A guest post by a repeat writer for the blog, Iman Walker on five simple strategies to increase self-love.
“Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” – Louise L Hay
Contrary to what some people think, self-love is not a bad term. It doesn’t mean you’re a narcissistic, selfish or self-absorbed person. Quite the opposite. As a matter of fact, it means you make the effort of recognizing your worth and value.
Self-love is accepting that as human beings, we’re imperfect. And that’s perfectly okay.
In a world where we’re always reminded to compare ourselves to others, to change our lifestyles or looks to fit silly societal standards, self-love is what we do to accept who we are as individuals.
Now, this may sound like sweet, cliche talk, but it’s true. Putting yourself first in your life is a practice that can transform your relationship with yourself.
If you’re ready to start appreciating yourself and your efforts, valuing who you are as a human being and knowing your self-worth, I have five tips that’ll help you out on your journey towards loving yourself.
#1 – Silence the mean, mental chatter in your mind.
Our inner critic.
We all have one. Her opinions are hurtful and useless, and although we realise this, we always listen to her.
Let’s admit it. If we spoke to others the way we speak about ourselves, we wouldn’t have any friends. Sometimes, WE are our worst enemies.
One of the first steps to loving yourself is to silence the mental chatter. Don’t give this voice in your mind any attention. Dismiss the criticism. This might be difficult at first because we’re so used to giving in to this mean voice. But with practice, it’ll become easier.
We criticize our bodies, our looks, our ability to do things. And so the best way to combat this voice is to vocally tell ourselves the complete opposite of what she’s saying.
So next time you criticise yourself for whatever reason, flip the script and say something positive instead. You’re always with yourself, you deserve that self-love and appreciation.
#2 – Self-love means you stop comparing yourself.
Before we had billboards, magazines and movies that made us compare ourselves. Now it’s all those things and social media.
Many of us are guilty of using social media in a way that doesn’t benefit us. Every day, we scroll through our feeds, staring at pictures of people we think have perfect lives, bodies, partners, and so on.
If you think about it, what does this do besides ruin your mood?
I love this quote by Iyanla Vanzant, “Comparison is an act of violence against the self”. Her choice of words shows how damaging it is to compare ourselves to others. It brings about no benefit.
If you want to start loving yourself more, you must recognize that you were created unique, and your journey is different from everyone else’s. Anway, if we were all the same, life would be boring!
#3 – Recite positive affirmations about yourself.
Research has shown that reading or reciting affirmations can influence how we feel about ourselves in a good way. This also subconsciously encourage us to make good choices in life.
You can come up with your own self-love affirmations. But just to give you an idea of what you can say, here are some examples:
- I believe in myself and my abilities to do amazing things
- I am worthy
- I’m deserving of love and respect
- My self-esteem is always increasing
- I’m always trying to become a better version of myself
- I have special gifts unique to me
- I value myself and my self-worth
- I’m in control of making my own decisions
- I can make a positive difference in the world
#4 – Embrace your differences as an act of self-love.
This tip ties in with the one about comparisons.
Society has set an unrealistic standard for how our lives should be. But, in our pursuit of meeting this impossible standard, we put ourselves down for being different.
This needs to stop. We’re not all the same and we were never meant to live identical lives. Don’t look down upon yourself for being different. This is what makes you unique and special.
And embracing your differences is a key ingredient in your journey to self.
To love ourselves is to accept ourselves as we are. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to become better. Naturally, you should always try to improve. It’s important to have goals, but love every step you take towards reaching your objectives.
#5 – Be patient with yourself.
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself” – Max Ehrmann
This is one of my favourite quotes. It can be interpreted in different ways, but I understand it like this: While changing, growing and transforming yourself, be gentle. Be patient. Be loving.
Whatever phase you are at in life, whatever choices you’ve made, there’s always a way to make things better. On some days, you won’t feel good about yourself. But that’s okay. As with anything in life, the goal is to carry on and not give up.
There you have it. Five pieces of advice to help you increase self-love. I hope you found them useful, but there are many other ways you boost self-love. Check out this post on 7 daily rituals that are essential for self-love.