The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Yet, how often have you heard yourself say, "I am my own worst enemy"? If your goals involve raising your confidence, ending depression, moving beyond diets or overeating behaviors, or just plain wanting to live a happier, fulfilled life, you have to know what self-love looks like. Learn how to define self-love and then how to bring it into your own life!
Oscar Wilde once stated, "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." Love is a mystery and not easily definable. However, it does have certain characteristics. Self-love is a consuming passion for your own happiness. It is an ongoing choice you make to be glad to alive, here on Earth, in your own body.
Self-love occurs when you decide who you are and what you want is important. It is an inner state of being which develops as you decide it is all right to build a kind, sensuous, and meaningful partnership with your self. Self-love involves deciding to connect with your dreams and then supporting yourself with encouraging thoughts and empowering self-supportive actions.
Self-love is not so much a feeling as it is a decrease of self-doubt and self-disapproval. It involves an ever-growing sense of balance and belonging. Respect, responsibility for self, and feeling good are important values. Self-love means that your well-being matters to yourself unconditionally and in practical terms. The following are some characteristics of self-loving people:
- Self-loving people focus on feeling good.
- Self-loving people allow themselves to be happy and to share this with others.
- Self-loving people tend to treat themselves well.
- They see enjoyment of life as a primary goal most of the time.
- They do not remain in mistreatment by others.
- They are caring towards others. (Because it feels good to do so).
- They put themselves first. Even those they love are a "close second."
- They find a thought that feels good, and practice it.
- They let themselves succeed.
Basic Principles of Self Love
- Who you are is more important than what you are.
- You are valuable. Nothing can change that.
- What you want always matters.
How to Develop and Nurture Self-Love
Increasing your love of self involves an intention to become more self-loving and then following up this intention with reinforcing actions. An intention involves a conscious decision to be happier and more fulfilled in your own life. You make a new decision to be alive . . . and then accept personal responsibility to make your life a better, more enjoyable experience. It may take considerable effort to pry yourself out of a life that feels less than joyful, but it is entirely possible to have the kind of life you want for yourself.
Below are some practical ideas of how to begin expanding your love of self:
- Acknowledge and verbally praise yourself - use affirmations.
- Have fun more often.
- Learn new ways to relax and release tension.
- Practice conscious, deep, full-bodied breathing several times each day.
- Think inspiring thoughts.
- Instead of always focusing on the problem, decide to focus on desired outcomes.
- Fill your life with beauty, such as times of silence, beautiful music, flowers.
- Raise your confidence by taking daily small, achievable actions steps that support your goal.
- Acknowledge your efforts and your successes.
- Reward yourself daily.
- Listen to your intuition and then follow it.
- Let yourself succeed.
- Nurture yourself by imagining desired outcomes to life's situations.
- Offer yourself affection in many, many different ways.
- Choose to think thoughts that bring inner peace (rather than worry).
- Remember and feel gratitude.
Love may be a mystery. The good news is that the art of increasing self-love is not so mysterious. In fact, it is something you can learn through knowledge and practice. Imagine your self-love as a seed inside of you. Even if it is just a tiny, unnourished, seed right now, you have the ability to grow that seed into something spectacular. The growth of your self-love is not going to happen overnight. However, by taking certain actions, your seed will most assuredly grow. Today, make a commitment to yourself to nurture your inner seed of love. Ask yourself, "How can I be more loving to myself today?" Use your imagination and come up with several possibilities. Then, follow through with your thoughts and put them into action. Do this every day, and watch as you begin to create the loving life you deserve.
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