What does it mean to Love Yourself ?
When I talk to people about my work, that I help others transform their lives through self-love, the most common reaction I get is, “Self-love is a nice idea, but what does it mean exactly?”
It’s interesting, isn’t it?
When we think about our family and friends, there’s no question in our minds what love means or how to express it. But when it comes to loving ourselves, suddenly that clarity disappears and confusion or even judgment sets in.
I totally get it.
Self-love can be a nebulous concept. Some may even consider it a little impractical or naively idealistic. At best it’s an aspirational goal for later when/if you have the time and the energy, and it isn’t readily apparent what practical problems self-love can solve or how it can change our lives for the better in a fundamental and long-lasting way.
When I first came upon the idea of self-love, I thought it was pretty simple and straightforward, involving not much more than better self-care and the idea of “fill your own cup before others.” But since then, I’ve come to realize that self-love is so much more than that (although self-care is certainly an important and crucial aspect).
I’ve come to realize that self-love is the foundation and the most direct path to a happy, fulfilling, and deeply satisfying life. It has a profound impact on every aspect of our lives – our careers, our relationships, our health, to name just a few – and plays a pivotal role in how we experience, relate, and interact with the world we live in.
In order to have a meaningful conversation about something that feels a bit nebulous, the best way is to define it, because a clear definition gives us a starting point and the language to exchange thoughts and discuss meaning and test ideas.
It allows us to unpack self-love down to its core components and assess what impact each has on the various areas of our lives. Where are we doing well? Where can we benefit from adding a little more self-love? In what way?
Here are twelve self-love practices I’ve found to be essential to living a joyful and deeply fulfilling life.
The 12 Core Practices of Self-Love
You’re inherently worthy. You don’t need to prove your value or earn your right to be loved. Living a deeply fulfilling life is your birthright. Your self-worth is never on the line. Failures do not define who you are.
Have the awareness, clarity, and honesty about WHO you are and WHAT you want. Know your WHY. When you’re clear about what lights YOU up, you’re less likely to be concerned about meeting external definitions of success or fitting into a socially-accepted label.
Dare to live your truth, embrace your purpose, follow your joy, pursue your dream. Don’t shrink or hide. Allow yourself to expand into a full expression of your most authentic and radiant self. Give yourself the permission to SHINE.
Acknowledge and fulfill your needs. Follow your curiosity and desires. Pay attention to what naturally draws your attention. Set yourself up for success by respecting and working with your natural preferences, instead of against them. Know the difference between hard work and struggle.
Believe in yourself and your abilities. Trust that you know what is best for YOUR life. It doesn’t mean you don’t seek out guidance or advice, but that you mindfully experiment and incorporate only what feels right to YOU.
Seek to understand instead of condemn the parts of yourself which you don’t necessarily like. Be genuinely curious. Shift from denial and avoidance to acceptance and understanding. Be honest about who you are so you can expand and grow into the person you want to be.
HAVE COMPASSION For Yourself
You’re not superhuman. Don’t be dictated by the often impossible standards and expectations set by society. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Remember you’re always doing the best you know how.
You’re not broken. You don’t need to fixed. Redefine failure as a measurement of your willingness to take risks. You’re never on the wrong path, because every step you’ve taken makes you who you are today. Have faith that with every step, you’re growing and expanding. You’re not a never-ending self-improvement project. You are Growth-In-Progress.
Acknowledge your efforts. Recognize your progress. Celebrate your successes big and small. Take stock of how far you’ve come before assessing how much further you have to go.
CARE For Yourself
Build a nurturing foundation of supportive habits. Get enough sleep. Take care of your body and mind.
Embrace a positive mindset. Speak to yourself with kindness. Be your own champion.
You’re the curator of this one precious life. Surround yourself with what brings you joy and fulfillment. Set loving boundaries, and protect your time, energy, and attention. Be present. Elevate and cherish every moment. Have fun. Play. Enjoy LIFE!
Why does self-love matter?
Here are just a few of the many ways your life will transform with a little self-love.
- You make changes faster, and with a lot more ease.
- You wake up with excitement instead of dread. You go to bed feeling satisfied and at peace.
- Your To-Do List is made up of items you actually enjoy. (I know, what a novel concept!)
- You become a lot more intuitive.
- You chuckle at most things your inner critic has to say to you (the same things that used to send you straight to self-blame).
- You stop spinning in confusion and overwhelm, and go through your life with a lot more clarity and confidence.
- You become surrounded by people who accept and love you for who you are, exactly the way you are.
- You find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between work and play.
- You genuinely feel proud of yourself.
- You have way more fun and laugh a whole lot more!
What comes to mind when YOU think about Self-Love?
I’d love to know! I’d also love to discuss any thoughts, questions or a-ha’s that came up as you read through the 12 core practices of self-love! Send me an email and let’s chat!