Self love is something that everybody needs, but many people don’t have. Depending on our upbringing and life experiences this can affect our self love. I always thought I loved myself, but recently realized I didn’t love myself as much as I thought I did. After allowing many toxic people in my life and making decisions that were not in my best interest, I realized I had to increase my self love.
What is Self Love
In order to increase self love you must know what self love is. Self love doesn’t mean you are selfish or self absorbed. Self love is holding your happiness and well being in high regard. It involves being kind to ourselves and setting boundaries in our lives, so not everybody and everything has access to us.
Why Self Love is Important
Self love is important because when there is a lack of self love you are more tolerant of toxic people and toxic behavior from other people and even yourself. Here are some of the benefits of loving yourself.
- You will have more joy in life
- Having a more positive mindset
- You won’t allow toxic people to remain in your life
- You’ll make healthier lifestyle choices
- You’ll have more fulfilling relationships with other people
- You will be more motivated to go for your goals and interests
- It will be easier to make better life decisions
Steps to Improve Self Love
I’ve learned over time that in order to fully love yourself it doesn’t just involve one aspect of your life. It is more of a mind, body and soul transformation.
When I say mind I am referring to our thoughts, our environment and the people in our lives that influence our mood, our mindset and our happiness. Here are a few ways to get our mind right.
Keep your internal dialogue in check – These are the things that we say to ourselves. Like a lot of people I have always been my own worst critic. Constructive criticism helps us grow and make better decisions. Negative criticism affects self-esteem and our love for ourselves. I have definitely been guilty of negative internal dialogue. I’ve often criticized my body because of being overweight. I’ve also negativity criticized myself when it came to the decisions I have made with relationships and at work. This internal dialogue did nothing but make me feel insecure. So when you feel your internal dialogue steering towards the negative side, try to adjust your mindset in a more positive direction.
Forgive yourself – You need to forgive yourself for past mistakes. No one is perfect and we have all made decisions that we regret or wish we could do over. From those decisions hopefully a lesson was learned and you can grow from that experience.
Adjust your attitude – It’s not about what happens to you, it’s about how you react to what happens. I am a big believer that things happen for a reason. Even tough situations can get turned into a learning opportunity and usually you end up leaving that situation stronger and wiser. I used to work at a job that I was unhappy with. It was tough emotionally, physically and mentally. In the beginning my mindset was not in the right place and I felt completely defeated. But it got to the point when I was tired of being unhappy and stressed, so I decided that I needed a mindset shift. Instead of saying why is this happening to me, I would say this is happening for a reason and I can get through this because I am awesome!
Compliment yourself – Remind yourself of the things you love about yourself. Work on things you don’t like, but don’t beat yourself up about it. We are all beautifully flawed. That’s what makes us all unique.
Remove toxic people – Distance yourself from people that put you down and don’t show you respect. Instead surround yourself with supportive family and friends .
Adjust your environment. This can be the movies and TV shows you watch, the music you listen to or the things you look at on social media. If any of these cause you to become more critical of yourself then it is best to distance yourself from it. Many times we look at a picture or video on social media from a friend or a stranger and start to compare ourselves to them. You might say they are thinner than me or they have a bigger house then I do.
Whatever the comparison might be it’s not a good idea to compare yourself to other people. Usually when we compare ourselves to other people we end up talking down to ourselves in return. That is the type of behavior we want to avoid. So if you know certain media outlets trigger this vicious comparison cycle then you need to distance yourself from it for the time being.
Doing things you enjoy. Is there something that you have always loved doing or have always wanted to start doing? This is the time to get started. When learning to love ourselves having an idle mind can be a risky thing. An idle mind opens yourself up to the negative internal dialogue that we want to avoid. So keeping your mind occupied with activities and hobbies that bring you joy is a very important part in moving towards a happier life. For me writing is something I have always enjoyed doing. There have been many times when I stopped writing completely. Usually during these times I was too invested in making other people happy rather than doing what made me happy. This caused me to lose sight of what brought me joy. So find what brings you joy and get to doing it!
When it comes to body I am talking about your health. Our bodies are a temple, so we should treat it with love and respect. We only have one body, so let’s show it some love. How do we do that?
Diet – First we have to look at our diet. Are you a fast food junkie? Do you eat a lot of processed junk food and sugary snacks? Do you eat a lot of fried foods? If yes then you have some work to do. I have learned this lesson the hard way. Like many people I tend to not make the best food choices when I am stressed. Stress is a normal part of life, but how we respond to it is what counts.
After years of not making the best food choices and eating a lot of fast food I ended up at my highest weight of 215 lbs. When I decided to increase my self love I knew that this had to change. Changing my diet was not an overnight thing, but a gradual change that is still happening to this day. I started juicing (check out my blog post about that), I started cooking more instead of always eating out and I reduced the amount of sugary food I ate. Once you start to make a change with your diet you will very quickly notice a difference in your mood and confidence. As your self love increases making better food choices becomes easier as well.
Exercise – This is the second part of body. This is something that I’ve never liked doing, but it is a necessary part of life. Not only does it relieve stress, but it also improves mood. When you are less stressed you tend to be happier, make better food and life choices. So it is all connected.
Sexual Health – Our physical relationships are something not a lot of people want to talk about, but it is very important when it comes to taking care of your body. Living a healthy lifestyle, but engaging in risky intimate behavior is defeating the purpose of treating your body with respect. There are far too many STDs to risk your health with unsafe behavior. When moving towards better self love you have to be more protective of your body, because no one else will.
Pamper Yourself – From time to time it is always a good idea to pamper ourselves. Whether it be a relaxing massage, a pedicure or facial, take the time to let someone else take care of you for a change.
Last but definitely not least is your relationship with God. This is actually the most important part of self love. We are all children of God, so if you love God you should love yourself because you are from him. During my self love journey I knew that strengthening my relationship with God was the first thing I needed to do. I started by reading the bible and striving to be a better person each day. When you have faith you will notice the mind and body changes talked about earlier will progress a lot quicker. You are not alone in your journey when you have God.
When it comes to self love there is a lot more to it, because everybody’s situation is different. The process will take time, but will gradually get better . I finally know what self love feels like and I am not looking back. Hopefully these suggestions help get you started on your journey. If you need support and guidance through this process feel free to book a session with me as your life coach.