Before we can practice self-love, let’s explore what it means. Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself. It grows from actions that support our body (physical), mind (psychological) and spiritual health and growth.
Self-love means something different for each person. Part of the journey of self-awareness, is an exploration of ways we can bring love to ourselves.
No doubt, this can be a very difficult task. For many of us, it is easier to experience love for someone else, to express that love, than it is to express it and practice it for ourselves. It can take a lifetime to get to a point where we hold ourselves in high esteem. It grows with each action we take, each decision we make.
I know it has been a life long journey for me. Even now, I take pause when I see pictures of myself and have to remember that I am aging, my body has changed, my features have changed, and with those changes has come immense wisdom and experience.
The road to loving ourselves is a journey, one that leads us to making choices that nurture our soul, improve our overall well-being, putting our physical, emotional and spiritual needs first.
How have I brought self-love practices into my life?
Mindful practices: Being more aware of how I feel, how I respond, what I need has helped me make decisions that feed my well-being, improve my sense of self.
Choices based on what I need, rather than what I want: I have learned that I have many “automatic” behaviors, that have kept me in old patterns, interrupted the ability to love myself.
Self care practices: This can mean so many different things at different times. It may be as simple as sleeping a bit later one morning, or perhaps scheduling a monthly bodywork session to assist on my road to physician health and vitality. Engaging in physical activity, such as a walk, or setting emotional boundaries are additional ways I have been practicing. Being aware of our emotions, our reactions, our physical needs versus our wants is key to knowing what self care practices we should pursue (and not what the media or others may tell us we should do!)
Doing something that you love, just for the enjoyment: When I reconnected with my creativity, I rediscovered part of myself that I had been missing. Perhaps you have a hobby, or something in your life that you have put aside? Perhaps healthy cooking, or an exercise routine. Reconnect with a practice that brings you home to yourself.
The journey to loving ourselves is just that…a journey, but one well worth taking. It begins with compassion for ourselves, kindness and patience.