Self-love might seem straight forward, but for anyone who struggles with acquiring it, self-love is complicated. First let me say, this is a no judgement zone. The very idea that we lack self-love can be triggering. Like many out there, I was never told I am a special or a princess. I was not told that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. In fact, it was the opposite, but that is a story for another time. I grew up without praise, and yes, it effected my self-esteem. As an adult it is up to me to re-wire my brain and build myself up. I know what you might be thinking. That is no easy task and mistakes will be made. My only advice would be that in order to start on your self-love journey, you have to start someplace. Start by appreciating yourself. This means waking up in the morning and appreciating your body, your face, your heart, your mind, and even your past mistakes. It helps if you think of past mistakes as learning experiences, stop shaming yourself, and start to move on. You are not alone, we can do this together. All I can promise is that small steps can turn into a journey that might take you to a loving place and a more authentic YOU.
For further help I turned to the experts. Our two experts helped me create a guide worthy of a print out. Print these tips, put them someplace where you see them every day, and set out on your own path towards self-love. You are worth it!
Your Guide To Self-Love With Help From Experts
Therapist, relationship expert, and tech entrepreneur of the iRise Self Care App, Ashok Gupta, gives us tips on re-wiring our brains and getting on a path of self-love.
“There are 5 paths to self-love, what we here at iRise call the ABCDE of Self-Love.”
A stands for “Awareness”
This is having awareness of when we feel that lack of self-love. When do we feel down, unworthy, or are criticizing ourselves? Being aware that we are doing that is the first step, which helps to break this unhealthy pattern of thinking. Secondly, we can also become aware when we are looking for outside people and situations to “fill our cup”. We may repetitively ask, “Is this person appreciating me, is my partner show me enough love?” We want them to love us…let’s notice how often we do this.
Nothing on the outside can truly make us feel loved on the inside. t’s an illusion and doesn’t work. A simple awareness of this fact can help us to go inward and find the love within, rather than being pre-occupied with finding it on the outside.
B stands for “Be Kind to Your Inner Child”
So often we create our own lack of self-love by criticizing and putting ourselves down. And often that hurts something living with us called our “inner child”. This is part of our psyche that has not fully matured from childhood, and is still reacting as if we were a child. Let’s start speaking to our “inner child” in a loving way, just like we would speak to our own child, or nice, or nephew. Let’s speak compassionately to ourselves and give ourselves space to be imperfect, and to feel good enough just the way we are.
C stands for “Care in Self-Care“
Often, we are so busy running around taking care of everyone else’s needs, that we forget to attend to our own. Self-care is about making time for and valuing self-care rituals, and seeing them as productive to your life. Drop everything and take that hot bath…or spend some time alone to have some space.
D stands for “Daily Practice of Meditation”
The mind is prone to thinking the worst! “That person didn’t mean it when they said they love me!”
Having a daily practice like meditation helps to calm the mind and go inwards. With a calmer mind, we are better able to navigate the ups and downs of life from a more centered balanced place.
E stands for “Evaluating Yourself Positively”
You are an incredible human being, with so many talents and gifts. You will discover more of the real you if you were just to give yourself a break! You are as unique and precious to this planet as every snowflake. And when you recognize this and nurture this awareness within you, you feel more self-love.
You can practice this by regularly appreciating yourself, and praising yourself. Often, we associate this with arrogance or self-indulgences, but even these emotions come from a place of lack of self-love. The healthiest thing you can do is regularly remind yourself what an amazing human being you are, and recognize your unique talents and gifts.
And what happens when we practice these 5 Paths To Self-Love? we let go of the heavy rocks that we are carrying, and we feel lighter, happier, and have more energy. We become more emotionally self-sufficient, and come to relationships not from a place of lack or need, but from a place of sharing.
According to Jenna Banks, a public speaker, podcast host, and author of I Love Me More: How to Find Happiness and Success Through Self-Love, self-love is life’s vitamin. We could not agree more. We share some of her most crucial tips on self-love, but highly recommend reading her book for more valuable information.
Learn to Value Yourself because Self-Love is Not Selfish or Narcissistic
Jenna Banks is teaching her audience to love and value themselves because when you love yourself enough, you begin to leave whatever is not healthy. This means leaving people, jobs, personal beliefs, and habits – anything that keeps you small. Our old selves would judge this as disloyal, but the new you will realize it is about self-love.
The social entrepreneur goes on to add her opinion on the myth that self-love is selfish. “I hear a lot when I talk about self-love. Society seems to teach women especially that if we are not giving away our power and energy, if we make decisions based on what will make us happy, then we are being selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. A selfish person does not consider the feelings and needs of other people. Their immediate needs are all that matter. By contrast, someone who practices self-love is aware of the needs of people around them but gives their own needs priority. In fact, it is by loving themselves more that they are able to give more to others.”
Journaling to Build a Better Relationship With Yourself
Get to know yourself better through a daily journaling practice. Therapists and life coaches might not always be available, or even affordable, writing by hand can help you slow down, and analyze what you feel on the inside. Processing things better is extremely beneficial and sets you on the right path towards self-love. Even if you can only squeeze in 10 minutes a day, it is worth it.
The Science of Self-Love
Studies found that taking part in compassion exercises calms heart rate and lowers risk of disease. When we are in constant state of anxiety, beat ourselves up and don’t support our needs, we are opening ourselves up to poor health.
While the evidence of the power of self-love is in our overall health, doctors who conducted extensive research and written books on the subject agree that people who have more self-compassion also experience less depression and anxiety.
The mental effects of self-love matter. It builds confidence and skills that result in better relationships and even successful careers.
What are you comparing yourself to?
Relying on the approval of others and basing your self-worth on other’s approval, will have you living on shaky ground. This a fear-based way of living and it breeds insecurity. All you need is to be your authentic self and do what makes you feel good. Do this regardless of what others think.
Finding happiness or success in external forces is not the right path towards self-love. It drives a false sense of self and our egos, but we are not our egos. How much a guy likes you, what car you drive, or how much your parent is proud of you is not a reflection on your self-worth.
The fear of rejection and of not fitting in can take a lot out of a person. How can you or anyone else truly love you when you live n such a precarious state of self? Begin to unwrap what feeds your sense of self-worth and resist external validation.
Main Photography by Noah Buscher