Self-love is defined as “love of self” and “regard for one’s own well-being and happiness”.
If we Google the synonyms for the term “self-love” we will get the words like “egoistic”, “selfish”, “egomaniacal”, “egotistical”, “arrogance”, “immodesty”, “narcism”?(!)?
In my work with hundreds of women internationally as a life coach, I could see that women are struggling the most with love self-worth (impostor syndrome) and the lack of self-love (difficulty to set healthy boundaries in relationships and devote the time for self-care and their own goals, priorities, and needs.
Which results in burn out, living the life they are frustrated with, stress, even being taken advantage of by people).
It doesn’t surprise me that so many women are struggling with self-love when we are being taught that self-love and taking care of ourselves is selfish (a.k.a. synonym for the term self-love!?!).
Self-love is not selfish – it is self full-ness!
We can not pour from an empty cup. To take care of others we need to be healthy and taken care of first!
I have been a part many first aid trainings during my seven-year-long medical education and what I have learned was that the first and the most important thing and rule, while saving or helping another person, is to make sure that we are safe and well.
If we get hurt, killed, or drowned, then we cannot be of help to anybody – we end up being the person in need of other people’s help!
Same way, if we exhaust ourselves to sickness and bankruptcy and emotional break down how we can take care of anyone in our life?!
Symptoms of self-love deficit are:
- Being too critical of ourselves
- Being crippled by self-doubt
- Having a difficult time to set healthy boundaries in relationships
- Not devoting enough time, money, and energy to our own goals, needs, and self-care
- Treating our body in a self-destructive way (for example unhealthy diet, coffee or sugar addiction, emotional overeating, or overconsumption of toxic substances)
- Feeling unworthy of love
- Having a pattern of being in toxic relationships or being taken advantage of by people often
- Feeling the need to constantly “prove ourselves” in our workplace or to other people in our life…
If you recognise yourself in these examples, below are three practices that can help you to love yourself more:
We can very easily say that “of course we do love ourselves” but the daily actions of care that we do for ourselves on a daily basis are actually showing if it is true!
Imagine if your partner would tell you every day that he loves you, but he would not care about you and touch you at all or very rarely, devote time to you… would you believe him?
Contemplate for a moment how much time and money do you really invest in self care, self nourishment, and self development?
Having a routine shower to wash our body which feels like washing the dirty laundry is not a self-care ritual!
A self care ritual is a conscious act of caring for self and loving self.
It is the time that you devote to yourself, to relax, to nourish your body with healthy meals and good quality cosmetic products, having a ritual or bubble bath, taking time for yourself without distractions, doing the activities that bring YOU joy, and pampering yourself like you would pamper the most beloved person in your life – to show them how much they mean to you!
We can be understanding and compassionate for other people in our life, especially the ones we love the most, like our friends, family members, and partner.
If they made a mistake, failed, did something “wrong”… we will do everything in our power to make them feel better, console them, hug them and tell them it was not their fault and that they did the best they could.
We tell them that they should learn to forget the mistake and learn the lesson, they should not keep on beating themselves up… But when it comes to ourselves we can be the harshest critic in the world, thinking, saying, and beating ourselves up emotionally over and over again:
“How could I be so stupid, so wrong, so bad, so foolish, so unreasonable…!?
How could I make such a mistake?
How could I not know/ see / realise / be so naive…?!
It is important in those times that we practice self-compassion and console ourselves, justify ourselves, forgive ourselves for the mistake and failure… just like we would behave with the person that we love the most!
3. Affirmations and Self-Loving Thoughts
You cannot possibly love yourself if you’re constant criticising yourself, bashing yourself down, thinking negative thoughts about yourself, talking about yourself in a negative way.
For example: “I am so ugly/ foolish/ clumsy/ stupid…”.
If you think and talk negatively about yourself all the time, your self-confidence will suffer greatly and you will only feel more resentment about yourself – not love and appreciation!
Affirmations and self-loving thoughts work as daily reminders of our own value and regard for our well-being.
They also help us to replace self-limiting beliefs of unworthiness with empowering beliefs of worthiness.
You can write the self-love affirmations every morning or evening in your journal, chant them out loud, say them while looking at yourself in the mirror, recite them while in the bathtub or while practising any self-care ritual.
The more you repeat them, the better.
Below are a few powerful affirmations that you can help you to love and appreciate yourself more:
- I AM ENOUGH.
- I AM WORTHY.
- I LOVE MYSELF DEEPLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY.
- WHEN I TAKE GOOD CARE OF MYSELF, I CAN TAKE BETTER CARE OF OTHER PEOPLE.