Some time ago, I realised something that has completely changed my outlook on life and myself. It might seem a bit basic to someone else, but for me this was fresh. This was news.
Here it is – Life is going to a huge pile of nothing without Self-Love.
Self-love seems to be the solution to many of the things that bring us down.
Sadness, anxiety, stress, guilt, anger…you name it.
Some other things too; things like poor impulse control, low motivation, lack of ambition, procrastination. It can all be tied to self-love.
You can’t really do or be anything much without it. You’re always going to find yourself stuck in a rut.
Loving yourself is not difficult. It just needs you to prioritise some time for yourself now and then. That’s just an investment one has to make. Because there aren’t too many other investments that’ll pay richer dividends than this.
On the flip side, there’s also a cost to be paid if we don’t make self-love a habit. A cost that’s far too high. And this is coming from someone who’s been on the other side of the fence.
Ways to Practise Self-Love
I believe the five languages of love can offer us real insight into not just our relationships with others, but our relationship with ourselves too.
I find myself responding better when I do certain practises more than others. And those practises just so happen to align with my top love languages. Give it a shot, take the test to figure out what yours are…
So here are some ways I like to practise self-love.
My hugging + self-talk meditation
Essentially, you just wrap your arms around myself in a quiet room, close your eyes and check-in with You.
It’s just a two to three minute exercise, but it’ll take you a long way.
I just ask myself how I’m feeling, I try to describe my state of mind in a few words and I’ll tell myself I’m proud of me or that I’m doing good or to sometimes even just hang in there and be brave.
Bonus points if you can diffuse some wonderfully relaxing essential oil or burn some candles.
I write and journal a lot. A lot.
For me, writing things out really clears up my head and relaxes me.
And I love this time that I spend with just myself and my thoughts. It centers me amongst all the chitter-chatter of everyday life.
Take yourself (and your animal, if you have one) for a walk
Head out into the great outdoors. Narrow down a place near your house where there’s a lot of fresh air and nature all around and get walking!
Just breathing in some of that crisp air in a natural atmosphere can do wonders.
High five if you can also throw in a little period of this unique walking meditation.
Go for a workout
My personal preference is to hit the gym at least three or four times a week, but I know of a lot of people who don’t really like going to gym.
No problem. Just identify something that you might love to do.
Tried yoga? How about dance? Or spin? Aerobics? Biking? Hiking?
There’s so many, many things to do now that we don’t really have any excuse anymore to not get off our butts and get that heart-rate up.
The endorphins after your workout will put you in the BEST mood. If you want to infuse some positivity and self-confidence in your life (aside from the obvious health benefits, of course), make working out a habit.
De-clutter, organise…and shop?
No no, no doing the third one before the first two!
Open up all you cupboards and storage and take out all that stuff. And get de-cluttering!
A golden rule a lot of people like to swear by is considering if you’ve used something in the last 6 months. No? Out it goes.
But hold on… if it’s still in good condition, how about you donate it? Or even just sell it? (It feels better if you sell it for free, by the way).
And if it’s recyclable, it ought to get recycled. Don’t just dunk your stuff in the bin, get responsible with your waste.
After you’re done doing the storage, it’s a wonderful practise to also clean out your surfaces. It looks great and leaves you feeling wonderful.
And now that you’ve been productive the whole day, try making a list of all the things that you actually want but don’t have and get shopping (preferably, within a budget).
This kind of shopping feels a lot better than the other kind where you go crazy buying stuff, waste a whole lot of money and come home to find all your storage spaces brimming.
Also, something that I picked up from a life-changing book which I’ve linked below is to always give your things away with a lot of love and gratitude. She also talks about a very powerful concept – “spark joy”. I encourage you to read this book if you already haven’t!
Affirmations/Words of Encouragement
Now, this could also come up there with the self-talk meditation and journaling, but I’m making this separate because this is something I like to do independent of those things.
I write out what the best parts of me are (and this can be according to yourself or things other people have appreciated about you).
I then make another list where I essentially put down the areas I need to improve but I don’t make it out like a list of my weaknesses.
I frame it like it’s a list of things I’m going to start working on.
This little shift makes a whole lot of difference. Because I then feel like it’s a list of actionable points where I can be productive and put in some work, rather that berate or belittle myself (or worse, pity myself) for my very human shortcomings.
I also make a third list of encouragements that I know would help be achieve those personal growth goals.
I read all three of these lists a couple of times, preferably out loud.
Have you ever taken yourself out for a movie before? It’s quite a liberating experience. If you aren’t ready to spend all that much time on your own, how about a coffee date or a lunch date with just you and your favourite book?
Self-dates are really improtant if you are someone who values quality time. It just seems scary on the outside, to many of us. But come to think about it, how could we not want to spend some time alone with the person we are supposed to love most in this world?
Go ahead and try it out, you won’t regret it.
I think the methods I outlined above take care of people who use all the love languages, right? Are there any I’ve missed out? Feel free to let me know in the comments… I would love to know some other ways of practising self-love that I can incorporate in my own life too!