Self-love – we’ve all heard of it, but do we know what it truly means to embody it?
The Brain and Behaviour Foundation describes self-love as appreciating oneself through actions that support physical, psychological and spiritual growth. A state of self-love means valuing your happiness and well-being, taking care of your needs (and not sacrificing them to please others), and knowing what you deserve. It is important to know that self-love will look different for everyone – I suggest taking some time to figure out what self-love looks like for you, so you can practice this regularly and take care of your mental health. For example, self-love may look like eating nutritious foods that fuel your body, setting healthy boundaries or even taking time away from your phone.
It may feel uncomfortable when you first start to practice self-love, as we often spend time criticising ourselves rather than loving ourselves. However, a simple way to start is by treating yourself as you would treat someone you love, with kindness, patience, compassion and gentleness.
The Brain and Behaviour Foundation also suggests practising self-love by implementing the below:
- Practice mindfulness to become aware of what you think, feel and want
- Act based on what you need rather than want. This should help you steer clear from old behaviour patterns that may not be benefiting you
- Practice self-care. When you take good care of yourself you can experience a greater sense of self-love and value. This may look like eating well, moving your body, getting adequate sleep and having healthy social interactions.
- Develop healthy habits because you love yourself, not because you have to. If you are practising healthy habits because you think you are deserving of them, you are more likely to stick to them and carry them throughout life, rather than them being a quick fix or a fad.
Self-love is an ongoing practice, and we might not always get it right, but the most important thing is that we honour ourselves and our worth and continue to work on these self-love practices. So, I encourage you to take some time to figure out what self-love means to you, and how you can practice it.