How To Learn To Love Yourself

reading time: 5 min

As we all know, Christmas is a time of love. Today I want to talk about a special sort of love, and that is self love. Because if you ask me, every other movie and book is about love, but not enough people talk about self love – and what this really means.

Which is why this blog post is specifically about how to learn self love.

In today's society we're constantly surrounded by photos of other people, photos of ourselves, "fitspiration" posts as well as "thinspiration" posts, and it's no wonder that this triggers our critical self-consciousness. How do you learn to accept and even love yourself when the media surrounding you constantly suggests you aren't good enough the way you are?

I've always had issues with my body, which even drove me into an eating disorder during my late teenage years, and even today I find myself comparing myself to others (mainly on social media) and feeling bad about myself as a consequence. If you feel the same way, here are a few techniques to stop being hard on yourself and start loving yourself. 

1. Take yourself seriously

To start things off, it's important to take a look at your issues. Don't just ignore, suppress, or reject your struggles to be at peace with yourself. Instead, try to think of your insecurities, self doubts, fears, and inferiority feelings as crying children - they want and need to be looked after! It's okay to feel miserable, ugly, lonely, unworthy, or unloveable. Don't feel bad for feeling bad. Allow yourself to be where you are right now.

2. Practice compassion

You might have heard this advice before: Be your own best friend. This means in any situation where you find yourself judging your actions or being disappointed by yourself, ask yourself how you would treat your best friend in this situation. How do you think about or talk to yourself? Is it kind? Ask yourself would you talk to a friend that way? Would you do them down for failing, or would you try to encourage them and cheer them up? Be compassionate with yourself. Don't punish yourself for flaws or failures. Instead, try to find uplifting and positive words to tell yourself.

3. Get to know yourself 

Before you can love and accept yourself you need to know yourself. Sounds weird, right? But give it a try. You can start this exercise by making a list of everything you love about yourself. Then make another list of everything you don't like about yourself. Recognize that these qualities are all part of your personality. 

Enjoy your own company. Many people don't like being by themselves, but it's so important. Spend time on your own, and figure out what it is you enjoy doing and spending your time and energy on. You are the only constant companion you will ever have, always and forever, so make sure to get along with yourself :)

Getting to know yourself also includes getting to know your body. Sure, you generally know what you look like, but take some time to examine yourself naked in the mirror. Does it feel uncomfortable? Does the image of your naked self make you cringe? Does your self criticism kick in again? Just observe. Of course, "self love" can also be taken quite literally - knowing your own sexual preferences and being in touch with your sexual energy is another fundamental part of knowing and celebrating who you are.

4. Use reminders

Since this whole "be your own best friend" and practice self love thing is quite challenging at first, create some sort of rituals to help you to take care of yourself. My favourite ways to remind myself of doing more self loving actions are:
  • Positive affirmations
  • Gratitude journal
  • Inspirational podcasts or audiobooks (e. g. The Minimalists Podcast, Color Full Lives, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Power by Rhonda Byrne, The Magic by Rhonda Byrne) 
  • Empowering books (e. g. milk and honey by rupi kaur, Loving What Is by Byron Katie, Radical Self Love by Gala Darling, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz, How to Have Your Better Life by Bob Brown which you can download for free over here)
  • Self care routine

Over the past few weeks, I've gotten into the habit of writing down three things that I'm grateful for that day. I've dedicated an entire note book to this, and I do it every night. You can be as vague as "my health" or as specific as "that I didn't get upset and angry when I was running late this morning and spilled tea all over my pants". Thinking back on your day and finding gratitude in those everyday situations is a great way to practice love towards your life and yourself.

Another super easy way to practice self love on a daily basis is by creating a self care routine. I've already written a whole blog post on self care activities, but taking time to look after your body and mind can be as easy as giving yourself a facial massage, making yourself an antioxidant rich and delicious smoothie, moving slowly, taking a break and breathing intentionally for a few breath cycles, walking in fresh air, using your favourite hair mask, getting up a little earlier to cook yourself a nourishing warm breakfast, or investing in an essential oil diffuser. What ever makes you feel in touch with yourself.

Alright, I'll stop with the calendar sayings now. Wishing you all a very merry and loving Christmas!

What about you? Do you love yourself for who you are?