Learning how to love yourself is truly essential to your happiness.
When you practice self-love and develop a deep rooted sense of loving kindness and acceptance for yourself, your confidence and inner peace will shine through to all aspects of your life, and extend onto those around you.
Self-love can be a hard concept to grasp, especially if you're used to being your own harshest critic, or tend to put the needs of others above your own.
But by implementing daily self-care practices into your life bit by bit, you will start to strengthen your self-love and start living true to your authentic self. You'll find yourself gravitating towards the things that bring you joy, and letting go of anything that no longer serves you.
Here are 5 simple acts you can practice each day to bring a little more self-love into your life.
1. Change your self talk
Self talk is the inner dialogue that runs through our mind most of the time, and it has a profound influence over our feelings and the decisions we make.
The words we speak to ourselves are often a reflection of our subconscious thoughts, so when we judge and shame ourselves, and talk negatively about our looks or capabilities, you're only feeding into a negative narrative that does not serve you.
To shift your mindset you need to catch yourself when you fall into negative self talk, and make a conscious effort to reframe your dialogue into something positive.
One powerful practice is through telling yourself positive affirmations that serve to uplift and empower you.
It's important to make these statements personal to you and where you need to be kinder to yourself, but here are some examples of self-love affirmations we could all use.
- I am worthy and capable of achieving my goals, and I am doing my best
- I am loved, loveable, and I love myself unconditionally
- I am grateful for the capabilities I have and I am proud of my body for all that it does for me
- I am strong and healthy and accept my body the way it is today
2. Take care of your physical state
The way you take care of your physical state has a direct affect on your emotional and internal state.
You know the immediate wave of endorphins that come from moving your body? Not only does exercise benefit your physical and mental health, it helps to boost your feelings of self-love too, all the more reasons to incorporate daily movement into your routine.
This also goes for just about everything you put into your body - the foods, water, and the amount of sleep you get. All these factors directly affect your energy levels and the way you feel. It's difficult to love yourself when your body isn't getting all the things it needs to feel good, so start to treat these aspects as non-negotiables in your life.
Let's start by taking a second to acknowledge your posture and breath right now. If you're slumped over and shallow breathing, pull your shoulders back, straighten your spine, take a deep breath to connect back to your body, and smile.
3. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
The human brain is wired for survival, which means that we naturally look for the negative things in a situation that could threaten us. This way of thinking perpetuates fear and triggers our anxious fight or flight mode, but despite this wiring, we still have the choice to consciously change what we focus on.
When you replace negative thoughts with feelings of gratitude, you start to magnify all the good things in your life and attract like-minded thoughts and feelings of self-love.
Start practicing gratitude by focusing on all the things you're thankful for, both big and small. This might look like taking 5 minutes of mindfulness when you first wake up, to think about the things you're looking forward to in your day, and express gratitude for your comfy bed, a warm shower, your morning coffee, or blue skies.
With regular practice, you'll experience how gratitude becomes natural to you and starts to take over any negative wiring and thoughts about yourself.
4. Reconnect with yourself
It's hard to get in touch with feelings of self-love when you're constantly surrounded by others and stay busy going from one task to the next without allowing time to pause.
When you prioritise time to relax and be by yourself, you're able to recharge and reconnect with your inner self.
Whether you do this through meditation, a creative outlet, a bath, or going for a walk, these times of solo self-care allow you to be honest with yourself and reflect on your needs, your goals, and what needs prioritising.
It's in these moments you're likely to discover your purpose and uncover what really matters most to you. Loving yourself comes naturally when you start to live in alignment with your true values and recognise your worth and purpose.
5. Be the energy you want to attract
The energy you put out into the world is what you will receive back, so make sure you focus your energy on the things that truly bring you joy, and surround yourself with like-minded, uplifting people.
Your motivation for spreading positivity shouldn't be to 'get' back, but rather to cultivate an abundant mindset of giving, and understanding that you play a part in something much bigger than yourself.
Happiness is an ongoing chain reaction that spreads from you onto others, and can be through something as simple (and free) as a compliment or a smile.
The qualities that you celebrate in others will help you appreciate those things within yourself, and strengthen your self-confidence without the need for external validation.
Through all the practices above, it's clear to see that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships, the most important being the one with yourself. The key to improving every area of your life starts with your journey of self-love.
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