How to Cultivate Self-Love

Have you ever been told that you should love yourself more? Some people say that you can’t really love another person if you don’t love yourself first or that loving yourself can protect you from being hurt. But self-love doesn’t always come naturally. If you’ve faced trauma, criticism from people you love or systemic discrimination and prejudice, self-love may be a difficult goal

You don’t have to give up on self-love, however. You can take positive steps to cultivate your own self-love and self-esteem, which will in turn make it easier for you to build uplifting relationships. Take a look at some tips for cultivating self-love.

What Is Self-Love?

Self-love is more than just feeling good about the way you look. It’s a deep understanding and acceptance of yourself on every level: physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual. When you love yourself, you take actions that support your growth and direct you toward a sense of purpose. People with self-love are able to forgive themselves when they mess up, understand both their strengths and weaknesses, and treat themselves with compassion. As a result, they’re more likely to live fulfilling lives.

Ways to Cultivate Self-Love

Understanding yourself, taking time for self-care and cutting yourself a little slack when you drop the ball are all fundamental to cultivating self-love. Among the practices you should turn into habits are the following.

Forgive Yourself

Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone is able to move past the self-condemnation that can accompany mistakes. When you punish yourself for errors, whether large or small, you hinder your own growth as a human being. Self-forgiveness can open the door to emotional healing, as well as to making amends to people you may have harmed. When you forgive yourself, you accept the fact that you’re not perfect and you move closer to self-love. Often, forgiving yourself means understanding the ways in which your everyday reality may be letting you down, and it also means focusing on what you’re learning from negative situations.

Set Boundaries

It can be hard to say no when people ask you to do things that drain you in any way — but doing so is a crucial element of self-love. It’s okay to step away from a relationship that makes you feel bad or to refuse to answer your work phone or email on your day off. Setting boundaries or limits is vital to your psychological health, and it can even be necessary to protect yourself physically. You are worth too much as a person to give your energy away to people who make you feel inadequate or unworthy, even if they’re from your birth family. Practice setting small boundaries at first (ending a discouraging phone conversation, for instance), and make your limits clear to help yourself thrive emotionally.

Take Care Of Yourself

When you’re physically healthy, your emotional and psychological health receives a much-needed boost. Take the time for yourself through getting enough sleep, spending time with people you love, eating well and getting regular exercise. The temptation to spend all your energy on your job or your family can be a strong pull away from the self-care that you need and deserve. If you have dealt with trauma or discrimination in your past, you may find it tough to consider yourself worthy but you are. Seek therapy if needed, and prioritize your own needs.

If addiction is one of the reasons your self-love is flagging, we’re here to help. Contact us today to see how we can open the door for you to get back on the path to recovery and wellness.