There is only one you. You may have many connections with other people throughout your life, but at the end of the day it all comes back to you. In order to experience love in this life, you must learn to love yourself.
When we love ourselves, we can more easily navigate the ups and downs of life. Self-love forms a supportive foundation that bolsters us through our days. We always have that love, whatever situation we might be experiencing.
But cultivating self-love is not as easy as flicking on a light switch. Especially if you are unwinding negative conditioning, it can take time and focus to truly learn to love yourself. Here are a few tips to help you become your favorite person.
1. Learn Positive Self-Talk
Self-acceptance is the doorway to love. Cruelty and self-hatred become downward spirals that make you miss the beauty and joy of life, but self-acceptance sets us free. And one of the ways that we experience acceptance or judgment is through the way we talk to ourselves.
Shifting a behavior begins with awareness. Notice what you say to yourself when you first wake in the morning, when you look in the mirror, and when you make your breakfast. When you complete a task, do you take a moment to acknowledge your achievement? When you make a mistake, do you accept it with grace or beat yourself up?
Your body and subconscious self will feel more loved if you say positive things to yourself, even if you feel silly at first. Try working with positive affirmations to raise your frequency and inspire a supportive self-assessment. When you make a mistake, accept your humanity even as you recommit to doing your best.
2. Take a Me Moment Every Day
We all need to time alone to discover ourselves. Give yourself at least five minutes of me time each day. You could meditate, go for a walk and smell some flowers, or stare at a blank wall. It doesnt really matter, just take a little time to listen to your feelings, wishes and needs. Bonus points if you can listen to yourself with compassionate, judgment-free, mindful awareness.
3. Find Exercise You Enjoy
Dancers and shamans have always known that movement is a key aspect of mental health. Moving your body literally moves energy, and can shake you out a funk. Movement is most effective for cultivating self-love when you are doing something you actually enjoy. It could be dancing, kayaking, hiking, or Frisbee golf, whatever, just so long as it makes you smile and sweat.
4. Give Yourself True Nourishment
Food is one of the simplest and most powerful things we can give to ourselves. For it to be an act of self-love, the food must truly nourish your body and soul. Some days that may be a raw vegan salad full of crispy veggies. At other moments true nourishment may look like a scoop of coconut ice cream. What matters is that you are feeding yourself on the deepest level possible.
Nourishment takes many forms. We are nearly as fed by the company we keep and the media we watch and read as we are by the food we eat. Treat your body, heart, and psyche like the temples they are by giving yourself information and experiences that energize you and support your health.
5. Call Your Friends
So often in our busy modern age we communicate with people only when we have a need or obligation. But part of opening to love is learning to give mindful attention to yourself and others. Healthy friendships are one of the most important aspects of life, but it is challenging to maintain a healthy friendship if you never connect.
Call your friends just to let them know how much you love them, without any agenda or logical purpose. That act of selfless appreciation will bolster your self-perception, as well.
6. Remember that Self-Care Is Not a Luxury
Self-love includes taking care of yourself like you would a loved one. Get plenty of sleep, learn the power of hot baths, find work you enjoy, and remember to play. Taking care of yourself should not be the last thing on your to-do list, but rather the first. We can only give when we are full.
This also means going easy on yourself when you do not live up to your expectations. If you make a mistake, get ill, react defensively, or do something else that bothers you, learn to accept it as part of who you are in this moment.
7. Do It Now
At the end of life, what most people regret are the things they did not do, the dreams unlived and the words unsaid. Love yourself more by doing what you really want to do, right now. This is not a license to be irresponsible, rather it is about living from your heart.
Love someone? Tell that person, even if you are afraid of rejection. Want to create a new art project or launch a business? Get started. Whatever secret wish lives in your heart, bring it out into the light and give it a chance to come true. At the end of your life, you want to be able to say that you loved yourself enough to follow your dreams.
Some spiritual traditions say that the greatest gift we can give to the world is our love. When we love ourselves, we increase the amount of love that exists everywhere we go. This love creates a palpable force that can heal and inspire people, simply with our presence. Find ways to love yourself more each day, and watch how your life evolves.