Learning to love yourself is a journey, and it can be especially challenging for women in today's world. We are bombarded with messages from visual media and society that tell us we need to look and behave a certain way to be thought of as worthy, beautiful, and lovable.
Compounding these challenges, social media often presents us with unrealistic beauty standards, filtered snapshots of idealized lives, and sets the bar so high that no one can reach it. All of these factors can lead a woman to feel immense pressure, doubt herself, and beat herself up over expectations that were never right for her or even realistic to begin with.
So how can you learn to love yourself, and what steps can you take to nourish your body and soul? Here are six helpful and practical guide points to help you get started on this journey of self-acceptance, healing, and inner wellness.
Thing To Do For Self Love
Taking care of your mind and soul is a vital component of refueling for the week ahead, as well as giving yourself the attention and comforting routines that every woman needs. Finding a method of caring for your soul that resonates with you will look different for everyone.
Some women relax and recharge by walking in nature, others read a book or work on a hobby, while still others find prayer, yoga, or meditation helpful.
There is nothing selfish about taking time out of your day or week to recharge your mind, relax, and do something meaningful. Your self-care routine doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be rejuvenating and fulfilling for you. Take five to ten minutes every day to work this activity into your life, or an hour a week if the activity is more involved.
How can you get started? Make a list of things that you enjoy doing and make a conscious effort to incorporate them into your day. Invest in active wear if these activities involve exercise or time outdoors. Make sure to schedule time for yourself, no matter how simple the routine.
Loving Yourself Enough to Develop Your Strengths
While our weaknesses and perceived failings are some of the easiest things for us to notice about ourselves, studies show that positively focusing on our strengths is the best way forward when it comes to developing a healthy and vibrant self-image.
What do you enjoy doing? Which activities make you feel accomplished, talented, alive, and invigorated? Examine those areas of your life where your strengths shine, have been appreciated, or have made a difference in someone’s life, and choose to focus on and develop them.
Feel free to take a class or join an in-person group dedicated to learning or sharing the skills that make you feel alive. Does your local community college offer courses you’ve always been interested in? Can you use your skills around your neighborhood to help others?
By making our strengths your focus, you’ll direct your energy towards positivity, and learn to love yourself more. You’ll also notice and appreciate those things about you that make your lives and others’ lives more meaningful.
Challenge Negative Self Talk With Loving Affirmations
Overly critical internal monologue is one of the biggest obstacles to treating yourself with compassion. It's easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves that we're not good enough, smart enough, or accomplished enough. But these negative thoughts can become overwhelming, and can soon take center stage in our hearts and minds.
When negative thoughts begin to overwhelm you, challenge them by replacing them with positive affirmations. If you find yourself thinking “I’m just not good enough!” be gentler on yourself, and replace that notion with thoughts like
- I am capable and strong!
- I am going to do my best!
- I have many positive traits, and I believe in myself!
Positive and soothing affirmations can help improve your mental health, and allow you to value and uplift yourself more moment by moment. Pretty soon, the negative thinking will begin to ebb away, and healthier thoughts will fill in that space.
Keep Your Friends and Social Influences Positive
What messages are your friends and family sending you? Does spending time with them leave you feeling encouraged and uplifted, or depressed, anxious, and full of negativity? If your social circle is full of hyper-critical, anxious, or nit-picky people, these encounters can leave us drained and feeling worse about yourself.
Instead, surround yourself with people who allow you to feel encouraged, cared for, supported, and needed. Make efforts to seek out and spend time with those who share your interests, passions, and hobbies and who allow you to feel good about who you are.
Social and Emotional Boundaries are Necessary
This brings us to our next point; the importance of setting up healthy boundaries in our relationships and friendships. Take note of how your current friends and family circle make you feel and give yourself permission to limit or adjust those dynamics to minimize negativity or emotional exhaustion.
It’s also important that you give yourself permission to excuse yourself from activities or events which make you feel uncomfortable, or go against your values. Learning that you matter, too, often involves allowing ourselves to say “no” to things that violate our conscience, or make us uneasy. It’s also important to recognize your emotional and physical limits and say a polite yet firm “no” when events are becoming too numerous or involved for you to handle.
Setting boundaries can be difficult, especially if you're used to putting other people's needs first. But it’s important to remember that protecting and caring for yourself is not selfish. It's essential for your well-being, and it allows you to thrive and function healthfully in every area of your life.
Making Peace with Loving Myself
Life experiences have a way of helping us realize that we’re not perfect and that not every goal we have had is within reach. That is ok, and making peace with your imperfections can be a huge step in loving yourself more.
Instead of beating yourself up over the things that make you different, embrace them. If you find yourself comparing your life to others, stop. Take time away from social media if the negative comparisons are becoming overwhelming, and learn to let go of disappointments.
You’re not perfect, and at the end of the day, that is a good thing. Remember that imperfections are what make us human, and they allow us to connect and sympathize with others on a deeper level. When you make peace with your imperfections and learn to love yourself, you also embrace compassion, both for yourself and for those around you.