A great deal is made about how we need to exhibit our love for the people we love, on Valentine’s Day. But giving yourself some love maybe the best Valentine’s gift ever
What is self-love?
Before a person is able to practice it, first we need to understand what it means.
Self-love is a state of appreciation of yourself and your self- worth that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not always sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less wherein there exists an unhealthy imbalance in relationships, whether personal or professional.
Self-love can mean something different for each person because we all have many different ways to take care of ourselves. Figuring out what self-love looks like for you as an individual is an important part of your mental health.
What does self-love mean to you?
First, let’s clarify that self-love does NOT mean being selfish, conceited, egoistical, vain or arrogant.
It is in fact humility, with an inner strength; where no one can topple your sense of self.
Some ways that you can practice self- love are:
- Talking to and about yourself with love
- Prioritising yourself
- Giving yourself a break from self-judgement
- Trusting yourself
- Being true to yourself
- Being nice to yourself
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Forgiving yourself when you aren’t being true or nice to yourself
For many people, self-love is another way to say self-care. To practice self-care, we often need to go back to the basics and:
- Listen to our bodies
- Take breaks from work and move/stretch.
- Detox from digital and connect to yourself, a person close to your heart, or do something creative.
- Eating healthily, but balancing it with also indulging in your favourite foods.
Self-love means accepting yourself as you are in this very moment as well as accepting people and situations as they are.
It means being at peace with your emotions for what they are and putting your physical, emotional and mental well-being first.
How and why to practice self-love
Self-love motivates you to make healthy choices in life. When you hold yourself in high esteem, you’re more likely to choose people and habits that nurture your well-being and serve you well. These choices may be in the form of eating healthy, exercising, enjoying qualitative rather than quantitative relationships.
Ways to practice self-love include:
Becoming mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want. They are also in a higher state of awareness of people and situations around them.
Being true to yourself. This is easier said than done. It takes courage to face our biggest demons in order to live by and with our truths.
Taking actions based on need rather than want. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from default behaviour patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
Practicing good self-care. You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy, spiritual evolvement, and healthy habits.
Staying grounded. Many sages advise us to be grounded no matter what. If you receive praise or criticism, stay even-minded. If you experience great success or greater failure, continue being grounded. Once you are not swayed by life’s highs and lows, and moods of others, you will find in this stillness that you value and love yourself deeply.
Spend quality time with yourself. And enjoy it! Get to know your true self, the place of stillness that resides in each one of us. You can work on elevating your consciousness through satsangs, prayers, mantras, affirmations and self-enhancing tools. This is the best gift you can give yourself.
Finally, to practice self-love, start by being kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to yourself, the way you would with someone else that you care about.
Remember only when you genuinely love yourself, will you receive true love from others.
Happy Valentine’s Day!