Self Love: What is It?
Self love is a term that gets thrown around pretty casually these days. The same goes for the phrase “self care”. Self care isn’t just face masks and taking a bubble bath with a glass of champagne. Self love isn’t being obsessed with yourself and ignoring all your flaws. Both self love and self care involve spending lots of time trying to identify the good and the bad parts of ourselves and what our bodies and minds truly need to be happy. And it is hard.
It is really hard to be less defensive and work on the aspects of ourselves that we want to improve. It’s hard to do this and not be negative or self-sabotaging. Another thing that is difficult about loving yourself is feeling weird or bad about it. For people with low self-esteem, it can be hard to view self love as good. It can easily feel like being egotistic, but it is not. Self love is so important for improving your self-esteem as well as learning to be conscious and focusing on your own development.
With all this being said, I am here to provide you with 9 tips that will help you love yourself more. With the state that the world is in while I’m writing this, I think these tips are extra important. Let’s get started.
1. Wear Clothes that Fit
This tip has to do with body positivity, which is something that goes hand-in-hand with self love. Wearing clothes that no longer fit is not great for your mental health. I believe the same thing goes for buying clothes that are too small- clothes that you really like and that will fit you at your “goal weight”. I’m totally guilty of doing this, in fact, I have a pair of Madewell jeans sitting on my book shelf right now that I bought one size too small. They were the last pair and insanely on sale, so I thought “I’ll just buy them for motivation.” Now, I believe doing this is kinda toxic. Buying and wearing clothes that don’t fit you will just be a constant reminder that you are not good enough and not small enough to wear things that are actually cute and look good on you. Why punish yourself like that?
So even if you are tying to lose or gain weight for whatever reason, be gentle with yourself. Buy clothes that flatter you now, or just clothes you love right now (since you don’t have to wear clothes that are flattering. You can wear anything you like, but that’s another rant entirely). Trust me, it’ll make you feel a lot better when you look in the mirror!
2. Unfollow People Who Make You Feel Bad
This is an important one. Social media can promote comparison, so it is important to remember that not everything you see on social media is real. Lots of people use apps like FaceTune to edit their appearance or even just set up photo backdrops to make their house look a little more aesthetic. It’s important to keep this in mind, but a lot of people understandably forget about it while scrolling on the app. So with this said, if you are following someone that makes you feel bad about your appearance, your accomplishments, or your life in general, just unfollow them. I know there’s pressure, and you may think that people pay really close attention to who is and isn’t following them, but most of the time that is not true. For example, I literally never notice. If you are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings by unfollowing, just put them on mute. The mute feature on Instagram is honestly a godsend!
3. Spend Time with People Who Love You
Spend time with people who believe in you, who challenge you, who only want to see you grow and only want the best for you. Surround yourself with people who see you, who don’t make fun of your dreams, who don’t belittle you for things like your hobbies and life choices. Find people who like similar things as you, who are as smart as you, who are as kind as you, and who respect you. Find people who are proud of you and people that you can be proud of.
Having people in your life that push you to keep going and who inspire and love you unconditionally is the most incredible thing. Don’t waste your time on people who only come to you when they need something, people who suck the energy out of you, and people who are only around during easy times. Find people who love you through it all.
4. Journal to Get to Know Yourself
Cliche, but make a pros and cons list. What do you like about yourself? What do you think you could improve on? And when making this list, try to be gentle and not too harsh on yourself. After you finish the list, make some action plans on how you can work on your weaknesses. Once you do that, slowly put these things into place and make sure to keep journalling about how things are going. You can also add more things that you want to work on and learn over time. Personally, I do a morning journal listing my priorities for the day and then write what I’m grateful for. At night, I reflect on my day, practice gratitude again, and write one thing I hope for the next day.
Self-awareness is so important. Realizing certain things about yourself helps you to not only feel more empowered, but to also know situations to avoid and the best ways to take care of yourself. Journal, journal, journal!
5. Learn to Say “No”
Ah yes, one of my favorites! Learn to say “no”! So important! (How many times can I write “important” in this blog post lol). Saying “no” to things gives you a sense of empowerment. People usually say “yes” to a lot of things because we’re just going with the flow in the moment. Saying “yes” is also way easier than saying “no”. However, stopping to think if you actually want to do something before agreeing out of habit can change your life. It allows you to make whatever decision is best for you. And that is self care- making whatever decision is best for you.
You may fear saying “no” because you don’t want to make other people upset, appear selfish, or maybe you just have FOMO. Saying “no” to things, in your job and personal life, allows you to focus on what you really want and what you really deserve. Saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to what is important to you.
6. Take Care of Your Body
A bit complicated of a subject this one is. Taking care of your body doesn’t mean just exercising and eating right. Of course those things are important, but it is essential to be able to assess what exactly your body needs in the moment. If your body feels exhausted from yesterday’s work out, take a break. Muscles sore? Maybe take a warm shower or bath. If you didn’t sleep well last night, take a nap. You only drank one glass of water today? Give your body a drink. Feeling a little weak from hunger? Eat some kind of snack. Learning your hunger cues and other little clues your body gives you is one of the ultimate acts of self love. It’s ok to take a step back from whatever you’re doing and give your body what it needs.
7. Appreciate the Little Things
I talked a lot about this in my 5 Ways to Stay Present blog post from a while ago. Focusing on little things builds gratitude. It also allows you to focus on your senses in the moment, making it a great way to stay present. Things I like to notice are waxy petals on flowers, charming cracks in people’s different voices, how the air feels floating through a cold window in the morning- things like that. It helps me feel more content and focused in the moment, as well as joyful and grateful.
8. Identify Things You Already Love About Yourself
It’s so cliche, but make a list of things you like about yourself. There has to be a few! Whether it be physical aspects, like your eyes or hair color, or things on the inside, like your honesty or compassion. Loving yourself will come from realizing what strengths you already have and totally embracing and being proud of them.
9. Know That Your Feelings Are Valid
No matter how you feel, your feelings are valid. A toxic trait that some people have is the tendency to invalidate the feelings of other people. These are people who question why others are “overreacting” or why others are so upset. It is really manipulative. The way to recognize this in other people is to realize that it is ok to feel feelings! I say this all the time, but that’s what makes us human. We’re not robots, we can’t feel indifferent about literally everything. When you realize that what you feel is ok, you gain a sense of importance and a sense of empowerment. You begin to realize that your mental health and your opinions and senses are important. You are important. And no one should make you feel like you aren’t.
I hope you enjoyed my 9 Ways to Practice Self Love. Let me know what your favorites are and other things you do to promote self love and self care in the comments!