Love is complicated in many ways. People spend years trying to find the best ways to love their spouses, friends, and family. Most times, we succeed in showing those close to us how much we value them.
When it comes to loving ourselves, things get a little harder. We may be overly critical, or self-deprecating without knowing it. Unfortunately, we may not put as much effort into learning to love ourselves as we do in learning to love others.
What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is a term that has been thrown around a lot lately, but what does it really mean? And why is it important?
Self-love means loving yourself as much as you would anyone else. It means taking care of your emotional and physical well-being because those are the things that allow you to be present in the world with all your heart.
Most importantly, self-love is about giving yourself permission to follow your dreams, rather than letting fear or guilt prevent you from doing so.
So, how do we learn to love ourselves more? And how therapy can help us in this?
Why Is Self-Love Important?
Research has proven that loving yourself more has several benefits, including:
- Boosting your self-esteem
- Decreasing anxiety and depression
- Increasing motivation, productivity, and discipline
- Helping you maintain good relationships with friends, family, co-workers.
How to Love Yourself More
The following self-love techniques change how you feel about yourself, those around you, and the world at large.
Learn to Question Everything
In life, you will hear a lot of things. Some may be true, others may not. You’ll consciously and unconsciously take in these things as facts and create a belief system based on them.
Unfortunately, some of these untrue beliefs can creep into your mind and ruin your self-perception.
One of the most important self-love activities you can practice daily is to question everything you hear and think. Always take a moment to ask yourself, “Is it true?”
Doing this enough times will help you discern facts and create a positive belief system.
Change the Way You Perceive Your Flaws
Everyone has flaws, and it is unlikely that you’re alone in having less than perfect skin, teeth, hair, or other physical features. Flaws are not only physical, you may critique how you think or feel.
Instead of thinking corrections to your looks are what makes you unappealing, focus on the things that do appeal about yourself. Try to see your perceived weaknesses as opportunities for growth rather than disabling qualities.
And remember: perfection should not be the goal, as none of us are perfect.
Change the Way You Speak to Yourself
Words can cut deeper than any blade and they can bruise like no paper cut ever could. How you speak to yourself matters because words create feelings, which in turn create energy — either positive or negative — within your mind and body (and this affects your reality).
So when you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, either out loud or in your mind, rephrase it to something positive.
Your physical state can affect your emotional state. One way to improve how you feel both inside and out is by catering to your body’s needs.
Prioritize nutrition — think of it as giving your body what it needs to keep you going each day. Choose whole, healthy foods that you enjoy eating. Don’t deprive yourself, rather practice moderation when it comes to what and how much you eat.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which boost your mood and help you feel good about yourself. Get enough sleep so that you can focus on doing your best each day.
Do Things You’re Good At
Everyone has skills and talents, and when you spend time doing what you’re good at and what gives your life meaning, it helps to increase self-worth.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
The people with whom we surround ourselves play a big part in how we view ourselves. If they are cynical, negative people who speak poorly about everything under the sun, their words will make you question yourself too.
On the other hand, positive people who love themselves (regardless of what they look like or what anyone else thinks) will make you realize that it’s okay to be you.
Spend time with people who love, support, encourage, inspire, challenge, and motivate you to be your best self. These are the types of people that will lift you up when you’re feeling down about yourself or when your goals seem too difficult to reach. Plus they can help you see areas where improvements are needed.
Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company
Spending time by yourself can be challenging at first, but it quickly becomes very rewarding. Knowing that you are okay to do something alone without feeling lonely will help boost your self-esteem in an amazing way.
Give Back to Others
One of the most empowering ways to increase your self-love is by helping someone else. It can be anything: from donating money or clothes, baking some treats for a friend’s party, babysitting for a new mom needing time to herself, reading to kids at an old age home, volunteering in your community…the list goes on.
The more you give, the more you realize that your own self-worth is not defined by a single person or a particular type of relationship. Giving back can also foster a sense of purpose and help you view yourself in a more positive light.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Challenging yourself is important if you want to grow as a person and feel good about your life. Learning something new every day, traveling to new places, meeting new people — all these things are not always easy to do, but they are rewarding.
Getting out of your comfort zone helps you realize and appreciate your strengths. It also encourages you to see challenges as opportunities for growth rather than barriers that hold you back.
Seek Counseling or Therapy
Sometimes, your inability to love yourself stems from trauma, abuse, neglect, depression, or other painful experiences. You might not be able to heal these wounds on your own.
Working with a therapist can help you overcome the things holding you back. Online therapy is useful for working through such issues and learning to love yourself.
The Bottom Line
Self-love can boost your self-esteem and improve your relationship with those around you. However, loving yourself more is sometimes easier said than done.
The self-love tips in this article are a great place to get started. If you’re struggling, asking for help from a therapist or counsellor on Calmerry can be beneficial.