Practicing Self Love (Free Article - Workbook for Paid Subscribers)
Give Yourself Some Love this Valentine's Day & Every Day
I’ve loved seeing so many celebrities and influencers of all shapes, sizes, colors, and gender identities amplifying the message “love yourself” ~ but imho there’s something key missing from the discourse: how.
How to love oneself is no simple, easy matter and will be as unique as every person out there seeking a loving self-relationship. This article is meant to give you some guidance on your own practice of self-love, which will evolve as your relationship with yourself does.
Self Love as a Practice
Something is a “practice” if it’s routinely done, like a habit or routine, and doesn’t have a clear outcome. Unlike training for a race or reading a book, a practice is nurtured in the doing. Think meditation, a daily walk, or yoga.
Self Love doesn’t have a clear destination, but it’s practice shifts your experience of your self and your life. Assuming someone who loves themselves will have greater self-esteem and mental health, those benefits translate to a host of physical and emotional outcomes as well.
Here are 5 “Steps” to support your self love practice.
(Quick note: these aren’t steps you’d check of a quick list. Growing a practice is a process. Give yourself grace as you work through each of these ideas. It’s okay if takes you some time. There’s no “right” timeline to work on loving yourself.”
You can’t change what you’re not aware of. Learning to observe your thoughts and patterns so you can identify when you’re not being self-loving is an invaluable place to start. If you’ve been working on yourself for a while you might have noticed: meaningful, lasting, positive change starts with mindful self awareness.
You might meditate, practice mindful eating or walking, write in a journal, or work with your therapist or coach to identify where in your life you’re being self-negating and your opportunities to grow self-affirming and self-loving behaviors.
2: Meet Your Foundational Needs
When we love something we take care of it. Which means ensuring that foundational needs are routinely met - here are More | Better we consider this the definition of self care. Nutritious food, rest and sleep, routine movement that builds resilience, and supportive relationships are all good places to start.
3: Build a Sense of Safety
When we love something we keep it safe. Physically, emotionally, socially, and psychologically.
Working on your relationship with yourself may mean becoming more aware of self-negating behaviors, relationships, or situations that are harmful in some way. While it may be difficult and uncomfortable, learning to advocate for yourself is part of learning self-love. A natural offshoot of that process is reinforcing boundaries - with friends, work, family, partners, and even your own self-destructive impulses.
Part of boundaries is safety and self advocacy.
Boundaries is making space for yourself.
Boundaries is advocating for what you need.
Boundaries is having strong nos so you can have meaningful yeses.
4: Feed Your Sense of Self
Who are you outside of other’s expectations?
Other than the roles you play or the work you do?
And what feeds that person?
What reminds you of who you are?
Or what do you enjoy for the pure joy of doing it?
What did you like to do when you were 5?
What did you tell yourself at 15 you had to do?
Learn who you really are.
Process. Then Let Yourself Live.
Thought the growth of your self love practice there’s a “step” that’s really a foundation: processing.
Taking intentional time to reflect, learn, and build intentional action from the lessons.
Journaling, therapy, and coaching can all be valuable ways to go about processing what’s coming up and figuring out what to do with the lessons.
Then, when you’ve learned what you needed to, let yourself move forward and enjoy the life that you’ve built for yourself.
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