Not so long ago self-love was one of those fluffy concepts that got rejected by many who saw it as either weak or simply strange and unconventional. But in a day and age where many people are feeling increasingly out of tune with themselves, self-love is a growing trend that many are now connecting with.
Self-love is defined as having a ‘regard for one’s own wellbeing and happiness’. I often use the idea of being positively selfish when offering an explanation of what loving oneself means. But with this, I hasten to add, I’m not talking about the kind of selfishness that makes you a narcissistic, egotistical cold-blooded zealot! That kind of selfishness is far from what self-love actually means. But in the same way a person can be negatively selfish, a person can also be positively selfish which involves looking out for oneself in a way which doesn’t necessarily impact negatively on others. When you’re positively selfish, you’re not prepared to sacrifice your own wellbeing just to please others. Only when we start practicing self-love do we really start living a more meaningful life. Without self-love, we can survive but won’t necessarily thrive. So if you’re wondering how you can start cultivating a more loving relationship with yourself, check out my top seven below.
#1 Follow your passion
I always find it a wonderful facet of human nature that we all feel inclined towards and share a whole array of different interests, talents and hobbies. But let’s face it – the rigmarole of life often means these areas can take a back burner for many of us. However, investing time in the things that excite us and get our creativity flowing can guarantee to lead to a greater sense of fulfilment.
#2 Learn to forgive yourself
One of the things that will often keep us stuck in life is holding onto guilt. No doubt you’ve made mistakes but who hasn’t? Guilt certainly has a role to play in our lives but once it’s had its air time, it’s time to call it a wrap. Learn from your mistakes and rectify them where possible, then make peace with yourself by practising self-compassion and forgiving yourself.
#3 Take care of your mind, body and soul
In order to really get in touch with ourselves and function at our best, we need to take care of the following areas of need:
- Physical needs
- Emotional needs
- Social needs
- Spiritual needs
Each of the above are interconnected so when we neglect any one need, we suffer in the other areas too. For example a lack of sleep (physical need) will affect how we feel emotionally (emotional need) which could affect our relationships (social need) as well as our ability to connect spiritually (spiritual need). Devoting some time to serve each of these aspects of human need can help us gain a sense of balance and harmony in our lives.
#4 Get to know who you are
I call these the three deadly P’s of our time – too much pace, possibilities and pressure mean we seldom have the time and space for self-reflection and to connect with who we are. As a result, we no longer know who we are, feel confused about what we want and constantly look to others around us, including those on social media who in some way appear to have their lives figured out (when really they don’t either!). When you spend time alone, free from other distractions and learn to feel comfortable in your own company, you’ll have a better sense of your own identity and feel less inclined to follow others.
#5 Detox your environment
We’re not talking about de-cluttering your home here but rather what you’re feeding your heart and mind with. How do the people and activities you surround yourself with leave you feeling? Uplifted or completely drained? The things we occupy our time with have a huge impact on how we are left feeling, so it’s worth carrying out a bit of a health check on your surroundings to see which ones are conducive to a healthier heart and mind.
#6 Check how you speak to yourself
We all know about our inner critic – that voice inside us that expresses judgement, criticism or frustration and whilst most people say we need to turn it off, it’s important to recognise that our inner critic can also be very useful at times by helping to keep us safe. However, most of the time it serves to de-stabilise rather than motivate us to take action so the first step is to become aware of your self-criticisms. When you catch yourself saying something harsh or critical to yourself, ask yourself how helpful that is. Is that what a loved one would say to you about the situation? Then ask yourself what you really need to hear. Be aware that often it’s not just what we’re saying but how we’re speaking to ourselves. What would it sound like if you were to use a more compassionate tone of voice? Often it can help to remember we all have an inner child inside of us. What voice does that inner child need to hear?
#7 Be grateful
When things aren’t going our way, it’s easy to lose sight of the ways in which we’re actually incredibly fortunate. We forget all of the things in our lives that are working in our favour and only when things change do we then see the value of what we had. Nothing is guaranteed so learn to be grateful for what you do have rather than focusing on what you don’t have and you’ll see life in a whole new perspective.
This months guest blogger is Ayesha Hussain. She is a Personal Development Coach for women, empowering them to break through their fears and achieve their goals and ambitions in different areas of their lives.