What is self- love?
What does it mean to you?
Where did the term even come from?
I had not heard of this term before when I was younger, so I looked it up on google, as you do, and all I could find were references to self-esteem, because in essence that is what self-love is. It is your self-esteem, how you feel about yourself, what you think about yourself, how you treat yourself.
Self-love starts or should start from the love and attention you are given as a child from your parents and loved ones, your environment and so forth. But nearly all of us will have had experiences when we were younger that affected our self-love/esteem.
A lot of us will have learned that love and attention were given to us for the things we did, like good grades as opposed to just being yourself. Some of us will have struggled with how we looked or felt, and some of us may have experienced bullying.
There will be people who struggled with their self-love because of issues formed in adulthood that have affected them having love for themselves.
I suffered from low self-esteem as a youngster. Family life was very difficult, shall we will say and being taught to have love for yourself wasn’t high on the menu at home.
So, I was that kid who was afraid to put his hand up in class, too shy to talk to the girls and wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose.
As a teenager and young man, I searched for confidence externally. I sought validation from external sources which resulted in me hanging around with the wrong crowd and becoming a people pleaser and a sheep.
Then I discovered my spiritual side from meditation, yoga and the law of attraction and I learned to believe in myself and then love myself for who I am, such as being a non-stop talker. Something that I was constantly told was a bad point of mine, but I learned to embrace it and even make a career out of it.
Now I work with people to help them find self-love because I hate to see people how I was and would love to see them love life like me. Happy and carefree. (well most of the time).
The first step to finding self-love is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the first step to a breakthrough.
I truly believe as adults when we realise our self-esteem was affected, (in childhood or adulthood), by someone or something. We have a duty to ourselves to recognise what caused us to feel low about ourselves and then find solutions to instil self-esteem. I hear people saying all the time ‘I have no confidence because……….’
I always say ‘OK, I hear that…That’s must have been awful for you…….But what are you doing about it now?’
I believe that, say for example, if your father said hurtful comments to you as a kid. You have no excuse to let those comments affect you as an adult. You are no longer that person. It’s a part of your life, but it is not your life. It is not you. To continue to live by a story created in the past is to choose to suffer. The experience was not nice. That doesn’t mean your life has to be the same. There has to come a time when you realise you can be strong (again).
The secret to self-love is to love yourself unconditionally. You need to form a loving relationship with yourself.
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever have in your life.
You will spend every waking moment (and sleeping time) with yourself. So, you need to be happy with who you are. You need to feel comfortable in you your own skin.
Be unapologetically you, stop waiting for permission to be happy in yourself. If being unkind to yourself was going to work. It would have worked by now. You do not need anything to love yourself. You don’t need cars, houses or lovers and fancy clothes and holidays.
You need to find self-love through constantly working on yourself. Keep filling up your cup, until your cup runneth over. I have compiled the seven secrets that helped me find self-love.
These are my seven secrets to self-love.
Bringing these secrets into your life, will enhance your self- esteem and enable you to flourish as the unique and wonderful human being you are meant to be.
- Appreciation. Appreciation of who you are, what you are, what you do, what you stand for, appreciate your good points and don’t hide them away. If you ask the average Brit to name something they like about themselves and something they don’t, you can guess which one generally gets emphasised. You have a duty to appreciate yourself so that others can appreciate you too. So, let your guard down and let people in and accept compliments. You are unique. So, let your light shine bright.
- Acceptance. Acceptance of yourself. Let go of comparisons and expectations and accept who you are. What others think of you is not your business. And if others can’t accept you for who you are, then they don’t deserve to be in your life. Embrace who you are, including your imperfections, and accept the things you cannot change. The things that cannot be changed, cannot be changed, so what is the use of pondering on it, complaining and moaning. Feeling sad and upset won’t change anything.If you can change something, then take action, and be courageous.
If you cannot bring acceptance to yourself, then ask for the serenity to accept the things you cannot change. Accept your life and that it and you are not perfect.
- Be kind to yourself. You are not your mistakes or your trials and tribulations. Spend time with and on yourself being kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you do your best friend. If your best friend was hard on themselves, what would you say to them?Reframe your negative self-talk.
Learn to think for yourself and not take on board the comments of others.
Be with people who bring you up, places that make you happy. Get out of your head and into your heart and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Beating yourself up or feeling guilty isn’t going to work. Neither is blaming yourself for your or someone else’s behaviour towards you. If someone treated you or is treating you wrong, be nice to yourself and leave them out of your life.
- Looking after yourself. You have to take care of yourself. Perform daily and nightly rituals such as meditation and visualisation, and positive affirmations.Take pride in your appearance.
Train your mind daily
Exercise your body
Eat properly and regularly.
Get the right amount of sleep.
- Value your contribution and purpose to the world. Find out what your purpose is to the world and marvel in it, be in love with it, cherish and adore it.What are you passionate about? That is your sense of purpose, and you need to live it and own it. If you are a really busy person, then make sure to factor in time to fulfil your passions.
What actions are you taking with your passions?
Do you have more than one purpose/passion?
- Daily gratitude. If you are grateful, you cannot be sad at the same time.Live with an attitude of gratitude.
Keep a journal and write down at least one thing you are grateful every day, and then think about it and really feel the gratitude.
- Help others from the bottom of your heart.Helping others from the bottom of our heart makes us feel good and the ones we have helped. So, go out and help others and bring some warmth to your heart.
Try carrying out a random act of kindness.
Seven secrets to bring self-love hurtling into your life.
This blog is written by life coach Damian Duguid. He offers a free discovery call where he gives you his strategies (not included in this article) that will embed the learning from the secrets given above.