In a society that is fast-paced, competitive, and demanding, we tend to live our lives in urgency. We are told that we need to work harder, be better, do more, keep pushing and that anything less than perfect is not acceptable. This teaches us to set unattainable standards for ourselves, take on extra responsibilities, and work until our mind and body just give out.
The feelings of stress, anxiety and depression are catastrophic to our well-being. When we’re not feeling our best, intrusive thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough” or “I hate myself” become all-consuming and hinder our ability to live a fulfilling life. Continuing down this path simply leads to burnout and self-disappointment.
In order to take care of our mind, body and spirit we need to practice self-love. It’s so important to take a step back, slow down, and simply be kinder to ourselves. Self-love isn’t just a state of feeling good about ourselves, but rather is a state of self-appreciation. Self-love is something that grows from within through our actions, thus evolves alongside us and our maturity. Through self-love, we are able to centre our life’s purpose, feel compassion for ourselves, accept our weaknesses and find fulfillment in our efforts. Self-love is vital to living well.
Over the past little while, I have been practicing self-love through ten powerful actions that have really begun to transform my life. Although some days are better than others, it’s important to just keep at it.
- Be mindful. One of the most important things about self-love is being mindful of yourself. By understanding your feelings, thoughts, needs and wants, you able to truly serve yourself. Being mindful means paying attention to your inner self to recognize emotional distress and/or mental suffering in order to take positive actions to counter it. This awareness helps you to notice when and where negative shifts begin to occur and what triggers you.
- Listen to your inner voice. We all talk to ourselves, so become conscious of your inner voice and what it’s saying. Take the time to notice how you speak to yourself in both moments of triumph and failure. Are you understanding or critical? Supportive or insulting? We tend to be a lot harder on ourselves than others, so replace any negative language to be much more kind and soft. It is also important to have an open and positive attitude toward yourself because no one is perfect and we are always evolving.
- Practice self-care. Make sure you take time to nourish yourself with good food, exercise, hydration, proper sleep and healthy social interactions. Simple things such as dressing up, eating your favourite meal, or getting a solid eight hours of sleep do wonders for our mental health.
- Be your own life coach. Once you start believing in yourself, you will attract amazing things. By acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, hyping yourself up, and telling yourself that you’re going to be okay, will all help you to form a healthy relationship with yourself. You owe yourself the love and support you give others.
- Build a positive community. The people you surround yourself with play a tremendous role in your life. If people are negative or passive, it’s time you say “goodbye” and walk away. This life is way too short to be put down, feel drained, or have meaningless connections. This is definitely much easier said than done, however by having quality people in your life that champion you and make you feel seen and valued, you will feel so much happier.
- Accept your past. We are all concoctions of our past experiences so in order to love who you are you can’t hate the experiences that shaped you. Don’t fall into the trap of “what could have been” or self-pity. Learn to be grateful for what you have and appreciate what each experience has taught you. Life is not supposed to be fair so don’t get caught up in the past.
- Seek perspective. More often than not, we tend to get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to see the bigger picture. By taking a step back, we are able to organize our thoughts and recognize that our problems are not as big as they seem. Although perspective doesn’t solve any problems, it does helps us from feeling overwhelmed. Perspective allows us to see things clearly and feel grounded.
- Know your truth. When we let petty drama, gossip, or comparisons get to us, it weighs heavy on our self-esteem. These things are all so trivial compared to other things in your life, so learn to let it go. The only opinions that should really matter are yours and the people you value. There isn’t enough time of this precious life to be wasted on replying to every hate comment or worry about people that say things to hurt you. Always remember that your self worth is not determined by others. Don’t focus on people who don’t care for or be available for people that make you unhappy.
- Set boundaries. By setting your boundaries when it comes to work, school, and relationships, you will feel less emotionally, physically and spiritually drained. Have enough respect for yourself to say “no” when you’ve reached your limit even if you feel bad. You need to protect yourself.
- Do what you love. When you’re doing something you love, you can’t help but be happy. Participating in a hobby is more than just fun, it boosts your endorphins, raises your self-esteem and makes you feel good about life. So if you love cooking, cook! If you love to travel, take a trip! If you love photography, pick up your camera! Whatever you love doing, is what you should invest some of your time in. This is a great way to escape your anxieties, fill your heart with joy and refresh your mind.
Self-care requires dedication, however, when you begin to accept yourself for who you are, positivity and opportunities will come your way. Thus, it is so important to put yourself at the top of your to-do list because you are inherently valuable. I wish you all well on this journey of self-love!