It´s incredibly easy to get lost when we are focused to reach our goals, working hard and having this unbreakable "ill give what it takes" mindset. As important as it is to not to give up, stay focused and be highly functional, there is one thing that holds it all together. And it is self-love and care. We are the only people who can take truly care for ourselves. There are often people around us, who support us and make us feel taken care of, but when we burn down, there is nobody else who can either build us up or even help us to avoid that in the first place.
Having a good relationship with yourself, where you nourish and take care of you, is a core strength what makes it easier to face whatever challenges life gonna bring you. Wise men have said without a reason, that "everything starts with you". Having a deeply loving relationship firstly with you is fundamental.
So what is the self-love, what people toss around easily into everyday conversations? Self-love is a regard for one's own well-being and happiness. It is not always being happy and positive- in fact, it is even opposite. It is just being truly comfortable of whatever is going on in your life, learning from challenges and being able to admit when things are complicated or unwell.
Deborah Khoshaba, Psy.D. has written down seven steps in an article for Psychology Today for an easier understanding of self-love. What is it, how to practice it and what beneficial aspects it has for us.
People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.
ACT ON WHAT YOU NEED RATHER ON WHAT YOU WANT
You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centred, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behaviour patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
PRACTICE GOOD SELF-CARE
You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
You'll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of "friends" who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn't enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, "I genuinely love myself and life." You will love and respect yourself more.
We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect) before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn't have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.
So whenever you are looking at the mirror next time- smile to yourself, say something nice. Have a nourishing, motivational and proud pep-talk to yourself. Know that you are always enough, even if you know you haven't reached your full potential yet or don't have what you desire. At this very moment right now- you are enough!