I’ve decided it’s high time I become my own friend.
Self-Love… as in, actually giving a shit about myself, I think is probably the best way to achieve that.
So…. I took the top few Google entries from a search for “Practice self love” and decided to compile a list of things to do so I can increase my chances of actually liking myself.
- The first list was from Belief Net.
- Tune into Your Body
Respecting and honoring your needs includes knowing what’s happening with your body. But we often stop paying attention, especially when we’re pressed for time. To remind you, set an alarm on your phone for every hour or two hours, every day. When it dings, ask yourself how you’re feeling and how you can respond to your body. For instance, if you’re tense, you might give yourself a massage or stretch your body. If you’re agitated, you might take a few deep breaths, meditate or walk for 10 minutes.
- Tune into Your Thoughts and Feelings
Whether you sit down every day or week, journaling is a valuable way to access and process your thoughts and feelings. It can be as simple as answering, “Right now I am feeling…” or “Right now I am thinking…”
- Live Your Dream
Knowing and living your dreams is a great act of self-love. Put away the shoulds, and consider what you really love to do. What activities bring you joy? What are your aspirations? What would you do for free? What did you love as a child? You don’t have to overhaul your career to live your dreams. You can channel your dreams into your days, whether it’s penning a poem before work or painting in the evenings.
- Practice Yoga (I’m thinking Tai Chi)
Yoga is a safe and gentle way to reconnect with your body and your inner world. It also helps to cultivate kindness and acceptance. Practicing yoga isn’t about manipulating your body into a certain size. It’s about meeting your body and yourself where you are – and enjoying the movement and magic of your body.
- Create One boundary
Boundaries are crucial for healthy relationships. As author Rosie Molinary writes in her book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance, “There is never a day where it is better to be in a relationship that undermines, undercuts, manipulates, abuses or takes advantage of us than it is to be …in a relationship with ourselves that’s filled with self-love.”
But if you’re a people pleaser, setting and sustaining boundaries can seem overwhelming, or worse, impossible. So commit to creating one boundary, and seeing it through. Start small. And remember, as Molinary writes, “Being good, as it turns out, isn’t about pleasing. Being good is about being just to others while also being true to yourself.”
- Your Inner Critic
That harsh inner voice that criticizes your body or your intellect or anything else about you isn’t being realistic or telling it like it is. It’s spewing lies. Your own voice is kind, supportive and loving. So whenever the inner critic strikes, recognize that these self-critical statements are untrue, and replace them with something truly realistic, helpful or compassionate.
- Write a Love Note
Many of us feel uncomfortable praising ourselves or even acknowledging anything remotely positive. But there’s nothing arrogant about appreciating yourself. (Don’t you appreciate your loved ones for their qualities?) Write a letter acknowledging your accomplishments, efforts and traits. If this is tough for you, put yourself in a friend’s shoes. What positive things would they say about you? Whenever you start to feel crummy, come back to this note.
- Take Yourself Out
Court yourself like you would a lover. What places do you love to visit? What activities put a smile on your face? What nourishes your soul? Spend time by yourself doing the things that make you happiest. In fact, go to your calendar right now, and schedule several dates this month. Every day self-love gives us an opportunity to tune into our needs and desires, and respond to them with care and compassion. It reminds us that we’re beautiful human beings, who make mistakes and try our best. Just like we love our family and friends unconditionally, we can learn to love ourselves without requirements or shoulds, one step and supportive perspective at a time.
MindBodyGreen was the next link that popped up in the search.
1. Create a self-love ritual.
Turn off the TV and unplug from social media for 15 minutes to get centered while self-pampering. My favorite way to do this is to moisturize my skin with intention. As I massage my feet I thank them for getting me to where I need to go; as I moisturize my hands I love them for all the transactions and introductions they’ve helped me with throughout my life. I stop taking my body and my life for granted and relish how blessed I am while showering myself with gratitude.
2. Build a precious community.
As much as we would like to think we can, we can’t do everything ourselves. You need the support and love from people around you to stay motivated and on track. Positive energy is contagious, so whether you’re building a network or planning to go to a fun event, it’s always important to have a community you value around you regularly.
3. Make a “What’s Working for Me” list.
You always hear that to love someone else you must first learn to love yourself. But In order to really love yourself sometimes you have to recognize all the love you have around you. One of the practices I do when I’m feeling down is to go within and acknowledge what’s really working, then make a “What’s Working for Me” list. Once you see it on paper and accept all of the positivity in your life, it will make it that much easier to love yourself.
4. Know that your body is a loving vessel.
Treating your body like a loving vessel will not only boost your self-love, but also your energy. Be intentional about what you put into your body, not only because you want to look good but because you want to feel good. Feeding your body nutrient-rich foods will have you oozing love out of every pore.
5. Clean out your closet.
This may be more therapeutic than you initially think. Cleaning out your closet will help you not only clean your room up a bit, but will positively affect your mind. Getting rid of old things will make room for new things to come in to your life! Cleansing your mind can sometimes work in the form of letting go of clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. that remind you of a certain time in your life that links to a negative vibration. Don’t chase what’s already happened; love yourself enough to know the best is yet to come.
6. No more comparisons.
We’ve all done it. Browsed through social media only to see our favorite media personalities in the middle of a photo shoot for their new books, just after they had awesome shopping sprees and right before the post about their engagements. WHAT!? I know it’s hard to look at so many positive pics on the Internet, or even in your own life, and know that everyone has bad days. The next time you want to browse the web for reasons to feel bad about yourself, remember that you are perfect just the way you are; being in a pattern of compare and despair only makes you focus on the negative, when there’s SO much to be grateful for.
7. Explore your spirituality.
Faith is the foundation for self-love, no matter what you believe. Believing in something opens up your soul to the beauty of belief and trust. It will build your intuition and help you make decisions based on your gut. When you explore your spirituality it will also take you on a journey to learning things about yourself and those new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions will make you appreciate yourself for being authentically you.
8. Do something you’re good at.
If this isn’t the ultimate self-esteem booster, I don’t know what is! Self-esteem and self-love often go hand in hand, and participating in a hobby you’re good at will not only boost your endorphins, but will bring out the best version of you. If you love to cook, then cook! If you love to run, then grab those sneakers, head outside and run for your life.
9. Find your happy place.
Think of a place that makes it simple to just be. That means being able to sit quietly and embrace the here and now. Not thinking about what’s due at work or what bills need to be paid, you owe this happy place to yourself. Self-love is all about connecting with yourself, and one of the easiest places to do that is your happy place.
10. Build your letting go muscle.
We’re constantly holding on to things in our past, and it can tend to weigh heavy on our souls and even give us low self-esteem. The more blocks we clear, the more we can really live big in the area of self-love. Although we may do this as a way to protect ourselves from hurting, it’s really only holding us back from moving forward to reaching optimal self-acceptance and loving who weoare.
Tiny Buddha (unsurprisingly – to me, anyhow) popped up in the list…
- 1. Make a list of your accomplishments.
I guarantee there have been many. Nobel prize nominations are not required. The fact that you bake amazing pies or are the person your friends always call when they want a sympathetic ear are great examples; so are getting a degree or knowing how to change your car’s oil.
Refer to this list when you are feeling not so special. Soak in all the cool stuff you’ve achieved and remind yourself how awesome you are. Personally, I love the reminder that I was voted “most unique” in high school.
2. Learn something new.
You don’t have to become an expert on an entire subject (unless that’s appealing). Learn how to say “have a nice day” in German (“Habt einen schönen tag!”), check out a Ted talk, or hit up Wikipedia’s “random article” link until you find something interesting.
Pointing our focus toward something outside of ourselves is stimulating; it also expands our world and our perspective. Additionally, learning makes your brain happy.
3. Ask your very best friend/partner/favorite family member what they love about you and specifically how you are amazing.
Take note of what they say and refer to it later when you are feeling a bit unloved. While our view of ourselves is of primary importance (it is about self-love, after all), it’s always nice to hear some complimentary words from someone we love whose opinion we respect.
Let me be super-clear: I am not talking about the “friend” who is actually a frenemy, or the family member who insists on subtly criticizing your life choices. This question is reserved for one of your very favorite people who happens to feel the very same way toward you.
4. Put your focus on others with small acts of kindness.
If I’m having a self-critical day, my tendency is to want to turn inward and pay little attention to the outside world (and expend my energy getting down on myself—not very useful). Instead of allowing that, I will make an effort to chat with people I come across and offer a kind word; I’ll be a more considerate driver; I’ll make a point of saying “hi” to people I don’t know.
For me, focusing on others serves as a simple reminder that we are all connected, as well as sending the message to my system that playing the introvert and self-criticizing is not acceptable to me.
5. And sometimes, turn inward.
I trust myself enough to know when I just need an hour or two of nothing. No email, internet, or other diversions—just me and a cup of something, hanging out, plotting my future, thinking about what I want, where I’m going, and how I’m going to get there.
For me, this is like hitting a re-set button. It clears my brain of some of the clutter, alleviates some of the negative internal dialogue, and leaves me feeling motivated and renewed. Meditation is great. So is a half-hour in a coffee shop sans boss and kids. Both can be incredibly fulfilling. Do whatever works for you.
6. Put on your most-loved music and dance.
Its an incredibly basic concept, but oh so easy, super fun, and all good baby. I defy you to feel bad after your endorphin-pumping, stress-relieving, body-moving, shamelessly personalized dance party for one.
7. Practice self-care.
The most effective tool I use to avoid the not-so-great-in-the-self-love-department days is regular self-care. I engage in many small acts of self-care, with occasional larger ones thrown in.
Getting up early enough to enjoy my morning coffee; scheduling myself in a way that doesn’t cause my head to explode when I look at my calendar for the day; making sure my refrigerator is well-stocked so I don’t end up having olives and old celery for dinner—these details work for me and support me in feeling strong and solid.
I simply feel better about myself when my life is running smoothly. And since I’m the one running my life, the responsibility to make it so is mine.
Remember: While we are all connected, and in many ways are the same, you are the only you there is. You are unique, amazing, and special. Revel in it, ‘cause you rock.
Psychology Today was next up on the search.
- Become mindful.
People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.
Act on what you need rather than what you want.
You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
Practice good self-care.
You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.
We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures, if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life, when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.
Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.
Here is my Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love.
If you choose just one or two of these self-love actions to work on, you will begin to accept and love yourself more. Just imagine how much you’ll appreciate you when you exercise these seven-steps to self-love. It is true that you can only love a person as much as you love yourself. If you exercise all of the actions of self-love that I describe here, you will allow and encourage others to express themselves in the same way. The more self-love you have for yourself, the better prepared you are for healthy relating. Even more, you will start to attract people and circumstances to you that support your well-being.
I’m gonna end this here… I’m tired, and I simply don’t wanna do anymore cut/paste right now.