We have all seen the ultra-popular advice of “love yourself”. It’s so easy to say that to someone. But many of us have no idea what that even means. We have rarely been given the model of self-love or been taught by example. And that’s because self-neglect is often more common than self-love is. For many of us, the idea that we “should” be loving ourselves more can have the opposite effect. It can create even more internal pressure or expectations. We might feel guilty or defective. “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I love myself more?”
Chances are, there’s nothing wrong with you. YOU CAN love yourself. In this article, I address exactly that – how to love yourself – the small and consistent actions towards nurturing our well-being.
But first, what does it even mean to love yourself?
The most important answer to this question is the one you will give. It may be a different answer for every person.
For me, self-love means unconditional positive self-regard– which means that no matter what I do and how I judge my actions I will never abandon myself and I will treat myself with love, respect, and patience. Self-love is to care for ALL aspects of ourselves: emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.
How to Love Yourself in 3 Simple Steps
The road to unconditional positive self-regard though is not a short one. Self-love requires that we become familiar with ourselves first, that we accept ourselves second and then we gradually nurture ourselves into better people.
When you don’t know yourself, loving yourself can feel as unnatural as loving a stranger. Self-love requires spending time in solitude. How can we accept ourselves, love ourselves, if we don’t know ourselves? And how do we know ourselves if we don’t spend time with ourselves? At the beginning of any romantic relationship we go out on dates, we have long conversations and we ask questions. We inquire about the other person’s beliefs and values, we invite them to different experiences, we watch them and make mental notes about what is important to them and how they behave. The more time we spend with the other person the more we have the opportunity to know them. The same needs to happen when it comes to the relationship we have with ourselves.
When we love something we take care of it. Love usually happens where there is no fear. We can’t take care of something if we’re scared of it, something unknown. The way past our fears is to get to know what is behind them. We trust things we know, things we have spent time with. This is why it is vital to get to KNOW OURSELVES!
The more time we spend with ourselves, the more we understand our needs, our fears and our emotions in general. The better we know ourselves, the better we can make decisions that serve us and support us. When is the last time you asked yourself the questions you would ask someone who you just met?
How to Love Yourself Affirmations:
I now recognize, acknowledge and accept that I am a precious and significant being, worthy of utmost care, love and respect and I vow to treat myself as such to the best of my ability. When I notice myself acting and speaking to myself in a less than honoring way I promise to stop and reach out to another loving being and request their assistance in returning to love.
I am willing to love and accept myself fully and I take daily steps in that direction.
I love and accept myself no matter what judgments my mind makes about me.