A day like today, Valentine’s Day, is the perfect time to talk about self-love! Too often we stress about this completely polarizing holiday (Let’s be honest, you either love it or hate it!), whether it is from finding the right gift for your significant other, or being physically ill from seeing all the gushy posts on your social media feed. (Been there, guys!) Regardless if you’re single, taken, married, or on some spectrum of “it’s complicated,” it’s high-time you start celebrating the most important type of love there is – SELF-LOVE!
Self-love is by no means a new notion, but it has been getting more media attention lately, especially in the form of female power ballads. (We see you, Demi Lovato. Sorry, not sorry!) But, it is much more than just feeling good belting out a tune for a few minutes; it is about honoring and respecting yourself enough to say, I matter. I’m worth it. I’m awesome. I deserve this. I love ME!
If you ask someone to describe love, you will get a hundred different answers, and the same is true with self-love. What makes self-love different is that where love is a feeling projected on someone else, self-love has to be projected inward… and more often than not we can be really harsh on ourselves. It doesn’t matter how many people you surround yourself with; if you do no first love yourself first, you will not feel happiness and love in return. It takes a lot of self-reflection and training to get rid of the negative and replace it with the positive and nurturing. LOVE, in any form, is complex, and self-love is the same. Here are 5 tips I’ve learned that can help make loving yourself a little easier.
YOU TEACH OTHERS HOW TO TREAT YOU.
In some cases inaction can speak louder than action, and this is one of them. If you allow someone to be rude to you or do anything that you are not 100% okay with without speaking up, you are telling that person that their behavior is okay! People are not mind readers, and if you don’t say anything, you cannot expect someone to change. If you are sick and tired of letting others walk on you, or treat you poorly, you have to love yourself enough to stop it from happening. Believe you are worthy of being treated well and settle for nothing less. (You can find more on this amazing advice from Dr. Phil and Oprah.com.)
LOOK INWARD NOT OUTWARD.
Too often we look in the mirror and see everything that is wrong. In order for self-love, and regular love too, to be successful, you have to look past the flaws and accept yourself. Every person has things they wish they could change about their body or appearance, but not everyone is strong enough to look inward and recognize all their strengths! Give yourself a compliment or two, count your blessings, and don’t feel guilty about feeling, or looking, your best! And if a bad thought comes up… learn to recognize it right away and kill it! You’ve got bigger and better things to do.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
Life can get extremely fast-paced! It is really important to listen to what your body is telling you in order to feel your best. Tired? Put your pride aside and ask for help. Need a break? Make time (even if it is only 15 minutes) to relax. Getting burned out is not fun, and tiny changes in your day and attitude can make a HUGE difference. You may not always have time, but it is about caring about yourself enough to MAKE time. 23 hours out of the day you can be the hero, but every now and then – even if it is only 1 hour – remember to be the hero for yourself!
You’ve all heard this one before, but the key is to dream big without listening to outside (or even self) judgement and limitations. Tune out the negative and start believing that you are not lacking anything. You are enough and you deserve what you want to get!
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GROWTH-MINDED PEOPLE.
This tip really ties in with the previous one. If you have big aspirations, surround yourself with people who SUPPORT those aspirations, and limit, or complete get rid of, the rest. Negativity can take a toll on us physically and mentally, and if you’ve got big dreams, you don’t have time for that! If there are people out there that can help you get to where you want to be, or who just make you feel HAPPY, devote more time to those people and forget the rest!
Now you may be wondering how to accomplish these tips if you’re feeling down, and the hard truth is that it starts with you. You have to stop negative, and self-loathing thoughts in their tracks! It is a bad habit, and just like any other bad habit, it can be broken. It can sometimes take time, but as with any journey, it begins with a single step in the right direction!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Y’all! Remember to take time to TREAT YO’ SELF today because you deserve it, and you are very loved!