10 Ways to Love Yourself Deeper
Loving yourself is never easy but who´s to say it can´t be done? We spend so much time critiquing our bodies, justifying our actions, questioning our decisions and trying our best to mold to society’s expectations. Most jobs don´t favor personal days and those that do expect a certified letter that´s been signed and notarized, stating your absence from work was absolutely necessary. As moms, women work around the clock with no questions asked and women in general, are expected to work just a little bit harder to even be considered valid in the workplace. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, ¨What is it that I love about me?¨ Hard to answer, right? That´s because we live in a world where self-love and respect aren´t valued the way they should be. We are constantly asked to put ourselves aside for whatever reason: work, school, parenting, dating, diet culture, partnering, sex, extracurricular…the list goes on. As we continue to put ourselves on the back burner, we will eventually find ourselves in a state of burnout: adding anxiety meds to our protein shakes, new stress lines in our faces and finding more grey hairs popping up in new places. I hate to break to you sis, but life is just too damn short for all of that. So I´ve put together a list of ways I personally spend time trying to love myself deeper because after all, if you don´t love yourself first, how could you possibly love anything or anyone else to the fullest?
1. Make Self-Care a Priority: whether it´s a facemask or a yoga class, self-care is as important as eating your greens. It may come as a challenge at first because we aren’t programmed to take time out for just ourselves. In fact, society views me time as narcissistic. Seriously, how many times have you noticed someone routinely practicing self-care and thought, “She sure does love herself”? Guilty. But also, good for her! She deserves it and so do I. Make self-care a priority and watch as all other areas of your life begin to thrive.
2. Be Kind to Your Body: the challenge to love and accept your body can feel damn near impossible but if Britney can make a comeback from 2007, then anything is possible. Loving your body is a process that can involve a variety of practices. For some, working out and clean eating is the answer and for others it could be practicing acceptance through art. Whatever you choose, acknowledge the fact that you were born into the body you have and it is beautiful and unique to you. Your body, your temple!
3. Set Healthy Boundaries: Setting boundaries is a fancy way of saying, my life my rules and it´s as simple as that. Boundaries are a healthy way of letting others know what your expectations are, what you´re willing to accept and what you won´t tolerate. By implementing boundaries, you´re allowing yourself to have a safe space that is catered to your own liking. An example of a healthy boundary looks like this: simply not answering the phone when you know that person has nothing positive to say. Tell that girl, bye.
4. Respect Your Decisions: For me, this is more than a challenge. No matter what the decision is, I constantly question whether or not I made the right one. It´s also 100% likely that someone in your life disagrees with your decision no matter what it is. Despite what he/she/they may think, the decision is ultimately yours to make. Taking the route to happiness, or simply listening to your gut, is more often than not the best decision you´ll make in life. Respect that and allow yourself to believe that the choice is yours whether anyone likes it, or not.
5. Express Your Feelings: I recently heard that a local elementary school is practicing having kids use a ¨feelings chair.¨ Woah! Where was that chair when I was growing up? Better yet, where can I can get one now?! Because adulting comes with a lot of feelings. For some, expressing your feelings is easy but others may find it difficult. It requires vulnerability, which is often why we continue to hold on to our feelings. It’s simply easier to avoid opening ourselves up than risk being attacked verbally, emotionally or even physically. But the silver lining here is that self-expression can be done in many different ways: with a therapist, in a private journal, on a canvas or simply by talking to a friend. And remember, expressing your feelings allows you to release anger, fear, jealousy, guilt etc., which is better than having a major breakdown or worse, loathing in self-resentment.
6. Accept the Things You Regret: Regret is often a result of something that’s been done and can’t be reversed. Whether you regret indulging in ice cream or saying something hurtful to a loved one, neither action can be undone. Instead of suffering the pain and anxiety caused by regret, consider it a learning experience. Learning to accept what has been done and acknowledging that it can’t be changed allows for us to let go and move on. Why spend the rest of your life putting yourself down for something that’s in your past? Instead, try to think of things that you can do better in the present and future.
7. Allow Others into Your Heart: If you’ve ever been jaded or heartbroken, you know how hard this can be but patience and forgiveness can go a long way. Remember that you are worthy and you deserved to be loved. Despite the pain caused from a loved one in the past, it’s ok to open yourself up to someone new. Not everyone has an ulterior motive. Sometimes, they just want to love you for the you that you are.
8. Be Patient with Your Progress: Slow progress, is still progress and everything happens the way it does for a reason. For example: if your goal is to write a book, writing a page a day, a week or even a month is still amazing progress! You’re a lot further along than you would be if you hadn’t written anything at all so why beat yourself up over the work that you’ve done? Allow the time you need to do whatever it is you’ve dreamt of doing. Trust the process and be patient with yourself…after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
9. Discover New Passions: There’s always something new to learn about you, but how will you know if you never explore new things? Maybe it’s a new recipe from the south of Spain or a new hobby like pickle ball (which doesn’t actually involve a pickle). The fact is, learning something new about yourself can be enlightening. The more you try, the more likely you’ll discover more passions that make you feel good about you. Happy soul searching & self-discovery!
10. Practice Self-Affirming Mantras: Positive affirmations and mantras have been known to improve your mood, relationships and even your performance at work. You can practice mantras a variety of ways such as: repeating a mantra out loud every day until you notice a change or writing it on a sticky note and reading it every morning as you stand in the mirror. Whatever method works best for you, is up to you!
Here are 10 mantras on self-love to start out with:
My body is a temple
My decisions are valid
I am loved by others
I accept myself for who I am
Love is patient, therefore I am patient
I allow others to love and respect me
I respect myself by setting healthy boundaries
My progress is still progress