There’s a bit of a misconception sometimes about self-love. If you’re new to the concept you might conjure up the image of a yoga-doing, green-smoothie-drinking, Buddhist-chanting, woman on a sunny beach overlooking the ocean. For that woman, loving herself might include all of those things but it doesn’t have to be your self love. You get to create your own picture of what self love looks like for you. So let’s talk about how to start loving yourself.
When I first started my self-love journey there was a huge focus on meditation, yoga, physical activity and pampering yourself. It was very self-care focused – actions that you take to show love to yourself. The longer I’ve been on this journey, the more I see that loving yourself is just not kind things. When you intensely dislike who you are, a lot of those actions just feel like band-aids. They aren’t getting to the root of the problem.
I want to talk about some things that are more than self-care. Things that are more than thinking happy thoughts.
Step #1 – See that you’re worthy.
The biggest one is knowing that you are worthy of being loved. No matter what you’ve been through and no matter how the people in your life have treated you – you deserve love and kindness.
Choose to care about yourself and your life enough to start liking who you are AS you are. You don’t have to change (unless you want to!), you don’t have to be someone else, and you don’t have to fit any version of someone who has their shit together. In fact, you can be a mess, your life can be a mess, and you can still be worth loving. Baby steps my dear, progress happens by inches. You can still find ways to love yourself. When you start with that step you’ll find that a lot of the chaotic parts of your life start to resolve themselves.
Things begin falling into place because you start realizing that you deserve more.
Step #2 – Figure yourself out.
Get to know yourself. All of yourself. Get to know your body and what makes it feel good in as many ways as you can discover. Get to know (and embrace) your strengths and the things that make you happy. Really freaking happy. Learn what other people love and admire about you and OWN it.
Dance with your shadow self, the aspects of your personality that are darker and maybe not-so-nice but that make you real and human. You can be broken and flawed and still be oh-so-lovable. Stop hating yourself for being human. I promise you, we’ve all felt like we aren’t good enough to be loved by ourselves or by other people.
Go and discover a million different hobbies, find out what YOU really like without the influence of someone else.
Step #3 – Get serious about self-care.
Start doing things that you love as a way to love yourself. I can’t tell you what those things are, you know what makes you happy so make time for it. Start a routine that makes you feel good. And when life gets busy and you “forget” to do those things don’t beat yourself up about it, just start again. You can start right now, as many times as you need.
Self-care has changed my life in so many ways. Treating myself to a break in the garden, resting, asking for help, pampering myself – those things are just the beginning.
Self-care can be hard sometimes. There will be moments when the best way to care for yourself is to let go of someone toxic or abusive. Or saying no when you’ve spent your whole life being a people-pleaser. Or being brutally honest with yourself. Or being realistic about the fact that you aren’t superwoman and maybe you can’t do it all. Those little choices create a foundation for how to start loving yourself.
Step #4 – Find your people.
Seek support and community. When you start getting over those blockages and start healing yourself in those really deep ways a lot of hurtful stuff can come up, stuff that you thought you dealt with or thought you’d never have to think about again. Surround yourself with people that get it and people that love you. Don’t be afraid to say “Hey, I’m struggling right now and I need help/hugs/shoulders.”
Don’t be afraid to seek some professional assistance. Therapists, counselors, coaches – these people want to help you. Let them.
I have my own Facebook group called the Self-Care Circle. You’re welcome to come hang out with us.
Step #5 – Keep going.
There will be days when this loving yourself thing is hard – be patient and keep going. There will be days when you wake up and you’re angry at yourself. When you look in the mirror and you hate everything that you see. When you make really bad choices that aren’t in your best interest. When you regret the time you’ve wasted hating yourself for no good reason. You can mess up and still be uber lovable. Remember that. You’re learning how to start loving yourself and it’s not something that happens overnight.
Do the work. Every day. You can mess up and still be uber lovable. Remember that.
Don’t stop believing in yourself.You can mess up and still be uber lovable. Remember that.
You can mess up and still be uber lovable. Remember that.