who you are and not comparing yourself to others you allow yourself the freedom to be you.
- Feed your body with good food – If you are hungry, eat. If you have a craving, satisfy it. Eat clean and feed your body with food and drink that will nourish you and make you stronger.
- Feed your mind – Pick up a book you have been wanting to read, and allow yourself some time to read it. Take time out to read a newspaper, or watch a documentary on a topic you have been wanting to learn about. Broaden your knowledge and connect with the world in a new way.
A healthy expression of self-love is a balance. It is not the narcissism of psychology books nor is it necessarily 180 degrees from self-loathing or depression. In the past self-love was considered arrogant because it was misunderstood and miss represented by people who were thought to be selfish and vain. The truth is, that you need to love yourself before you can love others in a healthy and positive way. It is okay to do things for yourself, take time for yourself and live your life free from emotional and physical toxic influence.
To sum up, self-love is about being contented and happy in your own skin. It is about loving yourself fully. When you finally developed self-love, self-acceptance and self-confidence will follow. Other people will also see you as a positive person because the happiness you felt from the inside will radiate on the outside. You will then attract the people alike. They are going to be the people you can add to your circle of friends and family who will support you and most of all love you just the way you are.