Do you love yourself? If you have never asked yourself this question, today could be a great opportunity to reflect and work on creating a loving relationship with yourself.
Let’s start with the basics: what is self-love? Self-love is a “regard for yourself, your well-being and your happiness”.
We may think we know everything about ourselves and how to care for ourselves, but sometimes we haven’t really had a chance to take an in-depth look into what our body and mind need to be able to thrive, or at our emotions in order to achieve a state of balance.
Looking after yourself and your well-being requires acceptance, an awareness of body and mind, and compassion. Time for reflection is important as well as taking mindful breaks to check in with yourself and your feelings.
Happiness and well-being depend on physical, psychological and emotional balance. When our needs are met, we can live life to the full. The beauty of self-love is self-reliance: we don’t have to rely on other people to be happy. When we love ourselves we realise we are enough, we are perfect and we are whole.
What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is a path of self-discovery: embarking on this journey requires you to make space in your life for quiet reflection and to access your inner resources such as creativity, strength and resilience. Spending time alone and focusing on your inner self allows you to have a healthy relationship with yourself.
Self-love is non-judgemental and unconditional:
- A non-judgemental attitude can help shift negativity and see things for what they are. For example, when you love yourself, you don’t focus on your weakness or shortcomings, you must see yourself as an individual and learn to appreciate your best qualities.
- Your flaws are what make you who you are: a human. You acknowledge how you feel and then move forward to continue on your path.
- Through breathing and visualisation, you can let go of negative emotions that don’t serve your life’s purpose. This process becomes easier through practice.
- Unconditional love is limitless. Sometimes we put conditions to love: we’ll love ourselves if we lose weight, if we get a better job, if we find a new partner. However, if we forget about all these conditions and decide simply to love (ourselves and others), we will notice that life flows more smoothly.
Treating Yourself Like Your Best Friend
You set the bar for how people treat you by how you treat yourself. Sometimes it’s easier to love other people more than loving yourself. Parents, for example, may instinctively put their children first and may risk neglecting their own health, thinking that loving oneself is selfish.
If you take care of yourself, you’ll notice subtle positive changes in all areas of your life, including relationships. You can make a commitment to treat yourself like you would your best friend.
When a friend is feeling low, you want to help and be there for them. When you feel tired or stressed, you can scan your body for areas of tension. Be there and be present to notice sensations. You can then act on those observations by changing unhealthy habits or prioritising sleep, over watching a TV series late at night.
Here are a few suggestions to help you be kinder to yourself:
- Plan regular breaks during the day
- Cut down on caffeinated drinks
- Limit excess salt and sugar
- Make time in the evening to wind down before going to bed
- Include 10 minutes of meditation, dance or Sophrology in your day
You can also refer back to our previous article as a useful guide to accompany you throughout the whole year.
Your mind and body will respond better with adequate rest, wholesome foods and more positive thoughts. You can nurture self-love by gently shifting your thinking, focusing on what you are grateful for, experiencing the vitality in your body and having a sense of compassion for yourself.
Instead of neglecting yourself or putting yourself last, you can make regular self-care appointments in your diary. This could be as simple as scheduling 10 minutes a day to do calming breathing exercises so you can align and connect with your true self.
Loving Yourself More
The best way to love yourself more is to step into your power. Self-love is actually a very strong energy that will support yourself, your life and the people around you. In Sophrology there is an exercise that we call “tuning into your vital power.” Sophrology combines relaxation, breathing, body and mind awareness exercises and gentle movements to help you reach a state of balance and cultivate a positive connection with yourself. During this exercise, we tune into our body and using our breath, we learn to stimulate what feels pleasant and alive in ourselves. People who practise Sophrology find it very liberating to spend time meditating on what feels good, works well and empowers us when our eyes are closed, as it shows them an easier path to connect with themselves and transform tensions and blockages.
By cultivating self-awareness you can learn to be happier with yourself and your life and to manage your emotions. Sophrology is a useful tool to access your inner resources, learn to suspend your judgement and develop a better appreciation and understanding of yourself.
We can take inspiration from former US First Lady Michelle Obama, who says in her book Becoming:
“It’s all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there’s more growing to be done.”
The way we feel about ourselves is a reflection of how we see and relate to other people. For example, if you have negative thought patterns about yourself, you may encounter more negativity in your interactions with others.
Self-love is a journey, a path, that is part of expanding your consciousness. When you work on yourself and commit to loving yourself more, you start appreciating who you are and start living according to your own values.
Tune Into Your Positive Power Exercise
Confidence, joy and energy are all inner resources that are already within you, you only need to learn how to access them whenever they are required.
A few mindful minutes to notice the sensations in your body and regulate breathing can induce a sense of relaxation and promote a positive connection. If you notice any pain or tension, you can use the breathing to relax a specific area.
The above exercise is usually part of a simple sequence of exercise we do at the beginning of a Sophrology practice. You can find these exercises in the book The Life-Changing Power of Sophrology which comes with audio exercises.
At the end of the exercise, you should be able to feel a shift in energy, mood or body awareness. Over time as you repeat those exercises, you may notice that the way you perceive yourself has changed and you are inviting more positivity into your life. You can also find the guided relaxation and visualisation sequences in our online course Relax, Reset and Overcome Stress.
If you feel you need more guidance you can get in touch via email to [email protected] to book a consultation.