Most of us understand what it means to love another person. Feelings of intense desire, admiration, and emotional investment in another person are likely familiar. We do everything we can to nurture our love for others. But what about loving ourselves? This may be an alien concept to many. Self-love is a combination of self-acceptance, self-control (as opposed to self-obsession), self-awareness, kindness, and self-respect. Self-love is both conceptual, an idea that you are worthy of kindness and self-respect, and an action, because you treat yourself with care and compassion. Simply put, self-love is positive self-esteem in action.
Method 1 of 4: Perfecting Your Inner Voice
Step 1. Get over your negative beliefs about yourself
Many people have a hard time letting go of the negative thoughts they hold about themselves. Often these negative thoughts come from other people whose opinion we value and who we seek to receive love and acceptance from.
Step 2. Avoid perfectionism
Some people have a hard time accepting anything less than perfection in themselves. If you're chasing perfectionism and feel bad about yourself for not being perfect, follow three simple steps. Discontinue the current train of thought, then focus on the effort required to reach a goal, and apply that effort consistently.
Shifting your focus from the end product (which can be measured in terms of "perfect") to the effort behind a task (which is harder to quantify as "perfect") can help you appreciate the good work done
Step 3. Throw away the negativity filter
Thinking only about the negative sides of life is a bad habit. Too much focus on negative or less favorable life events can make them seem disproportionately important. If you're complaining that everything that happens is bad, try to find something small that proves otherwise, it's highly unlikely that everything is too bad.
Step 4. Never insult yourself
To insult yourself is to reduce yourself from a human being to a single element in yourself that you don't like.
- Saying, “I'm a failure” after being fired from a job is wrong and unfair to you. Instead, make a helpful comment: "I lost my job, but I can use this experience to find and keep a new job."
- Saying, "I'm such an idiot", is also a liar and degrading. If you feel silly, it is more likely that you are unaware of something specific. Instead, think, "I don't know how to do this basic repair at home. Maybe I can enroll in a course and learn how to do this in the future."
Step 5. Don't assume the worst will happen
It can be easy to fall into the assumption that the worst outcome will always happen in every situation. However, changing inner thoughts to be realistic or truthful can help you avoid the generalization or exaggeration that comes with assuming the worst.
Step 6. Rewrite the inner script
When you find yourself having negative thoughts about yourself, acknowledge that feeling, identify where it comes from, and then make a new conscious statement, rewriting the thought in a more positive way.
- For example, if you forgot to send an important work-related email, you might find yourself thinking, "I'm such an idiot! How could I have done this?"
- Stop and think, "I feel like an idiot now because I forgot to send the email. When I was a kid and I forgot to do things, my dad told me I was an idiot. Those are his words in my head, no mine". Then think to yourself, "I'm a competent employee who made a human error and I'll be sure to write a reminder in the future. For now, I'll send the email, along with an apology for the delay."
Method 2 of 4: Exercising Self Love
Step 1. List the positive attributes you have and reflect on them daily
This can be difficult for someone who always thinks badly of themselves, but try to find something positive about themselves to add to the list once a week. At the end of each day, reflect on the entire list.
- Make the list very specific. Instead of using general adjectives to describe yourself, try listing specific actions or attributes that describe who you are and what you do.
- For example, instead of simply saying, "I'm generous," you might write, "Every time I know a friend is struggling, I give him a little gift to show that I care. That makes me a person. generous".
- As you read and reflect on the list, remember that every item on it, however insignificant it may seem, is a reason why you are worthy of respect and love.
Step 2. Give yourself time
Don't feel guilty about spending time thinking and reflecting about yourself and life. It's important to give yourself the time and permission for self-love. You will likely find that by doing this you will be better able to spend quality time helping others.
Step 3. Celebrate and reward yourself
This is the fun part of self-love: rewarding yourself! If you've achieved a significant accomplishment, celebrate it with a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. Think of all the hard work you've done every day and find a reason to reward yourself with something nice. Buy that new game or book you've been wanting to buy for a while. Take a long shower or bubble bath. Travel alone to fish or get a massage.
Step 4. Develop a plan for dealing with setbacks or negativity
Notice what tends to distract you from your current path of self-love and decide how to handle these things. Keep in mind that you cannot control the words and actions of others, but you can control the responses and reactions you present.
- You may find that negative comments from a particular person, such as your mother or boss, send you into a spiral of negativity. If this happens consistently, try to identify why.
- Decide how you will handle negative thoughts. It may be necessary to take a break to meditate or breathe. Acknowledge these feelings and reframe the negative reaction with positive reminders of self-esteem.
Step 5. See a therapist
Exploring negative thoughts and identifying triggers for emotions can bring up difficult feelings or memories from the past.
- A therapist experienced in dealing with painful pasts can help you navigate through the recovery experience without having you relive painful experiences.
- A therapist's office can be a great place to learn to deal with negative thoughts productively and to become aware of positive qualities.
Step 6. Repeat positive affirmations daily
Find some positive thoughts that will help you feel better and repeat them daily. This may seem weird or corny at first, but habit will make the positive thoughts settle in your mind, causing you to start believing them, even if you didn't believe them at first.
- A good positive affirmation to promote self-love is, "I am a worthy and complete individual and I respect myself, love myself, and trust myself."
- If you feel that affirmations alone are not helping, try seeing a therapist and seeking treatment that includes other approaches.
Step 7. Do things that make you feel good
Think about feeling good physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Do whatever it takes to feel good in a variety of ways. You may need physical exercise, meditation, and a positivity journal. Find a nice routine and stick to it.
Step 8. Reflect on the effects of practicing self-love
When you spend time loving and rewarding yourself, you will likely see benefits in other areas of life. Notice if you have more energy or are able to be more present with others. You may begin to feel that you are more in charge of the choices you make and that you have more control over your life.
Method 3 of 4: Practicing Loving Kindness Meditation
Step 1. Understand the Meditation on Loving Kindness (Metta)
Metta is a form of meditation that increases the feeling of kindness to others and to oneself. It can provide you with the tools you need to become proficient in the art of self-love.
Step 2. Adopt Metta's principles
Loving Kindness Meditation involves love free from the imposition of conditions and expectations. It encourages you to love without judgment (yourself and others).
Judging ourselves or others often causes unhappiness in relationships or in the mind. Learning to love without judgment is learning to love selflessly
Step 3. Take a deep breath
Start by breathing slowly and deeply. Sit comfortably in a chair and allow your chest to completely fill with air, expanding your diaphragm. Then exhale slowly and completely.
Step 4. Support yourself with positive affirmations
As you continue to breathe deeply, begin repeating the following statements to yourself:
- I can fulfill my dreams and live in peace and happiness.
- I can love others with all my heart.
- I want protection from danger for myself and my family.
- I wish a healthy life for myself, my family and my friends.
- I can learn to forgive myself and others.
Step 5. Identify the negative responses you have to the positive statements
If you have negative thoughts while repeating these affirmations, think about who is causing them. Identify people for whom you have difficulty feeling unconditional love. Repeat the affirmations thinking about them.
Step 6. Think of someone you have positive feelings for
Repeat the affirmations, keeping that person in mind.
Step 7. Think of someone you have neutral feelings for
Repeat the affirmations, keeping that person in mind.
Step 8. Allow the positivity of the affirmations to fill you completely
Repeat the affirmations without thinking about anyone in particular, focusing on their positivity. Allow the feelings of positivity to fill you completely and send that positivity to the entire planet.
Step 9. Repeat a final love mantra
When you have directed the feeling of positivity everywhere, repeat the following mantra: "May all human beings feel and be joyful, happy, and healthy." Repeat this affirmation five times in a row as you feel the words resonate in your body and spread throughout the universe.
Method 4 of 4: Understanding Self Love
Step 1. Know the dangers of lack of self-esteem
Lack of self-love can lead you to make harmful choices. Often, lack of self-esteem is equivalent to a lack of self-esteem, which leads to conscious or unconscious self-sabotage and prevents individuals from defending their own basic needs.
- Lack of self-esteem can cause a harmful dependency on others' validation. Relying on the validation of others often leads people to put their own needs aside in order to gain the approval of others.
- Lack of self-esteem can also impede emotional healing and progress. One study showed that individuals who engage in guilt and ignore themselves had worse results in psychotherapy.
Step 2. Recognize the importance of childhood experiences for self-love
Relationships between parents and children have lasting effects on character development. Children who do not have their physical, emotional, and mental needs met can have long-lasting problems of low self-esteem.
- Often, negative messages received in childhood - particularly recurrent messages - stay in an individual's mind and affect the self-awareness they have throughout their lives.
- For example, a child who hears he is "bland" or "boring" will likely believe he is bland or boring when he is an adult, even if there is evidence to the contrary (such as having lots of friends, making people laugh, or living a style interesting life).
Step 3. Understand how parents can support self-esteem
Parents can use the following advice to improve their children's feelings of self-worth:
- Listen to your kids. This increases their self-esteem.
It can be easy to "disconnect" to a child who talks a lot, not listening to what she has to say. However, if you really listen to her and interact with her, asking her questions and reacting to what is said, the child will feel that you value what she has to say
- Teach the child non-aggressively (no yelling, hitting, or embarrassing) to stabilize feelings of self-esteem.
For example, if your child hits another child, you can pull him aside and calmly tell him that he shouldn't hit other children because it might hurt them. If necessary, you can ask him to take a short breather and collect himself before going back to playing
- Offer comfort, affection, support and respect to children, without judgment, so that they feel worthy of love and acceptance.
If your child says he's sad about something that seems silly to you (such as because the sun has set), don't look down on his feelings. Acknowledge them by saying, "I understand you're sad that the sun has set." Then do your best to explain why the situation can't be changed by saying something like, "The sun goes down every night because the The world is turning and people on the other side of the Earth need its light too. It also gives us the opportunity to rest and prepare for the day ahead.” Finally, offer a hug or other physical caress to comfort him and help him feel that you sympathize with him, even if you can't change the situation.
Step 4. Understand the effects of external comments on self-love
You will find a lot of negativity in life. Self-love cannot be practiced in a bubble, without the influence of outside comments and potential negativity. Therefore, you must learn to deal with the negativity of a partner, a boss, a parent, or even strangers on the street.
You can empower yourself to allow this negativity to overwhelm you and not be able to change your feelings of self-worth
- Remember you are worthy of love. Many people tend to feel insecure about themselves, when in reality we are all human beings! Always believe in yourself, be confident and optimistic.
- Once you learn to love yourself, you may want to help others do the same.