Love yourself like your life depends on it! It is one of the most demanding yet most rewarding things you will ever do for yourself.
People tend to think of love as an emotion that focuses on other people. But self-love is just as crucial to living a happy and fulfilled life. The trick, however, is to know how to love yourself FIRST, before friends and family, and everyone else.
What is Self-Love?
Self-love is not an emotion but a constant state of being. Loving yourself shows you appreciate who you are, and you know and understand your happiness is of the utmost importance. It is also a realistic evaluation of your worth and potential and owning it.
It is the ability to accept yourself and love yourself regardless of how you look or act. It’s the ability to permit yourself to be you, unapologetically. It allows you to set boundaries.
Whether you are thick or thin, blonde or brunette, Asian or White, Black or Hispanic, from a big city or small town, learning to love yourself should go hand in hand with your self-esteem and ability to be happy.
How to Develop Self-Love
Self-love is not a destination; it’s a continuous process that takes time and effort. This is particularly true in this era of constant social media exposure. Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, it is essential to treat yourself with kindness, compassion, and respect.
Self-love starts with self-acceptance and self-respect. These two acts are the most basic forms of self-love we possess. Practicing these two requires an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses, understanding your fears and overcoming them, and taking responsibility for your actions.
Love yourself like your life depends on it! You can start by committing to the following daily practices:
- Do your inner work. Go deep. Work on accepting yourself, your flaws, and loving yourself for who you are vs. who you want to be.
- Say affirmations out loud multiple times throughout the day. A fun exercise is to come up with an adjective for every letter of the alphabet. i.e., I am Assertive, I am Beautiful, I am Confident
- Practice Gratitude! List 20 things you are thankful for in your life. Bonus tip, do this while exercising and you will get a double shot on endorphins.
- Do what you love. Whether reading, cooking, being outdoors, or playing sports, participate in activities that make you feel good.
- Be forgiving. Forgive yourself and others for mistakes or wrongdoings. Most importantly, if you catch yourself judging others, put your hand over your heart and forgive yourself for doing so.
- The company you keep is the energy you keep. Surround yourself with like-minded people where you feel comfortable being you, and also inspire you to elevate to your highest and best version of yourself.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others; we are all unique with individual strengths and weaknesses.
Self-Love Leads to Healthier Relationships
Self-Love is vital to attract and have healthy relationships. When we love ourselves, it becomes easier to allow others to love us and enjoy the feeling of being loved in return. When we are insecure and dislike ourselves, it’s difficult for us to know how to accept and appreciate another person’s positive feelings for us.
Working on our personal development and self-love makes it easier to be kind, patient, and respectful with others. When we are happy with ourselves and confident in who we are (flaws and all), it becomes easier to see the world for what it is – a place full of beautiful people worthy of our love and kindness.
When we love ourselves first, we can take care of our own needs without relying on others for happiness or fulfillment. We can meet our own emotional needs without someone else having to do it for us. And that makes us a better family member, who can actively contribute to the family and is always open to life loving experiences.
Self-love allows us to recognize that despite what some relationships might be like, no one person is responsible for making us feel a certain way or happy all the time. This allows us to be more honest with ourselves about unhealthy relationships. Self-love teaches us how to let go of someone and walk away from a person you loved when the relationship is unhealthy and no longer serving us.
Falling in love with yourself means committing to honoring your needs and desires to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Doing so creates more happiness and expanded capacity to love and support others.
Remember to be gentle with yourself. Loving yourself is a lifelong process. It’s a continuous journey marked by shifts and changes along the way. The more you practice self-love, the more natural it will become. Standing in the power of self-love elevates you to the highest frequency to attract everything you want.
In his best-selling book Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, Kamal Ravikant provides great insights on this topic and how loving himself saved him and his career.
About the author: Remy Meraz is the co-founder and CEO of Zella Life, a coaching platform bridging the diversity gap to help professionals of color to grow and thrive.