Self-love is not something we tend to focus our energy on. Too often, there’s a long to-do list that takes priority: job, bills, relationships, to name a few. Instead of slowing down and focusing on what we are truly feeling, we keeping moving. After all, if you throw enough darts at a board, one is bound to stick, right? Well, not quite. Self-love isn’t tied to how much work you do, how others perceive you, or how you stack up against other people in our wildly competitive world. Self-love is an internal commitment to yourself, to focusing on the people, places, and things that enhance your well-being, and to valuing yourself in the present moment.
1. Be present in your body
It’s important to embrace all of your feelings on your journey to self-love. Self-worth stems from acceptance. First, try to understand when you are upset and why, in order to better interpret the signals your body is sending. Second, be curious about each emotion that arises. Your goal is to accept what you are feeling, rather than try to control what you are feeling.
2. Acknowledge your best qualities
When life is going well, we feel recognized for our best qualities. On the other hand, when we are struggling, we may compensate by trying to prove our worth to ourselves. To gain self-confidence, you must accept yourself for who you are today. You already have all the right ingredients for greatness in the present moment. Start by acknowledging the good qualities you currently possess. Write a list of ten things you love about yourself and ten positive qualities you are excited to build upon.
3. Seperate yourself from other’s expectations
Sometimes, it’s hard to separate what you want from what other people expect of you. When we lack confidence in ourselves, we may lean on other people’s opinions to boost our self-esteem. This includes engaging in self-deprecation to gain others’ reassurance or attributing your social status to material things. At the end of the day, the only opinion that truly matters is your own. If you find yourself seeking outside validation, act yourself: “What am I not giving myself in this current moment?” Then, write down five actions you can take to overcome this fear.
4. Walk with confidence
We’ve all heard the phrase, “fake it ‘til you make it.” To a certain extent, it’s true. When we walk with confidence and speak highly of ourselves, we begin to realize those qualities in ourselves. By become our own cheerleader, we can slowly build up our confidence, competence, and sense of optimism.
5. Become your own advocate
While we can lean on supportive friends and family along the way, our journey toward self-love is ultimately ours to take alone. This means understanding your needs and boundaries and communicating these to others. If someone or something is not meeting your standard, do not be afraid to stand your ground or walk away. One of the most painful things we can do is to compromise ourselves for something beneath us. It may be hard to let go, but if you do, you will free up space for more opportunities.
6. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the norm
You are unique! Embrace your quirks. Don’t be afraid to live life on your own terms. Dress the way you want. Speak out if you disagree. Make friends with people who genuinely interest you. Dream big and follow through. If people try to put you down for being different, pay no mind. Your life isn’t theirs to live!
7. Listen to your gut
When you listen to yourself, you steer away from things, people, and places that disturb your peace. The best way to listen to yourself is to pay close attention to your gut. If you feel nauseous, anxious, or unsettled in a situation, your gut is giving you clear feedback that something isn’t right and you need to take action to resolve it. Depending on your situation, this may mean initiating a tough conversation or walking away from a situation.
8. Set healthy boundaries
Establishing healthy boundaries allows you to feel comfortable and develop positive self-esteem. Healthy boundaries include being clear with someone about who you are, what you want, your beliefs and values, and your deal-breakers. If you find yourself relying on your partner or resorting to game-playing, you are using unhealthy coping mechanisms. Although healthy boundaries in a relationship do not come easily, they are incredibly important. Ultimately, a healthy relationship is one in which two people are responsible for their own happiness and come together to find win-win solutions.
9. Maintain a positive perspective
It’s important to break any habits of self-criticism, perfectionism, and negativity. These mental habits will leave you feeling drained and less motivated to make important life changes. Challenge yourself to adopt a more kind, light-hearted, and loving inner dialogue. If you catch yourself self-sabatoging, try your best to stop your train of thought and replace it with a positive affirmation such as “I am worthy of love and compassion. I am doing my best in the present moment. My best is enough.”
10. Be patient with yourself
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t stress yourself out if you aren’t reaching your goal fast enough! The goal is progress, not perfection. We are all bound to make mistakes and errors on our way up. If you struggle with patience, try meditating for fifteen minutes each day and keeping a daily gratitude journal to celebrate your small successes.