The self love journey is about learning to love yourself unconditionally, flaws and all. It is about living a life of joy, contentment, and authenticity. As you embark on your own self love journey, we will go through 15 easy-to-follow tips that you can start implementing today.
It is important to mention that the self love journey may not come easily, or naturally to everyone. However, it is an important journey to get on… and stay on.
What is self love?
Self love is about loving, appreciating, and being kind to yourself—as you would to someone you love and care for. It is about prioritizing yourself—so many of us prioritize the needs of others above our own. Self love is not about being selfish—rather, it’s about including yourself and your needs in your priorities.
In essence, self-love comes from deep within. It is about creating a life that is authentic to YOU! It’s about identifying your values and the things that are important to you.
Self-love is also about breaking free from negative beliefs and self-destructive patterns. For example, you cannot practice self love if you’re constantly making self-deprecating jokes about your thunder thighs. You cannot truly love yourself if you hate parts of yourself. Yes, there may be parts that you want to change about yourself, but you can still love yourself while working on yourself. We are all a work in progress!
How to start a self love journey
Your self love journey must include deliberate practice. This is not necessarily something that will simply happen by itself. However, your willingness and commitment to practice are the fuel that will get you to self love glory.
Self love may not come easy to everyone, since we naturally tend to be more critical of ourselves. That’s okay. Over time, and with practice, it will get better.
Also, it is important to note that the self-love journey is unique to everyone—there is no right way or wrong way to practice self-love. If you feel unsure about the path you’re on, simply ask yourself—am I being kind to myself, am I looking after myself, am I a priority in my own life? If you can answer yes to these questions, you are basically on a self love journey.
But that’s not necessarily enough. Below are 15 simple, easy-to-follow tips that will help you explore your journey on a deeper level.
1. Forgive yourself for past mistakes
You’ve messed up. We all have. You are not the first. But self love cannot occur if you are criticizing and chastising yourself for past mistakes.
Torturing ourselves for past mistakes is dumb. Number 1, we can’t change the past. Number 2, we have a finite amount of energy, and wasting any amount of energy on something we can’t change is a spectacular waste.
If you have a problem with memories (of mistakes) that haunt you, I have found a technique that I believe is very simple but effective. I imagine that I’m placing the memory onto a cloud, and I watch the cloud float away. That’s it, but do not underestimate the simplicity of this technique. If the memory comes back, I place it back onto the cloud and watch it float away again.
2. Change your mindset about failure
We are human; we are going to keep making mistakes, and we are going to fail. This is how we learn. The problem is that we can be so hard on ourselves when mistakes and failures inevitably happen. It is therefore a great idea to change the way we look at mistakes. Failure is essential for us to move forward, otherwise, we will remain stuck.
A long time ago, I was talking to a colleague who had just gotten divorced. The divorce was not amicable, so I remember saying something like: “you probably regret marrying him.” She said: “No, I don’t have regrets about the marriage. I made the best decision based on the information and the feelings I had at that time.” That sentiment has stayed with me for years and I hope it connects with you too. The point is to not badger yourself about things that go wrong days, or even years after you made a seemingly wise decision based on the information you had at the time.
Does this mean we need to feel good about failure? No! It sucks, but it’s a lesson that we won’t need to relearn.
3. Stop negative self talk, and speak kindly to yourself
Whatever we focus on expands, so do not focus on your negative traits.
Even if you are not entirely in love with yourself, you can start somewhere. There are things you can like about yourself, like maybe your nails are always nice, your skin is flawless, your home is always neat, you make the best lasagna or cupcakes, you’re dependable, you’re an amazing dog mama, you can read a book in a day, you have the best memory, etc. Start recognizing and appreciating yourself for what is great about you. With persistence and over time, you’re going to be adding more and more traits that you love about yourself.
If positive self talk is new to you, this will feel weird in the beginning, but keep at it. It will eventually become second nature.
It has taken me a few years but positive self-talk is now second nature to me. I use it daily, but particularly if I’m in awkward situations, like when I went for an MRI, or when I was in a lot of pain after a knee injury. Instead of focusing on the pain, I reminded myself about how strong I am, and how I can get through this because I’ve been through worse.
4. Accept yourself
Accept yourself for who you are, no matter what. For example, you can’t say “I’ll love myself when I lose some weight.” Love yourself as you are today because when you love yourself unconditionally, you make different choices about how you take care of your body.
5. Spend quality time alone
Learn to enjoy your own company. Wayne Dyer said that you can’t be lonely if you love the person you are alone with. You can use this time to prioritize yourself. Being alone doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy the company of others. It just means you are comfortable alone.
6. Do things that you love
If you are a people pleaser, you may spend a lot of your time doing things other people love. Use some of your time and do things you love. In other words, make yourself a priority for a change. This doesn’t mean you are being selfish—you’re just making time for yourself.
Being busy is not an excuse for not making time for yourself… you’re making time for everything and everyone else!
My husband and I have vastly different tastes in music. He doesn’t really get my music, so when he goes out of town, I pour myself a glass of wine, I put my music on the highest volume, and I sing out loud, entirely off-tune. Do something like this for yourself, as often as you can.
7. Learn to value yourself
You are valuable. You have a lot to offer. Know that, believe that! How can others value and respect you if you don’t feel that way about yourself?
8. Rewire your brain with positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are an excellent way to rewire your thinking. Odds are you will not believe them when you first say them, but persist anyway. Over time, you will start believing in yourself when you say things like:
- I am beautiful inside and out;
- I am enough;
- I attract miracles;
- I’m a money magnet;
- I am worthy of whatever I desire.
Affirmations only work if you say them consistently. Read more about how to use affirmations effectively.
9. Ditch the self-deprecating humor
As mentioned above, affirmations are effective when you say them consistently because, over time, you start to believe them. The same applies to self-deprecating humor. You may think it is funny at the moment, but over time, you’re going to believe that nonsense.
Would you jokingly tell a child “you’re such a loser.” Unlikely, because you may be concerned that it could affect their self-esteem. In the same way, self-deprecating humor damages your own self-esteem.
10. Celebrate yourself
Celebrating yourself is an excellent way to express self love. Celebrate big and small accomplishments, just like you would for loved ones. Why not? You are worthy of it!
11. Stop comparing yourself to others
We are all different; we are on our own paths, so it makes no sense to compare ourselves to others. It is a waste of time and energy.
12. Get to know yourself
Self-knowledge is a wonderful, exhilarating journey that comes with many benefits. With self-knowledge comes insight and confidence. When you know yourself, you embrace your potential and your abilities, and making the right choices becomes easier for you.
Another benefit of knowing yourself is that you start to realize that you are incomparable to others. This is a great confidence boost, and it may stop you from comparing yourself to others.
Knowing yourself shapes how you interact with people. This can lead to deeper, more connected relationships.
Finally, knowing yourself allows you to be your authentic self.
13. Surround yourself with supportive people
You are not going to feel great about yourself if you are surrounding yourself with people who do not support you. For example, if you want to be a writer, but you’re surrounding yourself with people who think you’re wasting your time, you may not be motivated to pursue your dreams. Pursuing your goals is hard, but it’s even harder when you don’t have a supportive environment.
14. Surround yourself with people you aspire to be
The quote goes: “If you surround yourself with clowns, don’t be surprised if your life becomes a circus.”
Denzel Washington says it another way: “If you hang around 5 confident people, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 intelligent people, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 millionaires, you will be the 6th.”
Keep this idea with you as you choose the people you surround yourself with.
15. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
An attitude of gratitude can change your life. This is not an exaggeration. People who practice gratitude are generally happier. According to Harvard Health, “gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”