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  • Writer's picturelindecatherine

Learning to love yourself

We all crave being loved and taken care of by others. It is part of our human nature. However, we cannot always control how others treat us, but we can control how we treat ourselves.

People often neglect self-love. We tend to prioritize the needs of others above our own. We often sacrifice our feelings and emotions to please others and make others feel comfortable. We give others the love we don’t even give ourselves. This is a flawed perception to have.

Of course, it is important to treat others well and take care of them. However, that does not mean that in the process of making others feel loved, we should forget about our own needs and emotions.

Remember, you are the only person that will be with you every second of the day, every moment of life.

It is very hard to learn to love ourselves and take care of ourselves. But with time and practice it will become natural.

Sadly, often the concept of “self-love”, is seen as being selfish or self-indulgent. This is not the same thing. Self-love involves accepting yourself as you are and treating yourself with love, compassion, and kindness while also being considerate of others. Selfishness is about only caring for oneself without any thought for the needs of others. Developing a loving relationship with yourself is very important for your mental health and also for your relationships with others.

It is very difficult to say that you love yourself when you have an eating disorder. Your mind tells you that you are not worthy of love. I went through this. Now that time has gone by, I can tell you that your mind is wrong. You are lovable. You deserve to be taken care of. You have value.

There were several things that I did during my journey of learning to love myself that helped.

Firstly, every morning or evening I would look in the mirror and compliment myself. It did not have to be about my appearance, it could’ve been about my personality or something I’ve done. Slowly, I started to notice that I began to compliment myself throughout the day. Eventually, in a few months, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw a different person: a happier and more confident one.

Also, every day I would write in a journal one thing that made me happy that day. It was something someone told me, something I’d seen on the street, or something I’d seen myself. As I write things down, I began to appreciate all the positive things more, I noticed that there is something good in every day. My outlook on the world changed. It became more cheerful.

Here are a few more tips on how to practice self-love

1. Acknowledge your feelings

It is very important to understand what you are feeling and why. Allow yourself to be sad. No one is always happy. As a matter of fact, it is impossible. Sadness is as much a part of our life as happiness is. They complement each other. Embrace all of your emotions. Think about what they stem from and then target the origin.

2. Say “no” to others

Saying “no” often feels hard. We don’t want to disappoint or upset others. However, sometimes saying “no” is exactly what we need. It is one of the best forms of self-care. Don’t force yourself to do something that you don’t want, or that you know might make you feel bad. This also means that you need to learn to say “no” to that voice in your head that tells you to do something harmful to your well-being.

3. Treat yourself

Sometimes we see treating ourselves to something nice as a waste of money, an unnecessary action. This should not be that way. Treating ourselves is equally important as treating others. If you want to go on a date, take yourself. If you want to receive flowers, get them for yourself. It is a different feeling from getting it from others, but it also is heartwarming. In the beginning, it might be hard to overcome the mental block of treating yourself. It might seem foolish, but afterward, it will become much easier.

4. Cut yourself some slack

We would never criticize a friend for making a mistake like spilling coffee or breaking a glass, but we beat ourselves up for even smaller things. It’s impossible to always be perfect, flawless. Allow yourself to lean back, make mistakes, and not achieve the perfect result. It is natural.

5. Detach yourself from social media

Remember, social media is not true. It allows people to show only what they want the world to see. This usually includes only the good aspects of life, not the bad or ugly ones. It can be overwhelming to always face the “perfect” influencers. See how everything seems to be going great for them. This is not the reality!! Give yourself a moment to separate from the virtual world and live in the moment.

Self-love is liberating, but it also requires dedication and effort. The process will not be perfect. There will be ups and downs, but with patience, things will change. You will think differently about yourselves, but so will others see you as a more cheerful and pleasant person.

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