Demonstrating love to others comes naturally for most, but what about showing love toward oneself? This task is more difficult for many. From childhood, we learn to adapt, respect, and pay attention to others' needs. However, very few are taught to listen to and respect their own needs, leaving most feeling that their own needs don't matter as much.
'How do I learn to love myself?'
It's a question that gets asked a lot.
The answer is: 'How do you show love to others?'
I respect their feelings.
I pay attention to their needs.
I make time for them.
I make sure they feel ok.
I offer support.
I give them the time to figure out things.
I give them some space when they need it.
I accept them the way they are.
I appreciate their help.
I value their effort.
That's what loving and caring for someone looks like, and if you want to learn to love yourself, these same efforts need to be applied to you. It's not uncommon for it to feel challenging. Caring for yourself first is often thought to be selfish. Still, if you are drained and exhausted, you are unlikely to be in a position to be there for yourself and others.
My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am.
To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws
and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am.
Pay Attention to Your Thoughts. Are You Creating Barriers?
Is your instinct suggesting that you should care for others first? Do you feel like you don't deserve the same? When you come from a long practice of putting others first, you most likely engage in one or more of the following:
Self-blame and guilt for everything negative happening around you.
Strong beliefs of inadequacy, thinking you're not deserving of attention and love.
Believing your needs are less important than others.
Criticising yourself about how you look, behave or speak.
Compare yourself with others and fall short of your own standards.
Cultivating Self-Love: A Journey of Personal Growth
Learning new skills takes time, and learning to love yourself requires changing patterns deeply ingrained in our self-beliefs. The first step is paying attention to the way you treat yourself.
Unlearning ingrained habits takes some effort but is doable.
Show yourself the kindness, patience, and attention you would allow for others. Make time for yourself and do things you like to do. Appreciate the little things you manage to do just for yourself, and be patient when the results take some time.
Loving yourself is a choice you make every day.
You are accountable for how you treat and talk to yourself and how you allow others to treat you. It becomes a huge responsibility once you accept that you are responsible for setting boundaries.
Committing to yourself is worth the effort.
"Be kind to your body, gentle with your mind and patient with your heart.
Stay true to your spirit, cherish your soul and never doubt yourself. You are still becoming, my love, and there is no one more deserving of the nurturing grace of your love."
Strategies for Learning to Love Yourself
Practising self-care with intention is your tool in your journey toward self-love. Making a habit of showing little acts of kindness can go a long way. Daily self-care helps you explore what is good for you, what you like and what you don't like.
Self-care Practices for Wellbeing:
Creating a Life Mind Map
Intentionally stop judgements toward yourself.
When you choose your self-care activities, find activities that are manageable for you. Consider the time you have available and if there are costs involved. The best option is to choose something you:
Can fit into your timetable.
Can allow financially.
Have easy access to.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection.
In conclusion, your journey toward self-love begins through intentional self-care and is worth doing. As we choose activities, it's crucial to opt for those manageable within our schedules, avoiding traps that might lead to excuses from practising regularly. Recognising the profound impact of self-care, we acknowledge the positive influence on our emotional wellbeing, stress management, and life perception. Over time, the commitment to self-care becomes a powerful tool, enhancing resilience and enduring benefits to your overall wellbeing.
When unpleasant feelings rule your day for too long, it’s time to reach out to someone you trust. If you don't have someone to talk to, contact a helpline, a support group, or a professional. Your GP or a counsellor can make a difference in your wellbeing.