Have you pondered how to love yourself more over the years like I have? It's such a multi-faceted subject with many layers, I feel.
In this article, I'm going to share concrete ways I have found to begin loving yourself more. Never underestimate the power in subtle shifts and changes in perspective.
What does it mean to love yourself?
What I've come to realize is that loving yourself means to have compassion, tenderness and respect for yourself. You will never be perfect, but that does not mean you are not worthy of your own love.
That was the part that held me back for so long. I couldn't fully love myself because of things I'd done in my past or continue to do in my every day life.
Yelling at my child. Starting a fight with my partner. Feeling jealousy towards another. Making an ass of myself in some way.
But the more I've come to understand what loving the self really means, I see that compassion for self is really the key.
Why is self love important?
I think some of the most beautiful, sacred experiences you can have in life are those moments when you touch your own soul. When you realize how precious and beautiful you've been all along. When you see the immensity of everything that you are.
You never had to be perfect. You never had to look perfect, act perfect, speak perfect, behave perfect.
The beauty that is you is what's found in the imperfectness. In your vulnerability.
The inner child within is what's driving most of us. We're scared, we want to be loved, and our inner child believes we have to be perfect in order to receive that love.
Self love is important because you finally let your guard down. You finally are able to see the true beauty in others because you've seen and recognized it in yourself.
Self love is important because your whole existence begins to flow easier, lighter and with so much love for everything around you.
How to love yourself more this year
We first start with baby steps. The very essence of self love is compassion for one's self, which means you'll be practicing instant forgiveness a lot.
Practicing...that's another word to keep in mind with loving yourself more. This all takes practice. You've practiced putting yourself down and seeing yourself in a negative light for years and years–you'll need to practice in the other direction for awhile before it starts to feel familiar to you.
Also remember this: self love doesn't look the same for everyone. I used to equate loud, confident-acting women with self love, but that will never be me. The way you are is likely to stay the same, you'll just be more of it when you love yourself.
If you're a quiet person, you'll still be a quiet person when you love yourself. These types of things don't need to change because they're what makes you you.
Cultivate compassion for self
Holding compassion for yourself means seeing yourself in a tender, kind light.
In those moments when you feel shame for the way you look, behave or things you've done, you instead choose to see yourself with loving kindness. The same way you can see the heart of child past their actions is how you cultivate compassion for yourself.
It also looks like understanding things from a higher perspective. People you've hurt in the past or things you've regretting doing–it all had a purpose. You wouldn't know what you know or be where you are now if you hadn't have gone through those experiences. Compassion does not shame or hold contempt; it understands.
Compassion looks like accepting your emotions, whatever they may be. Maybe you're scared and that's okay. Maybe you said that hurtful thing because you felt insecure underneath it all–acknowledge that and love yourself back into a good-feeling place.
We don't place a little child in the corner berating them when they clearly just need understanding and love. Give yourself that gift. All it takes is gentle acknowledgement and a "it's okay" to yourself.
With that said about compassion, instant forgiveness is what you'll be practicing a lot of. As I stated earlier, we humans are not perfect and perfection will never be the goal.
Being able to quickly forgive oneself and see through eyes of love is the goal. This takes practice and at first it will be really hard, but that's okay, just keep at it.
I've been practicing it a lot recently. When I say or do something that I feel doesn't really reflect the love that I know I am, I just take a few deep breaths and say to myself "It's okay."
Practice, practice, practice. Stop holding yourself to such high expectations and begin to let yourself off the hook as often as you can. The whole worlds spins easier when you do.
Get to know yourself
The more you come to know yourself, the more you will find to love.
Most people do everything they can to not face themselves because they're afraid of what they'll find. They hate being alone and drown themselves with others and social media so they won't have to be alone with their own selves.
Again, there is nothing more sacred or beautiful than the moments you will have with yourself. This is the ultimate relationship that's once cultivated, will allow all other relationships to flow in your life.
Get in touch with everything that you are. I promise you'll be delighted at what you find.
Set boundaries that nourish you
One thing that I think most of us don't have is boundaries because we weren't afforded them in childhood. Children are commonly not allowed to have bad days, negative emotions, and space to process.
Boundaries nourish your spirit, energy, mental and emotional health, and your right to privacy and space.
You are not obligated to take on other's problems, viewpoints, opinions, or help them in any way that diminishes your own quality of life. You can hold space for someone without sacrificing your mental and emotional health.
Boundaries that nourish could look like:
- saying no to something that doesn't light you up even if it will upset someone else
- saying yes to something that lights you up even if it will upset someone else
- setting aside enough free time for yourself daily, weekly and monthly
- observing other's problems with compassion, but not going under the water with them
- feeling safe to lock doors and maintaining a sense of privacy from your partner
- cleaning up your social media feeds of negativity to protect your health
- remembering that you can't be everything to everyone, even your own children
- acknowledging that everyone has their own inner guidance, and you can't be that for them
Take care of your mindset
When your mindset is healthy, self love is much easier. The ruts I get in when I just scroll social media every night are the times when I feel the worst.
When I intentionally choose to put my phone away and do activities that reset me, I am so much more in tune with myself.
For me, reading books is one of the best ways for me to stay in a healthy mindset. I also love listening to Abraham-Hicks from YouTube or audio books when I shower at night. If you play around, you'll find the little things that really help to keep you in a place of feeling good.
Let others really see you
I have tried to hide myself for so much of my life. Hide the way I look without makeup, hide the way my feet look, hide the way my stomach looks when I'm bending over, hide my smile when I'm laughing.
I don't know where we pick up these things, but let's give them the boot. I know for myself personally, I feel such love for another when I see them in their full light. I love imperfect smiles and soft bellies. I love a person for everything that they make up.
I understand there are people in the world, especially young people, who hold themselves and others to standards of perfection that they see in the media. These kinds of people, and I was one of them once, are not spiritually/emotionally/mentally evolved.
It's not a bad thing, they just haven't come to that part of their journey yet. And when they do, they will feel such a sense of relief because those are the same people that are withholding love from themselves. Their inner child is ruling and trying to adhere to strict standards to feel worthy of love.
Practice letting others see you in small ways. Don't cover yourself up. Share how you really feel. If you're scared, that's okay. That just makes you even more lovable. There's such a tender beauty in it all.
No matter what day of the year it is, I hope that starting right now, you begin to practice loving yourself. You'll mess up, surely, probably not even an hour later, but that's okay.
Forgive. Love. See through eyes of kindness. Allow yourself to feel worthy. It will all become a habit eventually.
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Jessica Dimas is the creator of Manifesting Magic with the Moon, a holistic self-care ritual bundle.