Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~Lucille Ball
Life moves so fast. It’s easy to put ourselves on a back burner in favor of the to do list, but it catches up with us. We may not feel good, are irritable and frustrated all the time. We may even feel like our life has little meaning or purpose. So how do we make ourselves a priority with all life’s obligations and distractions? Loving yourself more through intentional acts can enhance quality of life.
First, what behaviors do people who practice self-love have? Well, they tend to make good choices in mates and careers. They exude positive energy and confidence in their relationships with others. They set boundaries for themselves. If they want to say no, then they do, without guilt. They stand up for themselves letting others know what they need and want and how they feel, kindly. They do not tolerate toxic people — people who are mean or criticize them, even if they are family. They feel happier because they are living a life of their choosing and not someone else’s.
Life works better when our self-esteem is high from loving ourselves. Here are five ways to help you practice self-love:
1. Notice the negative self-talk – Self-deflating and anxious thoughts about the future or regrets and guilt about the past can rule our minds. To lessen these often-incessant thoughts take notice of them. Set aside some time each day where you become an outsider of your own thoughts. When you have a negative thought, notice it, and turn it around into a positive one.
To help think more empowering thoughts, you can use affirmations. Here is a quick practice: Make two columns on a sheet of paper. Title the first column, “Negative Thoughts” and the second column, “Positive Affirmations”. Now think of three to five negative thoughts that you have about yourself. For example, one may be, “I’m never good enough”. You can counteract that thought with a positive affirmation like, “I accept and love myself for who I am.” Keep this sheet handy, saying the positive affirmations to yourself often.
2. Believe in yourself – Past failure, disappointments and self-doubt can prevent us from pursuing what we want in life. We can easily lose faith in ourselves when we experience setbacks. Nevertheless, if we press on, believing that we can learn from our experiences to achieve our goals then we’ve raised the bar in life. It’s never easy to keep sticking our necks out, for love, for a new or better job, for growth, but when we do we’ve increased our self-worth and motivation. Believe in yourself, your skills, talents and values, in spite of discouragement and criticism from others. Look to the future and don’t look back. Above all, be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned.
3. Practice self-care – Taking care of our body, mind and soul is essential to loving ourselves. Dedicating some time for daily self-care can be life changing. Try this: write on a sheet of paper this question: “If I loved myself more, I would_________________. Here are some suggestions:
- Exercise 20 minutes a day
- Meditate or practice gratitude
- Learn something new
- Spend more time with friends
- Get regular massages
- Volunteer for a good cause
- Go on a vacation, even for a couple of days
- Start a business
- Eat better and take vitamins
- Improve a living space
- Quit a bad habit
Once you make your list of answers, you can choose to focus on one, two or as many as you can, and see how your happiness increases.
4. Visualize the life that you want – To love ourselves means going after our heart’s desires, giving our lives’ purpose. Sometimes though it may seem that our dreams elude us. The reason could be that our thoughts and feelings are not in alignment with what we want. Creative visualization, a technique of using your imagination to help create what you want in life, can be a powerful tool to correct this dis-alignment.
Shakti Gawain, author of the book Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Life says, “Imagination is the ability to create an idea, a mental picture, or a feeling sense of something. In creative visualization, you use your imagination to create a clear image, idea, or feeling of something you wish to manifest. Then you continue to focus on the idea, feeling, or picture regularly, giving it positive energy until it becomes objective reality…in other words, until you actually achieve what you have been imagining.”
5. Take action on what you want – Going after our dreams is a big act of self-love. The most amazing, inspiring thing is to see another person achieve a goal in spite of obstacles, criticism and fear. You first need to identify what you want and then plan a strategy on how to get there. Then with focused, determined action, no matter how small, you’ll feel better about yourself. Soon you will be making good progress and have the momentum to keep going. If you hold the vision of what you want to achieve in your mind and be unstoppable in its pursuit, you will succeed.
What practice above would you choose to help you start loving yourself more? Let us know by commenting below. We’d love to hear from you!