From a young age we are often taught that ‘loving yourself’ is conceited or narcissistic, but in fact it’s an integral part of having well-balanced self-esteem – something that’s extremely important for our well-being.
Our self-esteem can determine how we treat those around us and some even argue that without being able to truly love ourselves, we can’t fully love anyone else. Our self-esteem can affect the experiences we have in our lives and it’s low, it can also lead to a myriad of health problems.
So just why is it that many of us are hesitant to practice a bit of self-love? Are we worried about appearing vain or narcissistic?
We hit up Lysn psychologist Breanna Jayne Sada to unpack what the term means why we should be doing it daily.
“Self-love is about focusing on self-worth and learning to have a positive attitude towards yourself,” she explains. “It is about letting go of those negative voices inside your own head that might tell you that you’re not good enough, not pretty enough or smart enough.”
“Self-love is not about being vain or self-absorbed, it’s about being kind to the heart and soul of your being,” she continues. “Self-love is something that should be encouraged, as having a healthy attitude about ourselves is better for everyone in the long run.”
So, whats the best way to practice self-love? Breanna gives us her top tips:
1. Listen to your thoughts.
Hear the words that you say to yourself and focus on turning them into positive words or phrases rather than negative thoughts. The trick I use with my clients is asking yourself would you say this to your best friend? If the answer is no then you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself. Turn that self talk into something you would say to your best friend something kind, motivating and full of hope.
2. Forgive yourself.
We are so hard on ourselves. To truly love yourself you have to acknowledge that no human is perfect. We don’t make mistakes we just have experiences that we have the opportunity to learn from.
3. Be unashamedly you.
Act based on who you are not based on who/what you think others want you to be.
4. Practice a self-care ritual.
This might be 1 hour a week where you run a bath with some candles or essential oils and read a book whilst relaxing and re-energising.
5. Set limits and boundaries.
It’s okay to say no to work, people or activities that drain or even hurt you. You have to put yourself first and even protect yourself.
5. Treat your body like a temple.
Learning to love your body will allow you to be mindful of what you put in it and will enable you to focus on nourishing it with healthy foods, giving it the exercise it needs and just generally treating it right.
7. Clean out the clutter.
You might start with cleaning out your closet or desk at work, which can be extremely therapeutic. Cleaning out clutter can help cleanse the mind and allow you to feel more organised.
8. Explore your spiritual side.
This could mean you start practising yoga, start listening to motivational talks or strengthen your faith. You might learn new things about yourself, develop a new passion or even develop a faith that could provide some guidance that you need.