Exploring Self-Love, by Julia Sheridan
Self-love has become a trendy topic of discussion these days. You may read about it in a magazine while sitting in your dentist’s waiting room, it may pop up on your Pinterest feed, or maybe a friend of yours is telling you, “You need to love yourself more!” But what does all of that really mean? What is self-love? What does it look like? And why is it challenging to attain? Self-love can mean something different for each person because we all find happiness in different aspects of life. When you have truly achieved a feeling of self-love, you have a sense of wholeness, peace, and well-being. I have put together a number of steps to take in order to achieve self-love, regardless of who you are or what particular joys you get out of life.
Self-love does not have a monetary value. It is about healing, supporting and empowering ourselves. You cannot buy self-love and when an individual makes the mistake of associating self-love with money, it becomes unattainable. While pampering yourself or indulging in self-care activities (not the same as self-love) is okay from time to time, they are temporary satisfactions. Once the timer is up, you are back to square one, craving another feeling of satisfaction. Self-love, on the other hand, is continuously maintained through healthy habits, positive thinking and focusing on what truly makes you happy.
Another reason why self-love may be difficult to attain is because you focus on negative past experiences where you feel as though you have failed yourself or others. This was the case for me. I was so focused on thinking about bad experiences or failures from the past, it seemed like a never-ending horror movie that was just replaying in my head all day long. Obviously this feeling is not ideal and I knew I had to do something to change my perspective. So how do we do it? How can we take the steps to change our outlook to a more positive one and promote self-love?
We often compare ourselves as means of self-evaluation. Today this has become extremely easy and almost a daily ritual with social media always at our fingertips. However, comparing yourself to others is damaging to our sense of self because it fuels feelings of envy, inadequacy and low self-confidence. So, reserve some time out of your day to turn off social media and do something that fulfills you. Whether this includes going for a walk, reading a book or painting, you will feel more at peace by focusing on yourself instead of others.
Keep Yourself in Good Company
Surrounding yourself with individuals who genuinely care for you is a key factor in attaining self-love. When you are in the company of those who only want the best for your well-being, you adapt to these attitudes. Conversely, if you are hanging out with individuals who have a negative or jealous perspective, it is likely that your self-confidence will take a hit.
Build Healthy Habits
It is no secret that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can only benefit you. Be mindful of what you put into your body. Go for a jog after work. Sign up for a new yoga class. When you feed your body with healthy and nutritious foods, you will feel stronger both physically and mentally. Physical activity releases endorphins, which is known to make you happier and more at ease.
Do Something That Makes You Happy
It is important to take time to unwind and participate in a personal hobby. Hobbies are positive outlets that allow us to relax and relieve stress. If you like to play the guitar, play the guitar! If you like to cook, cook! There are so many activities to partake in as well as new ones to try.
Block Out Negative Thoughts
As I shared with you earlier, I had a period of time where it seemed all I had were negative thoughts. I kept trying to concentrate on blocking them out but I found that it didn’t quite do the trick. What worked for me was not focusing on blocking out the negative thoughts, but rather focusing on the positive ones. If you keep telling yourself “Don’t think negative thoughts! Don’t think negative thoughts!”, you actually still are thinking about them. Instead, focus on what makes you happy or what you are grateful for. I decided to keep a journal and at the end of the day I would jot down 3 things that I was grateful for. This helped me to maintain a positive perspective and appreciate what I have.
By integrating these steps into your life, even if it is just a couple at first, you will start to feel a sense of wholeness and empowerment. You will begin to realize that genuine happiness and self-love is not as far out of reach as you may have thought. I hope you found this article helpful and you all start becoming your happiest selves!