“Authentic Self-Love is less a “feeling” and more a way of life that is evidenced in your behavior, choices, and boundaries.” ~Terri Cole
Do you sometimes feel that by being more loving to yourself indicates that you must become selfish, self-centered or narcissistic? As a licensed psychotherapist I find this to be a very common misconception in my practice – and today we’re going to sort that out!
Over the next few weeks we’re going to be talking a lot of about self-love, self-esteem, relationships and how to make them work (whether you are single or already in one!) But what it really comes down to is you building a good relationship with yourself. How you feel about yourself sets the bar, for all of your other relationships, romantic or otherwise.
So what does self-love really mean? To me, authentic self-love means a few things – regarding yourself in the same positive way that you do other people you love; holding yourself in high esteem; treating yourself with respect; speaking kindly about yourself and to yourself.
That last one is really key – think about how you talk to and about yourself. Do you put yourself down frequently? Do you put other people’s feelings above your own to avoid conflict?
I have identified 5 Simple Steps to REAL Self-Love to cover today. Now, I don’t necessarily think they’re always EASY, but they’re not complicated if you harness the power of your intention. ;o) To help you manifest these in your daily life, we have also created a cheat sheet for you to download – just click the button at the bottom of this post.
People who take the time to deeply know themselves tend to have more self-love.
For example, when you know your preferences, you can act on this knowledge rather than on what others want for you. Making decisions aligned with your truth is only possible when you take the time to understand yourself. Answer these questions to get started: What do I really want in life? How do I want to feel on a daily basis? How do I want to be treated?
Honoring what you truly want and how you authentically feel is a very loving thing to do for yourself…and only you can do it.
2. Show Self-Compassion
The key to self-love is being kind to yourself – and not having that inner “mean girl” dialogue going all the time. Give yourself a break! We sometimes forget to give ourselves some time and space when we need it, and not to work ourselves into the ground. In the same way that we would want someone we love to take care of themselves – we need to take care of ourselves too. Having high standards is not the same as just ‘muscling on through’ no matter what when we actually need to stop and take care of ourselves. Guess what – you are allowed to take the time to get better, rest and “fill up your own bucket”! Treat yourself the way you would treat people that you deeply care about.
3. Practice Self-Forgiveness
Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Constantly reminding yourself or reliving your mistakes is not only unhelpful to you – it’s downright mean! Learn from your mistakes – find the gems in the crap like we did in last week’s burn ritual – and forgive yourself. Perfectionism can be a very dangerous thing when it comes to self-love. It’s such a trap for misery – because there is no perfection. Life doesn’t work like that – we are all just flawed human beings doing our best and hopefully learning from our mistakes. Perfectionism sucks the joy out of life – and beating yourself up when you’re not perfect doesn’t help anyone.
4. Crush Your Racket
What is your racket? The limiting story – or self-sabotaging racket – you tell yourself. When you talk about yourself do you reinforce all of the things you see as limitations? Or do you talk about your achievements and what’s RIGHT in your life and with yourself? These limiting beliefs really can get in the way of you creating self-love because you are constantly talking yourself down. If someone else kept putting you down, would you feel loved? It’s no different when you’re talking to yourself. It’s also worth thinking about whether you put yourself down when you’re in a new situation or with new people so that they don’t feel threatened by you. This is self-sabotaging behavior. We are not talking about egotism here, we are talking about speaking to our own strengths and achievements, and also being able to graciously accept compliments and acknowledgments with gratitude.
5. Become a Boundary Ninja
When you set limits, and say ‘No’ to things that deplete or harm you – physically, emotionally, or spiritually – this is a way of practicing and creating more self-love. Without proper boundaries and being willing to say ‘No’ you are essentially not protecting yourself. If you think about a child or loved one – would you draw boundaries or try to stop them if you saw they were going to do something harmful to themselves? Of course, you would – so do it for yourself. Really think about where you say ‘Yes’ when you want to say ‘No’. How can you start saying ‘No’ with ease and grace? Maybe it’s time to make some changes – especially when you feel you have over-committed and it’s all too much. Done with kindness and grace, and asking for the help you need, these boundaries become a solid foundation for real self-love.
I hope you enjoyed this video. Remember, small steps each day eventually amount to massive transformation. Please share your successes with us so we can all witness and support each other.
As always, take care of you.