Do you cringe when you hear the word self-love? Does it make you uncomfortable and want to throw up? I know you probably think it is another lame article on how you love yourself. I promise I will try to give you some tips that might change your mind. But before we go down the rabbit hole of why it is vital to loving yourself, I want to ask you a few questions.
How do you treat yourself?
How do you speak to yourself?
What do you think about yourself?
These are valid questions because they tell you much about your relationship with yourself. For example, someone who does not love themselves will mistreat themselves by speaking unkindly. I know this all too well. For years I was saying negative things to myself, every mistake I made, I called myself "Stupid." It was a narrative that carried on from my childhood, it was what my mother called me whenever I made a mistake, and I internalized that and for so long believed it.
Only in the last ten years, and accelerated during the seven years I've been a parent, did my relationship with myself get better, and I was more kind towards myself. Each time I noticed that negative, mean voice, I quickly nipped it in the bud and reframed my thoughts. I started using sentences like, "You are doing your best!", "You are not a failure.", "You are good enough". I also started doing affirmations meditation in the mornings, and my nightly meditation has helped a lot, as well as a single NLP session with my coach to remove all limiting beliefs I had taken on since I was young. All that, plus surrounding myself with positive people, made a massive difference in how I viewed myself.
So now I'll explain why the best relationship to have is the one with yourself. Self-love is a critical component of leading a fulfilling life, and it is the foundation of all healthy relationships, including romantic partnerships. When we prioritize our own happiness and well-being, we are better equipped to give and receive love from others. The phrase "you can't love others until you love yourself" holds a lot of truth. A lack of self-love often results in codependency and unhealthy patterns in our relationships with others. This is something that I can relate to. I had my fair share of unhealthy relationships with men and friends that would use me and my money. I had no boundaries. I was even called "A doormat" by one of my exes.
When we have a strong sense of self-worth, we can set boundaries, communicate effectively, and attract positive and healthy relationships into our lives. Self-love is not just about feeling good about yourself. It is about taking care of yourself and ensuring that your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs are met. It is about treating yourself with kindness, compassion, and respect, even when you make mistakes or fall short of your expectations. It is about recognizing and embracing your worth and not relying on external validation from others to feel good about yourself.
It is not a one-time achievement. It is a daily practice that requires effort and patience. Unfortunately, many of us were not taught to love ourselves in a healthy and positive way. Our childhood, upbringing, past experiences, and societal norms can all contribute to negative self-talk and a lack of self-worth. However, it is possible to develop a strong sense of self-love and acceptance with effort and practice.
Here are three ways to cultivate a loving relationship with yourself:
1. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is any activity you engage in to prioritize your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. It can be anything from taking a relaxing bath to going for a walk in nature to simply taking a moment to breathe and be still. Regular self-care practices will help you feel more connected to yourself and, thus, more capable of loving yourself.
2. Challenge Negative Self-Talk
We all have an inner critic, but we don't have to listen. Negative self-talk can harm our self-esteem and well-being, so it's imperative to challenge it. When you think negative thoughts, try to reframe them in a more positive light. For example, remind yourself of your strengths and accomplishments instead of telling yourself that you're not good enough. Practising positive self-talk will help you develop a more loving and accepting relationship with yourself. I like using Byron Katie's Four Questions to investigate whether any thought is true.
The four questions are:
Question 1: Is it true?
This question can change your life. Be still and ask yourself if the thought you wrote down is true.
Question 2: Can you absolutely know it's true?
It is another opportunity to open your mind and to go deeper into the unknown, to find the answers that live beneath what we think we know.
Question 3: How do you react—what happens—when you believe that thought? With this question, you begin to notice internal cause and effect. You can see that when you consider the thought, there is a disturbance ranging from mild discomfort to fear or panic. What do you feel? How do you treat the situation you have written about? How do you treat yourself? When do you believe that thought? Again, make a list, and be specific.
Question 4: Who would you be without the thought?
Imagine yourself in that person's presence (or in that situation) without believing the thought. How would your life be different if you couldn't even think about the stressful thought? How would you feel? Which do you prefer—life with or without the thought? Which feels kinder, more peaceful?
Turn the thought around:
The "turnaround" allows you to experience the opposite of what you believe. Once you have found one or more turnarounds to your original statement, you are invited to find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.
"I am not a good enough mother"- Ask in what way you are not good enough.
"I'm just not doing enough"- How can you know it is absolutely true? How do you feel when you have that thought?
"When I believe that thought, I feel like a failure. I'm just not doing enough like Karen" Is it true? Are you positively sure you need to do more as Karen? How do you know?
"I don't know." The truth is we don't know, and we assume others are doing more than us and are better than us.
Now turn it around, "Because I don't know if Karen is doing more, I cannot assume that I'm not doing enough, that I'm a failure. I would be less stressed and anxious if I didn't believe that thought."
See how powerful the four questions are. Try it and leave a comment below.
3. Surround Yourself with Positive and Supportive People
The people we surround ourselves with can significantly impact our self-esteem and overall well-being. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself. Seek authentic relationships with kind, supportive, and encouraging individuals. On the other hand, avoid spending time with those who bring you down or make you feel bad about yourself. Your social circle may impact your self-image, so make sure the people in your life contribute to your happiness and well-being. Remember quality over quantity.
In conclusion, self-love is essential to a happy and fulfilling life. When we love and accept ourselves, we can bring that self-confidence and positivity into our interactions with others. The best relationship is the one with yourself, and by prioritizing self-love, you'll be on your way to creating a life filled with joy, peace, and fulfilment. Start by incorporating self-care practices into your daily routine, challenging negative self-talk, and surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people. With time and effort, you will develop a loving and fulfilling relationship with yourself that will positively impact all other aspects of your life.
Book an NLP session here, remove your limiting beliefs, and start thriving today.