Generation after generation is taught that in order to feel complete you must please those around you. You are trained to believe that you cannot be worthy of joy until you get the approval of your family, your friends, and your community. This means you are never taught to seek out acceptance from yourself and self-love is portrayed as being selfish. However, when you never learn how to love yourself, you never learn how to properly love others. You never learn to recognize when you are being loved the way you deserve to be. You never learn how to heal properly and you never learn what true happiness is.
Self-love is literally defined as when someone acts to promote their own well-being. Within the same definition, self-love is also described as narcissistic and vain. What does this teach us from the get-go? This social mindset promotes a population full of people pleasers. It encourages unhealthy relationships. Lacking self-love leads to an endless list of mental health issues. To improve your own happiness is not self-centered, it is necessary to thrive in this world.
When you love someone, you make them a priority. You want them to be happy and have the best of everything. When you love someone you encourage them and you support their hopes and dreams. Why is it so wrong to want those things for yourself? Why are you taught that wanting the best for yourself is vain? I believe loving yourself is healthy not only for you but for those around you too.
Let’s change the social view on self-love. Consider the fact that practicing self-love promotes a positive mindset. A positive mindset is needed to help you release negative emotions and experiences while welcoming in healing ones. When you help yourself heal, you are helping those around you to heal too because you are leading by example. Also, when you to take care of yourself, you are making sure you are well enough to be available to help others. So, I believe self-love is not just healthy but it’s essential for our society.
So, you might be wondering how you can practice self-love. It’s actually really simple and you might be doing it already. But you may need to be more consistent to get the true benefits of this practice.
Ways to Practice Self-Love
- Prioritize yourself. Put yourself at the top of your list and stop focusing on everyone else first.
- Allow yourself time to rest, relax and recharge. Taking a warm bath with Epsom salts and your favorite essential oils is a great way to relax.
- Take a break from social gatherings and spend time with yourself reading a book or watching your favorite movie.
- Regularly meditate. Rest your mind from the whirlwind of worry and the run-on to do lists. Focus on the present moment, the here and now.
- Move your body by dancing, walking, running, exercising, etc. Do whatever makes you feel good because it feels good, and not because you’re trying to get the approval of someone else.
- Pamper yourself by doing your nails or getting a manicure. Have a spa night at home or treat yourself to a massage.
- Take time to reflect on your accomplishments. It’s okay to be proud of how far you have come. It allows you to see how much you are capable of.
- Tell yourself all the things you long to hear from others. Also, recognize that how you feel about yourself is more important than how others say they feel about you.
- Be honest with yourself. Stop lying to yourself about what makes you happy and who makes you happy.
- Get to know the true you. What brings you joy? What are your hopes? What are your goals? What are your dreams?
- Remove yourself from toxic situations and relationships. You know it’s toxic if you feel bad about yourself after spending time in that space.
- Know when to say “No!”. Set boundaries with yourself and others. You cannot be everything for everyone else.
- Give yourself permission to safely express your instinctual emotions. Allow yourself the experience of having those emotions and let them help you heal.
- Let go of feelings that no longer benefit you. Sadness and anger are not fun emotions but they are necessary to heal. They are not meant to be held onto but released to make room for the healing emotions like compassion and forgiveness.
- Love yourself enough to ask for help when you need it.
Help change the social mindset on self-love. Encourage your family and friends to take the time to love themselves. I know my family enjoys my company more after I’ve taken a hot relaxing bath rather than after I ran errands all day long. But, that could just be me. So, how are you going to practice self-love?
*Please note: I am not a medical professional and I do not claim to be. The statements above are my opinions based on my experiences. If you feel you or someone you know needs help, please contact a medical professional in your area or through an online service. You can also visit the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org where they have an online chat or call them at 1-800-273-8255.