Today, the term self-love gets thrown around a lot. As a result, the term is often misunderstood or confused with self-care. While the two go hand-in-hand, they’re definitely not the same thing. Essentially, self-care is an important part of self-love that focusses on looking after yourself mentally and physically. Self-love, on the other hand, is a deep appreciation and connection with your true self. It’s about accepting yourself as you are and having the same level of compassion for yourself as you do for others. So how do you cultivate self-love? In this article, we explore a few tips and tricks that you can use both on and off the yoga mat.
The first way to cultivate self-love is to stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to those around you is the ultimate killer of both self-love and self-esteem. Unfortunately, it’s now easier than ever to fall into the “comparison trap”, with social media being prevalent in modern life. When we’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, we’re constantly looking at what other people portray of their lives. While everything may look rosy, in reality, they’re only sharing the best parts. As a general rule, people only share the highlights of their lives, not the struggles. While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, the people we compare ourselves to are those who seem to have everything together. It’s fine to admire others, however, it becomes unhealthy when we start comparing ourselves to these role models and feeling bad about ourselves because of it. To cultivate self-love, we must stop focussing on those around us and concentrate on our own life. If you’re struggling to do this, unfollow any social media accounts that make you think negatively of yourself. Instead, follow accounts that bring positivity, value, and inspiration to your life.
In order to love yourself, it’s important to know your worth. Instead of relying on others to tell you that you’re worth loving, realise it for yourself. You’ve been put on this earth to do incredible things, and you don’t need to change for anyone or anything. The only changes you should make to yourself are those that you feel would be helpful, such as those related to your personal growth and development. To cultivate self-love, you need to accept who are you, completely. Appreciate and value the good and the bad, and only make changes that YOU see fit, rather than because you think someone else wants you to change.
When was the last time you did something just for fun? When we’re young, having fun is all that matters. We’re able to do almost anything, providing that our parents allow it. As children are so carefree, “fun” comes easily to them. Unfortunately, as we grow up, adult life takes over. With real responsibilities and commitments, having fun gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. To cultivate self-love, allow yourself to have fun again. Whether that means playing your favourite sport, watching a movie, or seeing a friend, make time in your schedule to do it. Making this small change will allow you to enjoy your life to the fullest and love yourself for allowing it.
Boundaries are key for cultivating self-love and positivity. When boundaries are set, you have the ability to say “no” to activities, relationships, and work that negatively impact your health and happiness. Allowing yourself to set these boundaries shows self-love and compassion. Sometimes, you may just need a break from certain commitments or people. Taking a break away from the situation gives you time to decide whether or not you want these things back in your life.
As well as treating others how you’d like to be treated, it’s important to treat yourself as you treat others. If you treat those around you with respect and compassion, you should be doing the same for yourself. To cultivate self-love, compliment yourself whilst standing in front of the mirror. Take time to do this each morning and recite positive affirmations before heading off to work. While this may feel awkward at first, it won’t take long to feel more natural. If you do this enough, your mindset will shift to one of positivity and self-love. The more you tell yourself things, the more you’ll believe them. The more you believe them, the more positive you’ll feel!
Like we said at the start of the article, self-love and self-care go hand in hand. When you love someone, whether it be your spouse, child, friend, or family member, you want to take care of them. With this in mind, taking care of yourself can cultivate self-love. Self-care is a way of thanking your body and taking the time to nourish it. Whether you enjoy a hot bath before bed or put on a yoga top and enjoy a yoga class, self-care will show your body just how much you love it.
Self-love is a deep appreciation and connection with your true self. When you can accept yourself as you are and have the same level of compassion for yourself as you do for others, you’re definitely on the right track. Be kind to yourself, and don’t expect self-love to be an instant thing. Like anything, self-love will need to grow over time. It’s unrealistic to achieve it overnight, but hopefully, the tips above will help you get there.