Self love, self love, self love. Easier said than done right? it’s one of those things that seems so elusive for a lot of us, but need it be?
Do we really understand what it means and why is it so hard to love ourselves the way we’d love another.
Well in today’s video we’ll explore just that as well as introducing what I believe to be the 5 essential steps to self love. I will be doing follow up videos that shall give in-depth insights into each step so please take a moment to subscribe to stay in the loop.
So without further ado I hope you’re able to get something positive out of this video.
Just as with outward expressions love, self love means a lot of things to a lot of people but perhaps the best definition I’ve found was that on urban dictionary of all places where one contributor defined it as:
To unconditionally spoil yourself, value yourself and accept your self-worth. Putting yourself first so you can grow externally and internally for YOU. It’s a value that shows and symbolizes how much you appreciate and accept who you are and not who you’re told to be.
Self-love is therefore the cure to self-hate.
And there’s so much truth to this definition which essentially says unabashedly focus on yourself in order to flourish for yourself and others. This is especially important to keep in mind in a society whereby spoiling yourself or putting yourself first can sometimes be interpreted as being selfish. Even appreciating and accepting who you are can have others deeming you to be “full of yourself”. So it’s little wonder we veer from self love when we aren’t taught to be comfortable with it.
A good friend of mine put it best when he said
The maddest part about self-love journey’s is that initially you would have had to learn to not love yourself in the first place!
It is a journey that begins by unintentionally learning to not love yourself!
So when you look at it that way we can conclude that this pandemic self loathing is not a facet of our default state. So what we can do to overcome and reverse the destructive occurrences that have led to this fall out. What can we do to fall in love with ourselves again.
Well, firstly, we can start with self acceptance. This is probably the most difficult aspect of self love. We’re subjected to so many images of polished ideals, whether that be aesthetic ideals, ideals regarding success or where one ought to be in life at a particular point. These all play in to how we perceive our self image and where we place our self worth relative to the world around us. They say comparison is the thief of joy and that is with good reason. Eliminating comparison is an important step in self acceptance.
With that said perhaps the first and most important step to self acceptance is healing. Healing your guilt, your shame, your pain, your regrets. It is difficult to accept yourself if when you look at yourself all you see are wounds. It isn’t until you start accepting who you are that you can start loving who you are.
But it doesn’t stop with acceptance. You also have to appreciate yourself and understand your value. Ask yourself what are the things that make you great and if you’re struggling with the answer to that then take a moment to think about your favourite things in life. It could be anything but I can guarantee you could probably effortlessly list all the things that make them great. So why are you able to appreciate your favourite restaurant or your favourite band or whatever it might be but when it comes to yourself?
I remember an old dove commercial whereby participants were asked to say what they liked about themselves and then what they liked about their friend. Invariably they struggled with identifying the positives in themselves but were able to speak gleefully about what they liked about their friend. This is to say that we have to be open to recognising our positive traits because if others can see them in us then they most certainly must exist and 9 times out of 10 the things we’re insecure about are either things others don’t notice, don’t care about or even sometimes the things they love about us the most.
Once we become open to seeing the best in ourselves we can learn to appreciate ourselves independently of validation from others.
With all that said perhaps the foundation of self acceptance and appreciation is self compassion. And in fact I’d maybe even go as far as to say compassion may just be the most critical aspect of self love or any type of love for that matter. You see when you show yourself compassion you say to yourself I understand your pain and I’m not here to fan the flames, I’m gonna help you get through it and I’m going to help you grow.
To better illustrate this when your 4 year old falls over you tell them you understand they’re hurt but that they will get better and that you will be there not only to comfort them through the process but let them know it’s still ok to run again. In contrast what a lot of us do when we fall is we say things like, you’re a fool, you’re an embarrassment, you’re no good, why even bother trying. So the way in which we show ourself compassion is hugely centred around the language we use towards ourself. As I’ve stated in previous videos negative self talk can be detrimental to your overall mindset. If you were to have a friend or a partner who’d talk so negatively about you chances are you wouldn’t stand for it and you shouldn’t stand for it from yourself either.
Be gentle with yourself and show yourself the kindness you deserve.
Another way to show yourself kindness is through setting boundaries. Boundaries are perhaps the most under appreciated facet of self love especially for those of us with giving personalities.
Setting boundaries allow you to protect your energy as well as protect your self esteem. If something were to go wrong in a flight you’d be told to put your oxygen mask on first even if you had dependents. Why? Because making sure you are in prime condition ensures you are able to be a utility for others. Boundaries are your oxygen mask, they are your way of saying I need to look after myself, I need space to breath to equalise my mind so that you are ready to give when required.
As with anything the catalyst for change is consistency and this is no different when engaging with self love. You often hear the process of learning to love yourself again referred to as self love journey’s but perhaps this is a slight misnomer as self love is not a place you can arrive at and be done with. it is a habit, it is something you need to practice and maintain day in day out.
So take the time to grow in love. You need to accept yourself, appreciate yourself, show yourself compassion and be ok with setting boundaries. Most of all you need to practice, practice, practice. Killing Comparison and Embrace your power.