The phrase is if you can’t love yourself then how can you expect others to love you. It sounds a bit cliché but there is some truth in this phrase. The world can feel cruel sometimes considering cancel culture and online abuse, so we have to begin to love ourselves because that’s where real love starts. So how do we love ourselves?
1. Express yourself
This is all about recognising your thoughts and feelings and finding a way to express yourself. You could paint, draw, cook, exercise, in fact, anything that helps you to express yourself is good. Ultimately expressing yourself can hlep protect uour mental health.
2. Care for yourself, honestly
Self-care is key, it’s so essential to us all and our mental health well-being. Life throws various things at us on a daily basis, and we all need to recognise that we need to take some time out and replenish our reserves. Self-care is different for all of us, but whatever your self-care is, put it in your schedule so it’s there and you do it. My self-care is running, I literally can’t function unless I’ve been for three runs a week. If I don't run I can feel myself finding it harder and harder to function propertly. I know that running won’t work for everyone, but I urge you to find whatever it is, that recharges your mind and body. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
3. Trust in yourself
Be yourself and know your own mind. Be authentic and stay true to your authenticity. We can all pretend to be someone or something for a period in our lives, but eventually it becomes impossible to maintain the façade of being someone you’re not, or being part of a friendship or relationship, which isn’t the right fit for you. Being authentic and trusting yourself is one of the biggest things I’d ask someone to think about. It’s so important for our mental health to be real and true to ourselves in life.
4. Be Aware
Getting to really know yourself, your needs and values, as well as what you think you need to work on, can be a liberating experience. Consider what really makes you tick, what thoughts do you experience and how do these thoughts affect you. You could try to keep a journal detailing your thoughts and ask friends for their opinions about you. How do friends perceive you, versus how you perceive yourself and what can you learn from this?
Silence the inner critic that we all have. We all make mistakes, none of us are perfect, so try to learn to accept any mistakes and move on. We can’t change the past and using our future time, worrying about the past, is a waste of time. Learn to forgive yourself and learn to accept that sometimes life and more importantly, human beings, are never perfect.
6. Respect yourself
Think about your own personal boundaries in life. We all have different boundaries, some of us have very few boundaries but that doesn’t mean that our own particular boundaries shouldn’t be respected. Our boundaries determine our own needs and how we value ourselves. Boundaries directly impact the way we feel about ourselves. If we allow someone to continuously overstep our boundaries, then we don’t feel good about ourselves. Set your personal boundaries, communicate those boundaries and be firm with others when they try to push your boundaries. Protect your boundaries.
Accept yourself, whatever form you take as a person. Try to feel at peace with who you are and what you feel about yourself. When you fully accept yourself, in a positive way, it can free up your mind and allows you to just ‘be’ in life. We might not admit it to ourselves but generally we all want to be accepted for who we are and be allowed to live our lives in a non-judgemental and compassionate way. Self-acceptance is a step towards that.