Your relationship with yourself is the longest and most important relationship of your life. Taking care of you is not selfish or a luxury, it is self-preservation. Think of it as putting on your oxygen mask on an aeroplane, before helping others to do so.
You are better equipped to show kindness to friends, work colleagues and romantic partners, when you love yourself. People who love themselves are magnetic and have the confidence to go after what they want. If you have low self-esteem, or self-worth, it a state of mind that can be challenged with a little work.
Here’s 10 steps to fall head over heels with you:
1 – Find out who you are
Create a Pinterest board of your ‘brand’, things that you love, images, hobbies and colours that resonate. What do you like? What would you do if money was no object? How would you describe yourself?
2 – Remember you’re doing your best
Write a list of three things you are proud of yourself for at the end of each day, no matter how small. Did you meet a deadline or reach out to an old friend? Celebrating the small victories each day will remind you that you are on the right track.
3 – Blast yourself with compliments
Write a list of 50 things you love about yourself and stick it on your bedroom wall or mirror, you’ll see these so often you’ll start to remember these qualities. They can be anything from looks to achievements to how you handled situations.
4 – Spend quality time with you.
Go to galleries alone, travel alone, and look forward nights in a good book. Take yourself on dates and treat yourself how you would a close friend. Put dates in the diary and make ‘you time’ non-negotiable. If you learn to enjoy your own company, you will find you will only let others into your life who actively enrich it.
5 – Switch up your relationship with food and exercise
Don’t diet, eat to nourish your body. Listen to whether you are hungry, rather than eating for emotional reasons. Try to incorporate some kind of movement into your day. Don’t exercise to be skinny, do it because you love your body, and also listen when it needs rest. Be thankful that it carries you every day.
6 – Forgive yourself
You are not the sum of your mistakes and holding on stops progression. Write down things you’re not proud of on a piece of paper, next to this write down how this situation could be viewed in a positive light. Did you learn from it?
7 – Remove negativity from your life
If there are behaviours or vices you have that lead to negative thoughts, can you stop them or cut down? Do you drink too much, or spend too much time on Instagram? Or are there people in your life who tend to bring you down? Aim to spend less time with them or explain how their actions make you feel.
8 – Schedule in a digital detox
Connect to you, turn off your phone for a few hours each week and spend time walking in nature, meditating, practising yoga or journalling.
9 – Build self-esteem by doing estimable acts
Volunteer, donate to charity, smile at a stranger or help out a family member. Embody the characteristics of people you admire.
10 – Set goals
Ask yourself where you would like to be in 5 years and list the small steps you could take to get there. Achieving goals will help you to increase your self-esteem.
If self-love is something that you are really struggling with then consider asking for professional help. Psychological therapies like counselling and CBT are available on the NHS and can help target negative thought patterns.