If you’ve ever read or watched a mushy romantic book/movie you’ll know that the romance portrayed is far from dead! In reality, love is not always a fairytale. But it can be a magical experience once you learn how to love yourself!
However, with 6 in 10 people across the globe wishing they had more respect for themselves why is self-love so elusive?
Some reasons you may struggle with self-love…
- Constantly comparing yourself to others
- The need to be accepted and liked
- Always trying to please people at your own expense
- Caring too much about what others think of you
- Too busy analysing other people’s lives instead of focussing on your own
- Fear of being alone which is why you may hold onto toxic relationships.
Your current beliefs surrounding love may also be a factor. Your beliefs may stem from your own experiences and/or listening to and observing other people’s behaviour regarding love.
As a result, you may hold a distorted view of what love is supposed to look and feel like. You might have developed some unhealthy habits which could be stopping the true love you deserve from flowing into your life.
Whatever the reason, your inner being is tired of being neglected, so start showing yourself some TLC today!
You may think it’s easy for me to tell you to have more respect and love for yourself. I do not know your life history and do not know how you think or feel.
But I have been in your shoes. There was a time when I didn’t always love myself but I learnt to love and accept myself flaws and all (and yes, everyone has flaws).
So, skip ahead and learn from a gal who’s been there and done that! But, before you begin your self-love journey you first need to understand what love is…
What is love?
Whether you are religious or not I believe the following verse sums up the definition of love beautifully…
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – Corinthians 13:4-8.
Now I want you to ask yourself the following…
Am I kind and patient with myself?
Am I humble?
Do I forgive myself for any shortcomings?
Am I true to who I am?
Do I protect and trust myself?
Do I love myself consistently?
Do I have hopes for my future?
Do I treat others with kindness and love?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions then we’ve got some work to do. So, if you’re ready to start experiencing the love you deserve then buckle your seatbelt and let’s get this self-love boat sailing.
How to love yourself
Now that you have a better understanding of what love is. Let’s look at some ways you can start showing yourself more love.
1. Learn to be alone
Although we all need human interaction, it’s also important that you learn how to be happy by yourself. As the saying goes – “happiness is an inside job” so if you can’t learn to be happy by yourself then you will never be truly fulfilled.
Are you are the type of person to jump from one relationship to another simply because you can’t stand to be alone? Why not take the time you’re spending gazing into someone else’s eyes and instead spend time gazing into your soul?
Otherwise, you will never truly heal and get to know yourself which means that you may continue to carry the same issues with you to every relationship. Even if you feel as though you weren’t to blame for the breakup, your experiences shape and mould who you are so it’s important to spend some time on you.
Similarly, if you’re one of those people who can be in a room full of people and still feel alone then this is an indication that you need to discover who you are and what makes you happy.
Spending time alone helps you to; reflect on your life in the present moment, the things you enjoy doing, and the path you want to take. This will allow you to feel confident and comfortable with who you are so that you can stand in any room and feel fulfilled within yourself.
It can be difficult to adjust to spending time by yourself if you are not used to it or if you are naturally extroverted. If this is you, then I recommend starting slowly and pencilling in some alone time away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. The best way to practice being alone is to start with self-care…
2. Practice self care
Self-care involves doing the things you enjoy that are just for you. Selfcare is far from selfish and should be a much-needed part of your hectic schedule.
It can involve anything from:
- Watching your favourite movie/series
- Pampering yourself
- Reading a book
- Cooking your favourite meal
- Going to your favourite place
- Practising self-love affirmations
In a nutshell, self-care is basically doing anything that you enjoy that is an act of kindness and love towards yourself. Get started with one of the suggestions above or make up your own. And don’t forget to make it a routine.
3. Change what you don’t like and accept what you can’t
No one is perfect we all have flaws which means you have two choices:
1. Change the things you don’t like that are in your power to change
There may be certain things you don’t like about yourself that you have the power to change. For example, perhaps you wish to be more organised or more successful in life – these are things you can work on.
2. Accept what you can’t change and learn to love and embrace your flaws
Just remember that you were born to be different and you need to accept yourself for who you are. If there are things that are in your power to change then change them! If not, love yourself and your flaws and others will too!
4. Set Boundaries
I like to think of boundaries as an invisible barrier that stops people from entering somewhere they shouldn’t. If you cross the barrier there will be consequences.
Boundaries are there to protect us and stop ourselves or others from crossing certain lines.
Boundaries do not always have to be advertised but can instead be modelled in your behaviour. Believe it or not, the non-verbal cues you give out are so much more powerful than anything you can say. In other words, what you put out is what you’ll get back. The way you talk, and the way you carry yourself helps the universe and others pick up on your aura without you uttering a word.
Setting boundaries for yourself
We often hear about setting boundaries when it comes to relationships but setting boundaries for yourself is equally important. Set boundaries that dictate the way you wish to live your life. Here are some examples to get you started:
- I will not accept anything less in a relationship then what I know I deserve
- I will stand up for myself when neccessary
- I will walk away from anything that consistently disburbs my inner peace
- I will protect my heart
- I will not intentionally place myself in a situation that may hurt myself or others
- I will think before I speak and act
Setting boundaries for others
Boundaries not only allow others to understand what you will and won’t accept but will also allow you to protect your heart. For example, although it may be painful to let go of someone you love, if you know that they are a negative force in your life then having clear boundaries will help avoid any future heartbreak.
And, in case you’re wondering – it is never too late to set boundaries. So, if in the past you haven’t been as clear cut as you would have liked then now’s the time to start.
However, before you start laying down the law, you first need to decide what you want your life to look like and then base your boundaries off of that.
You may find that people who have taken you for granted are strongly opposed to your new boundaries. But it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
Forget anyone else’s expectations or opinions, if they love you they’ll stick around if not then let them go!
Whoever chooses to leave will only pave the way for the right people to enter your life who will appreciate you and respect your boundaries.
When you love yourself you will experience more love. The love you put out will not be egocentric – it will not be based on the need to be loved, validated or accepted by others because you already love and accept yourself. Instead, your love will be authentic to whoever shall be lucky and worthy enough to share the love with you.