02 Feb Love Month – Week 1 – Loving Yourself
Although many would agree that taking care of yourself and even loving yourself is necessary for you to be able to love other people, yet many ask the question, “but how do I do that”. Loving yourself is not the same as selfishness, rather it is choosing actions that support your overall health and well-being and that help create a life of purpose and fulfillment.
If you are struggling with loving yourself, I have included some strategies below to get you started.
1) Know yourself
How well do you truly know yourself? Before you can begin loving yourself, you must know who that is. You might start with your story. Past experiences and relationships have contributed to the circuitry of your brain and will help you to understand your current patterns of behavior. You can do this by writing out your own story in a diary or book or you can choose to share it with someone who is willing to listen with an empathetic ear. Once you give words to your past experience, you can begin to explore what is important to you now and in the future. What do you want to bring to the world? What kinds of relationships do you want to build in your life? You might find answers to these questions in considering those who you look up to or admire.
2) Act with love
As I said previously, love is an action. To begin, make time to take care of yourself. Put healthy foods into your body, move your body, keep up with your health appointments, and make time for activities you enjoy. However, loving yourself does not mean you should only do things that make you feel good. Often, in fact, things that make us feel good in the moment serve as a distraction from something that may need to be addressed. While they may feel pleasant for a while, they do not enrich our lives in the long term.
3) Speak with love
Pay attention to the way you speak to yourself. Do you tend to be overly critical and judgemental? Are you hard on yourself when you make a mistake? Try to speak kindly to yourself, allow yourself some grace, forgive yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes. Also, speak truthfully to yourself. Sometimes it is difficult to admit when we are struggling or behaving in ways that are not consistent with our values. However, denial often leads to avoidance and behaviours that do not enrich our lives. It is ok to make mistakes or to want change in your life. Simply acknowledge what is true, know who you are, who you want to be and then you can commit to actions that will enrich your life.