The Secrets To Self-Love: A Simple Guide To Falling In Love With You
There is no relationship in the world more important than the one you have with yourself, but be honest with us for a sec, how often do you put you and your needs first? Occasionally? Rarely? Uh, never?
Indulging in self-love isn’t just something you should do on the off-chance. It’s not selfish, shallow or narcissistic either.
Think about it: you are with yourself every single second of every single day. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your best friends, your colleagues or your other half, you can never take a break from you, so nurturing and developing that relationship should be priority number one.
Yet we’d wager that your needs sometimes either come last on the to-do list or don’t make the cut at all. We’re willing to bet that taking care of you often falls by the wayside and is replaced by self-criticism and self-sabotaging behaviours instead.
But hang tight sister, because all that is about to change. Embracing self-love is one of the most transformative things you can do. It’s proven to revolutionise your health and wellbeing, bolster your confidence and self-esteem and bring more depth and meaning to the relationships you have with others.
The science is simple: people who love and accept themselves lead happier lives overall. So, are you ready to learn how to fall in love with you? Here’s how…
Self-Love: How To
Comforting Disney flicks, toasty bed socks and soothing sheet masks: Self-care isn’t just a buzzword, but a bonafide way to put you and your needs first. And get this: It’s not just about soaking in a hot tub, ordering your favourite takeaway, or slathering on a scented body butter for the sake of it, either.
Nope, bottom line, self-care is about making time for you, and whenever you do this regularly, it sends out a powerful signal that you – yep, little old you - matter. Over time this has a compound effect that helps to boost your self-worth and self-esteem and when this happens you’re free to be your most energetic, outgoing, and wonderful self.
Sounds good, right? But, uh, how do you actually make time for self-care? Schedule it! Pop it onto the calendar like you do all your other daily tasks and to-dos and ensure it’s as much of a priority for you as that 9am Zoom meeting or that 2.30 deadline.
Another pro tip? Write a list of all the things you love to do. (Hint: it’s the stuff that makes you feel on Cloud 9 levels of good.) It could be calling your best friend for a natter, enjoying a cuppa, reading a book, or dancing around your kitchen. Et voila – you have your very own self-care checklist and you can refer to it anytime you need a little extra TLC.
Say ‘see ya’ to negative self-talk
We all have a nasty inner critic. She’s the voice in your head who’s hellbent on telling you that you aren’t good enough, but here’s the thing about inner critics: you get to decide whether or not they’re in the driver’s seat and guess what? You don’t have to listen to them if you don’t want to.
A handy way to handle your inner mean girl when she starts pointing out your flaws or re-enforcing your limitations? Say ‘thanks, but no thanks’. Personal development author Melissa Ambrosini says it’s as simple as thanking your inner critic for trying to protect you and shutting the door on her, as though she were a pushy salesman.
Once you’ve fended off that self-critical voice in your head, you can begin speaking to yourself as you would a friend. Would you tell your best pal she’s useless, ugly, or not good enough? Of course not – we’ll bet you regularly tell her she’s cute, talented and all kinds of awesome.
Start saying those things to yourself – it’s really that simple.
Put yourself first
Boundaries aren’t just something you find on a map. No, they are a limit you set to protect you and your energy, but how often have you said yes when you really wanted to say no, allowed someone to consume your schedule, or offered to help out when you really didn’t have time?
If you’re a self-confessed people-pleaser it’s time to put a pin in doormat behaviour and start putting your needs top of the to-do list. Why? Because every time you make yourself second best you reinforce the idea that you aren’t as important as everyone else.
Not sure where to start? Begin by saying no to something small, like a friend’s party you reaaaaally don’t want to go to or that errand you really don’t want to run. It’ll bolster your confidence and enable you to set firmer boundaries in the future.
Setting a boundary for the first time can feel as scary as watching The Conjuring with the lights out but it’s a little like learning how to ride a spin bike: hellish at first, but after a while, actually kinda fun.
So go on, repeat after us: No is a complete sentence.
Celebrate your uniqueness
As Dr Seuss puts it “there is no one alive who is youer than you” so right this second we want you to grab pen and paper and start writing a list of all the great things about you. If this is your first time writing a love list, it might feel a little cringe. It might even make you want to throw your notebook against the wall, but stick with it until you hit 50 (Yes, 50!) points.
You could choose to celebrate anything, from the way you smile to how you snort when you laugh. Hell, you might even like to reframe some of your perceived shortcomings and begin to see them as a blessing instead of a curse.
Many people struggle to find even one thing they like about themselves but by the end of this exercise, you’ll have a lengthy list of plus points that you can refer to any time your confidence needs a little boost.
Go On, Love Yourself…
Self-love isn’t narcissism. It isn’t believing you’re better than anyone else, or about selfishly ignoring the needs of others either. It’s about believing you matter and – get this, honouring and cherishing the relationship you have with yourself means you have so much more to give to others. It enables you to be the shiniest and awesome version of you.
It all starts with a decision. The decision to love and care for yourself and celebrate the unique and wonderful person you are. So what are you waiting for? Dial up the self-care, turn on the positive self-talk and start saying no once in a while because you – Yes, YOU – deserve it.