Self-love is so challenging.
It’s not a state of being, it’s a practice. And therein lies the challenge…
It’s so easy to forget when life gets hard. To beat ourselves up when we’re struggling. To suddenly question our worth. To view others on a pedestal and ourselves as inferior.
Sometimes you get so stuck in your own head that you think you’re the only one struggling to find self-acceptance. Like everyone else has it all figured out, but you.
But it’s not true. We are all so utterly human. And we are all grappling with our own inner demons, no matter how beautiful a picture social media feeds may paint. We are all learning how to love ourselves and others in the most healthy ways we can. We are all on a journey, falling constantly along the way, and learning how to pick ourselves back up.
And one of the toughest roads on our journey is learning how to truly love ourselves. To feel a deep sense of inner confidence, even through our biggest mistakes, regrets and failings. Learning how to show up for ourselves and speak compassionately to ourselves, as we would a loved one. Truthfully, it’s so much easier to beat ourselves up, than it is to love ourselves.
If you ever find yourself struggling with self-love, here are 15 practices that will ground you and boost your confidence:
1. Put yourself first.
Start every morning with a ritual to honor your worth. Maybe it’s meditating, maybe it’s 30 minutes of daily exercise, or maybe it’s simply reading a book in bed for 20 minutes with a cup of tea.
Whatever it is that soothes your soul, make it your priority. Do it everyday before you tackle the demands of the world around you. Allow yourself to come first.
2. Learn how to take a compliment.
When someone gives you a compliment, practice simply saying “thank you.” Don’t add caveats, don’t self-deprecate, don’t deflect by pointing out why someone else should get all the credit. Just say thank you.
Allow yourself to completely own the compliment (as awkward as that may feel at first). Know that you deserve it.
3. Learn how to take an insult.
Insults are never a productive or responsible form of communication. The person giving them is usually trying to make themselves feel important, and that reflects their own insecurities more than your reality.
When you’re on the receiving end of insult, recognize that you don’t have to take that person’s words on as your truth. See if you can find anything constructive that you should work on, but leave the rest.
4. Watch your words.
Whenever you start beating yourself up pause and take notice of the words you’re using. Would you speak that way to a dear friend or to a young child? Respect yourself enough to end the verbal abuse. It gets you nowhere.
Use gentle and compassionate words. No matter what you’re going through in life, being your own worst enemy will never serve you. If you want to feel confident, you must change how you speak to yourself.
5. Practice pride.
You’ve likely achieved and overcome so much in life that you don’t give yourself credit for. Focus on those achievements. Write them down. Remind yourself of them when you need to pick yourself up.
Don’t concern yourself with the achievements of others, they are not relevant to your life. Focus in on your own personal achievements and honor them.
6. Create a value system.
The world will try to drown you in it’s loud and superficial values. Money, status, degrees, brand names, “likes,” it’s endless… Forget those values – create your own. What matters most to you? What kind of person do you hope to be? What do you value most in other people?
Construct and own your own value system and the trending values the world is trumpeting at any given time will lose their importance.
7. Write your own affirmations.
You don’t need to follow anyone else’s slogans. What words make you feel your best? Choose them. Write them down. Plaster them on your mirror, on your computer, wherever you need to be reminded.
Find the words that make you feel your most empowered and tell them to yourself every single day.
8. Allow yourself to evolve.
Our mistakes help us evolve, but first we must forgive ourselves for them. As long as you are learning from your mistakes you are worthy of forgiveness. No matter how awful they were or how painful.
We are all flawed imperfect human beings learning how to live and we’re going to mess up a lot. We must forgive ourselves constantly and in doing so, we allow ourselves room to grow.
9. Be realistic.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. Create reasonable expectations for your life. If you commit to too much, you will constantly feel exhausted, run down and like a failure.
Take a realistic look at whatever you’re taking on in life and see if it’s doable or if the mere thought of it all drains you. Reassess and set realistic expectations to set yourself up for success.
10. Mind your numbing agents.
Sometimes when life gets hard we try to numb our feelings. Alcohol, food, Netflix, anything to avoid what life is throwing at us. And usually those distractions only leave us feeling worse. Sitting with our feelings is not easy, but it’s the only way to work through our pain and get to the other side.
Work through whatever you’re feeling, cry as much as you need to, ask for help, whatever you need to fully honor all that you’re struggling with.
11. Take courageous actions.
Practice stepping out of your comfort zone. Take risks. The more courageous actions you take in life, the more fulfillment you’ll feel and the more you’ll unearth your potential.
Constantly push your comfort zone and the things that once scared you to death, will soon not feel so intimidating.
12. Trust yourself first.
People will give you so many opinions. Opinions based on their stories, their histories, their struggles. Opinions can be helpful, but not when someone is trying to force them on you. That is not constructive, it’s controlling. And you were not put on this earth to be controlled.
Honor your thoughts first. Consider the opinions of others but never let them drown out your deep inner voice. Practice trusting yourself first.
13. Be mindfully kind.
The world needs more kindness, more gentleness. Sometimes those are the hardest things to give because they open ourselves up to vulnerability. That’s why people find it so much easier to be mean, short tempered or angry. And too often we’re the cruelest to the ones we cherish the most, including ourselves.
Mindfully practice kindness in everything you do. How can you talk to yourself and others with more love and compassion? How can you focus on all that’s working in your own life, instead of all that’s not? When you’re feeling your worst, how can you change your perspective from one of self-loathing, to one of self-love?
14. Set an example.
Love yourself as you would want your most precious loved one to love themselves. Set an example for them. Whenever I’m feeling low, I ask myself, what do I want my little girls to learn about taking care of themselves? How can I teach them to honor their own needs and emotions? I cannot teach them self-love if I myself am not practicing it.
Find someone who’s looking up to you or who simply trusts you with their friendship, and show them what it means to love yourself.
15. Take care of the tomorrow you.
I learned this trick from a friend, and it’s so loving and effective. Take care of your future self. Spread your bed in the morning, so it feels lovely when you get into it at night. Put out your coffee/tea cup at night, so it’s there waiting for you in the morning. Get all the dishes done before you go to sleep, so you wake up to a clean and empty sink.
Take care of the you that’s going to show up tomorrow. What does she need to feel her best? What can you do today that will help her ease into tomorrow? You deserve that kind of love and thoughtfulness, and you can give it to yourself.
Give yourself the gift of self-love.
You only get one life. Don’t waste it with self-loathing.
Life is bound to have ebbs and flows and sometimes you’ll feel pushed to the edge.
But if you engage in consistent self-love practices that ground you, you’ll travel the peaks and valleys of life with confidence and ease.
What self-love practices have helped you throughout your life?
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