All too often we find people scrunching up their nose at the mention of self-love, as if it’s a bit cheesy and self-indulgent. But learning to love yourself is one of the most powerful and important things you can do in life. Your heart is your power and when you become the source of love in your own life it changes everything. Your relationships, your career, your health – they all flourish when you start to love yourself.
But while we all know deep down that it’s important to love yourself, we find the area that people get most stuck on is actually knowing how to do it.
At Project Love, we like to look at self-love as an art that can be practiced and mastered over time. When we practice self-love, we cultivate a loving and healthy relationship with ourselves and something magical happens – we become our own best friend.
As Oscar Wilde once said, “to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”.
So how do we start that romance? How do we learn to love ourselves?
Well here are 7 ways you can start practicing the art of self-love straight away:
1. Nourish yourself
If you’re totally new to the practice of self-love then start with focusing on nourishing yourself. Nourishing your body is the most basic form of loving yourself, so this week become mindful of what you put in your body – give it what it loves. Start your day with a green smoothie, treat yourself to a raw chocolate snack and make time to cook yourself a nutritious dinner full of superfoods. The way we feed ourselves reflects how we love ourselves. So get good at nourishing yourself and you’ll lay strong foundations to self-love.
2. Take yourself out on a date
If you’ve never taken yourself out on a date before then make this the month that you do it. Solo-dating is all about spending quality time with yourself and doing something special, just for you. It is one of the most powerful (and fun) things you can do when it comes to practicing self-love. By doing something special for yourself – something you’d only normally do with someone else – you’re giving yourself the love and attention you’d normally only give out to others. You’re finally turning your love in on yourself. We’ve had clients do anything from treating themselves to coffee and a cake at their favourite cafe to taking themselves away on a spa weekend. Whatever people do, they always come away buzzing from it.
3. Start a gratitude journal
It has been proven that just by writing down 5 things that you’re grateful for each day, you can train your brain to be more positive, treating yourself to an overall feeling of happiness. It is a key tool when it comes to practicing self-love because it has us step into an attitude of gratitude, love and abundance.
So buy yourself a notebook and at the end of each day, for the next week, write down 5 things you’re grateful for and see how good it feels to end your day this way.
And as well as giving thanks for things that have happened to you that day and the people in your life that you’re thankful for, also include yourself in your gratitude practice. Find at least one thing you can thank yourself for each day and you’ll see your relationship with yourself shift into an incredibly loving place.
4. Make your body happy
It is essential when learning to love ourselves that we focus plenty of time and attention on our bodies. How we feel in our bodies directly affects how we feel in ourselves. Often feelings of loneliness and lack of love actually stem from our own disconnect with our bodies. You want to keep that gorgeous body of yours feeling energised and full of vitality. So it’s important that as part of your self-love routine you do things that make you feel great in your body; whether that’s yoga, running, 80’s Aerobics or dancing like Beyonce (a particular favourite of ours)!
5. Express yourself
It’s so important to find ways to really express yourself and feel free to be totally you. Whether it’s dancing, writing, singing, painting, acting, sculpting, cooking, making music, sketching, DJ’ing, pottery or poetry – everyone has something that does it for them. It’s often something we did naturally as children. It’s always something that makes us feel fully alive.
So what is it for you? When do you feel you can really let go and be who you truly are? If it’s not something you do at the moment, then think back to earlier years. What makes you come alive and really connect with the deepest parts of yourself? Now go and make time for it in your life. Whether it’s unleashing your inner Rihanna on the dance floor, singing like no-one’s listening or painting in big bold brush strokes, just for the fun of it, it’s essential that you make time to do the things that allow you to really express yourself from the heart.
6. Write a loving letter to yourself
Pick up a pen and with the same love and fondness you’d write to a dear friend, write a letter to yourself. Write about the things in your life right now that make you happy and the people in your life that bring you joy, inspiration and kindness. Reflect on how you’re feeling, give yourself a pep talk if you feel you need one and document your dreams and wishes for the future. If there’s something in your life that you’re struggling with at the moment, see what advice and encouragement you can give to yourself, celebrate your achievements and sign your letter off with love. Then pop that letter in the post and enjoy receiving it a few days later!
7. Shower yourself in feel-good vibes
We have far more power than we often realise to generate the feelings we want to experience in life, no matter where we are or what’s going on around us. We just have to learn how to tap into those feelings. An easy way to do it is to think back to a time in your life where you felt full of joy, happiness, peace or fulfilment – whatever it is you want to feel – and then find a photo of you from that time that really reminds you of what it was like to feel that way, so much so that you start to feel that way again just by looking at the photo.
Now put that photo somewhere where you’ll see it every day: save it as your phone screensaver or print it out and stick it up on your bathroom mirror. Whenever you need a boost to your day, take a look at that picture and let yourself bathe in those feel-good vibes.
By Selina Barker