What is self-love? Self-love is caring for and about yourself. However, it is tough to love yourself when you have been through traumatic or difficult experiences. But, even the Bible teaches us that we are valuable and need to love ourselves. In Matthew 10:31, He tells us that we are more valuable than sparrows, and in James 2:28, He tells us to love our neighbor AS ourselves. This love involves caring for ourselves, respecting ourselves, and having a sense of self-worth. This is a process and not something that you can know how to do quickly. Especially when this was never truly role modeled to you by the adults in your life when you were a child, you may not even know what it is like to experience true unconditional love to be able to give that to yourself. There is hope and self-love is possible!
How can you begin to learn to love yourself? First, please know that it is a process, but the first step starts now. Begin by simply talking to yourself with kindness and compassion. Give yourself a break and give yourself grace. Next, accept yourself as you are in this moment, flaws and all. That involves you not judging yourself but simply being kind to yourself. Some more tips are below:
Use present-moment awareness.
Acknowledge and appreciate your strengths and abilities (make a list of these).
Reframe your inner critic to more rational thoughts (ex… I hate myself. Change to… I’m learning to accept myself as I am and have some strengths I am thankful to have.)
Put the phone down!! Take time to connect with family and friends that love & appreciate you.
Realize what is in your circle of control and let go of what is not.
Begin to take care of your body by eating healthier foods and exercising.
Take small “brain breaks” throughout your day using mindfulness exercises, stretching, and praying/meditation.
Set healthy boundaries.
Choose healthy relationships.
Finally, self-love begins with you showing compassion to yourself. I always say, “if you wouldn’t say it to a friend then don’t say it to yourself!”