‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, please explain self-love once and for all… ‘

10 tips to cultivate self love

Photo credit: Pinterest

Self love.

What is it exactly?

The term is banded around so much nowadays, you can’t go anywhere without seeing or indeed hearing self love this or self love that. It’s okay if you have grasped the fine art of managing your wellbeing and know how to “self love” But what if you have no idea what it means let alone how to cultivate it?

For many years “self love” was the thing  I cast into a box along with simultaneous equations.  And the name of that smiley friendly woman who emphatically greeted me by name each time our paths met. I smiled and nodded in the right places alluding that I knew what X was equal to, where I knew smiley woman from and that I was well versed in the art of practising self love.

The thing about that box is: it can pop open at any given time and there’s only so much smiling and nodding one can do, before it’s clear you’re not actually fooling anyone. Think smiling in gaps where you’re expected to speak or making an irrelevant point (awkward)

When I failed to assert my boundaries, use my voice or overstayed in below par relationships.  People would often chime in with their opinions.

“Love yourself” they would say

And they meant well.

But hearing the term did nothing to alter the fact that I hadn’t fully grasped the concept.

Like many others I grew up watching adverts of beautiful well presented women laying in a hot bubble bath,  with their hair pinned up whilst they enjoyed a facial. Believing this to be the practise of self love, I too bought fancy face-masks and slathered my face in facial creams.

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I have learnt that is not self-love.

It’s merely an advert… a cleverly constructed marketing ploy targeted at our inability to accept ourselves whilst teaching us nothing about how to truly love ourselves.

Self-love is:

appreciating and fostering a deep and meaningful relationship with ones’ self through loving actions which support continued personal growth.  Resulting in acceptance of ourselves as a whole being.

Self love isn’t a sprint it’s a marathon. It’s about learning how to accept yourself on the days when you feel like it the least. It’s training yourself to replace the self-deprecating words you use to call yourself out and replacing it with self-compassion. (Yes, even when you’ve messed up royally.)

10 self-loving acts to jump start your self love journey

Choosing YOU.  Yes YOUEach and every time.

Admittedly if you’re used to putting everyone first this will look selfish. But putting others before yourself is also selfish.  Particularly if that action is tied to the hope of receiving something in return such as “love” or influencing the way we are viewed by others.  Choosing you,  allows you to live authentically and walk in your truth. irrespective of whether it upsets others.  Like with anything new, exercising this action will feel uncomfortable to begin with.  There’s even the “risk” you may “lose” people.  With that said,  if by putting yourself first means you lose people they never had your interests at heart and were only around to reap the benefits.

“If you do not respect your own wishes, no one else will. You will simply attract people who disrespect you as much as you do.”
~ Vironika Tugaleva

Living for your moments!

What do you enjoy doing? I’m rewriting this article during the COVID-19 outbreak and if anything this downtime has made my passions more evident. I really enjoy photography and being outdoors and prior to the pandemic was living for all these little moments! Life is a wonderful thing and gift and if we are not filing it with all the beautiful things we love and enjoy… are we even living? Given the situation we find ourselves in… it’s okay to say life is short. Grab life by its horn and live for your moments. Ensuring our time is spent well doing all the things we love and enjoy is a self loving act.

Expressing our truths

Okay, this doesn’t necessarily mean you start preaching your beliefs and putting them onto people. But it means living out your day-to-day life in accordance with those beliefs and values.  Expressing our truths means stop hanging out with people that are unkind, gossip and are judgemental if you value human kindness.  This also comes down to living authentic and walking in your truth.  Become clearer about who you are and what you stand for and reject everything else which doesn’t meet that.  If you Self-love is stating what we truly think and feel and living in accordance of our beliefs and values.

Looking after the vessel which houses our spirits.

To foster your spiritual and growth it is important to practise self care. The following tips will help nurture your body and so.

  • Make sure you sleep between 7-9 hours a night
  • Eat a balanced diet which incorporates fruit and vegetables
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Get outside and get some fresh air
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water
  • Limit your daily intake of caffeine

Express yourself!

Dress yourself how you choose and in what makes you feel most comfortable, what says YOU more than being YOU? Create your own trends!

Celebrate your wins

Not everyone will be happy for you and not necessarily because they’re jealous or mean you any ill-will.  Everyone is out here trying to accomplish their own goals and dreams. Everything is all relative to ourselves. My goals and dreams may differ wildly to the hopes and dreams you have set for yourself. In order to get to where you want to be, you will need to learn to become your own cheerleader! It is therefore important that you own all your accomplishments and celebrate them without shrinking yourself. Obviously it’s nice when our hard work is recognised by others but let it be just that… nice. Not an absolute. You worked extremely hard to achieve all you have so why not clap for yourself? Well done you! If it helps, come up with a reward system and keep beavering away at those goals.

Becoming your own best friend

On a commute one morning, I remember seeing an emboldened headline on a fellow commuters’ newspaper which read:

“No one is coming” 

Even though I am a fully fledged adult (apparently) something seeing in the headline struck me then and there that no one was indeed coming and I was well and truly on my own.  It probably took until I was in a foreign country alone before it truly resonated and a voice in my head said: “it’s you and me kid!” 

smiling at reflection
It’s you and me kid! 

Who could possibly want more for you than you?

Self-love is learning to lean on you. It’s trusting yourself, your abilities and believing in yourself enough to live the life you want. Essentially it’s becoming your own best friend. Instead of assigning your life and ultimately your happiness into the hands of others it’s taking the reins and being the bestest friend you could ever be… to yourself. Make your own decisions, become responsible for your own happiness. How many times have you had an idea shot down by nay-sayers?  Become your own best friend and the answer will always be”Go for it!” or “I’ll come with you!” Which leads me onto…

Knowing when to seek help

Although we may not be responsible for how we accumulated any emotional baggage we are carrying… it’s our responsibility to manage the load.  Unresolved issues can wreak havoc on our lives and steer us away from all the wondrous things we truly deserve.  Recognising and knowing when to seek help is an extremely self loving act.  By all means    reach out to counsellors, mental health workers and/or other health workers. There’s no shame in it… or at least there shouldn’t be. This is the time to show up as your best friend, show yourself compassion and reach out for additional support to work through any resolved issues. Becoming curious and self enquiring is aiding me immensely with my own self love journey. What’s particularly beautiful is as humans we are constantly evolving and are shaping generations to follow. Know that by healing your wounds you have the power to  become the very best version of yourself and live your best life! 

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”
~ James Baldwin

Owning your human-ness

If like me you suffer with perfectionism, you’ll know how debilitating and anxiety inducing it can be. Tasks can take ten times as long to complete, nothing is ever good enough and it can lead you to become incredibly hard on yourself.  Whilst it’s good to challenge yourself, it’s counterproductive beating yourself up (nor particularly cool) Think best friend. We are humans and we are perfectly imperfect. Humans make mistakes.  Practising self love is recognising that “to err is human” and creating loving space for when we inevitably do. Rather than beating ourselves over the head, it is more useful to be kinder and patient.  Next time you make a mistake, practise being mindful and consciously choose to view it as an opportunity to learn and grow from. In this digital age on which we find live there’s nothing we cannot learn whether by taking an online course or joining a group. The possibilities are endless.

“Your job is not to be perfect, your job is only to be human”

~ Jacqueline Novogratz

Accepting every part of you!

Self-love is accepting every single part of ourselves and living authentically. Practising self-love is moving in the direction which supports your goals, your hopes, dreams and following through on your decisions.

Trust the process

Self-love is transformative and undertaking even a few of these actions will put you on course to grasp even more of these actions, positively altering not only the relationship you possess with yourself but also the ones you share with others.

Listen to your inner voice and ensure you are shrouded in a nurturing space, filled with energy which is conducive to the path you wish to walk along.

‘One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” ~ Shannon. L Alder

This list is by no way exhaustive and I would love to continue adding to it, please comment with additional tips.

Lets change the perception of self-love!

Love and light,

Dionne

xoxoxo

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