A concept I see mentioned everywhere.
It’s great that we talk about it a lot more nowadays.
But I know it can also feel intimidating.
Especially when our voice of self-judgment is loud, or things aren’t going exactly as we wished for.
Here’s the thing:
Self-love is a term that easily can become glorified into something unrecognizable just like love has been made to look by Hollywood’s countless portrayals in romantic comedies.
In my experience self-love is not about sweet-talking yourself into a life full of positive thinking and rosy glasses.
No, it’s kind of the opposite.
It’s about seeing yourself as a whole human being with all that it entails and caring for yourself like you would care for a child.
Patiently, generously, and with compassion.
Even when you’re not acting as you ideally would.
Self-love is not about being completely self-absorbed either. It’s caring for yourself, so you can also care for others.
I find the more I appreciate myself, the more I can appreciate other people.
But to most of us, self-love isn’t necessarily a natural mode of operation once we’re adults.
Self-love is actually something we need to consciously practice.
It’s like a muscle we need to build up and keep exercising.
To practice and build up our self-love muscle I find these elements to be useful:
- Engage in regular self-care (this includes enough sleep, regular movement, healthy nutrition, activities that we like and that nourish us).
- Have the courage to look inside, listen, and really get to know ourselves.
- Start appreciating ourselves as whole beings (with both the parts of ourselves that we like a lot and the ones we like less). This entails letting go of perfectionism and false ideals.
- Be true to ourselves – paying attention and listening to our own inner voice. This requires that we get to know the different voices inside ourselves.
- Learn to set boundaries. Saying no to things that don’t feel right or don’t serve us.
- Take responsibility for our own needs and for getting them met. When we know what we need in the moment, we can ask for it.
- Stop seeking permission or approval to be ourselves. Recognizing that we, like everyone else, deserve to take up space on this planet just as we are right now.
- Know that our sense of self is not determined by other’s reaction to us. Get less fixated on earning approval, and know that everyone has their own perspective and view.
- Let go of self-judgment. This doesn’t mean that the voice of self-judgment won’t show up, but we can start seeing it for what it is: one of the voices of the mind.
- Learn from mistakes, without clinging to them. We can do this by taking responsibility for what happened, forgive ourselves and move on.
- Treat ourselves with patience, respect, and compassion … and ultimately with love.
I’d like to invite you to choose one action that you can practice today that takes you a step closer to loving yourself.
And know that you’re not alone.
We’re all in this together.
Luise Jørgensen is a mindfulness coach who supports men & women to embody their personal power so they can live a fully expressed, wholehearted and meaningful life. She recently returned to Europe after having lived five years in Thailand, spending more than 4,000 hours immersed in mind and body practices. You can connect with her on her website, on Facebook, and on Instagram where she explores her passion for mindful photography.