Ep 023: Self-love Tips to Love Yourself More
Below is a brief outline of today’s episode. Please listen to the Happy Me Happy Earth podcast wherever you get your podcasts for the full discussion and to hear more about my personal self-love journey.
Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash
Why is loving yourself so hard?
Once you acknowledge this and know what to look for, you’ll see signs of it everywhere! In the news, the media, advertisements, and snarky comments from co-workers, it’s everywhere.
For example, companies operating within our capitalist society need us to feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled so that they can sell us more things. They promise that their product will finally make us happy and fulfilled. Our growth economy can only survive if we want more, more, and more stuff!
The patriarchy needs us to continue striving for their unrealistic standards so that we stay distracted and small. In a very literal way, the powers that be keep us small through diet culture. Women in particular spend so much time trying to make their bodies look a certain way. If this is you I totally understand. For years I tried to make myself conform to our culture’s narrow beauty standards.
But imagine if the time and energy of every woman who is on her 20th diet instead focused that energy, time, and creativity on her creative pursuits, her career, resting, or nourishing herself. How much more influential would women be?
We must recognize and accept that no amount of volunteering or shopping or dieting will make us worthy of our self-love or the love of others. We’re already worthy. Imperfect and worthy.
That being said, it’s completely understandable that we seek things outside of ourselves in order to love ourselves more, but those things don’t work. Loving yourself is an inside job.
Loving Yourself is Radical and Revolutionary
Self-love has a ripple effect. By loving myself and talking about it I am showing others what is possible for them. Our inner work creates outer change.
So, I’m not speaking in hyperbole when I say that loving ourselves is activism. Self-love is courageous, radical, and revolutionary. And just like any other radical act, loving ourselves while living in a culture that’s invested in keeping us dissatisfied with ourselves is hard!
Self-love Tips & Practices
First, it’s important to note that if you’re coming from a place of very low self-esteem then self-love might feel like too lofty of a goal. It might be more helpful to focus on self-awareness and self-acceptance.
For many people, the practices below will feel uncomfortable at first. That’s okay and normal. Know that you can feel uncomfortable and awkward and still practice self-love. Check out this blog post if you need help processing your negative feelings. The awkwardness will dissipate with time.
Tip #1: Spend Time With Yourself
Show yourself that you value yourself by spending time alone. Spend time doing the things that bring you joy. Maybe you journal about how you’re feeling and what you need. Listen to yourself and then find ways to make sure your needs are met.
Use this time to get to know yourself better. In the wise words of my mentor…
“Love yourself so much that you investigate yourself.” – Katie Silcox
Tip #2: Practice Gratitude Toward Your Body
Tip #3: Find Role Models That You Identify With
It can be really helpful to find role models who look like you, share a similar background, or have similar challenges. Surrounding yourself with inspiring role models from all walks of life can help you to expand your worldview and break out of the narrow tunnel vision that most media outlets are curating for us.
Tip #4: Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs
First, think back to your childhood. When was the first time you remember having this thought about yourself or feeling this way? Where did the thought come from? Often this exercise helps me to realize that the thought isn’t actually mine. It developed as a result of an experience, something my parents or friends said, or something I saw on TV.
Next, turn the thought on its head. Write down an opposite thought and then look for evidence in your life that this new, opposite thought is true. This might be tricky at first, but challenge yourself to come up with three ways that this new thought is true.
When completing this exercise you don’t need to make huge mental jumps. For example, it might feel inauthentic to go from, “I’m unlovable.” to “Everyone loves me.” But, a smaller shift like, “I have a friend that loves me,” does feel true. These little shifts are powerful!
Self-Love Journal Prompts
Use the following self-reflection questions to get to know yourself better and start loving yourself more!
- What unrealistic expectations do you have for yourself?
- Where in your life are you living according to other people’s values or expectations instead of your own?
- What do you like about yourself?
- What do you like to do?
- When will you spend time alone this week?
Be sure to open your calendar and actually block out some alone time for yourself this week.
I hope that you’ll take some time this week to try one of these self-love practices. If it feels uncomfortable at first that’s okay! Uncomfortable feelings are a sign that your capacity to love yourself is growing.
Download the FREE Self-care for Changemakers guide to learn how to be an agent of change without sacrificing your health!
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Featured image: Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash