If you scroll through social media and any number of weblogs, you probably assume everyone loves themselves. Everyone, that is, except for you. The world isn’t sunshine and roses for any of us, though. In fact, the majority of people struggle with self-love.
If you’re looking for the recipe on how to love yourself, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: It’s not as easy as most people make it seem. After all, you can’t just take a magic pill or sprinkle pixie dust to make your problems go away. But if you’re looking for a way to truly love yourself, there are a few small things you can do.
If you really want to love yourself, you need to stop putting yourself last. Learn the word “no” and make it part of your vocabulary when others ask too much of you. Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Speak your mind, stand up for what you believe in, and quit selling yourself short.
Although it may feel uncomfortable to be assertive (and you may even feel a little selfish), you’ll soon realize just how great life can really be. When you prioritize your wants and needs, you slowly see the stress start to melt away and you become the person you really want to be. The people who were using you often fade away, leaving you with friends who love you and respect your worth. By giving yourself the space you deserve, you see yourself more clearly — and you’ll love that person more than ever before.
If you’re going to love yourself, you need to focus on what you feed your body and your mind. Be sure to feed yourself foods that will nourish your body (and never skip dessert). Find ways to tune out negativity and channel positive vibes. You can also take up yoga or other wellness rituals. If you need a brain break from the world, unplug from social media and curl up with a good book instead. And, of course, see a therapist and a primary care physician to get all aspects of your health in check.
Although it may feel less “convenient” or go against the grain, your overall health and wellness will benefit from these simple changes. When you stop feeding yourself physical and emotional garbage, you feel lighter and more energized. This, in turn, helps you have the time and energy for things like hobbies and a social life. By taking care of your physical and emotional needs, you stop worrying about dying and get busy living. By taking care of yourself in the ways you deserve, you tell yourself “I matter” and “I’m loved.”
If you really want to love yourself, evaluate yourself from new perspectives. Stop looking through the critical lens of your own mind and see yourself the way others do. Ask others to share what they love about you or look at pictures of yourself as if they’re of another person. Use positive self-talk; don’t criticize your actions.
Although it feels impossible to drop the perfectionistic attitude and the dark cloud that follows you around, you need to realize that neither of them serve you. When you stop listening to your own inner critic and adopt a more realistic sense of self, you can accomplish so many new goals. Love will start to grow inside you, which you can eventually share with the rest of your world. You’ll not only love yourself; you’ll help others do it too.
If you’re going to love yourself, you have to do it every day. Self-love is just like any other skill – it takes a lot of practice. But if you set this new approach aside for even just a moment, you open the flood gate for all of those old, self-destructive habits to re-enter your life. So prioritize yourself entirely: body, mind, and soul, because this is how you love yourself. Entirely. Just the way you are.
Previously Published on Thought Catalog