Not too long ago, selflessness was applauded as a most admirable trait. These days, women are trading in the give-my-all-to-others-and-leave-myself-undone behaviours for a journey to self love and we aren’t turning back.
It’s not selfish to put yourself first. Filling your own cup puts you in a better position to uplift those around you. Beyond that, falling in love with yourself is a path that leads to living a high quality life.
Several definitions of self love exist but the one I connect with the most is this:
Self Love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.
If you’re unsure how to begin, here are some ways to practise self love.
1. Stop Comparing yourself
Constantly comparing yourself to others focuses your attention on what you DON’T have rather than on your blessings. It’s hard to appreciate yourself when you’re focused on the voids in your life. Social Media has not made this easier as we’ve started comparing our real lives to the online lives of our “friends”. We often forget that apps, like Instagram, are a collection of people’s best moments. Therefore, comparing the good and bad of our own lives to the curated high points of our friends’ is a recipe for unhappiness. But whether on or offline, comparison has always been the thief of joy. Drop the comparisons and start practising gratitude.
2. Set personal boundaries
It’s important to set appropriate, healthy boundaries for work, responsibilities, time and space. The boundaries you set for yourself prevent you from taking on too much to the detriment of your health while the boundaries you communicate to others reduce the potential for unhealthy interactions with them. One personal boundary I have set is refusing to take work home.
3. Invest in self care and your physical appearance
Anything that relaxes you can aid your self-care – a trip to the salon, an appointment for a manicure/pedicure or, my personal favourite, having a bottle of wine coupled with my favourite movie. When you spend time engaged in relaxing activities, your stress levels are reduced and those feel good hormones are produced.
Besides the pampering, it’s also important to dress well. I can’t explain how, but a boost of confidence comes every time I dress impressively. Additionally, how well you groom yourself actually communicates to others how you feel about yourself.
4. Invest in your physical health and wellbeing
Self love isn’t simply about doing what makes you feel good in the moment. It’s also putting in work that is difficult and disliked but beneficial. Minding my diet and fitness has been the perfect example of this. It wasn’t easy cutting out sugar and I complained during every workout but I definitely loved my gym body more than the roti-lover belly I currently sport.
5. Practice positive self affirmation
Positive affirmations are personal statements repeated to overcome negative thoughts. This practice rewires the mind into a positive state as you start believing the affirming words. Even more powerful than simply repeating these mantras is using them to shut down the negativity spewed towards you by others.
6. Spend time in prayer, meditation and reflection.
Whether you believe in God, the universe or energy forces, it’s essential to tend to your spiritual health. Prayer creates hopefulness, meditation brings clarity and reflection fosters mindfulness. Each of these activities allows us to view our life’s journey in a positive manner and leads us to find purpose in this world.
A research professional by day and personal development blogger by night, Daniella believes individual growth is a continuous process that requires active reflection & work. Embracing your life-story is just the beginning. Her blog, The Better Self Project, shares inspiration and advice realized from my own journey of self improvement. Connect with her on FB: The Better Self Project and IG: @thebetterselfproject868