These days, the word “self-love” is thrown around loosely to describe acts of doing or buying things for ourselves. It can be hard to recognize, and maybe even much harder to practice because of so many definitions we hear from different channels. However, what you must know at the beginning of your journey is that there is no one correct way to practice self-love. It can mean different things for different people, depending on what they value as individuals.
While it has recently risen as one of the social media’s trendy hashtags, self-love is actually very important. Figuring out what it means to you may be a path riddled with challenges, but it is absolutely necessary to go through your lowest moments.
If you are someone who is still clueless about loving yourself, we came up with a short guide to get you started with your uniquely empowering journey. Here are some simple ways to practice self-love:
1. Tune in with yourself.
Our thoughts are the most powerful tools to keep ourselves grounded and at peace. By simply being mindful, you will learn to understand and unravel all your thoughts, emotions, and desires. Go and set aside some time for yourself to write on your journal to process your feelings for the day. How did you feel about the changes you went through at work or school? What made you happy and grateful today? What do you want to have or become in the future? By simply answering these questions, you will be able to see what makes you tick as a person, and understand what will make you feel positive about yourself.
A quick exercise? Try out guided meditation. There are tons of apps that can get you started. Just ten minutes of meditation in the morning can help you tune in.
2. Take care of yourself.
Self-care is a pre-requisite to self-love. With your basic needs taken care of, you will have more time to think what is best for you. People who love themselves exercise, eating great food, and nurture healthy interactions with their loved ones. Make sure to do at least one activity to meet your needs for the day. You can simply do this by going on a ten-minute jog, packing your own lunch, and checking in with your friends and family.
ALSO READ: 40 Ways to Love Yourself
3. Stop comparing.
In today’s world, it is so easy to compare ourselves to other people. You open your phone, see your friend’s travel photos, and instantly feel sorry for yourself. Everyone seems to be living their best loves while you’re on your couch watching their lives unfold through your smartphone’s screen. Sounds sad? That’s because it really is.
When we compare ourselves to others, we open up ourselves to self-deprecating thoughts, which is the very thing we are trying to remove from our life. Stop this cycle of comparison, and focus on your own progress. You are not on the same timeline as other people.
4. Forgive yourself.
We are human and prone to bad decisions. While it is true that we always have to take responsibility for our actions, it is also true that we should be forgiving to ourselves. Mistakes are natural to us, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Mistakes do not mean you have failed. It only means you can try again.
5. Have boundaries.
Setting some boundaries is necessary for loving yourself. There are some things that you think you need to say no to, and that is absolutely okay! Part of this process is understanding what activities, and which relationships are healthy. If you ever find yourself in a situation or relationship that is harmful to you, it’s okay to say “This is enough,” and leave.
People who have no boundaries tend to be abused, both emotionally and physically. By showing people what your limits are, you are teaching them how you would like to be treated as a person. This is true for any relationship, whether it is with colleagues, family, lovers, or friends. If anyone ever crosses your boundaries, do not be afraid to let go of them. Remember that self-love is choosing what is best for you. You do not have to compromise your values if you are not comfortable with the idea.
6. Invest in your growth.
Who doesn’t want to see their loved ones grow as people? As a person who loves yourself, you should also be excited by your own progress. Begin your growth process through introspection. Ask yourself questions like “Where am I today in relation to my goals?” “Who do I want to become in the future” and “What are the steps I should take to grow better?” Try to list your answers on your journal, and use them as guides as you go along. This writing exercise will do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence as well.
7. Live intentionally.
This is probably the single-most important advice I have received in my early 20s. Living intentionally is living with a purpose. Your purpose does not have to be a very complex one in the beginning. You can start with “Living meaningfully” as your sole purpose. Design your life around the things that will make you happy, and you will soon see that you are much closer to loving yourself completely—flaws and all.
Building a habit of self-love is the most useful practice that you will build in your life. It will undoubtedly be difficult, asking you to let go of old habits that do not serve you. You might even have to let go of relationships that are unknowingly making your life harder to live. However, it will also teach you how to be truly happy and a better person. More importantly, it will inadvertently teach you how to love other people, too. Like the very famous drag queen RuPaul says in every episode of his show, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?” Can we get an amen?
ALSO READ: 7 Simple Ways to Love Yourself More