We are waking up to the importance of self-love on a global scale. More and more people are realizing just how important it is to pay attention to their personal and emotional needs. With the uncertainty of these challenging times and lots of opportunities for self-reflection, the emphasis on self-love has hit the spot. But what is self-love and, more importantly, how does one practice it? This article from our friends at Pacific Prime Thailand offers 5 ways to incorporate more self-love into your life.
How to practice self-love
Before we dive deep into ways to practice self-love, we first have to understand what self-love really is. Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that stems from actions that support our psychological, physical, and spiritual growth. A person who practices self-love has high regard for their own happiness and wellbeing.
Thanks to social media, marketing, and our inner critic, many of us feel less than worthy. Many people allow external circumstances to dictate how they feel about themselves. Self-love puts the power back in your hands, making it possible for you to be your own support whenever and however you need it.
Practicing self-love isn’t always as easy as it sounds, which is why it’s good to have some self-love techniques at your disposal.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other people
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “comparison is the thief of joy”, and the same can be said about self-love. Most of the time, comparisons make us feel like we’re lacking. We look at someone else’s victories and compare them to our downfalls, or their greatest strengths in comparison to our greatest flaws. Whichever way you look at it, comparisons often leave us feeling like the one on the losing end.
To stop comparing yourself to others, realize that you are the author of your life. In reality, you don’t know what another person’s life, thoughts, or feelings are like, so comparing is a waste of time – time that could be spent bettering, or simply enjoying, the path you are on.
2. Focus on being a person who loves
One self-love habit that can make a huge difference is to shift your mindset from being a person who doesn’t love themselves to someone who does. Now, self-love won’t happen overnight if you’re currently the kind of person who finds it hard to love themselves. But just like stretching, the more you consistently practice it, the better you’ll get.
You don’t even have to focus on loving yourself. Just be a person who loves in general, and feel how good it feels to let love flow through you. Look at people through the eyes of love, focusing on things you appreciate and enjoy. Find things to love and appreciate every day and your body will adjust to positivity over time.
3. Tune into what love feels like
Of course it’s easy to be your biggest fan when things are going well in life, especially when other people validate you. What isn’t easy is being loving towards yourself when things aren’t going well at all. We’re told not to kick others when they are down, yet we have no problem doing that to ourselves. That is, unless we practice self-love.
The next time you catch yourself beating yourself up over something, stop and ask yourself: how would I talk to someone I love? Look at the words you’re saying to yourself and question whether you’d speak to someone else like that. When we love someone, we are accepting, kind, and compassionate. That is how we should be towards ourselves.
4. Accept what you don’t love
Even if you talk to yourself with love and compassion, there may still be parts of you that you find ugly or unlovable. If that’s the case, trying to love those parts may feel impossible and prevent you from practicing self-love authentically. That’s why one self-love exercise that helps many people is to accept what you don’t like about yourself and let it go.
For example, let’s say you get very anxious sometimes. This anxiety can make simple tasks like hanging out in a group or giving a presentation very difficult. Rather than thinking “I love this anxious side of me” or dismissing it completely, say to yourself, “I accept this part of me. I am feeling anxious right now and that is okay. I will survive as I always do.”
5. Take care of yourself
When you love something, you take care of it. If you love yourself, you’ll want to live a long and healthy life. We all know that there are things we can do and choices we can make to live a healthier life, but many of us don’t do them. If you’re sitting at work all day then sitting on the couch all evening, your energy will become trapped inside. Eventually, this stagnant energy can turn into sadness, anxiety, or worse.
Instead, move your body as often as you can. Find ways to move that feel good and prioritize making time for them. Whether it’s a short walk on your lunch break, weekly exercise classes, or even dancing around your living room, doing things that you enjoy and get your body moving works wonders. The same goes for the food you eat. Junk food makes you feel like junk and good food makes you feel good! The more you take care of yourself, the easier it’ll be to make healthy choices.
With regular self-love practices, you’ll realize one day that you’re taking care of yourself on all levels. Life has plenty of ups and downs. Your health can go from perfect to poor with one diagnosis. You could be on top of the corporate ladder one day and jobless the next. Regardless of what is happening externally, having a foundation of self-love internally makes it that much easier and more enjoyable to flow with life.
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