10 ways to start loving yourself
What is self-love? It means very simply taking care of your 'self'! It is taking care of yourself so that you feel balanced and fulfilled from within, without needing love from without.
Self-love is something you feel. You know when you are not loving yourself, that you feel drained and tired and out of balance. Also, feelings of anger and frustration is signalling that something is out of balance.
It might be that you are afraid of speaking your truth and saying how you feel, so you keep it to yourself and suppress the emotion, which will result in pressure felt from within that might try to find its outlet in other ways. So your emotions come and go unpredictably and in numerous negative ways and you might doubt your decisions and procrastinate, because of it.
There are many indicators for the need of more self-loving care-taking. Because when we love ourselves, we are capable of truly loving others. We have more responsibility as one person than we think.
Self-love means loving and truly honouring everything that makes us be who we are! It is appreciating all that we have been given, our gifts, our talents, our ideas, our feelings - everything that makes us uniquely us.
Loving yourself means, respecting your body! It is the most clever and loving mechanism there for you, it works in your favour! Thank it and use it wisely! Give back to it, so it can function for you at its best. What are doing to it? What are you feeding it?
How much are you listening to your body? We tend to get ignorant to the signals our body is constantly telling us. It is literally communicating with us all the time.
How much are you taking care of your thoughts? Thoughts affect your emotions and if they are let loose, your emotions will let loose and do whatever they want, and usually, when this happens it is not good. It can cause anxiety, anger, doubt, guilt, all kinds of negative emotions. And what do emotions do? They lead us to behave in certain ways, 'reacting' to things instead of confidently acting proactively on things with love and care and kindness.
Self-love means taking control over your self and deciding what you put into your body physically and what you choose to see, hear, and later, think. Most of this happens subconsciously. So how can we love ourselves more?
10 ways to love yourself:
(No one else but you can love yourself like this - it has truly lasting effects.)
1. Watch and notice your thoughts
How are you responding to your own thoughts? Are you directing them to the negative or positive side? What is the quality of them? Is your thought process generally negative? We chose our thoughts - becoming aware of them will help to strengthen our ability to take control of them and steer to the positive side.
If you notice that a lot of anxiety is coming from your thoughts, it probably means that they are doing their own thing. And thoughts tend to pull towards the negative if we don't watch them.
2. Learn the difference between just thoughts and intuition
Since a lot of uncontrolled thinking can lead to feelings of fear - which keep us from being and doing what we truly actually wanted to do - it is important to strengthen our ability to differentiate between understanding a guided message to us through our intuition, or a thought that we have filtered through our own uniquely created paradigm set up, now automatically connected to uncomfortable emotions.
85% of our fears do not even come true and are simply our brain doing its very clever work of memorising all that has once affected us. Any similarities to past events the brain might pick up on, that have previously hurt or scared us, will automatically be registered and very quickly realised into further feelings of fear as a way of 'protecting us against further pain'.
3. Realise that pain is your friend
As explained above, the body (the physical side of us) tries to run away from pain. However, pain is a very vital part of living and a very vital part of loving yourself. If, for example, we let our fears overcome us and control us, we would not face certain situations that would be important for our growth, personal growth or business growth, whichever challenge it might be. On the other side of pain or uncomfort is the reward.
It is the same as going to work out in the gym or whatever sports you do, the satisfaction comes after working out hard and going against tiredness or feelings of weakness and doing it anyway. When you have an exam or when you have to perform, fear always hits just before.
But how good will you feel if you didn't go on stage, didn't perform, didn't push a bit harder to see results because of fear? Even the pain of separation or doing the right thing feels uncomfortable but there is this knowing that it will be good for us if we go through it. Don't be scared of pain. It's inevitable, suffering is a choice.
4. Go outside your comfort zones
What is your comfort? For me, clearly I can be lazy and I can procrastinate very easily. I tend to comfort eat, I used to be shy and still am sometimes. So going outside my comfort zone would mean to be more proactive at speaking with people, not fearing to contact people. Sometimes it's a matter of 'speaking up'. Not giving in to comfort food too much, pushing myself to go to the gym even when I'm tired etc. We all have our comfort zones.
So when it comes to self-love, it is many times not only about doing what you want to do right now or what you feel most comfortable in right now, such as instant gratification comfort situations. They can be more damaging than pushing through to go against your comfort zones as it will show results for the long run. Ask yourself, how will this help me in the long run?
5. Reactive vs proactive
When it comes to your day to day, how many times do you 'react' to situations? If it is reacting to a friend, your mum, your boss, a passerby? We don't realise how much of our actions are on autopilot. Simply reacting and not slowing down to think about the repercussions this may have. Not just on the relationship with them or how they might feel, but on ourselves. Every reactive behaviour gets stored and will come back to us in some form or shape.
Sometimes we benefit from simply taking our time to respond to an email that might enrage us, a telephone call that made us sad or a comment that frustrated us. If we let ourselves calm down before reacting and come from a calm place, usually that place comes from a place of love. It's always important to act from a place of love, as we never know what the other person might be going through right now and the more proactive actions we do, the more will come back to us.
6. See the lesson in everything and practice letting go
Whatever the situation, there is a truly powerful and loving message being delivered to you. It might seem that the package looks quite harsh, but if we look between the lines, we had something to learn and without this happening, we probably wouldn't have seen it. Life will always enrich us with lessons that we can take from 'challenges'. If it is a loss of something or someone or a big unexpected change that really makes you tremble, you can choose to see the good in it.
Everything in life comes to us for a purpose. So what could it be that you might have had to learn? One can only get to this by being truly and honestly open to oneself. Admitting to oneself that one has things to learn will open up the ability to see what the message is. This is important to move on from this kind of challenge for it not to become recurring and also for us to grow and not feel affected as much as we once used to when faced with something similar again. By seeing, we will only become stronger. Deflecting will make us weaker.
7. Tune into your body
What is your body communicating with you? Each and every single moment our body communicates with us. With itself (as it is like, the most intelligent and freakily amazing self-functioning miracle machine ever) and with 'us', our conscious selves.
It's also important to mention that our soul and our body are perfectly entwined with each other. One doesn't go without the other. Have you got a cold? Maybe your body is telling you to slow down. Do you feel tired all the time? Is your heart racing in certain moments? Observe yourself and listen. What can you feel? And when?
We can learn so much simply by observing.
One of my favourite books is 'Your body is telling you: Love Yourself' by Lise Bourbeau. It is not a coincidence that one might tend to have throat aches more than others or even that a certain illness appears in your life. Some people have to adopt stronger habits than others to go against what 'runs in the family' but it's the soul telling us through our body that we need to change our habits.
Illness is not a punishment it is our body communicating with us to adapt to what our soul truly needs. (I'm not a doctor and I don't tell you what you might or might not suffer from, but its worth having a look at this, at reading your souls' language through your own body). We can always improve on things, we can always make changes. We are not victims. We are our own master!
Whatever we feed it, from food to drinks to medication, to cigarettes, to whatever has an effect on our body, physically and spiritually - it can damage or it can heal! We will know for ourselves what truly is the right thing for us if we just tune in and listen to ourselves and watch our body communicating to us, from us.
8. Do more things that truly excite you
Since the feeling of excitement makes us happy, sends endorphins through our body and creates a healthy bit of positive energy flowing through us, it is actually a no-brainer to do more things that excite us! We want to attract more positive things, we need to do more positive things. What excites you is unique to you and no one can tell you what this is. Embrace it and have fun! It will spark creative energy that will get the inspirations flowing. This space is where ideas can come flushing in and everything seems possible!
It's about priorities. Once you understand that doing things you truly love and make your heart shine bright will give you more quality at your life, be it at work, in your business and with your relationships, you will prioritise them more. Try it out and see for yourself! What have you not done in a long while but that was really fun? What is a hobby you have stopped doing or what can add more sparkle into your week?
9. Share your time with people around you
It's easy to get caught up in our own stuff and have our head hanging down in our phones or in our computers, not really seeing what's around us or who is around us when walking on the street. Life can get so busy sometimes and so fast too, but we forget (not intentionally) to snap out of it and actually open our eyes and be present for people around us. Even calling a friend out of the blue, even if you don't feel like it right now, lending a helping hand to people you don't know out on the street, or even just throwing a smile at someone. It can make a true difference!
When we do things that go out of our way and truly embrace those moments, with the energy 'because we want to' , not because we have to, we can transform a situation that might at first have been something we didn't feel like doing, into something that generates energy for ourselves and for the world.
10. Communicate fearlessly and kindly
Be assertive - communication is probably the most important quality ever. For the relationship we have to ourselves and the relationships we have with others. First we communicate to ourselves, we can tell ourselves lies because it makes us 'feel' better, but in the long run, it damages us. If we communicate to ourselves truthfully, even if it is difficult, we can also let it go easier. Then, when we communicate it out into the world, the universe receives that authenticity and reflects it back to us. The energy will be purified for us and the topic dealt with.
Tip: Let a minimum of three hours pass before answering, if it is a big thing, take three days. Just check yourself and see if you would respond from a hurt place or from a place trying to see both parts.
Loving yourself takes many shapes, whatever makes you happy is important, be playful, be creative and think outside the box. Routine can become quite stale after some time, so mix it up. Go out for a walk, spend time with your furry friends, meet up with your friends, go on a trip, take a bath, put some music on, take a class, whatever is your type of fun, just do it.
If you think you could benefit from support on your self-love journey, you might want to consider working with a coach. Helping with self-esteem, confidence and all things personal development, a coach could be the guide you need to find yourself again. Learn more about coaching and find a coach today.