We’ve all heard the phrase “love yourself.” But, what does loving yourself actually mean, and how do you do it?
Self-love means accepting yourself fully, treating yourself with kindness and respect, and appreciating what makes you you. You may already work to cultivate self-love, but you can take it to another level by practicing the following:
- Identify and challenge your negative beliefs about yourself – Notice your thoughts about yourself. Sometimes our internal voice tells us things like “I’m not good enough” or “I have no friends.” When you notice yourself doing this, find evidence that contradicts those thoughts. On a piece of paper, try writing these “negative” thoughts down and the evidence that challenges them. Doing so can help you see that many of the negative beliefs you hold about yourself are false.
- Identify the positives about yourself – Write down your positive qualities, like being good at sports or being a trustworthy friend. When you start getting down on yourself, read these to remind yourself that there is plenty good about you.
- Build positive relationships and avoid people who drag you down – You might find that certain people and relationships make you feel more balanced than others. Build relationships with people who support and respect you and who you actually enjoy being around. Avoid relationships with people who drag you down, drain you, or make you feel vulnerable and uncared for.
- Learn to set boundaries – It might be difficult to stand up for yourself or say no to others. As a result, you might feel stressed. Understand that it’s okay to say no and choose what you want. Setting boundaries can help protect your peace.
- Practice self-compassion – If you’ve made mistakes in the past, don’t be hateful towards yourself. Allow yourself to be human and learn from your experiences. Everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect. It’s 100% not possible.
There is only one you, which sets you apart from the rest. Whenever you’re feeling low, remind yourself of this. To learn more about self-love, check out these resources:
Author: Stephanie Paz is a Tigua Indian of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Texas at El Paso and is working towards a Master of Public Health in Health Behavior and Health Promotion from New Mexico State University.