Consider this for a moment: Who is the most important person in your life?
Hmmm. Often when asked this, we say the people we love – our children, partner, friends or parents. I wonder how many of you said “I am”.
You are your world. And if this is so then it makes sense that you must be the most important person in your life.
However, we are not raised to put ourself first, to really love ourselves, to know we are special and worth caring for.
If you make yourself the most important person in YOUR life, then loving and truly caring for yourself becomes a high priority. Loving and appreciating yourself comes naturally. You become your number ONE and from there you are able to make the people you love the most important people in your life. Only when you truly love yourself can you love another.
For there to be more love, connection and care in our lives, we need to place our focus on developing a consistent practice of self-love and self-care.
If you don’t know where to start then here are some simple, practical tips you can use in your daily life.
1. Appreciate and Adore Yourself.
A great way to start practicing self-love and care is through appreciating who you are, what you do and your own unique qualities. Instead of criticising yourself focus on the things you like about yourself and constantly remind your self how special you are. Focus on the things that make you feel good or bring a smile to your face when you think about yourself.
Be gentle with yourself, practice kind thoughts and don’t be so hard on yourself.
Practice looking into your own eyes in the mirror and adoring who you are as if you were looking at a baby or a sleeping child.
Remember you are perfect just the way you are, you are beautiful inside and out, you are worthy of of love and that you love yourself.
2. Nourish your body, not just your taste buds
Instead of eating food that just tastes good, try finding the right foods that make your body feel exceptional. A great way to do this is to check in with yourself during and after you eat, see how what you are eating is making you feel. Is your energy high or low? Is your stomach feeling good or a bit off? Has your mood changed? Do you feel revved up or sluggish?
A great place to start is to cut down on your sugar, wheat, or dairy intake. These things tend to do more for our taste buds and less for our body and over all wellbeing. They also tend to alter how we feel, our moods and energy levels.
3. Exercise your body in ways that feel good
Find a form of exercise or movement that actually makes you feel good both during and after and you have fun doing. Often times we think of exercise as a chore or something we don’t enjoy but we do it because it benefits our health. We perceive exercise as flogging ourselves at the gym or pounding the pavement until we are totally out of breath and exhausted. But it doesn’t have to be that way – gently exercising and moving the body is all that is required. Try walking, swimming and light weight training.
A big part of self-love and self- care is looking after the physical body. Exercise gently and when your body says it has had enough, listen, honour and respect it – don’t push on stop your workout knowing you have done enough. Your body will thank you for it and love you back in return.
4. Pamper and nurture yourself
A true sign of self-love is treating yourself as if you would treat a loved one in your life. We often put ourselves out for others and forget about our own needs and desires. Give yourself time to pamper and provide ultimate self-care for yourself.
You don’t need to get a massage or spend the day at the spa. You can nurture yourself with a hot bath or long shower, by applying moisturiser or giving yourself a foot rub or self massage.
By all means go for a massage or a facial. But don’t forget to pamper yourself everyday.
Develop a consistent practice of giving yourself what you require to make you feel you are worth caring for.
5. Go on a date with yourself
Yes I know it seems odd, what do you mean go on a date with myself? This may seem uncomfortable because we’re not used to spending quality time with ourselves nearly as much as we are with others. Find something that you really want to do but have been putting off because you haven’t found someone to join you. Go out to a nice restaurant, watch your favourite movie, go to the theatre, go dancing, or get out into nature, have a walk along the beach. Make yourself breakfast in bed. Get creative, the options are endless.
Hug yourself. Try giving yourself a hug by wrapping your arms around yourself. Hold yourself gently, be delicate and tender with yourself.
Or just simply place two hands on your heart and take gentle breaths in and out through your nose. This helps you connect to who you are and lets the love start to flow again.
If you need a hug don’t be shy to ask for one.
7. Write yourself a love letter
Close your eyes and picture yourself as a child. What would you say to that innocent, beautiful girl or boy. What would you tell them about how great they are, how beautiful they are, how much potential and love they have inside. How they can do and be anything they want. You are that child.
From here, write yourself a letter expressing how much you love ALL aspects of yourself, how amazing you are. Let yourself go deeper and grander with every sentence that you write. Don’t hold back for you are incredible.
8. Stop beating yourself up
We cannot begin to truly love ourselves until we release any grudges or burdens we are holding onto. In order to be kinder to ourselves we need to release and dissolve the habit of being hard on ourselves. Be aware of when you do this, what negative self talk you have and reframe your thoughts. The more you practice this the more you will begin to feel at ease with who you are. We are not perfect, we make mistakes but don’t bash yourself for them as after all we are here to learn.
Practice being self-caring and self-loving everyday in all that you do. Soon it becomes more natural and consistent and the more you love yourself the more space there is for love!
Love is boundless and infinite, don’t be afraid of love because love can only ever love you back.