It’s all very well knowing we should love ourselves but how do we do it? Find out how with these 10 ways to build the self-love habit.
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
What a lovely quote from the unique and fantastically brilliant Oscar Wilde but what did you think when you read it?
Did you think that’s a clever little quip, or it’s a bit over the top or fanciful?
Maybe you think it’s narcissistic or you haven’t thought of loving yourself as a romance with yourself.
Whatever thoughts came to mind are an indication of your view towards you and self-love.
Self-love is an inner love and acceptance of who we are and how we are.
Last week we talked about what self-love is and why we all need it, in our blog posts and on the Changeability Podcast (episode 81). We looked at 6 ways or clues that show us we’re not being loving towards our self.
We understand what self-love is and why it’s good for us, we’re looking out for those times we’re not being self-loving, but how do we go from the ways we tend to behave where we’re not being loving to ourselves, to growing our self-love until it becomes the norm or a habit.
Give yourself permission to do what you want. Don’t wait for others to give you permission. You might think this doesn’t apply to you, but ask yourself if there’s anything you want to do in your life or at work where you’re waiting for someone else’s permission to do it. You might not have realised it before, but tacitly you’re waiting.
It can be more explicit or obvious in our close relationships. You seek someone’s permission before starting something new or maybe even to go out.
This isn’t about not caring about what your family, partner, boss or colleagues think. It’s about not holding back from being who you want to be or doing want you want to do because you’re scared or reluctant to ask or because you think you need someone’s permission. When often it’s an excuse for procrastination and you don’t need that permission at all – you only need your own permission. So give it to yourself.
Neglecting your own needs was one of the key signs for not loving yourself and this is the antidote. Make space in your life for you.
One practical way to do this is to make time for you. Carve out your own personal time to do something that pleases or excites you, or enhances you or your skills in or just makes you feel better.
This is a time when you put yourself first.
This doesn’t mean you don’t look after children or do your job well, but it does mean there is a time when you’re not putting other first.
When you create ‘you time’ you become a better parent, wife etc. You set a great example to your family and colleagues of one of the ways of being an effective person, and send a strong message that you matter and want to be treated as if you matter.
You matter enough to yourself to spend time on yourself and tend to your own needs and desires and they need to respect that. And they will respect that – even it it takes a little while to get you and them into the swing of it.
If you find this an uncomfortable prospect, ask yourself if rushing around, doing lots of things for others, however worthy, is feeding an underlying limiting belief (like I need to be busy or look after everyone else to be valued) or is it because you really want to do it.
Unless we’re talking about SMART goals you don’t normally hear us talk about being realistic. However, we’re not talking about a lack of ambition or not having big dreams or goals; this is about being realistic about what you can achieve in a given timescale.
Or to put it another way – don’t overstretch yourself or take on too much.
One of the times we hear our inner critical voice is when we get impatient or cross with ourselves that something’s taking us too long or we’re not as far along with a project as we think we should be.
However long you think something is going to take – double it! Or even triple or quadruple it depending on the sort of person you are. This is about self-knowledge.
Basically don’t give yourself so many things to do. Don’t think you can fit in ten things before you go out for that appointment when you’ve only got tine for two – you’ll either fall short and be disappointed with yourself or be late!
Examine your beliefs around being busy and time. Is your time something to be used or enjoyed? Do you feel that you have to be rushing around filling up every moment in order to be valued? Because let us tell you – you don’t.
This fits with the above three and is one very practical way to help you accomplish them – to choose you, create and use your time and curb your expectations of yourself.
Learning to say no is a very practical skill.
You learn it by doing it – but there are a couple of techniques to help you.
If you’re the a person whose automatic reaction is to say yes, then you want to break that automatic response – which is a habit.
One easy way to do this is to buy yourself some time .This doesn’t mean you won’t say yes to a request, but that you will not automatically say yes – without thinking about it.
To give yourself some time say ‘I’ll get back to you’ (if you might need a little while) or say ‘I’ll go and check my diary or calendar’. This gives you the option to think about it and obviously see if you have something on or not.
But it’s not just about if you are free, but if you actually want to say yes or not. Don’t just say yes because you’re free.
You can even practice saying no. Start with very small things, or when it doesn’t really matter. Once you’ve done it a few times it will get easier and you wont feel you’re letting people down.
Watch out for being a people pleaser and thinking that people will only like you if you say yes.
Much of the time we can be quite hard on ourselves – I should have done this or why didn’t I do that or can I do more or why didn’t I achieve that or why did I fail to reach that goal. This is not self-love and can be rectified by being kind and gentle on yourself.
Do you sometimes expect more from yourself than you do from other people? We often have higher expectations and standards of ourselves than we do of others.
But if you want to love yourself more – then accept you’re not perfect, and life will be a lot easier.
Perfectionism is a scourge and one to be avoided or downgraded. Doing a good job is great but there comes a point where it tips over into more than good enough to the detriment of you and your performance.
So be kind to you. Be gentle. Give yourself a break – both physically, in real terms but also figuratively speaking.
Your inner critic is never going to go away completely and that’s a good thing. It’s helping you stay safe and keeping you on your toes or on track, pointing out when something could be improved or isn’t helping you – but it can also be detrimental to your happiness and to loving yourself.
So accept your inner critic for what it is. An inner voice trying it’s best to help you out – albeit in a often misguided way. It is working from the confines of its experience of you and the world and that’s not your inner critics fault, it’s just a matter of fact. So you need to help it to see where it’s not helping you and retrain it to be more supportive and helpful.
Accept that your inner voice and critic is a part of you. And loving yourself also means loving this inner voice but that doesn’t mean that you need to accept everything it says or let it stop you making the changes you want in your life.
Be aware of it, listen to what it’s saying but don’t accept it as the truth. Examine it and take notice where it’s helpful or overrule it where it’s not.
You can even talk to your inner critic – ask it why it feels like that, thank it for it’s observations and opinions, answer back by suggesting ways in which you can modify your behaviour.
Sometimes it will be telling you the truth, maybe an uncomfortable truth, But often it’s reflecting the results of the experiences you’ve had throughout your life – particularly in your formative years. This experience might have left you thinking you’re not good enough in some way, or your behaviour is inappropriate or you’re veering into new and therefore dangerous territory.
Listen out for your inner critic, acknowledge it, see what’s underneath it, accept it, deal with it, negotiate or quieten and calm it. One of the best ways to raise your awareness and calm and quieten it is through our next suggestion.
One of the ways to address, put into practice and tick off the things we’ve talked about so far, is to be mindful and practice a simple form of meditation.
Because when you meditate you put yourself first – you are with yourself in that very moment – your mind might be thinking about a million things but you bring it back to the present moment and are aware of you.
This is your time – so you’re taking or creating some ‘you time’.
And you’re setting a specific time – however small that might be – to use for yourself and be realistic about it.
In that time during your meditation you’re bringing a calm awareness to yourself and what’s going on in you (including your inner voice) and around you at that time.
Look for what energises you. If you don’t know, search for it, find it and do it.
It might be something creative like drawing, painting, writing or speaking.
It might be something physical like playing a sport, swimming, dancing or walking – it might be taxing but could be gentle and be about getting your body moving or getting out in nature.
It might be something that gets your adrenaline pumping or where you get lost in the zone. For us it’s singing and being on stage – it’s thrilling and nerve wracking and fun and challenging and all those things – it’s not always a pleasant feeling but is ultimately energising.
That’s what you’re looking for – something for you that makes you feel alive
This incorporates making time for yourself and choosing yourself or putting your self first (not all the time but some of the time) and takes it a step further by taking a positive decision to develop yourself.
Congratulations because you could say that by reading this or listening to our personal development podcast you are doing this right now.
Developing yourself involves leaning a new skill or changing something you don’t like about you or your life or improve yourself. It takes effort but the effort is worth it – because by spending effort on yourself you show yourself that:
One of the keys to personal development is getting clear about what you want and then finding the best way to achieve it – and that means setting clear goals around what you want to achieve for yourself (and of course for your family and friends and community). There’s nothing more self-affirming than achieving something that means a lot to you.
So self-love means developing yourself – and at BrilliantLivingHQ.com you’re in the right place to do that. And we have something coming up soon if you want a systemised supported way of doing that – you find out more here.
Know you are enough – and believe it
Knowing you are enough is the start, and it’s a great start, but it’s one thing to know it intellectually and another to believe it.
That means taking it to the next level. The things we’ve been talking about will help you to know it – and as you make them part of your life you will come to believe it.
Because creating and building a self-love habit like any habit requires thought and action and repeated action until it becomes an automatic way of thinking and behaving.
And one of the best ways to accelerate this process of building a self-love habit is to use self-love rituals to implant the thinking and behaving.
But that’s for next week!
Episode 82 of the Changeability Podcast
Listen to episode 82 of the Changeability Podcast to hear us talking about all of this and more.
And if you like the show please let us know by email at hello@BrilliantLivingHQ.com and by leaving a review on iTunes – we love reading them!
If there’s somethine you know you’d like to change in your life then you’ll want to know about our forthcoming goals challenge! We’ll be sharing more about this soon but just want to let you know that if you want to be involved in the first group (and you surely do!) – you can sign up at BrilliantLivingHQ.com/goals to get on the list. We’ll send out more details when we have everything finalised. But it’s going to be exciting – or we’re excited anyway!
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