Love. It’s a mind-bogglingly magical, unbelievably powerful and all enthralling force – but it’s also a basic human need as Maslow outlines in his famed Hierarchy of Needs. As humans, we spend most of our lives in perpetual pursuit of love in all its wondrous forms, but so often on this quest, we overlook the most important place to find it… within ourselves. That’s right; I’m talking about self-love! Delicious, soulful, self-love and it’s time to pour yourself a big glass!
Let’s start by clearing something up. Contrary to popular belief, self-love does not make you self-centred, narcissistic or conceited… in fact it’s pretty much the opposite. Self-love is about garnering a deep sense of self respect and self worth to show the universe that you are worthy of receiving love and in turn, giving love. The problem is that most of us – myself absolutely included – are guilty of going about it the wrong way. The external validation we get from receiving bulk ‘likes’ on instagram or from buying a new pair of shoes that cost a weeks worth of rent (but make your legs look #totesamaze) is fleeting, and when you think about it, is actually quite a conflicting notion. Why are we trying to cultivate self worth through the validation and affirmation we get from others? It makes no sense!
You are as important as anyone else and by practicing self-love you’re proving it to yourself. The Beatles said it best when they said… All you need is Love!
Here are 4 sure-fire ways to start feeling some serious self lurrrrrrrrrrve
1. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been told to ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ I could shout us all a trip to Bali and we could eat pray and self-love together! But what they never told me was to treat myself the way I want others to treat me. By focusing only on our self-perceived faults and flaws we’re basically giving permission for the rest of the world to focus on them too, but we’re all worth so much more than that.
Try this: It’s time to get your daily affirmation on girl! Instead of participating in your condemning and self deprecating morning ritual, stand in front of the mirror and verbally list three things you love about yourself and FYI, they don’t have to be physical. It could be your sparkling smile, your positive attitude or your culinary brilliance! Not only will this help you realise how amazing you truly are, but it will set you up in a peppy and positive frame of mind.
Before you snicker and close the browser, I don’t mean taking yourself to a romantic candlelit restaurant and wining and dining yourself Bridget Jones style (unless of course that spins your tyres). I mean taking yourself out and partaking in activities that nourish your soul and put a big smile on your dial. Whether it’s a swim in the ocean, cozing up with a coffee and a good book at your favourite café or seeing a movie, don’t be afraid to go it alone when doing the things you really love to do. Spending time alone is actually one of the most liberating things you can do and furthermore it gives you an unbelievable amount of clarity.
Try this: Once a week aim to schedule in some quality one on one time with you, yourself and you. Even if a quick morning walk is all you can spare, it will really help you tune into your needs and just be present.
Whether you’re feeling pent up and guilty for indulging in a little too much chocolate, texting a boy you just can’t stay away from or skipping a workout… as they say in Frozen, LET IT GO! What’s been done can’t be undone and the guilt that surrounds your actions is far more detrimental to your health and wellbeing than the act itself. That knot in the pit of your stomach is not the stuff of great self-loving; it’s more like self loathing and ain’t nobody got time for that!
Try this: Dwell on it for a minute or two – but no more than five – realise you did the best you could at the time and move on. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human but instead of holding onto these titbits of negative energy for days, weeks or even months, accept that it’s nothing more than another chapter of your life story and simply turn the page.
Learn to say no
This doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you a smart person. Loving yourself means respecting yourself enough to make you your top priority. So many of us are riddled with a compulsive need to say yes to every invitation or request that’s thrown our way, but we don’t have to. When you stop saying yes to things you don’t actually want to do, you’ll realise how much more time you have to enrich your life with things that make you happy.
Try this: Saying no can seem pretty downright daunting, but you don’t have to be mean about it. If your friend invites you to dinner but it clashes with the Yoga class you look forward to all week, explain the situation and rearrange a time that suits both of you!