What Does it Mean to Really Love Yourself?
How many times have you been told that it is important to love yourself? We all know that it is essential if we want to live a happy and fulfilling life, but unfortunately not everyone understands the true meaning of self-love. When we are faced with this statement, we most often believe that we do truly love ourselves however, if we had to take a closer look at our life choices we realize that they are not aligned with this statement. For some people self-love means having a massage or pampering themselves, treating themselves with materialistic things or going on a nice holiday. But self-love is much deeper than just doing something for yourself.
Our intimate relationships are also indicative of how much we love ourselves. If you are in a relationship where you keep finding yourself being upset, without your needs being met and respected by your partner, craving love and affection, and putting your needs aside to please others, then it is highly unlikely that you practice self-care and self-love. If you keep attracting toxic, emotionally unavailable, narcissistic people into your life it means that you are on the same vibrational frequency as these people when it comes to self-love. Even though narcissistic people might seem full of themselves with a sense of grandiosity, in reality they are really insecure people with fragile egos, and they don’t understand the meaning of self-love. We attract what we are and if you are a codependent or an empath matching up with these people, oh boy aren’t you in trouble!
Self-love means being truly comfortable in your own skin and authenticity. It means finding inner peace where you are able to rest comfortably within the depths of your own being. It requires self-care and nurturing yourself with compassion and kindness towards your own flaws and imperfections. Self-love is cultivated when you nourish yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually, and it is the way to heal yourself from any emotional pain you have encountered. So what are the key qualities and habits that you need to do to help transform your life?
Essential Steps to Cultivate Self-Love:
Being mindful is key to starting your journey of self-love. It means that you are aware of how you speak to yourself. We all have our inner critic voice and most often we are too hard on ourselves. Being mindful also means that you know what you like and what you don’t like, what lowers your mood and what makes you feel good. Making decisions based on what you want and your sense of intuition rather than what others want for you, is an act of self-love. This empowers you to make better choices for yourself which make you feel happy and fulfilled.
Choose What You Need Rather Than What You Want
You know that you love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting, but you still make the right choice and choose what you need to help you stay centred and moving forward in your life. This requires some self-discipline as you might be tempted to go forward with what feels good at that moment, but you know that eventually it will cost you. Delaying temporary gratification is therefore an act of self-love as you are choosing what is best for you in the long run rather than what feels good temporarily. By staying focused on what you need and what is good for you, you overcome automatic behavioural patterns that get you into trouble and keep you stuck in unhealthy behavioural cycles.
Being grateful for what you have will help you stay in a positive mental state and instigates positive emotions. This will encourage you to take care of yourself and identify the good things which are already present in your life. If you are living with a negative mental state, you will find it harder to be grateful and see the beauty within yourself and your surroundings, everything starts looking dull and melancholic. It is healthy to have goals and work on self-growth, however it’s important to be grateful for what you have before you ask for more. Gratitude radiates positive powerful energy and keeps you motivated to keep moving forward in your life.
Take Care of Your Body
You cannot feel good about yourself if you are not taking care of your basic physical needs. When you take better care of your basic needs, you feel better and it is an act of self-love towards your physical body. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like eating healthy food, doing physical activity, getting enough sleep and engaging in activities which they enjoy doing and uplifts their vibration.
Set Boundaries & Be Assertive
Learning how to say no when something is inconvenient for you is not an act of selfishness but an act of self-love. Set limits and say no to activities that deplete your energy or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually. If something doesn’t feel good for you, you don’t need to seek validation from anyone else. Communicating your needs and expressing your emotions is crucial to practice self-love. People pleasers might find it difficult to attend to their needs and feel guilty if they had to refuse helping others even if they had a valid reason not to. Even though you might feel the urge to go out of your way to please others, learn how to say no if you feel that it will not be good for you, or you just simply don’t have the time. Declining an invitation to a party which you know that will leave you feeling bored or unsatisfied is also an act of self-love. Don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to. Protect & Respect Yourself Self-respect is essential to cultivate self-love. You cannot love yourself if you don’t respect yourself. The same goes for anyone who shows disrespect towards your being. If you don’t respect yourself, you will attract people who don’t respect you and they will take advantage of this weakness in your personality. Make space for the right people in your life. Don’t waste time on those who don’t appreciate your time and don’t see the value in you. If you feel like you are chasing and begging someone to spend time with you, then you know that it’s time to step away. If anyone that chooses to spend time with you is being mean to you or mistreating you, protect yourself from this toxic behaviour and remove them from your life.
Do Not Believe Every Thought You Have
This goes hand in hand with being mindful of your own thoughts. When we identify completely with our thoughts it means that we are too attached and will get carried away easily with the emotion instigated by the thought. This ends up leaving us anxious, scared, frustrated and depressed. Learning how to observe our thoughts rather than identifying with them allows us to look at ourselves and situations with more clarity.
Practising techniques like meditation and breathing exercises will help you detach from your thoughts and become the observer. Learning how to observe your thoughts gives you a sense of relief from the mental clutter and will give space to inner peace and stillness. This is an important part of our self-journey of healing and mental well-being.
Forgiveness & Acceptance
We can be so hard on ourselves sometimes. It’s good to take responsibility for our actions, but punishing ourselves keeps up stuck rather than learning from the mistakes and moving forward. Accept your humanness to love yourself unconditionally. Keep in mind that our ego tells us all the negative things about ourselves as a result of unhealed wounds. Remember, there are no failures, if you learn from your mistakes, they are only lessons learned. Self-love is a daily practice and there will always be an area in your life that needs some attention and care. True self-love is not about judging ourselves and trying to be perfect. It’s about being there for ourselves in harmony, supporting ourselves along our entire life’s journey.