How to Practice Self Love
Learning to love oneself is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. Being human comes with all sorts of challenges. We make mistakes daily, we don’t get things finished that we want done, maybe we have awesome days too! So much can happen in one day and throughout a lifetime. But if we struggle to love who we are and aspects about ourselves, we miss out on so much that life can offer. Learning how to practice self-love can be such a valuable part of our living experience on this planet. What we show to the world around us is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
What is Self Love
Self love is not narcissistic as some might believe. When we don’t love ourselves, our mind turns against us which creates havoc with our mental health and wellbeing.
Self Love is to deeply love yourself with a strength no matter what. When we have a healthy attitude towards ourselves, we foster our own self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-love. Practicing self-love is also essential for healthy relationships.
Love Yourself First
As a parent, I know how hard it is to be the best parent I want to be. If I am not able to love myself, how am I going to pass on positive self-esteem and self-love to my children. Children absorb so much from us, things we wouldn’t even expect. Even learning how to love oneself is a valuable skill that is learnt from our environment. When we don’t love ourselves, it will have more likelihood to have a negative impact on our children. Whether we teach them otherwise or not. No matter what we think we are teaching our children, they pick up on even subtle things. So if you are mindful of how to love yourself, you will give out a positive vibration to those around you.
Also, if you don’t look after yourself, which is closely connected with self-love, then you won’t be able to look after others around you.
What about if you are single? It’s still going to make a big difference in your life if you practice self-love than if you don’t. How do you think you will attract people into your life friends or a partner if you don’t love yourself? As humans, we need a social connection with others, it’s how we are made up. It’s one of the pillars of well being. For more information on the Pillars of Wellbeing, check out this post where I discuss it in greater detail.
Negative Opinions of Others
When others share their negative opinion about you, it’s very hard not to have it get under your skin. This is a trigger for me personally, so I know it’s hard when it does happen.
I’ve learnt through living these experiences not to take it personally. My self worth is more than someone else’s opinion. That being said, I go through hundreds of questions about what the other person has said to the point where I question everything about my choices.
Then, I realize it’s not about me. Whatever that person has said is about themselves. They are having a negative reaction to something going on in their own life. They are projecting something about themselves and throwing it out to the world. If it’s directed at me, then I think to myself, what is it about me that is triggering this response from them? What are they struggling within themselves that they perceive as being related to me somehow? And you know what, every time I go through this process, it has always led to them having something going on in their lives in some way. This process also helps my brain settle down with all of the negative thought patterns that arise once I remember it’s their stuff.
The main thing to realize is how you continue to be yourself instead of relying on someone else’s faulty opinion. What is your self worth? Your opinion of yourself isn’t tied to someone else’s opinion. so don’t allow it to be. This is where you will be affected unnecessarily. It’s not their life, this is your life and no one has the right to take how you see and feel about yourself away from you.
Accept that you can’t change them. Only yourself, so don’t let them push you around. Set boundaries around how you are treated by others. Don’t give them any power to change how you see yourself or affect what you think. Choose how you want to live, how you want to do things your way without anyone else’s negativity.
When we don’t accept ourselves, we engage in an ongoing internal battle that will just keep going endlessly until we make a conscious choice to let go of the resistance. Have you ever noticed that when a thought keeps running round and round in your mind about yourself, you try to push it away, or you have a negative response to yourself. I’ll show you a snippet into my mind when I was younger…
Thoughts: “Uggh, I hate my freckles. I wish they weren’t there. I’m so over them. They make me look weird. I just want to cover them up, Winter is my friend so I don’t have to expose these stupid freckles.”
What is going on here with all of those unnecessary, irrelevant thoughts that keep running on replay, over and over again, with no end in sight? What am I doing to myself?
What’s happening is that I’m resisting their existence. I’m fighting with my thoughts about the fact that they are there, and they are something that I’m not happy about. So the endless thoughts keep barraging my brain which if left unchecked will contribute to more than just negativity. It will be a struggle to accept myself the way I am.
The negative thoughts are reinforcing more negative thoughts. This also creates an emotional response to the thoughts, which feed into the next thoughts. This actually used to happen in my mind when I was younger. I was so embarrassed by the freckles, I used to try to cover them up and try not to get too much attention to them. Fortunately, I’m older and wiser and have learned a thing or two about dealing with such negative thoughts and nurturing self-love.
When one isn’t accepting of something, in this case, my freckles, then it causes discomfort, negativity, self-consciousness, and a wide range of other feelings. This can have a big impact on how one views oneself and feel about oneself.
Now if we practice acceptance, the tug-of-war stops, the war on hating oneself evaporates.
Here’s one way of how to practice acceptance…
Thought: Uggh, I hate these freckles.
Acceptance: Hmm, okay, the freckles are a part of me. I can’t stop them from being there once I get them. I have fair skin, so it’s inevitable that I will get some freckles. It’s okay to have freckles. They aren’t ugly. Some people say they’re cute. It really doesn’t matter whether they are there or not. they are part of me, so I am okay to have them there. I will accept them being a part of me.
This creates less of an internal argument within myself and instead creates acceptance.
Here’s an exercise you can try for yourself.
Think about an aspect of yourself that you struggle to accept. Okay, now with that thought, imagine it floating up to the sky in a bubble. You watch it float up to the clouds. You watch it sit on the clouds. It moves with the movement of the clouds. Stay with it and watch it for as long as you want to.
What did you notice while you did that floating thoughts exercise?
I’m going to guess that you may have found yourself fighting less with the thought being there in your mind and created distance between the thought and your observer part of your mind. This exercise allows you to let go of the struggle with the thought you’re not happy with and allows you to sit with it. You can do this exercise with any thoughts you are struggling with.
The key here is learning how to sit with the thoughts that make it hard to accept. When acceptance happens, the fight reduces and creates a sense of calm. When we can accept ourselves, we can learn to love ourselves deeper and with greater self-awareness. I’m not saying this happens overnight. It’s something to practice on a regular basis so you can learn to love yourself. You are human with all of our imperfections and troubles. Learning to love and accept yourself is a valuable skill that can be learned and nourished.
“We all make mistakes, it’s how we respond to those mistakes that will determine our direction” ~kat
Negative Self Talk
How many times to do you say something to yourself which has a negative tone? We all have a negative self-critic. Its whether we decide to listen to it or not. Become more aware of what our inner voice is saying to ourselves. It can take some time before we notice it and get used to hearing it. Once you are aware of it, try to write down when you notice the negative thoughts. This will give you an insight into how frequently your inner critic has been actively contributing to your negativity.
Don’t be hard on yourself once you discover this internal world if you didn’t realize it before. Growing in self-love and self-acceptance takes time. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. If you’ve been hating on yourself for years, then give yourself a break and be kind to yourself. By being more aware and taking small steps towards a more positive you, things will change and shift over time.
Practice noticing your thoughts daily – write some in a journal when you become aware of them. It’s important not to keep feeding into those thoughts, simply notice it, record it, then keep doing what you were doing. See how many times you might notice any negativity.
Allow me to share a relevant quote from Louise Hay. She said,
“Whatever is happening out there is only a mirror of our own inner thinking.” Louise Hays
When our inner world is negative it will show through in many areas of our lives.
Make a Commitment to Love Yourself
This means you need to make the decision to keep working through the process of learning to love yourself, even on bad days. Cos bad days do happen. If you’ve committed to working on developing and building on yourself love, then this will help you be consistent and it will improve how you feel about yourself.
Once you’ve kept a record of your negative self talk for at least a few days so that you don’t dwell and get stuck on those thoughts. you can create a list of how to reframe those thoughts into something more positive.
For example, let’s say you had the thought,
“I’m so useless with this subject, I’m so dumb at this.’
Reframe it to, “I’m aware that I’m finding this subject challenging and I choose to speak with my teacher about it in the morning. I am working hard and concentrating on this work. I’ve already done some of the work and understand some parts.
Through the practice of mindfulness, you can become more aware of your thoughts and manage them with focus and kindness. Acknowledge their presence but don’t have a discussion with yourself over them being there. It’s okay to have thoughts, they are normal. The trick is to not engage with them, get angry with them for being there or push them away.
We all make mistakes. We are usually tougher on ourselves than others. This creates an unkind internal world that decimates self-love. Especially if we are prone to dwell on these mistakes. Think about it this way, would you forgive your friend for the same thing you’re upset wit yourself about? If so, then be kind to yourself too and forgive yourself. You’re human and it’s okay to not be perfect.
Many of us are busy and have high aspirations which can lead to high expectations. When this gets challenging it’s common for many to criticize themselves which can have a strong impact on mental wellbeing and love for yourself. Many perfectionists tend to be prone to this type of inner criticism which can wreak havoc on self-love.
Hypnosis Nurture Self Love
Hypnosis is a valuable tool in helping to shift thought patterns that may impact how we feel about ourselves. Especially at the subconscious level.
If negative self talk, a strong inner critic and being unkind to yourself has been an ongoing theme for you, it might take multiple approaches to address changing this pattern. Hypnosis is a very effective way of accessing the subconscious mind and help you adapt new behaviours and changes that you might struggle to do without this additional tool.
Below is just a few that are offered through ehypnosis.com In particular, the self-esteem hypnosis as well as connecting with your body can help one increase self-acceptance and self-love.
I value self-care immensely. It’s the action of doing something you enjoy for yourself, not for anyone else. Something that nurtures you, that you relate to and have an interest in.
It might be yoga or going for a walk before everyone gets up. Be sure to look after yourself so you can look after others around you. This also fosters and builds on your self-love and compassion.
So in order to nurture you and build on your self-love, take action and work out your plan on how to practice self-love in your own way.
Remember to be kind to yourself, be kind to others, and accept the wonderful person you really are. Learn to love your imperfections.
7 Replies to “How to Practice Self Love and Why it Matters”
Oh wow! Such an insightful article! I am solidly guilty of most of the bad things you mention. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Oh, I figure that means we are expected to love yourself, but, as you implied, not to the point of narcissism. I know a major narcissist; she is so full of herself it’s difficult to be around her. That’s not the kind of love that either you or Jesus expects. I will try to be more realistic. Thank you so much for this article!
Hi Cathy, yes, self love is finding a balance to love yourself, while also loving others. Being too into yourself is detrimental, however being able to love oneself deeply is vital for building self worth and having self compassion. I hope this article helps you nurture your own love for yourself ~kat
Self love is something I’ve had problems with in the past. I love the acceptance exercise as it’s a great way to detach from unwanted thoughts. The idea of seeing your thoughts float upwards into the clouds is wonderful. I’m certainly going to try that technique! You’re so right about not allowing other’s opinions about yourself to shape the way you see things. Thank you for such an inspiring post 🙂
Many people might think self-love is selfish, but I agree with you. Loving yourself is very important if you can’t love yourself, then loving others isn’t going to come easy. I have always been my number one fan. No one else is going to come and hype me up; I have to do it myself. It makes my body want to be better and healthy because of the love I give it.
This is really a great article in times where so many people don’t love themselves anymore. Or even worst, they listen to other’s bad opinions or talks about them.
We need to stop the negative thinking and start to accept who we are and what we can do and improve them! instead of blaming ourselves on things we don’t have control over.
Learning how to accept ourselves is so important and I am glad you mentioned all this in your article. Self-love is important and I hope people learn that from your amazing article.
This is a beautiful post. I read through it and re-read certain things that stuck with me.
I accept my body the way it is and I’m happy with it and over the years I have given much importance to self love. Nonetheless, I am very tough on myself when I make mistakes… I still need to work on that.
I also have terrible neighbors who have shown me unprovoked aggression, who have slandered me and who then accused me of having “issues” because I stood up to a member of that family, a guy who tried to bully me … I realize that this is a reflection of something going in their lives or minds, but your question stuck with me … What is it about me that triggers this behavior? Any thoughts? It’s an uncomfortable situation. I’m growing trees and vines near and on my fence for more privacy, maybe that helps a little …
Hi Christine, thanks for sharing your experience with self love. When it comes to aggressive people, it’s usually something about themselves that they are projecting. Their experience up to this point reflects how they conduct themselves based on how they think internally. Aggressive people think what they’re doing is okay by blaming others, however their behaviour isn’t acceptable and being assertive is the only way to manage them. As to what is it from yourself, this means what are you feeling when they are aggressive towards you, where does your response come from within your own experience up to this point, do you react or are you proactive in response to them? Do you remain calm with them, or is it triggering anxiety for you? When you can reflect on your own responses, this can help you not feel as anxious when they are around and can have greater presence simply by being you, knowing yourself and come from a place of self love, have confidence in your choices and not reacting to their bullying. By remembering they are the ones with the problem in this case, then you can be empathic while standing your ground and know that what you’re doing is okay and there’s nothing wrong with your choices. They are toxic and unfortunately they’re not in a place to change themselves or show respect towards you. All the best ~kat