The term “self-love” is often used to justify buying or doing unnecessary or extravagant little things for ourselves. The different definitions from various sources make true self-love tricky to identify and challenging to practice.
With that said, it’s important to note that there isn’t just one “right” way to define or demonstrate self-love. It has different meanings and expressions for people, depending on their personal values and requirements.
Though self love you can easily be dismissed as just another social media trend, true self-love is important. The human experience is punctuated with trials and tribulations. Self-love is absolutely necessary to successfully navigate those low and difficult moments.
If you need help figuring out what it means to love yourself, these eight tips will help you get started on this unique and empowering journey:
- Live more intentionally.
This may be the most important advice you can hear, especially if you’re in your 20s. To live intentionally means to live with a purpose. Daily actions and habits may seem insignificant, but they add up and shape our lives. If your day-to-day life is constructive, the collective impact is substantial. Build your life around things that satisfy you, and you’ll soon discover that you’re loving yourself more completely.
- Care for yourself.
Self-care is essential when it comes to loving yourself. Thinking through what’s best for you will help you take care of your fundamental needs more effectively. Exercise, a healthy diet, and effective communication with their loved ones are three simple examples of this type of self-care. To add these types of activities to your daily routine, simply go for a walk or a jog, pack your lunch, and check in frequently with your family and friends.
- Track your progress.
Everyone wants to see our loved ones grow and mature. As somebody working on loving yourself, you should want this for yourself, too. It helps to get excited about your progress. To track it, take an introspective approach and ponder questions like these:
- What kind of person do I want to be in the future?
- What can I do to meet my goals?
- What steps should I take to grow and mature?
- What do I want to have in the future?
Record your answers in a journal, then use it as a guide as you go about your daily tasks. This investment will revitalize your self-esteem and boost your self-confidence.
- Have fun on your own.
Doing fun things by yourself proves that you can enjoy your own company. This builds confidence in your ability to do things on your own. To start, try going to a movie or out to dinner by yourself, or find something new to try. You may even want to try solo traveling. This may sound way outside of your comfort zone, but traveling on your own breaks you out of your routine and can be a great experience in self-love. You’ll learn new things about yourself and other people and cultures.
- Forgive yourself.
We’re only human, so we’re prone to make bad decisions. While we need to take responsibility for our actions, we must also be able to forgive ourselves. Mistakes come naturally to us, so it’s easy to be too harsh with ourselves. Mistakes don’t mean that you’ve failed. They just mean that you get to try again.
- Tune into yourself.
Our thoughts are the most powerful tools we have in our arsenals to ground ourselves and keep us at peace. This type of mindfulness will help you unwind and understand your emotions, desires, and thoughts. Set time aside each day to process your thoughts and feelings. If you feel stuck, use questions like these as prompts:
- How do I feel about the challenges I faced today?
- What made me grateful or happy today?
- If I could change one thing about my day, what would it be?
Answering these questions will help you see what makes you tick, and understand what makes you feel good about yourself. If you don’t have enough time to journal, try a quick guided meditation exercise. There many apps available that can help you get started. Even just ten minutes of meditation in the morning can help you tune in.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
It’s far too easy in today’s culture to compare ourselves to other people. All you have to do is look at your phone and there are your friend’s fabulous vacation photos. You want to be happy for her, but you instantly feel self-pity. Everybody else looks like they’re living their best lives, and there you are slumped on your couch in your pajamas watching fictional loves and lives unfold as you munch on a bag of stale chips. Does this sound sad? It is.
Comparing ourselves to others opens us up to self-deprecating and self-condemning thoughts. These are the very things we’re trying to remove from our lives. To stop this cycle of comparison, focus on yourself. You’re not on other people’s schedules.
- Set boundaries.
Self-love involves choosing what’s best for you. So, setting boundaries is an integral component of self-love. There are things you must say “no” to, and that’s just fine. Part of the process of setting boundaries is understanding which of your relationships and activities are healthy. If you’re ever in a relationship or situation that harms you, it’s okay for you to say so and leave.
People without boundaries are easy to abuse, both physically and emotionally. Showing people that you have limits teaches them how you want to be treated. This is true of all relationships, whether with lovers, friends, colleagues, or family. If somebody violates your boundaries, let them go. You don’t have to compromise your if you’re not comfortable.
Loving yourself is the most helpful habit you’ll ever build into your life. Letting go of old habits that don’t serve you will undoubtedly be difficult. You may have to release relationships that make your life more difficult. But through the process, you will learn how to be a better person who’s genuinely happy. Most importantly, you’ll also learn how to love other people, too. If you don’t love yourself, how can you love someone else?