The first step in leading a fulfilling life is to first have true love for yourself. Many people confuse love for being conditional. Sometimes, we don’t love ourselves due to our appearance or due to our status as dictated by society. But we don’t have to give into that feeling of unworthiness. If we can look within ourselves and start from a place of love, our world can unfold in beautiful ways.
How can you practice love for yourself?
There are many ways in which you can express love for yourself. These habits are ones that you should build daily in order to maintain a high positive state of being. It requires you to let go of all those negative and fearful thoughts. This may seem difficult, but it does not have to be with techniques you can utilize such as through cognitive behavioral therapy or in removing negative beliefs about yourself.
The first step in loving yourself is to look within your past and to forgive yourself for any mistakes or failures you’ve experienced. You have to look at who you are and realize that you are the creator of your own reality, in a positive way. That is, you can change your actions to align with this higher level of thinking.
Removing negative blocks or beliefs
To walk you through an example, let’s say that as a kid, you were bullied a lot. Perhaps your parents knew but did nothing about it, or your parents didn’t know because you were trying to deal with it on your own. Just because a group of kids decided to bully you, does not mean that you are unworthy of love. It does not mean that you are a mistake or failure in any way. It could mean that some kids out there are bullies because their parents raised them in the wrong way. Or, it could mean that you may have been bullied as a kid, but those same people may have matured and grew up and realized that bullying was the wrong thing to do. It could mean that the bullies were jealous of you and were taking out their insecurities on you. It could mean many things.
Rather than believing that you are unworthy, why not conclude something more powerful? You could say that bullies might have gotten to you in the past, but now you’re strong and have a voice and can defend yourself as needed. Or if your friends and family knew that this was going on, they would defend you.
Self-care is huge in the act of loving yourself. You have to be conscious of your state of being. If you must take a shower, you’ll take one. If it’s time to brush your teeth, you’ll brush them. You can practice self-care daily just by modifying and knowing your daily morning and nighttime routines.
Some people get bored of routines, but some structure is needed in order to take care of your hygiene and appearance. Some argue that appearance does not matter, but I beg to differ. If appearance did not matter, then we would not have the ability to see. It’s important to take care of yourself daily.
Personally, I have a sort of checklist for tasks I must accomplish in the morning and in the nighttime. Sometimes when I know that I’m going to go out later in the day, I prepare lunch in the morning so that I don’t have to scramble for time later on in the day. Or, I’ll set aside some of my clothes the night before so that I don’t have to think about what to wear the next day.
Self-care can also include shaving, putting on a facial mask, preparing your bag for the next day, laundry, cooking for yourself, grocery shopping, cleaning and organizing your desktop space (physically or virtually), and more. Sometimes, you don’t have to do these tasks daily. You can do them weekly (such as doing laundry or going grocery shopping).
You can also engage in reflective tasks such as journalling. Journalling allows us to express our thoughts and ideas more concretely. You have something to refer back to just as you are trying to figure out yourself, perhaps while attempting to discover your life purpose or greater truths about yourself and other people.
My suggestion to you if you’re just beginning to love yourself is to first remove limiting beliefs. Then, instill a few good habits into your daily routines. Starting off with just one habit is better than tackling them all. That’s because you can gradually shift into having a routine rather than chaotically trying to implement a bunch of habits all at once.
The habits I recommend starting with include taking a shower daily (or at least every other day or every two days if you don’t sweat a lot), and exercising at least 5 minutes a day. Then, gradually build up. I know, five minutes of exercise seems like nothing. But what we’re trying to do here is build up new habits if you’re starting from nothing, not jump off the handle only to crash and burn. Then after you get used to that habit and are still maintaining it (maybe after a week of accomplishing the goal every day), you can increase it to 10 minutes a day. After another week of accomplishing it, go to 15 minutes. If you mess up, restart by going at however many minutes you last started off and try to maintain it for a week straight before moving on to the next level.
Self-care is part of the journey. And even if it’s hard to maintain good habits at first, eventually you will be able to build them up over time. You can do anything you put your mind to. It just takes some time and a bit of self-discipline, which you can learn to build up too. Remember, if you want to love others, you have to first start with yourself. (;