Although you might think self-love is automatic, it can be harder to cultivate than it seems. You might think, “Well, of course I love myself.” But what about when you mess up or make a big mistake? Do you define who you are and whether you love yourself by what you say and do?
Here are some tips for loving yourself throughout your life, regardless of your circumstances.
To truly love yourself, you must acknowledge your current situation in life, understand your strengths and weaknesses, and embrace your feelings about these things.
We all have weaknesses, and we all make mistakes. While we must adapt and change throughout our lives, we can’t change who we are at our core. Learn to accept and embrace all the unique quirks and traits that make you, you.
For instance, you might struggle with writing. When you need to write something, you might feel anxious and embarrassed. Instead of dwelling on these feelings, use healthy self-talk, such as “I know I struggle, but if I get my point across, that’s all that matters,” or “I may struggle now, but I can practice and get better.”
Learn to Adapt
Change is inevitable, so we must learn to adapt if we are to continue loving ourselves. You will undergo changes in your lifestyle, health, appearance, or interests as you journey through life. How you adapt to those changes will affect how you feel about yourself.
For example, you might see yourself as an adventurer who hikes, bikes, and travels. If you have a health condition that limits your ability to do those things you’ve always loved about yourself, can you still love yourself?
Adapting means accepting your circumstances, and then taking a step back, reassessing, and gaining a different understanding of yourself. What you love about yourself at one point in time can and will evolve into something entirely different as you go through life.
Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed allows you to focus on those you can.
Recognize Your Needs
Another part of loving yourself is identifying and learning how to meet your true needs. This means making conscious choices based on your interests, values, and beliefs. These choices can be big life decisions, such as ending a relationship or changing jobs, or small everyday decisions, like going to bed at a specific time or taking short breaks during the workday.
You may be a self-reliant, independent person used to making decisions on your own, but it’s also important to recognize when you need help from others with more knowledge or experience. It can be difficult, but learning to set pride aside and ask for help when you’re unsure about a decision is vital to practicing self-love.
Self-care is also a legitimate practice for mental well-being and self-acceptance. Practicing positive lifestyle factors, such as proper nutrition, appropriate sleep, hydration, and exercise can strengthen your body.
Mindfulness is another helpful self-care practice. Practicing mindfulness through journaling, yoga, prayer, or meditation can help you listen to your mind and body to determine what you need to live a “good life.”
Social connections result in improved mental and physical well-being. Building connections with empathetic and understanding people reminds us we are not alone. When you have trustworthy and compassionate individuals in your life who validate who you are and what you feel, you can turn to them when you’re facing adversity.
If a new family or neighbor moves in next door, knock on their door and introduce yourself. Then work on strengthening that connection in the future.
Helping others can also promote self-love. Whether this means supporting someone through a health struggle, volunteering, or assisting family and friends with everyday tasks, helping others can give you a sense of purpose, pride, and self-worth, all of which empower you to love yourself.
There’s no magic formula or step-by-step process for learning self-love. Loving yourself is a matter of being intentional each day about your actions, how you view yourself, and your relationships with others.