It is the week of Valentine’s day and we are all thinking about how we can surprise our partner or maybe we are wondering why we are still single again. Or maybe you don’t care about this day at all. No matter what your situation is, I think we can all agree on is how important self-love is. In my opinion, Valentine’s is not just for celebrating love with your partner, but I think it is also the perfect day for a little bit of extra self-love. Because sometimes we forget to listen to our bodies and what it needs. We forget to take care of ourselves. These are 11 ways to increase self-love.
Self-love can be a challenge. We always know how to make friends feel better about themselves but when it comes to ourselves, we are extremely harsh on ourselves. We think we can’t make any mistakes. We think we are not good looking and we are constantly comparing ourselves to others.
Remember that you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life so you better become best friends with yourself. Treat yourself how you would treat others.
11 ways to increase self-love
1. Pick your words carefully
The way you talk about yourself is what you are going to attract and believe. If say you are stupid because you made one little mistake, you are going to believe it eventually.
I remember that in school or other situations I always said that I was not sure if I could do it or that I would be terrible at it. Back then it sounded like a smart idea to lower the expectations but now it was the wrong way. It would have been so much better if I said I could do it. Then I would be more confident and I would feel more confident at this point in my life. These days, I listen to the thoughts I get and if I get one thought that thinks I am going to fail, I change the thought into something better and more positive.
You don’t have to go from ‘I am terrible at this’ to ‘I can do this. You can also take a small step from ‘I am terrible at this’ to ‘I am going to do my best.
If you ever get a thought or say that you can’t do it or just talk negatively about yourself. Change it and make it a little bit more positive.
2. Don’t say sorry all the time
We say sorry a lot of the time in any kind of situation. I think I used this word a lot when it came to canceling plans with friends. I always felt the need to explain myself and to say sorry as if I was letting them down. You do not have to apologize for every situation. From now on you are only going to use the word ‘sorry’ for when you have to say it. Overusing these words can also mean that it is going to lose its value. So if you only say sorry when you have to, then they know that you mean it.
And you don’t have to apologize for when you don’t want to hang out with your friends on a Saturday night when you prefer to be alone and to recharge yourself.
3. Do what you want to do and listen to what you need.
You have one life and one of the most important things is that you listen to yourself and find out what you want to do or what you need. We human beings care a lot about the opinions of others and we like to follow trends, even when we don’t like them. Stop doing that. Just listen to what YOU need.
When I was 17 and I had to make a huge decision about what career I wanted for the rest of my life, I let other people influence my decision. Deep down I knew I wanted to do something creative, but at the same time, people were telling me that I had to pick something that would give me a steady career. That was a huge mistake.
Or when I was a student I thought I had to study hard, work hard and have a social life. And there is nothing wrong with that. But often I did too much. I was constantly doing something and never resting. I never listened to what I needed. Eventually, I got a burn-out because I was always working or with friends. I am not saying that the same thing will happen to you, but this is my warning that something like this can happen when you don’t take the time for yourself and listen to what you need.
4. Celebrate each achievement
We like to set goals, but when we reach that goal we immediately set a new goal for ourselves. And we never really celebrate that achievement. The next time you reach one of your goals, no matter how small it is, celebrate it. Be grateful for it. Be proud of yourself because you did it! And celebrating does not always mean going to the club and getting wasted. Celebrating can also mean you buy yourself a piece of chocolate and just text your friends about your achievement.
5. Take time for yourself
When was the last time you took time for yourself? We push ourselves and we think we have to be productive all the time but sometimes we need a break from everything. Our bodies and brain need to recover too. Yes, your brain likes to do nothing too. This way it can recharge itself. And by doing nothing, I mean doing absolutely nothing. So no phone, just you sitting in silence. Because if you don’t take time for yourself to recharge yourself, you will feel exhausted in no time, physically or mentally.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Somehow we always treat our best friends in the best way possible when they are not feeling great. We try to listen to them, we will try to give them advice and cheer them up. When it comes to ourselves, we are extremely harsh. When we are feeling down, we want to fix it immediately. But sometimes it is just better to feel those emotions and eventually those emotions will fade away. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel those emotions, we can feel terrible or even get sick.
Always ask yourself how you would react if your best friend was in this kind of situation and what you would say. And then use those exact words for yourself. And listen to it! And if you made a mistake, don’t worry. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.
7. Take care of your body
When some people talk about self-care or self-love they always start talking about how they take bath when they don’t feel great or they treat themselves with a bottle of body scrub from The Body Shop or Lush. And yes, that is a part of it. But I think taking care of your body is so much more than that.
It is also about moving and stretching your body because it needs that too. Sitting down all day long is not great for your body. We are made to move around. And guess what? After a long walk, you will feel better too.
But it is also about eating the right things like veggies and fruit. We say that we can eat that chocolate bar because it is self-care and sure I kind of agree with that. But I think it is not self-care anymore when you eat a whole chocolate bar every single day. Make sure you eat mostly healthy (veggies and fruit) and then you can add something you like that is less healthy. Maybe once a week or something. That is totally up to you. But remember that your body needs vitamins and minerals and the best way to get that is from veggies and fruit.
8. Become more confident
Maybe you got bullied in high school just like me. That was not great for your confidence and maybe you are struggling with this right now. The first thing to know is that people who bully are not feeling great and confident themselves so you have to feel sorry for them. They are that insecure that they have to bully someone to feel better about themselves. Even these days it is almost impossible to not get a hate comment on social media. There will always be someone that does that. Nobody is immune to it. So know that this person does not feel confident either.
Second, you have to find ways to become more confident. Maybe wearing certain outfits or a make-up look can help you with that, maybe it is your posture or maybe you can step out of your comfort zone and do scary things. That can also increase your confidence. The most important thing to know is that becoming more confident comes within. Try to think of any situation where you were feeling confident and try to find that feeling again. Do this often enough and you don’t have to fake it anymore.
9. Your thoughts aren’t always true
We get around 60K thoughts per day and some people get more positive ones and others get more negative ones. The thing you have to remember is that these thoughts aren’t necessarily true. Most of the time it is your ego talking. The ego can be helpful sometimes when you are in danger, then it will help you to survive. But other times when you make a mistake, it will just say that you are stupid. Even in that situation, it is trying to protect you from danger, even when the ‘danger’ is not life-threatening anymore.
I learned one trick the other day when I was reading ‘Super attractor‘ by Gabrielle Bernstein, but also from others. When you have a lot of thoughts, you get stuck inside your head and you are not present anymore. And those thoughts feel more real than ever. But there is a way out of it. First of all, you have to become more present. Then you observe your thoughts and when your ego is trying to ‘attack’ you with these negative thoughts, then become aware of the thoughts and then change them. Sometimes it also helps to say ‘stop’ when it all becomes too much.
10. Self-love is not selfish
Taking time for yourself and cancelling plans with your friends is not selfish. And if they are your friends, they will understand and otherwise you will be better off without them. Self-love and self-care will never be selfish. Because when you are not taking care of yourself, how can you even take care of someone else? Maybe at the beginning, you will be fine. But if you never take time for yourself to recharge then you will become exhausted and you can’t take care of someone else anymore. So putting yourself in the first place is not selfish it is necessary
11. Embrace the spiritual life
I like doing spiritual things and there are several ways to do this. You don’t have to do all of this. Just pick something that sounds good to you.
– Release inner child; play with something, daydream or do something you liked to do when you were a little kid.
– Meditation: great when you are struggling with negativity, but meditation is great in any situation
– Affirmations; When you hear something over and over again, you start to believe it. So use positive affirmations every day for more self-love and confidence.
– Gratitude; Focus more on the positive side. This will make your life a little bit easier.
And last but not least: Accept who you are at this exact moment.