What better time than Valentine's Day to talk about love? I wanted to dedicate a post to talking just about self-love and its importance. The idea of it never crossed my mind until I found myself in a toxic relationship when I was 16 years old. I never felt like I was good enough for this person, and when there were problems in our relationship, I blamed myself. It made me insecure and often fed my anxiety. I couldn't stand the person I became when I was with him, and that should never be the case in any relationship. I'm grateful to have someone like my mother to have taught me the significance of giving myself the love that I so freely gave to everyone else. It's not selfish, trust me. While it's important to radiate love everywhere we go, when it comes to relationships and friendships, we must be confident and able to appreciate ourselves before we expect someone else to appreciate us. I have compiled a list of things to do to show yourself a little more live each day.
Steps to practicing self-love:
1. Practice gratitude
Spend a few moments a day being grateful for all of the big and little things in your life. Show gratitude for things like the sun coming out while you were walking to class because it’s another beautiful day that you got to live to see, or a text message you received from your mom this morning because it shows that she was thinking about you. These are things that should not go unnoticed! More importantly, be sure to show gratitude towards yourself and all of the things you have accomplished! We often set really high expectations for ourselves, and while it’s good to push yourself, remember that you’re human too. Maybe you ran today, but couldn’t beat your mile time, and that’s okay. You have a strong and healthy body that is capable of running a mile, and that in itself is something to smile about!
2. Learn to say no
In high school, I was always the girl that would take on new projects and extracurriculars every week. It’s great to be involved, but know where to draw the line. I ended up spending more time at my high school doing clubs and working on plays than I did at home. I loved it, but I didn’t eat well or sleep nearly as much as I should have and it really took a toll on my health (both physical and mental). Learn to manage your time and say no to projects that you know really don’t fit in your schedule. Don’t spread yourself too thin! I always thought it was better to be dedicated to a few things that you know you can give 110% to rather than be involved in a million things that you can only put 50% into.
3. Take care of yourself
Show your body a little love! Put foods in your body that make you happy and give you energy. Find a workout regime that you enjoy and can keep up with daily. Put the phone and computer away at least 45 minutes before you go to bed to ensure you get a good night's rest. Meditate daily. Time to yourself is SO important. Every Sunday night, I like to make sure I reserve a little time to take a shower, put on a face mask, drink some tea, watch a movie, and go to bed early. It’s my way of resting and recharging before the craziness of the work week starts up again.
No, I don’t mean go on a juice cleanse or try one of those trendy “skinny teas.” I mean get rid of the things that don’t serve a true purpose in your life. Clean out your closet and donate the clothes you know you don’t wear anymore. Get rid of the excess clutter on your desk. Leave the relationships in your life that don’t inspire you to grow, or to create, to become a better person. I know it’s probably easier said than done, but I promise it makes all the difference. Relationships and friendships shouldn’t be forced and they shouldn’t be difficult to maintain, so don’t waste your time and energy on people that hold you back. The people in your life should want to see you succeed because your happiness means their happiness. Sometimes you realize that it’s not the actual person that you’re going to miss, but the memories that you created with that person, and that’s totally normal. Learning to let go of the toxic people in your life is the ultimate way of practicing self-love. How can you expect anyone else to love you if you don’t even love yourself?
5. Spend time doing what you love
A little cliché, but life is way too short to not do what you love and love what you do. Do something for yourself! Don’t get into the habit of doing things that will make other people happy, and don’t seek approval from anyone else. Whatever it is that makes you smile until your cheeks hurt and makes you feel warm and bubbly inside, do it. Do everything with so much love in your heart that you feel like you could burst.
"If I asked you to name all of the things you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?"