February is the month of love. It is usually associated with red & pink colors, flowers, chocolates, and Valentine’s Day. Couples celebrate their love and single people celebrate Singles Awareness Day. What if this month we focused not only on loving others but, loving ourselves.
How do we learn to love ourselves? According to a Psychology Today article, “The Power of Self-Love,” self-love has become a very relevant and popular idea in our culture.
The article defines self-love as, “Accepting yourself wholeheartedly, treating yourself with kindness and respect, and prioritizing your physical and emotional health. It goes beyond mere actions and extends to your thoughts and feelings about yourself.”
They continue with,” this entails maintaining an overall positive outlook about who you are.”
Having self-love isn’t always realistic. There will be times that you are sad, disappointed, angry, but you can still learn to love yourself.
Why is self-love important? It can help you establish boundaries, have positive relationships, help you move toward your goals, you will be happier and healthier. If we are not showing ourselves love, then we are probably criticizing ourselves. This is an easy pitfall to get caught in.
It can lead to ignoring our own wants and needs, reducing self-esteem and confidence, and we may even be mistreated by others.
The article offers some examples of Self-Love:
-Self Compassion: Be kind, caring and gentle with yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. You are doing the best you can with what you have!
-Boundaries: It’s okay to say no! Knowing what you can and cannot do is important. People in your life will push and challenge your boundaries. It is up to you, stick to what works best for you!
-Practicing Self-Care: Go for walk, do something you like, play a musical instrument, read a book, or learn a new skill. Do things that you enjoy! This will help keep you positive and present in your life.
-Positive Self-Talk: Encourage yourself! Use positive words or phrases like, “I can do it,” “I’ve got this,” blessed, grateful and confident. You can change your attitude with something as easy as reminding yourself with positive phrases. When you start being hard on yourself just stop, take a breath, and say something positive about yourself.
-Seeking Support: If you need help reach out to friends, family or a professional. This can be beneficial and is a way to support yourself out of self-love.
Self-Love vs. Narcissism
According to Psychology today, “When psychologists and therapists advocate for self-love, they aren’t advocating for self-aggrandizement or superiority over others. Narcissists believe they are superior, refuse to acknowledge their flaws or take responsibility for their mistakes, and constantly seek external validation and recognition. They lack empathy for others.”
Remember if you truly love yourself, you will accept yourself for who you are and understand you are not perfect and make mistakes. You also will see others this way.
There are many barriers to self-love. Things like Perfectionism, self-criticism, fear and judgment and internalized negativity.
This month try focusing on your self-love. It will take some time and practice to do. Start by journaling or making a list of positive thoughts and actions. Take it one day at a time. As you think more positively about yourself, it will get easier. You will start to catch yourself when having negative thoughts and feelings.
People around you will also begin noticing the change.
For more information on Self-Love please see the article, “The Power of Self-Love.”