Self-love is to accept yourself fully, to treat yourself with respect and kindness. When you nurture your growth and well-being, you are practicing self-love. When we give thought and time to how we treat ourselves as well as how we think, we can improve ourselves and our outlooks to life. Does this mean that we can come to a place where we feel good about ourselves all the time? No. In order to have a healthy balanced self-reflection, we will indeed need to see the good and the areas that need improvement. Each of us will always have areas where we exceed as well as areas that need improvement.
Do you question if you practice self-love often enough? If so, below are symptoms that could reveal you are in need of increased self-love practices. Do you find yourself thinking the below often?
- Beat yourself up for failures
- Focus on past failures
- Think you have no talents
- You are self-critical
- Feelings of unworthiness
- Lack self-confidence
- Fear of trying new things
Having these thoughts can not only prevent your growth but can also affect your relationships. Do you desire a more positive reflection of yourself? Today we will talk about ways you can increase your focus on positive and balanced self-love.
What are Self-Love Phases?
More than likely, if you suffer from lack of self-love, you can relate to multiple patterns listed above. Tackling them all at once could be overwhelming. Below we will discuss some phases of self-love that can be worked on a little at a time. Can you appreciate it when changes are broken down into bite sized pieces? Me too. So, let’s look at these areas and talk about ways to improve each one.
Phases of Self-love
Phase 1 is self-awareness. This phase is where we get to truly know ourselves and not just our “roles” we have in life. Ponder on your authentic self. What drives you or motivates you? What excites you or creates disappointment? What things saddens you or makes you angry? Knowing these things about yourself will help connect who you really are and what values you truly stand for.
Phase 2 is self-acceptance. In this phase you may recognize there are things you love about yourself, but also things you don’t like about yourself. Try to accept both without weighing either at this point. Give yourself grace. Remember the goal to discover the whole you. There is time to work on steps in changing the aspects you don’t like. If this phase has revealed to you for example, that you work and strive for one thing, and that makes you feel a certain way. Try to put your current goal on paper and accept that as “today’s version of you”.
Phase 3 is a self-confidence phase. In this phase you look at who you are and what you value, and you walk that out. As you are faced with decisions that go against what you listed as your true value, you make a different decision and celebrate that. You choose to not make decisions based on status or what others expect.
Phase 4, the last phase, is self-love, the reason for this post. This phase is where you have come to accept who you are, what you stand for and you praise yourself for doing so. You take small changes to carve out time for you. You reflect on the phases and how you are doing, tweaking inconsistencies. Choosing the values you have set for yourself. This is not a one-time process, this is a process that we have to revisit throughout our lives.
How Can I Self-Love?
This exercise can be hard. Don’t allow yourself to believe anything different. Life, upbringing and experiences can all affect how we think or perceive ourselves. We don’t have remain where we are though. We can take steps to change thought patterns or choices. We can own who we are and what we stand for. Then we can show ourselves love. If you are anything like me, you could use suggestions on how to do that. Read to self-love? Take a look below to some suggestions that could give you ideas.
- Start a gratitude journal or list
- Celebrate small wins (even reading this post)
- Limit time on social media
- Prioritize something you enjoy
- Speak to yourself as you would a friend
- Forgive yourself and move on. Write it out if you have to.
- No one is perfect. Ever. Believe that.
- Live for today, making it the best you can
- Spend time with a trusted friend
- Take quite time to remember who you are
- Embrace learning and trying something new
Overcoming lifelong patterns of being critical or living with low self-esteem can feel hard to overcome. Remember, it took your life up to this point to create what you have going on inside. It will take to overcome some of those things. That is ok. Today, make it the best day you can. Receive the highs and the lows of it. Add the highs to your gratitude list. If needed, process the lows. If they are outside of your control, write it down as a disappointment or whatever you feel and accept it.
What If I Need Help?
If you find you have fallen into a negative thought pattern again, do not beat yourself up. Expect it! Changes take time. As you make changes in how you deal with the thoughts, the thoughts can become fewer and change. It may help to review your phases again to remember who you are, what you stand for and love that person. You deserve it!
Sometimes we need someone to confide our thoughts to. Someone who can help us understand why we think the things we do. That’s ok if you do. Upstate Restorative Counseling is here for you. We can listen to your concerns and help you establish a step towards your goals for your life.