The act of being kind to one’s self or “self-love” is fairly new to some people. Awareness spreads as it gets highlighted across digital media. The idea behind self-love is that you create an internal safe space to grow and thrive.
We all have that inner voice that we have created from our conscious thoughts. This inner voice is very powerful and has a connection to your unconscious mind. It has even become commonplace to believe that the “inner voice” brings to light all the negativity about one’s self.
However, your inner dialogue is only self debilitating or cynical if you don’t connect with yourself and yes, love yourself. Even the parts that aren’t compassionate, courageous, skilled, open, or adaptable. When you show yourself compassion, you spend less time judging yourself and more time creating an environment where you can trust yourself to be all the things your inner voice chastises you about.
Okay, so why is it important to be kind to yourself?
The act of measuring your actions, feelings, or experiences as "good or bad" creates an internal environment that's stressful. As much as you would love to believe it, nothing in life is that black and white.
When you limit yourself to that kind of thought process, you end up missing out. It is important to explore the reasons behind your actions or feelings.
This results in you limiting your personal growth. Emotions are simple but the thoughts behind them are not. They can be as creative as your imagination will let them be. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, you end up living in a story that you create for yourself around your feelings that are either good or bad.
What's the problem with a black and white view?
Well, if you do something you consider bad, you won't like yourself anymore. You'll slowly box yourself in and choose to miss out on all the awesome things life has to offer. All unconsciously of course.
The thing is, failure or negative emotions are a part of who we are as human beings. There's no need to put a value on that and equate it to your worth. Even if you mess up, you're still all the great things that you were before. Or are even better because of what you learn from your experience.
What if you already don't like yourself?
That's all about mindfulness. Everything you are is in your mind. Literally. Remember too that with imagination, you can create an entire world or person that doesn't even exist. That's why mindfulness is so important. Be present and aware. Think about why you feel the way you feel. How does everything connect to what you know and how does that influence your behavior?
What do we suggest as tips for self-love?
Forgive yourself for past mistakes.
Forgive others for hurting you. (Forgiveness is an act of kindness to yourself, not a trip down the same path to repeat your mistakes. People may not change and that's okay. Loving from a distance works just fine. Hating from any distance is not.)
Nurture your growth. (We never stop learning. Appreciate the process even if the outcome isn't what you desired. Keep growing)
Be open to new experiences. Be curious about your past ones. (Explore yourself and the world. We only have a short time here. Why waste it? Explore responsibly!)
Say anything kindly to yourself. (Speak to yourself as if you are a child who needs to be nurtured. Not like a bad dog who doesn't know any better and will never change until someone puts it down.)
Get help if you need it. (If you've tried everything and nothing has worked. Then get some help from a professional.)
Spend time by yourself doing something relaxing that you like. (For example. Yoga, writing, singing, dancing, or just getting a massage.)
Self-care. (Just pamper yourself. When you look good, you feel great.)
Be understanding. (We spend so much time trying to understand others. Why not use some of that on ourselves?)
Over time, the habit that is self-love creates an environment for you to excel. There is no downside to looking after you.
To some, self-love feels like a choice between themself and others. It isn't! There's more than enough love in you to give some to yourself and to share with others. When it comes to crossroads where you have to make that kind of choice because someone or something is hurting you too much, there is no choice really. You have to do what is right for you. Always.