So many of us have been taught for a long time that if we don’t put other people’s needs before or ours or aren’t working hard enough, that we’re being selfish. What we aren’t taught is that in order to work hard and to take care of others, we have to take care of ourselves first. And that if we overwork ourselves instead of doing the much-needed maintenance, that helps us function, we’ll end up feeling drained.
Because of this conditioning, the topic of self-love can sometimes seem narrow or frivolous. Even if it’s just as simple as suggesting that we be kinder to ourselves, using our thoughts. However, practising this crucial method of self-love can have a significantly beneficial impact on our lives.
Mahatma Gandhi taught his followers to remember that our thoughts generate words, words generate actions, actions generate habits, habits generate character and character breeds destiny. A perfect example of how practising self-love can be real and impactful.
Now, the following list may seem trivial, especially if you feel you’re already doing enough to show yourself some love. If some of these methods seem familiar, we hope we can provide some points of difference on how to/continue practising self-love.
One of the most effective ways to practice self-love is to prioritise the things you love the most. The things that bring you joy and the things that make every day a little bit easier for you. Not everyone can decide to not go to work because they don’t feel like it, or to go on a lavish last-minute holiday. But, most of us do have the power to deprioritize or eliminate things that make life harder. For instance, if you have a huge to-do list, why not try putting the easiest things first. Or, if you’re not looking forward to that dinner party in your diary, and would rather stay at home, just skip it. There are so many things we convince ourselves we must do, even if they make us uncomfortable or unhappy. So, if you’re in the position to put your comfort, peace or joy first, do it.
True self-love is rooted in self-acceptance. How often do you really think about what’s working for you, vs what isn’t? Do you focus on the negative more than you accept the positive things in your life? Then it may be worth reflecting on the positive a lot more. One way to do this is to make a list of what’s working in your life. Seeing it written down in front of you can sometimes provide more clarity.
Another way of employing self-acceptance into your mindset is letting go. Do you have one of those low-priority projects that you’ve been putting off, which in turn, has made you feel bad? Refocus that guilt into acceptance, that you have other priorities and reward yourself for moving on. Being grateful for your achievements, big and small, will change how you appreciate yourself in the things that you do and don’t do.
Practice gratitude and manifest abundance
Similar to acceptance, gratitude is a practice of appreciating what you have and manifesting abundance is the act of opening yourself up to receive more. The difference here is extending that gratitude to yourself.
Try to not only look at what you’ve achieved but also what you can achieve and what you contribute to the world. This kind of gratitude can be expressed in the form of self-affirmations, which is also an extension of manifesting abundance. Thanking yourself as often as you can, will provide mental strength to believe that you can access all that your heart desires.
Put in what you want to come out
Self-care has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. With more and more people, organisations and digital communities realising the importance of mental health. Sometimes it’s hard to escape the never-ending list of ways to take care of yourself. Which for some, can be overwhelming. The whole point is to feel at ease, not to stress about being less stressed. That’s why we highly suggest sticking to the basics.
There’s nothing wrong with going to get a facial, taking the day off or treating yourself to something nice. However, self-care can be as simple as eating healthily, being kinder to yourself, skipping hours of social media scrolling after dinner and settling down with a good book or podcast. All you’re really doing is taking the time and effort to invest in the little things, that’ll make your mind and body feel better.
Embrace failure & challenge
There’s nothing worse than failing and then being told to embrace the failure. But the truth is, with every hiccup comes a lesson, and every lesson is a blessing. It can be hard to see this at first, so grieving personal losses and embracing closure can be a bit of a journey.
What can sometimes help is stepping outside of yourself and looking at inspiring stories of people in similar situations. How To Fail is a podcast by Author, Elizabeth Day, that explores how others have turned failure into acceptance and success. Looking outwards can really help to expose a perspective that may sometimes be clouded by negative thoughts.
Following a growth strategy or methodology
Growth is vital in your journey to self-love. It’s important for us to treat inner growth the same way we might treat our plants, our finances and our kids (for those who have them). Everything you nurture to grow, you feed, treat and maintain with all the good it requires. That’s exactly how we should treat inner growth. Everyone has different ways of practising or nurturing growth; some meditate or seek therapy, some practice a skill or hobby and others follow methodologies.
Growth methodologies and strategies are prevalent across different cultures, religions, faiths and can even be found within the professional world. Tara Bach, an acclaimed psychotherapist, meditation teacher and entrepreneur, created and teaches the RAIN strategy. This encompasses self-understanding and acceptance. RAIN stands for Recognize, Allow, Investigate and Nurture. In summary, it’s a method you can apply to problems you may be facing that inspires you to be mindful in your reflection and to be accepting of your conclusions. You can hear more about Tara’s work and the RAIN strategy here.
Loving yourself is a journey and we hope we can provide some nuggets of knowledge and sustenance for you along the way. Want to read more of our wellness-related posts? Head back to our blog here.