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10 Powerful Ways To Practice Self-Love

Written by: Flora Bami, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve. Self-love is not selfish; it creates a positive attitude towards yourself and other people around you, you become more self-aware and set up healthy boundaries with people, you open your heart and get in touch with your feelings and emotions, you get rid of the fears and pursue your passions, you can be yourself with confidence and grace.

A photo of a beautiful curly young lady.
“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” Unknown

Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve. Self-love is not selfish; it creates a positive attitude towards yourself and other people around you, you become more self-aware and set up healthy boundaries with people, you open your heart and get in touch with your feelings and emotions, you get rid of the fears and pursue your passions, you can be yourself with confidence and grace.


When we love ourselves, we have an appreciation for our own worth or value. We don’t need affirmation from others, and we don’t need them to tell us that we are good enough, smart enough, or attractive enough, we simply know. As a result, we tend to have higher levels of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.


Why loving yourself is important


If you don’t love yourself, you might be more critical of yourself. You might engage in behaviors like negative self-talk, for example, “I’m worthless”, “I could never succeed at this”, or “I’m not smart enough”. These thought patterns can generate feelings of anxiety, sadness, or hopelessness.


Like any relationship, your relationship with yourself goes up and down and sideways and requires a daily feed. It changes as you change, as your circumstances change, and as the people around you change.


Loving yourself is a long-term and wholesome process, it’s a beautiful and rewarding journey that lasts our whole life. Just like other relationships, your relationship with oneself also faces ups and downs but the good news is that your attitude towards yourself becomes the answer to the question, of how to love yourself more. Getting into a deeper relationship with yourself grows love and happiness with you as well as with others surrounding you.


“Love yourself!” How can you expect others to love you if you don’t love yourself? When we truly love ourselves, others love us back because they simply mirror our relationship with ourselves. Our relationships with others start transforming when we learn to love ourselves and build healthy relationships with ourselves.

How to Love Yourself


Below I am sharing some powerful self-love practices I’ve discovered along my journey.

1. Be Self-Compassionate


Self-compassion involves being compassionate (showing sympathy and concern) towards yourself. According to self-compassion expert, Dr. Kristin Neff, self-compassion includes self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness (Neff, 2003). In her book, Prof. Neff asks her readers to ask themselves, “What type of language do you use with yourself when you notice a flaw or make a mistake? Do you insult yourself or do you take a more kind and understanding tone? If you are highly self-critical, how does that make you feel inside?” She explains that often, we are much harsher to ourselves than we would be to others, or than how we would expect others to treat us. So, to replace this harsh inner voice with a kinder one, you can simply notice it, which is already a step toward quietly subduing it and actively trying to soften it. Finally, you can try to rephrase the observations that you may have initially formulated quite harshly in the words of a kinder, more forgiving person.


2. Cast out the idea that you have to be perfect


If you’re wondering how to practice self-love, start by ditching the idea of perfect; perfect in every way; body, life, behaviors, work, and relationships. The idea of perfection is false. Never expect to be flawless. It’s good to know that nobody is. Nobody aspires to an idealized standard of perfection; everyone has distinctive qualities and personalities. When we focus too much on perfection, we have a fear of things not being good enough. If we live in pursuit of perfection, we are forever in the mindset of ‘what could or should be. The reality is that life is not perfect and even if we think elements of our lives are perfect, what does being perfect mean? Its definition is different for every individual which is why achieving ‘perfect results’ is an impractical thought process that holds us back professionally and personally. Instead of perfectionism, seek progress.

3. Forgive Yourself


A study showed that adults who completed six weeks of forgiveness training reported lower stress, anger, and hurt than people who didn’t undergo the training (Harris, et al., 2006). They also felt more optimism immediately after the training and four months later. Do you recall the one (or maybe a few) times you did something that left you feeling regrettable, humiliated, or ashamed? Time to let go of that. Although you can’t change the things you’ve done in the past, you can influence what happens in the future. Consider it a teaching moment and believe in your capacity for change. Give yourself the same grace that you would extend to someone else if they were imperfect. Challenges are inevitable. Each of us will make mistakes or behave in ways we regret. We can practice self-love by extending compassion and kindness to ourselves in these moments. When negative self-talk shows up, we can notice it and acknowledge it without giving into self-criticism.


4. Give up the need for approval from others


“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” Dita Von Teese.

You don’t need to rely on approval and validation from others to love yourself. Giving up your need for approval from others will help you find your happy place and help you let go of past trauma and wounds. Sometimes our want for approval is attached to events from the past. The reality is that when we let go of the things that have happened to us, it feels almost as though a burden has been lifted. We are no longer required to transport that. We deserve better. Our value and worth are not based on what others think about us if they approve of us or not, or the things we have accomplished in life. Our worth isn’t determined by outside factors. Understanding this truth is key to learning to love ourselves truly and unconditionally.


​5. Practice Self-Gratitude


One type of gratitude involves feeling grateful for who we are and the things we’ve done. For example, we might tell ourselves "thanks" for taking care of our health. Or, we might give ourselves a pat on the back for making someone else smile. Or, we might be grateful for our cute cheeks, our calm demeanor, and our ability to cook the best cookies. So, try taking a moment each day to notice the things about yourself that you’re grateful for. Finding gratitude within ourselves is a practice. This is about you celebrating your accomplishments each day, no matter how small, to keep you motivated and feeling like you are making progress against the goals you set for yourself.


6. Show yourself that you love yourself


Taking action to show ourselves that we love ourselves is super important. It’s just like if we were in a relationship. Our partner might say they love us, but if they don’t show us, then we might not believe them. So show yourself that “you love you”. You might do this by taking the afternoon off from work, buying yourself something that helps you achieve your goals, buying yourself flowers or getting a massage, give compliments to yourself. Any kind of action you take that shows self-love can help you start to see that you love yourself.


Ask yourself how someone who loves you deeply would act. What would they say? What would they do? How would they behave? Odds are, they wouldn’t criticize, judge, and berate you. They’d offer you kindness, compassion, and acceptance. If you can’t think about a specific person or memory, imagine how the most loving human on this planet would be toward you. Then practice being that toward yourself.

7. Stop comparing yourself.


Comparison is a killer to self-love. And we aren’t usually very nice when it comes to comparisons, right? Instead, we take our greatest flaws and compare them to someone else’s greatest success. In short, you’re doomed to fail. Instead, realize that you write your story. Realize that you can’t compare your life to someone else’s because no matter how well you know them, you never know how they feel or how they perceive their life. We are all different and unique and each of us has a unique life path. Instead, spend your time and energy nourishing and building your path.

8. Check in with yourself emotionally


Find a seat, get a cup of coffee, and share your day’s events. What mood are you in? The greatest course of action is to learn to feel your sentiments rather than bury them genuinely. It’s essential to stay in touch with your feelings if you want to keep practicing self-love. Ask yourself “What do I feel right now? What do I need right now? What my body is telling me now? Sit with the answers and take the appropriate actions to genuinely take care of yourself.


Observing your thoughts is also critical. Before you say something unfavorable, consider whether it will benefit you. Does having this thought in any way improve me? Or is it merely impolite, dismissive, and harsh? Stopping internal agony is one of the most crucial steps to happiness because we frequently abuse our minds. Say supportive and encouraging things. Negative beliefs will always impede self-love.

9. Practice self-acceptance


This might have been the greatest game-changer for me. Because let’s face it: It’s easy to love what you love about yourself and not so easy with the things you don’t. So, instead of even aiming to love those parts, focus on accepting them.


What we resist, persists. Instead of rejecting or trying to love those parts of ourselves that we struggle with, simply accept them as they are with kindness. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Give permission to yourself to be imperfect, nervous, moody, etc.


You don’t need to love everything about yourself to develop self-love; all you need is acceptance. Next time something happens that makes you want to get down on yourself, see this as your practice to accept what is. There is a deep sense of inner peace, compassion, and kindness that comes with this shift.

10. Live in the moment


Stop your never-ending search for anything better for a time, and just look within. Recognize your origins and the wonder of the present. Realize how fortunate you are to be a living, breathing, and functioning human being. According to Psychology Today, mindful people tend to have higher self-esteem, are more empathetic, and are more secure. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want. The whole idea of mindfulness is to “see” what’s going on within without distortion, filters of judgment, and prejudice. When pure seeing or watchfulness or witnessing happens, acceptance comes about, and the ego becomes weak.

And practice self-care


Self-love blossoms when we take care of ourselves. This can be something as basic as attending to our basic needs — eating well, hydrating enough, exercising, and sleeping as much as we need — but it can also look like doing a little extra. We might carve out an afternoon to do an activity we love or pamper ourselves in some way. Self-love centers around how we think and feel about ourselves. Self-care is those thoughts and feelings put into action; however, we choose to treat or spoil ourselves.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do” ‒ Brené Brown

Loving yourself is the action of self-love and self-care in your everyday life and your everyday choices, from what you decide to eat, to whom you decide to love and surround yourself with. Loving yourself is the practice of self-love, and it’s ongoing. Forever. Each one of us is worthy of self-love. If self-love doesn’t come easy, that’s usually because our mind has been trained – through childhood, relationships, or other circumstances — to think otherwise. So the root of self-love, or the lack of it, can often be found in our thinking. Therefore, inner work is essential to reach that place of restful calm where you can let go of the obsessive thoughts and the negative chatter of the mind.


Once you learn to do that, self-love and compassion come naturally. The self-awareness grows to such an extent that you start experiencing unconditional bliss.


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Flora Bami, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Flora Bami is an optimist, an experienced and passionate integral coach, with expertise in life, mindset, relationships, and wellbeing coaching. Her main focus is on making your relationship with yourself healthier and reframing your inner voice based on self-love, acceptance, and compassion.


Her mission in life is to support people in their life journey to reach their potential and feel better and happier through individual coaching and setting up wellbeing programs in big organizations.


Better people, better world!


Happier people, happier world!


After going through a deep transformation herself and turning trauma into a gift, she dedicated her life to supporting people reconnecting with their true selves.

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