Self-love must feel like a free, safe, and encouraging way of celebrating your individuality.
These days, there’s a lot of pressure to join the “self-love” trend, but it may seem like a distant possibility for many and something that is hard to do 24/7. No one loves themselves all the time. The practice of self-love is not linear; it has ups and downs. You’re not failing if you don’t see yourself as attractive every day or you have impostor syndrome at work.
We have been taught how to love others: our parents, our siblings, partners, and children. But what about ourselves? Who teaches us to love ourselves from a place of acceptance and without judgment? Unfortunately, we never learn this at school, and many hold the belief that doing so is a “selfish and egotistical love.”
Love is a feeling that pushes us to seek out the well-being of others. So, self-love is a commitment to accepting ourselves unconditionally, taking care of our selves, and seeking our own comprehensive well-being. The author Pierre Corneille sums it up very well: “self-love is the source of all loves.” If you have love for yourself, you have love for others.
Here are some ways you can get started on the never-ending path of self-love.
To know yourself is to think about yourself. A daily exercise that has helped me is to write down one adjective that describes me and another that I have been told I am. I allow myself to look at myself through those close to me and question who I really am.
Spend a few minutes a day looking at yourself in the mirror without judging yourself. Often, the first thing we see are our flaws. This is natural and instinctive. It is our impression of ourselves and something that you have reinforced for years and because of the patriarchal society in which we live. Reflect on these criticisms and try to see where they come from, and try to change them to praise. Mention what you appreciate about yourself. Say things like “I am love”, “I am beauty”, “I am creativity,” and “I am harmony.”
Allowing ourselves to be deserving is fundamental. One of the beliefs that prevents us from achieving self-love is feeling like we aren’t deserving. This conditions you in your relationship with and treatment of yourself. When you think you don’t deserve things; you don’t act like yourself. You behave as others might want you to because you fear rejection or someone being angry with you and you don’t allow yourself to receive compliments or recognition. And, you don’t express your needs because you do not believe you are valuable and worthy of receiving them. To change this, you can write everything you deserve down in a little note and repeat it in front of the mirror in the morning or before bed. Here are some phrases: “I deserve to be loved,” “I deserve to be at peace,” and “I deserve to be happy.”
Don’t compare yourself. I know that sometimes this is inevitable; but, when it becomes a constant in your life, this comparing turns into suffering and frustration. Comparing slows down your path towards self-esteem, so when you do it, try to do it from a place of learning and not from competition. Remember that when you compare yourself to someone else, you lose sight of what counts: your authenticity.
Focus on how you want to be, and visualize yourself in 5 years–or even this year–and take steps that bring you closer to that version of yourself. When you really get to know yourself, you assume the freedom to choose where you want to go; you stop looking at what others do and pay more attention to yourself, what you want to achieve and what aspects you need to strengthen to be your best self.