Woman standing with her arms in the air full of self-love

How to Love Yourself – 11 Ways to Cultivating Self-Love

The more I speak with people about self-love, the more I realize there is an unhelpful association with loving yourself and conceitedness.

We may not want to be known as being vain or self-centred, but instead of getting a healthy medium, we tend to go to the other extreme.

We focus on cultivating our external relationships and ignore the internal relationship with ourselves.

However, while more and more people struggle with stress, burnout and exhaustion in general, it’s time we rethink what self-love is and why it’s more important than we might tend to believe.

When we love ourselves, we appreciate who we are, where we have come from and give ourselves every opportunity for happiness.

When we look after and care for ourselves, we are less likely to fall in a heap because we have greater self-awareness and understanding of what is required to keep our tank full.

When we learn to maintain a healthy relationship, we are more productive and show up as our best selves.

We also have more to give to others.

Self-sacrifice is no longer necessary.

Chances are if you are reading this, you want to have a better relationship with yourself.

Imagine what your life would be like if you

  • believed in yourself
  • accepted yourself the way you are
  • cared less of what others thought of you
  • had greater self-love.

How do we go about cultivating self-love and building a healthy relationship with ourselves?

Here are 11 ways to creating more self-love

1. Forgive yourself.

While taking responsibility for your actions is admirable, you need to stop punishing yourself for past mistakes.

We all do things that later we regret.

Making amends for one’s behaviour where applicable and learning to recode failure as lessons can help you let go of the unnecessary burden keeping you stuck when others have moved on.

2. Learn to turn down the volume on your inner critic.

We all have that harsh internal voice that causes us to judge and doubt ourselves.

However, when you begin to recognize the voice, you can create distance between its message and yourself.

The thing is, it’s not always right, so choosing to stop listening to it allows you to carry on with being true to yourself.

3. Turn up the volume of your internal wisdom.

Just as you have the critical voice, you also have a voice of wisdom. When you tone down the input of the critic, you will hear another voice urging you on.

Grounding techniques and guided meditations help bring your attention back to yourself.

4. Evaluate and determine your own standards and expectations.

Growing up within families, cultures, and societies can come with their own unspoken rules and expectations.

We can suddenly realize that we are living our life according to someone else’s plan.

It’s never too late to determine what is important to you. What it is you want to do or be known for.

You can begin honouring yourself by understanding your values, purpose and what makes you happy.

5. Concentrate on your strengths.

As humans, we tend to focus on our flaws.

However, flaws are just one side of the coin; you also have strengths.

Because they come naturally to you, you might not be consciously aware of them. However, researchers have shown that using your strengths in everyday life can enhance well-being and self-acceptance and improve your mental health (Schutte and Malouff, 2019).

By bringing awareness to your superpowers, you realize there is much more to yourself than you might have given yourself credit for.

6. Acknowledge and show appreciation.

We tend to focus on what we are not achieving.  But training your brain to acknowledge what you have completed can make a difference to the way you look at yourself.

As with focusing on your strengthens, you start to appreciate who you are, what you are doing, and what you are capable of on a daily basis.

Acknowledge when you step outside of your comfort zone to speak up or offer your creative ideas when you once you would have stayed quiet. Or when you get a large chunk of work completed, meet deadlines, and keep your cool when the unexpected happens.

7. Practice mindfulness.

Our minds like to wander back to the past with regret and into the future with fear. However, the power to consciously choose what to focus on lies in the present.

Because it is here where we can let go of old limiting beliefs, patterns and triggers and decide to activate self-love and kindness.

8. Cultivate self-compassion.

Speak words of kindness when you don’t reach your targets or you mess up.

Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend going through a similar experience.

Let yourself know it’s okay, and you will be able to handle whatever comes your way.

(You can read more about Self Compassion here)

9. Create healthy boundaries.

The desire to be accepted often gets in the way of creating healthy boundaries.

But showing others how you want to be treated leads to more respect and minor misunderstanding further down the track.

10. Take care of your body.

This means getting adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, drinking water and exercising your body.

Being intune with your body and listening to what it needs ensures you have the energy and vitality to carry out whatever you need to do.

In addition, taking breaks from social media allows you to disconnect from unnecessary drama and connect with yourself without the outside influencers.

11. Talk yourself up.

While we might find it easier to criticize ourselves, we struggle with complimenting and talking ourselves up.

Using words and phrases that show appreciation and love for yourself tells your unconscious mind that you are serious about having this relationship.

Statements you can say to yourself during the day, either out-loud or to yourself. (when waiting in line or in traffic, doing the dishes or cleaning the house)

“I am loveable and loved”,

“I am enough”

“My opinion counts”

“I choose people who love and respect me”

“I have handled this before, and I can handle it now.”

“I am safe showing up as me”

 

 

Schutte, N. S., and Malouff, J. M. (2019). The impact of signature character strengths interventions: a meta-analysis. J. Happiness Stud. 20, 1179–1196.

 

Image : Guillaume-de-Germain via Unsplash

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