Can I ask you a question?
How much do you love yourself?
Do you practice self-love? Do you even know what self-love is?
To be honest, it took me a while (read years), to actually work out what self-love is.
If you’re anything like me, you may have read the words ‘self-love’ and thought, “Ainslie, that sounds so fanciful and kind of self-absorbed. I’ve heard it all before….you need to love yourself before you can love another blah blah blah.”
But self-love is more than that.
To me, self-love is being your own best friend.
Self-love = acts of kindness to yourself (not a random, one off act of kindness.).
It’s not about being selfish or narcissistic, it’s about truly connecting with yourself, your overall well-being and happiness.
It’s about honestly asking yourself “What do I need right now?”
“What do I need right now to SURVIVE and FLOURISH?”
Self-love helps you over come all the negative self-beliefs and fear so you can live the life that you desire.
It wasn’t until I moved to Hong Kong that I really embraced the whole practice of self-love.
When I arrived I wasn’t overly happy, I was super critical of everything I did and I definitely didn’t take care of myself.
But I found that once I started to be kinder to myself and to really be my own best friend everything seemed to significantly improve!
If you’re still unsure of what self-love is or you don’t know where to start with flooding yourself with self-love, I’ve put together a plan below to help you get started.
7 wonderful ways that you can practice self-love
1. Practice Self-Care
Looking after your physical needs is probably the most obvious self-love practice, but it’s so important to building up your self-love muscle.
Nourish your body with healthy foods you enjoy and move your body in a way that makes you feel alive and energised.
Listen to your body when you need to slow down and make sleep a priority. And if you feel you need your hair done or a nice relaxing facial, do that too!
For me self-care is comprised of a heap of little things like moisturizing my body after I shower, remembering to drink water, meditating and writing in my journal every morning and to even get up from my desk once and while!
When you are looking after your physical needs I can guarantee you’ll love yourself more.
2. Learn to Say ‘No’
I understand that saying ‘no’ can be hard, especially for women. But when you start to say ‘No’ and set boundaries around work, relationships and other activities your self-love muscle grows.
Look at where certain activities or commitments are draining you physically, emotionally and spiritually and place some firm boundaries around them.
By saying ‘no’ you are stating to the world that you truly do value yourself and everyone else should too!
3. Learn to say ‘Yes’
On the flip side to saying ‘No’ it’s important you practice self-love and say ‘Yes!’
Often we hold ourselves back and opt-out of opportunities because we are either afraid or don’t want to hand over control.
A friend recently told me that she didn’t want to go to the beach with a group of work colleagues because she really didn’t feel comfortable in her swimsuit. Deep down, she desperately wanted to go and join in but she was fearful of what others may think.
By opting-out and hovering around the edges of our comfort zone we are refusing the great gifts that life offers.
Life is short so always say ‘Yes’ for YOU.
4. Surround Yourself With Loving Support
It’s vital to have the right people in your life.
It’ simple – we all need support and love. When we feel supported we are more likely to shine our bright light and stay motivated and on track.
Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up (and say goodbye to the people who don’t). This beautiful energy will definitely help you see that you truly do love yourself and your life.
5. Live With Intention
This practice may sound a bit ‘hippy’ but living with intention comes down to knowing what kind of life you want to live.
You will love and accept yourself more when you feel like you are living with purpose.
Now I’m not saying that you need a crystal clear image of what your life’s purpose is. But having an intention helps you make decisions that support your vision for your life.
Your intention could be “To live a happy and healthy life.” When you start to make progress towards this intention it helps you to feel good about yourself and your self-worth soars.
6. Squash Your Inner-Mean Girl
This is probably my favourite self-love practice because your inner critic or ‘inner mean girl’ is so god damn powerful!
She loves to point out your imperfections and everything you’re doing wrong.
She is renown for being super hard on you and a super bitch!
To squash your inner critic you need to stop being so hard on yourself and punishing yourself for mistakes you’ve made or when you haven’t lived up to your own expectations.
You’re only human and you deserve to forgive yourself, and often!
Your inner critic also loves to make comparisons. She will compare your entire life to the next person including your bank account, body, house, career, wardrobe, kids, car and partner….the list goes on. Nothing is ever good enough and YOU are never good enough.
The best self-love practice you can do is never compare yourself to anyone. You must know that you are truly unique with so many amazing talents. You need to honour and love yourself enough to know you don’t need to compare yourself.
Instead, you need to celebrate you and your uniqueness!
7. Do Things You Love
When you are feeling low and down on yourself make it a priority to do things you love.
Watch a boat load of Netflix, read a trashy magazine whilst sipping on a herbal tea, go for a run, swim in the ocean, draw yourself a bubble bath, get out your paints and let loose, cook up a storm, write in your journal, grab your friend and go see a movie.
When we are actively doing things that make us feel good we are more centred and open to receiving more positive thoughts, feelings and experiences.
So quickly move towards things you love!
Practicing self-love isn’t easy. It can be a real challenge….believe me, I know!
Self-love is something that you have to constantly work on, because our moods and self-esteem can be a roller coaster.
It’s easy to love yourself when things are going well, but it’s when things go pear-shaped that our self-love muscle really needs to step up.
But if you always treat yourself with love and kindness you will survive and move through this flatness because you now have the self-love tools to support and nurture you.
Do you practice self-love? If you’re a self-love pro I would love to hear your practices in the comment sections below…it will help to expand my repertoire! If you’re just starting out on your self-love journey, share with me in the comments what practices you are going to incorporate into your life to build your self-love muscle!
Did you like this post? If so, sign up to my ‘Great Mail’ newsletter below this post and I’ll send you a FREE copy of my e-Book ‘Wanderlust.’ I’ll show you how you can turn your next travel adventure into a life changing experience!