By Beth Harris, Wellbeing Editor
The Croft Magazine // Learning to love yourself is not always an easy journey, however taking the time to change every-day habits and practice self-love may not only improve your wellbeing, but open up a wealth of new opportunities.
I love you. Three little words so many of us find easy to say to friends and family yet find impossible to say to ourselves. In a society that surrounds us with an unrealistic idea of what it means to be ‘beautiful’ or ‘successful’ it is no surprise that so many of us spend a large proportion of our lives trying to be more desirable by others. This is exhausting and more importantly, incredibly unhealthy. Taking the time to practice self-love is not easy, but it might change your life.
What does it mean to truly love yourself? Fundamentally, it is knowing that your self-worth does not depend on others approval. It is believing that you are lovable and worthy just as you are - in or out of a relationship, during the break down of a friendship or when you have made a series of poor choices. It is knowing that you are a unique creation and that your body is beautiful no matter what your shape or size. It is believing in your dreams. When this is achieved you will feel fulfilled and loved unconditionally even when others don’t love, respect you or value you.
Surround yourself with only positive platforms.
It may sound like I’ve got it all figured out. In reality, self-love is something I have always found challenging, particularly during times of hardship – but it’s not our fault. The idea of self-love being egotistical and selfish has been hardwired into our DNA, making it incredibly difficult to genuinely want to achieve it. Look in any thesaurus for synonyms for self-love, you won’t find a positive word in sight. We are told that to be happy we must achieve self-love, but does that mean becoming selfish?
Clearing self-sabotaging thoughts and negative inner beliefs is a strong step in the right direction. Surround yourself with only positive platforms. There are a number of amazing Instagram accounts that promote self-love and care along with some fantastic literature by Louise Hay such as ‘The Power Is Within You’ and ‘Heal Your Body’. The latter emphasises the huge impact a lack of self-love can have on our physical health. That is not to say that low self-esteem will make you ill, but the mind and body are connected and so the physical body will respond to the mental state you experience.
Practice saying ‘I love you’ in the mirror. Although this may seem trivial, there is actually some science behind it. Showering yourself with kind words increases serotonin production by the brain, leading to feelings of happiness, optimism and satisfaction. Obviously, it’s not that simple, but it’s a good place to start.
Write a list of all the things you love about yourself, accomplishments and skills. Whilst this may be a little difficult at first, putting these things into writing can help you focus on all the amazing things you have achieved. The more you believe in yourself and your abilities, the more you will love and have confidence in yourself. Knowing that you have something fantastic to offer, be that in work, friendships or relationships will help you put yourself out there without fear of rejection.
Self-love comes in many forms – and it looks different for everyone. Learning to love yourself does not have to be a daily commitment to self-reflection and improvement. Whilst that may work for some, for others self-love may be about listening to your body’s needs and allowing yourself to rest at the end of a hard week. Life does not have to be an exhausting battle. Take a little time each day to do something that makes YOU happy and your light will shine a little brighter.
Featured: Unsplash / Jon Tyson
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