Learning how to love yourself
‘You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection’ — Buddha
In today’s achievement-centred society, it’s easy to be so focused on success and self-improvement that we forget to acknowledge our own intrinsic value and qualities. There’s a lot of truth to the saying that we are our own harshest critics, and while striving to better ourselves can be beneficial, it’s also important to practice self-love and respect.
Dr. Jonathon D. Brown, a psychology professor at the University of Washington found that people with high self-esteem cope better with negative outcomes and change than those with low self-esteem. He believes that self-esteem is also important in helping people deal with rejection. Counsellor and author, Daylle Deanna Schwartz’s book ‘How Do I Love Me?’ inspired the Self-Love Movement in which people pledge to make lifestyle changes that encourage self-love after making the 31 Day Self-Love Commitment. Schwartz believes that loving yourself isn’t just beneficial for your self-esteem, but also for your relationships with others.
Mindfulness and thoughtfulness are essential elements of learning how to love and be loved. Mindfulness is the practice of being present-centred—focusing on the moment with openness and acceptance. To be mindful, one should acknowledge the present and one’s feelings towards it without judgement. To be thoughtful is to reflect and contemplate, considering one’s own reactions and feelings as well as those of others. Making an effort to incorporate these practices into your life can give you deeper insight into yourself and allow you to make positive lifestyle changes.
Here are some ways to commit to loving yourself:
Romance yourself: treat yourself to flowers, a scented candle, or just some dedicated alone time.
Nourish yourself: feed your body with healthful foods, but don’t forget to indulge occasionally.
Excuse yourself: learn to reduce stress by saying no to requests or declining invitations if you already have too much on your plate
Move yourself: find a form of exercise you enjoy and commit to it.
Share yourself: reach out to others through volunteer work or thoughtful gestures.
Are you happy with your level of self-esteem? How are you going to commit to loving yourself more?