Updated: Nov 6, 2018
Love is one of the MOST powerful forces in the Universe. It has the ability to comfort, like the warm embrace of a companion during a time of grief. It can heal, like a mother’s kiss on a painful boo-boo. Most importantly, love has the ability to transform and connect. Just as the love of others is essential to harmonious relations amongst human kind, a genuine love of self is essential to a fulfilling life and can enhance your relationships with others as well.
But, what is this thing called “self-love”? Why is it important? And how can you implement it into your life?
What is Self-Love?
Some people are unclear about the difference between self-love and conceit. They act as though any act of positive self-regard is the result of arrogance and a lack of humility. This is a flawed and erroneous perspective. In fact, true self-love as I see it, is rooted in humility. How so, you ask? Read on. ;-)
Self-love simply means treating yourself with compassion and forgiveness. It means regarding yourself the way you would regard a dear friend, rather than an enemy combatant. Self-love means remembering that as a creation of the Most High, you are divinely connected and should be respected as someone truly exceptional.
Why is Self-Love necessary?
As a Certified Life & Relationship Coach, I frequently encounter women who look to others for validation and acceptance, instead of seeking it from within. The problem with this is that often times the people in our lives aren’t willing and/or able to give provide use with that validation and acceptance the way we would like. Which leaves us feeling hurt and disappointed.
One obvious place this occurs on a daily basis is on social media. We see people posting endless streams of “selfies” hoping others will tell them how amazing they are.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against a good selfie. But, when you post it, I encourage you to check-in with yourself and clarify your intention and motivation. Are you simply sharing some aspect of your life with others that you believe with bring them joy or inspire them? Or is there a part of you that “needs” others to like your picture and post affirming comments in order for you to feel good about yourself?
What if you don’t get the reaction that you hoped for? Will that have an impact on how you feel about yourself?
This is just one simple reason why adequately loving yourself is essential. Self-love will keep you encouraged during both the pleasant and difficult times.
How can you increase your Self-Love?
Here are three simple ways you can begin to increase your level of Self-Love today.
Loving your Body
Loving your Mind
Loving your Spirit
Love Your Body
Are you constantly pointing out parts of your face & body that you dislike? Do you avoid looking in mirrors because you already believe that you are not “the fairest of them all”? Perhaps you are engaging in risky sexual behaviors, or taking drugs, which you know are unsafe. If this is you, then you have room to improve in the area of self-love. You can begin loving your body today, by:
- Doing FUN Exercises (I enjoy dancing, it doesn’t even feel like exercise to me!)
- Enjoying a spa day (It’s tough work, but somebody has got to do it ;-) )
- Appreciating your body, the way it is now; even if you are working to change it
- Stopping the negative behavior of shaming your body
- Avoiding risky sexual behaviors, and commit to yourself to make safer and smarter choices
Love Your Mind
Our thoughts can build us up or tear us down. When it comes to loving our minds, here are a few ways to get going:
- Positive Affirmations (Ex. “God is opening doors for me every day!” “The right opportunities are seeking me, just as I am seeking & preparing for them.”)
- “I am…” Statements (Ex. “I am talented. I am fit. I am an excellent manager of money.”)
- Stop destructive thoughts as they occur. Negative thoughts will come into your mind, you can’t help that. But you can control how long you allow them to camp out in your consciousness, and whether or not to believe them.
- Stop comparing your life to others. Comparison will kick your butt every time, and leave you feeling like a loser. Who has time for that?!
Love Your Spirit
When we neglect our spiritual selves, we end up in a state that I call being spiritually malnourished. Loving your spirit doesn’t have to mean being “religious,” although it can include your religious practices, if you so choose. Here are some easy ways to get started:
- Prayer/Meditation- This one is timeless and has been proven by scientific studies to be effective in a variety of ways.
- Nature walks- Getting out into God’s creation can be restorative in so many ways. It gives you to space to reconnect with the Creator. It allows you to see the beauty of the world. And while you’re doing all that you’re also getting fresh air and exercise.
- Inspirational reading-Uplifting messages can enhance your love of self, and make you feel more encouraged about your present and your future.
- Stop allowing guilt to hold you hostage- Being stuck in condemnation will rob you of self-love quicker than anything I can think of, except comparison. Don’t let the enemy trick you into believing that messing up means that you are messed up.
Self-love is essential to living a happy life. It’s essential to having an overflow of love to pour onto your family and friends. With every thought that crosses your mind, you have the opportunity to show yourself a little more love. I challenge you to seek out ways to love yourself a little more every day. Doing so, can only increase the transmission of love to others in your life.