The term self-love can mean many things: self-worth, self-compassion, self-acceptance, self-care, self-awareness… some may even say self-importance. It’s nothing new that self-love is often mistaken for selfishness, but in the wise words of Rupaul, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”.
Self-love practices focus more so on interconnected (related to ‘the common human experience’) and non-evaluative thought processes, as opposed to the narcissistic thinking associated with self-importance, or even self-confidence. Numerous studies suggest that self-love is related to health outcomes, producing lower levels of psychological and physiological stress.
Given our inherently critical brains and demanding contemporary lives, a good place to start when trying to love yourself that little bit more is to treat yourself as you would a close friend who is upset, with worth, compassion, acceptance, care and awareness, particularly at times when you are distressed. Some other ways you can practise this include:
1 – Engaging in mindful behaviour
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) utilises many mindfulness strategies that can help with our ability to self-love, such as accessing your ‘sunset mind’ when thinking about yourself and ‘diffusing’ from self-critical thoughts. Practising the self-acceptance that comes with being mindful can have a profound effect on your self-compassion and self-awareness.
2 – Taking note of your values… and putting them into action
Most of us value our general well-being, so making sure we get good sleep, nutrition, bodily movement and connect with our loved ones, is fundamental to our enhancement of self-love. An easy way to fit this all in is to commit to some intentional routines, meaning you could have a set bed/wake-up time, exercise routine, food-prep plan and regularly visit your family/friends. Acting on your health doesn’t mean you have to punish yourself with foods or activities you don’t enjoy, find things that make you feel great and/or adjust them to your needs.
I also love a good pampering session, like a quick daily skin-care routine or a nice soak in the tub (why not with some relieving bath salts?), especially when I’m feeling drained and in need of some easy-access self-care.
You are completely entitled to love yourself and to take the time out of your day to do so, it is from this formation that our love can extend out to others ❤
Want to learn more? Book an appointment with one of our psychologists or visit our clinic and wellbeing store in Bulimba.