At the heart of nearly every wisdom tradition is the instruction to cultivate self-love. We can only love others, or receive the love that other people would give us, when we love ourselves. Our ability to be happy, healthy, and truly productive is in direct proportion to our capacity for self-love.
But while this important practice may sound simple, truly learning to love ourselves can actually be quite challenging. To make it more accessible, it helps to focus on the actions. How would we act if we loved ourselves? Here are a few ways that you can actively practice self-love.
Treat Your Body Like a Temple
You have probably heard this old saying before, but there is a reason it is timeless advice. Our bodies are the vehicles of our spirits. Caring for the body is one of the most direct ways to love yourself.
Be mindful that the food you eat is nourishment and not poison. Exercise and practice mind-body centering activities. Get plenty of rest and hydration. Use natural body-care products. Even if you are still in the process of learning how to love your body, treat it as if it were the most precious thing in your world, because in a way, it is. The energy of this care will permeate into your cells and help you feel better about yourself.
Fill Your Cup
We can only give when we are full whether that be to others or ourselves. Along with treating your body like a temple, find the ways to nourish your spirit. Through food, yes, but also meaningful activities. This could be hot baths, spending time with friends, creating or witnessing art, walking in nature, or meditation. We each have different joys, part of discovering the path to self-love is finding the ways to fill your personal cup.
Notice how you feel after everything you do. Observe your emotions and energy levels after all of your activities. The ones that leave you feeling refreshed with a smile on your face are the ones that refill and replenish you. Do at least one thing each day to fill yourself up and help you appreciate life more.
Celebrate Your Uniqueness
Learning to love ourselves means accepting and embracing all the parts of ourselves, especially the parts that might not be socially acceptable or considered normal. Let your freak flag fly. Be considerate of others needs, of course, but do not hide your light to try and make people feel safe around you. You may seek to evolve, but dont try to fix yourself. Your idiosyncrasies are part of your genius. Accept yourself, and find ways to celebrate your particularities and preciousness everyday.
Tell the Truth
Nothing saps self-love faster than a lie. Pretending to be something you are not keeps you from seeing who you really are and allowing others to see you. Many of us tell little white lies to each other and ourselves every day. Little by little these wear away at our integrity, making it so that on a subconscious level we no longer trust our thoughts and words. Self-love is rooted in authenticity.
Question your motivation for the things you say and do. Are you acting or speaking in a certain way because you truly want to, or are you acting on conditioning, beliefs, fear, manipulation, or obligation? Are you doing what people expect you to do and betraying yourself in the process? Are you speaking your truth in every possible situation, with clarity and courage?
Focus on Who You Are, Not What You Do
In our modern world, too many people value our time and lives based on what we accomplish. One of the most common conversation starters is what do you do? We have grown accustomed to measuring and categorizing people based on their professions and level or degree of success in that work.
You are not your job. Your value is not based on what you produce. You are worthy of love, simply because you exist. When you wake in the morning, think of the things that make you, you. Practice discovering who you really are, beyond your roles and task lists. Find ways to become more yourself, to connect with your radiance. If you did nothing today, could you feel good about yourself? Can you remember that your essence is more valuable than any to-do list? How can you let go of trying to do everything and simply be more?
Self-love is at the heart of every happy, healthy lifestyle. It is a prerequisite for success, joy, relationships, and every good thing in life. We can only give what we have found within ourselves. In our crazy modern age, everyone needs more love. Perhaps the most revolutionary thing we can do is bring more love into the world, starting with ourselves.