7 acts of self-love that you might not have thought of
Self-love permeates everything we do, from the way we interact with others to the way we talk to ourselves. When we love ourselves, we walk through the world with gratitude, happiness, and confidence. On the contrary, when we lack self-love we may feel unfulfilled, unhappy, and look at life through a negative lens.
Loving yourself truly takes practice. But luckily you don’t need anything but yourself to start to practice self-love. We consulted our Chief Medical Officer, Raghu Appasani, MD, to come up with 7 unique acts of self-love that you can incorporate into your daily life to help you develop a self-love mindset and grow deeper feelings of love for yourself.
1. Surround yourself with the right community
Just as we cannot live in a vacuum, we cannot learn to love ourselves in one either. Who we are, at the core, is an amalgamation of the social spaces we reside in, the media we choose to consume, and the people we spend our time with, among other factors. When it comes to building a stronger sense of self-love it’s important to surround yourself with people who will lift you up. When you’re in the presence of people who show you love, it becomes much easier to love yourself.
Here’s an example, have you ever spent the day with a friend who spends the whole time complaining about how they look? How do you feel leaving this interaction? You likely feel stressed or even start to think negatively about how you look. Then think about how you feel when you spend time with a friend who compliments you, and is easy on themselves too. How do you feel now? Probably a lot more energized and confident. So, call that friend or loved one you know supports you without judgment. Maybe make a plan to meet up with them.
2. Trust your gut!
A gut reaction is an intuition that only you can experience. Oftentimes, we ask other people to weigh in with their opinions when it comes to making decisions, even if we feel our gut is telling us which way to go. A great tool for building self-love is to trust your gut. (Bonus! It can also help you manage stress.) Instead of asking for others opinions, trust that your body and mind know what they need and give it to them. Over time, this helps you build confidence in yourself as you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat. Ready and able to make all decisions for yourself.
3. Laugh and let out your inner child
Remember how excited you were about the little things when you were young? Inside all of us there’s a child, who we were before we had to grapple with the complexities and adversities of life. But, we still have the ability to tap into that carefree, light mindset by letting out your inner child.
One way to do so is to just try to take life a little less seriously. When you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it. Laugh at it! We’re not born knowing what shame or embarrassment feel like, at some point we come to learn what those emotions feel like and when we should feel them. To truly find self-love we must forget what we know about those emotions and instead choose to approach life with a lightheartedness. Studies show that those who are capable of laughing at themselves generally feel less negative emotions.
Another idea is to spend time doing things you loved to do when you were young. Maybe you loved drawing, playing the piano, or just sitting and picking grass. Whatever it was, and no matter how good (or bad) you are at it, lean in and let yourself just experience the carefree whimsy that once came so naturally.
4. Allow space for self-curiosity
As humans, we’re constantly evolving. Until you look inward, you may not even know how much there is to love about yourself. Set aside some time for self-exploration. That could be exploring new passions or taking a few moments at the end of the day to write down some things you’re proud of yourself for doing that day. Give yourself time to learn what you love most about yourself, because I guarantee there’s a lot there.
5. Say yes to one thing you’ve always wanted to try
Trying new things can not only give you an adrenaline rush of excitement, but it can really help you to feel proud of yourself. Trying new things, especially those you’re scared of, is really brave. It takes a confident person to say “yes” to doing something they’ve never tried before. This is a great tool for building self-love because no matter what the outcome is you have something to be proud of.
For example, let’s say you’ve always wanted to sing for an audience. You could go on stage and do an amazing job, which is of course something to be happy about. But, you could go up and bomb. This is the perfect time to implement that self-love mindset. Instead of being hard on yourself for what would usually be seen as a failure, you have the opportunity to reframe this experience to “Wow, that was scary, but I’m so proud of myself for even trying.”
6. Celebrate your wins no matter how small
Don’t sell yourself short! What you did was awesome. So often we’re taught to be quiet about our accomplishments when they’re big and ashamed of our accomplishments for not being big enough when they’re small. But a win is a win. And your emotional state deserves to feel good in those moments. Your win of the day could just be that you got out of bed, but that’s something.
Write these accomplishments down. Take some time to reflect on why this is a win for you, how you got there, and why you’re grateful for it.
7. Give yourself permission to be loved
Society often tells us “we can’t love others until we love ourselves”. While that can be true, so can the opposite: we can’t love ourselves until we let others love us. Loving ourselves truly means we feel we deserve love and kindness from others. So, let your loved ones compliment you and dote on you, even if you feel unlovable. Often it can be so hard to see the beauty in ourselves that others see in us, so give yourself permission to be loved and you’ll get closer and closer to feeling it yourself.
Love is one of the most positive emotions you can feel and directing a specific emotional feeling of love towards yourself can be done through some of these actions.
The self-love journey can be a difficult one, but the end result is beautiful for your overall mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support if you need it as you try these new tools to find love within and strengthen your emotional health.
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