Let’s take a moment to talk about cultivating self-love. This month is always a special time for me as it inspires me to reflect on ways to tune into my needs and desires and ways to better nurture and care for myself above everything else. While I love the joys of divine romantic partnership for Valentine’s Day in February, I believe the most powerful theme of the month (and year) is the never-ending season of self-love. Every season is an activation of self-love and self-indulgence, but this season is particularly special.
Above all relationships in life, the most priceless relationship to honor and cultivate is with oneself. Cultivating self-love involves treating yourself with kindness, compassion, and respect while accepting yourself for who you are. Cultivating self-love can improve self-esteem and mental health while guiding you to discover a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life. However, for many, self-love can be challenging, with deep unconscious beliefs and self-talk that lies beneath the surface. Our society often provokes us to focus on our flaws and shortcomings, which results in struggles with negative self-judgment and self-criticism. These struggles can make it difficult to develop a positive relationship with ourselves, ultimately challenging finding overall joy and simplicity in our life.
Fortunately, there are several ways to cultivate self-love and build stronger self-acceptance for greater personal fulfillment and inner peace. Here are five (5) ways to cultivate self-love to get started:
Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the kindness and understanding you would offer others. Self-compassion means acknowledging your flaws and failures and reminding yourself that everyone makes mistakes. Instead of being overly critical of yourself, try to speak to yourself in a supportive and encouraging way. You can practice this dialogue through meditation, journaling, or talking lovingly to yourself in the mirror.
Embrace Your Imperfections
Perfectionism can be a significant barrier to self-love. By striving for perfection, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration. Instead of trying to be perfect, embrace your imperfections and focus on your strengths and positive qualities. Remember that everyone has flaws, and that’s okay.
Focus on Self-Care
Self-care is an essential aspect of self-love. It involves taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Self-care can include exercise, meditation, leisure time in nature, and with hobbies and interests. By prioritizing self-care, you show yourself that you are worth taking care of.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
The people we surround ourselves with can significantly impact our self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Try to surround yourself with supportive, positive people who uplift you and help you feel good about yourself. On the other hand, it’s also important to limit your exposure to negative people who bring you down. The same goes for setting boundaries and saying no to who and what does not align with you, which can be a challenging but necessary step in your personal growth.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
It’s easy to focus on our failures and overlook our achievements, but celebrating them is essential, no matter how small they may be. Keep a record of your successes and reflect on them regularly. Reflecting on your accomplishments will help you build a more positive self-image and boost your self-confidence.
Hold Space for Yourself Above All Else
By embracing self-love and holding space for yourself, you take control of your life and commit to your well-being and happiness. When you hold space for yourself, you create an environment that promotes growth, self-expression, and inner peace. In doing so, you become more in tune with your thoughts, feelings, and desires, allowing you to live an authentic life and, in turn, to others in partnership with you. This act of self-care and self-compassion takes courage, but it is a necessary and rewarding journey that leads to greater personal fulfillment and inner peace.
What I’ve Learned Through Cultivating Self-Love
Cultivating self-love, to me, means waking up every morning with purpose. Self-love is an essential tool for overall well-being and fulfillment, especially in my world of thought leadership. Cultivating self-love is the foundation for a healthy and fulfilling life, as it pertains to our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and is a courageous act. It takes bravery to look within and confront our thoughts, feelings, and experiences while holding space for ourselves through moments of change and challenges. It requires the courage to be vulnerable and to accept ourselves for who we are, flaws and all.
Cultivating self-love has taught me to fall in love with my quirks. It has shown me that I can put a smile on someone’s face by walking past them — acknowledging them with my smile. Genuinely happy people like to see other people happy. Turning someone’s day around can be a smile in their direction or a friendly hello. I’ve learned that openly acknowledging the people around me can positively affect them. This also shows me the reflection of my appreciation and acknowledgment of myself.
Cultivating self-love has taught me that it’s okay to be playful and not take life so seriously. Through cultivating self-love, I’ve realized over the years that I can truly control how I view and react to the world around me. My life and my experiences are what I make of them. Like a magnet — I attract what I put out in the world through my thoughts, actions, and intentions. Even through moments of uncertainty, I can make the most of my experiences by enjoying its unique fun. I have to give myself a little push some days.
Cultivating self-love has taught me to step out of my comfort zone and into my unique feminine side. The divine feminine provides me with the tools and resources to connect with myself and others if I allow it to teach and guide me. Somehow down the line, I’ve forgotten that my internal compass is all that I need to look out for. By trusting the feminine energy of faith, creativity, and playfulness, I’ve watched areas of my life transform for the better.
Most importantly, cultivating self-love taught me that confidence is an inside job. Confidence is a cultivation of the acceptance, gratitude, and respect I give myself for simply being ME. Cultivating self-love can take time, but with patience and persistence, it is possible to develop a stronger sense of self-acceptance and self-worth. By focusing on self-compassion, embracing my imperfections, prioritizing self-care, surrounding myself with positive people, and celebrating my accomplishments, I’ve had the opportunity to create a more loving and supportive relationship with myself. What a gift that relationship has become.
The Journey to Self-Love and Inner Peace with The Mental Health Coalition
This article was inspired by and in partnership with the Road to Self-Love campaign with The Mental Health Coalition. TMHC is a coalition of passionate and influential organizations, brands, and individuals who join hands to support ending mental health stigma and changing how people talk about and care for mental illness. The TMHC coalition believes that self-love is not talked about nearly enough and plays a significant supporting role in elevating mental health. We couldn’t agree more!
“Self-love is something we don’t talk much about, but it’s a major part of mental health. Consider this your guide to the fundamentals of building a loving relationship with yourself. You might just learn how to fall head over heels in self-love.”
To learn more, dive into the TMHC roadmap to self-love here, which expresses the different forms of self-love, key ways to foster self-love, and how to identify and remove roadblocks to self-love. You can also check out The Mental Health Coalition’s Resource Library for additional information on cultivating self-love and mental wellness.
Your journey to self-love should be special and unique. However, know that there are tools, resources, and a community cheering you on every step.
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