What is Self Love anyway, and what exactly does it mean? Self Love means, loving and caring for yourself like you do someone you love. It means holding space for yourself from a place of love, compassion, empathy, and non-judgment. It's also doing healthy things for yourself that foster and nourish your mind, body, soul, and spirit.
Love for self is so important, yet many of us don't give to ourselves the way we give to others. Why is that? Why do we not feel deserving or worthy of our own love? Well, it can be for many reasons, maybe we weren't loved the way we needed to be as a child and so we carried this unconscious belief that we aren't worthy of good, healthy, and healing love. Maybe it's because we give to others so much of our lives, that we just don't know how to receive the very thing we give. Whatever the reason, it can be changed, and you can learn to love yourself more by engaging in some of the suggestions I have shared below.
First thing I want you to know is that you are, without a doubt, worthy of the greatest love of all and it's up to you to give yourself what you innately need and desire. When you love and accept yourself for all that you are, you build a strong sense of confidence that is unwavering and unstoppable. It's beyond powerful. Believe me, I've been there, I've done the work, and now here I am sharing with you. I'm also still a work in progress, as we all are, but for me, it's not about perfection, it's about learning and growing as we go, and doing the very best we can from where we are.
So, how do we cultivate Self Love? Here are Six helpful steps.
Be conscious of what you consume
Nurturing and caring for yourself will not only grow your love for self, but it will also enhance your self-esteem, confidence, and energy. Begin by being super conscious and mindful about what you consume, and not just in regards to food/beverages, but what you consume and allow in your life in terms of friendships and relationships, your "newsfeed," your social life, and every other important area that means something to you. Be in control of what you expose yourself to and set healthy boundaries whenever, and wherever you feel necessary. Making healthy, intentional, and conscious choices will empower you as you learn to understand your own worth, and the value you have to offer the world. Remember, this is your life and you get to choose how you want to live it.
"I honour and cherish what my mind, body, and soul ask of me and I choose to consume things that bring me wellness, health, and happiness."
Get in touch with your spiritual side
Many of us tend to lose connection with self over the years. We get sidetracked with life and slowly conform to what society expects of us. This often leaves us feeling stressed, anxious, and even depressed. The importance of having a connection to your spiritual side, whatever that means to you, is crucial because our spiritual and soulful side is, at the very core, who we really are. Try different things that can help you reconnect within such as listening to Mediations, here is one I created for Self Love & Inner Healing, journaling your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and experiences, taking walks alone in beautiful nature, or maybe it's listening to inspirational content or reading spiritual books that help guide you back home to the heart and soul. When you explore your spirituality, it will take you on a journey of discovering things about yourself that you may have temporarily forgotten. It will also help you appreciate yourself more and empower you to express all parts of who you are.
"Being myself involves no risks. It’s my ultimate truth, and I live fearlessly."
Connect with community
I'll be honest with you, in my mind, community is everything. Think about how it was back in the day when there were tribes of people working together as a team. They hunted together, cooked together, helped each other build homes, and they cared for each other like their own family. When it comes to self love and community, I believe it's important that we connect with like-minded people who lift us up and encourage and inspire us to be our best self. Connecting with community will make you feel like a part of something important and truth be told, we all just want to belong, and to be loved and accepted for exactly who we are. Seek out different workshops in your area that host meet ups which are aligned with your interests, or perhaps there is someone you see as like-minded and you would like to ask them out for coffee or tea. Whatever it may be, take the first step and seek out opportunities and experiences that will help you grow and evolve while on your beautiful journey to self love and acceptance.
"I welcome people, things, events, and experiences that help me heal and grow."
Engage in something you love
Engaging in anything you love is an instant self-esteem and confidence booster. It allows you to express your creativity from a place of authenticity, love, and joy. Self-esteem and self-love often go hand in hand, and indulging in a hobby you're good at will also boost your endorphins and bring out the best and most beautiful version of you. Think of some hobbies and activities that bring you true pleasure and joy and engage in them as often as you can. Connect to your inner child and embrace all that sets your heart and soul on fire. The act of play, will bring about a feeling of lightness in your spirit and increase your love for self.
"The love within me flows through me in every situation."
Give yourself permission to forgive and let go
We're constantly holding on to so many things from our past, things that hurt us and caused us pain, grief, and trauma. Holding on to these "old emotions" and experiences can actually create a feeling of heaviness in our energy body. In turn, it can cause us to have low-self esteem, self doubt, and it can even result in physical ailments and dis-ease. Although we may do this as a way to protect ourselves from being hurt again, it's really only holding us back from moving forward and loving and accepting ourselves for who we are. When we give ourselves permission to forgive and "let go," we release the heaviness in our heart that we have been carrying with us. It's not saying what someone did to you was okay, it's saying, I choose to love myself enough not to allow the actions of another to take up anymore time, space, and energy in my mind, body, and soul. It's also important to first acknowledge and feel the feelings so that you can let them go. As a part of my coaching program, I ask my clients to write letters of forgiveness to themselves, and to others. After the letters are written they are asked to either cut them up, or burn them, (in a safe place of course). This process allows you to release the pain and trauma through the act of writing as it creates an "energetic release" which is really quite powerful and profound. Set your soul free through forgiveness.
"Forgiveness will heal my heart and release all pain and sadness."
Make a list of ALL the things you LOVE about yourself
I bet if I were to ask you to list five things you don't like about yourself, it might be an easy task, but if I were to ask what you do love about yourself, how hard would that be? Funny how that works. So, this is what I'm encouraging you to do, I want you to make a list of every single thing you like/love about yourself, write it all out. Creating this list will help you recognize your wonderful qualities and characteristics as well as your own unique gifts, talents, and awesome abilities. This isn't about being vain, or feeding your ego, it's seeing yourself for the beautiful soul you truly are and embracing what makes you, you. Make your list today and place it where you can see it every day as this will help you see your own value, build your self confidence and enhance your self esteem.
"I am authentic and confident in expressing who I am."
I hope these suggestions will help you on your journey of self love and acceptance. Share with me below what you do to take care of your mind, body, soul, and spirit.
Article written by Vanessa Marie Dewsbury
"I help guide and support women on their Healing and Spiritual Journey in Life and Business."