Self-Love and What It Means
What is self-love?
Before a person is able to practice it, first we need to understand what it means.
Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others. Self-love means not settling for less than you deserve.
Self-love can mean something different for each person because we all have many different ways to take care of ourselves. Figuring out what self-love looks like for you as an individual is an important part of your mental health.
What does self-love mean to you?
For starters, it can mean:
- Talking to and about yourself with love
- Prioritizing yourself
- Giving yourself a break from self-judgement
- Trusting yourself
- Being true to yourself
- Being nice to yourself
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Forgiving yourself when you aren’t being true or nice to yourself
For many people, self-love is another way to say self-care. To practice self-care, we often need to go back to the basics and
- Listen to our bodies
- Take breaks from work and move/stretch.
- Put the phone down and connect to yourself or others, or do something creative.
- Eating healthily, but sometimes indulge in your favorite foods.
Self-love means accepting yourself as you are in this very moment for everything that you are. It means accepting your emotions for what they are and putting your physical, emotional and mental well-being first.
How and Why to Practice Self Love
So now we know that self-love motivates you to make healthy choices in life. When you hold yourself in high esteem, you're more likely to choose things that nurture your well-being and serve you well. These things may be in the form of eating healthy, exercising or having healthy relationships.
Ways to practice self-love include:
- Becoming mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel, and want.
- Taking actions based on need rather than want. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
- Practicing good self-care. You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
- Making room for healthy habits. Start truly caring for yourself by mirroring that in what you eat, how you exercise, and what you spend time doing. Do stuff, not to “get it done” or because you “have to,” but because you care about you.
Finally, to practice self-love, start by being kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to yourself, the way you would with someone else that you care about.
- Written by Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. This blog post also appears on the Gravity Blankets Blog.
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