We spend so much of our energy cultivating healthy relationships and building up those we love. So why do so many of us not treat ourselves with the same love and care? We should remember that love isn’t just something we give to others — it’s also a gift we can give ourselves every day!
Self-love is important because it opens up our hearts and minds to so many things. For example, studies show that people who possess self-compassion have lower stress levels, are more resilient in the face of adversity and are more satisfied with their bodies compared to people who have less self-compassion.
To help you get started, we put together a guide on how to love yourself. In it, we explain the benefits you can expect to see, walk through the different steps to self-love, and list a few things you can do every day to keep up the good work
Benefits of Learning How to Love Yourself
Everyone should practice self-love since it strengthens different areas of your life. Leading self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff, Ph.D. says that we encounter lots of negative effects when our self-worth is based on others. We foster insecurity when we compare ourselves to others and we’re also quick to criticize ourselves when we fail. This mindset impacts our social ties since competition hinders our relationships with others. Learning how to love yourself gives us the opposite.
Self-love empowers us to be kind to ourselves and pursue both our everyday tasks and long-term goals with a positive mindset. It lends us the strength to not only practice self-kindness, but to also motivate ourselves in a positive, non-destructive way without using negative self-talk. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and decreased stress because we have lessened our self-criticism and refocused our energy towards kind and constructive thoughts.
The Journey of Self-Love
So, how can you learn to love yourself? Some people associate self-love and self-care with acai bowls and spa days. While those things are great ways to de-stress and care for yourself, the act of sincerely loving yourself requires much more than that. It’s a process that involves reflecting and deconstructing your inner voice and feelings and building yourself up to have a more positive voice and outlook on life. Learning how to love yourself more isn’t complicated, but it requires some quality time with yourself and your most honest thoughts.
Read through these steps below to start learning how to love yourself more every day.
Stage 1: Identify your struggles and take steps to heal
- Take responsibility for your feelings and refrain from blame.
- Lower your defenses and directly approach wounds to understand and heal.
- Recognize your negative reactions and how you speak to yourself.
Stage 2: Challenge your negative inner voice
- Ask yourself what you need when negativity arises.
- Look for the root of hurtful thoughts and identify ways to heal and move forward.
- Learn how to let go of things that hinder your self-love.
Stage 3: Practice self-love
- Identify positive ways to motivate yourself to improve.
- Do things that you love and put yourself first.
- Focus on your growth and reward yourself on your progress.
Stage 4: Adjust accordingly and lean on loved ones
- See what activities help and do the ones that work for you.
- Cultivate relationships with those who encourage and support you.
- Remember that self-love is a journey and not a destination!
You can’t expect to learn how to love yourself after a single day, but the small steps you take today will put you on the right path. Even though self-love isn’t entirely about self-gifting and indulging, it definitely doesn’t hurt to give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and to engage in the things you love! Congratulate yourself on all of your hard work with some beautiful flowers and berries to brighten up your living space and fill your stomach with sweet treats. You can also refresh your living area while you’re refreshing your mind with new, modern decor or a few plants to help you breathe easier.
Remember to not only spend time with yourself during this process but also with others who lift you up! Positivity is contagious and spending time with your loved ones can definitely give yourself and others a boost. You can take a look at our tips for practicing gratitude when you’re ready to give thanks to all of the people who’ve helped you become your best self.
Sources: Medical News Today | Positive Psychology Program 1, 2 | Huffington Post | Entity | NCBI | self-compassion.org | WikiHow | Science Daily | Psychology Today 1, 2