We live in a demanding society that often forces us to put ourselves last or sacrifice our needs and beliefs for others. Many of us were raised with a firm idea that to help others, being a good mother or wife, we had to sacrifice ourselves and put our needs last. Nowadays, we are often made to feel guilty by those around us for taking time off, to the point where we feel like we don’t deserve time off or that we should be doing something more productive with our time.
Unfortunately, it is not until you reach a breaking point that you start to realize that this is not necessarily true and that there is a better way to be who you want to be and still enjoy life without sacrifice.
"How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you."
When I talk about using Self-love as your compass, I mean to use it as the guiding principle for how you make decisions, live your life, and support your well-being.
Self-love is not just about taking the time you need to take care of yourself. It is about appreciating yourself and taking actions that support your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is also about doing what's right for you, making bold decisions, and not tolerating people or situations that cause you to stress and drain your precious energy.
"To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness."
Below are nine decisive steps you can put in into practice today to increase your self-love and begin putting yourself first:
1. Practice acceptance - To move forward, you need to become comfortable accepting things for what they are or how they came to be. I don't mean tolerate things, people, or situations. What I mean is that by practicing acceptance, you can remove feelings of judgment, resentment, or guilt and get your mind in a place to make decisions and move forward. For example, instead of sitting down and shaking your head over something that happened, you can accept it. Then decide what you need to do about it or not; it's all about accepting what it is and knowing that you have the power to change it if you want.
2. Forgive yourself - As individuals, we can be our worst critics; we even punish ourselves with constant negative self-talk about what we should or could have done better. The best way to forgive yourself is to realize that your decisions or actions were based on your knowledge of the situation at the time. It is unfair to be hard on yourself about something you did in the past because it is very different from who you are now. You have gone through other experiences and have acquired wisdom and new knowledge that was not available to you at that time. Instead, see mistakes as learning or a growth opportunity. Ask yourself: what am I learning from this? What is the takeaway here?
3. Set boundaries - Learn to say no more often, and be mindful of how much you take on at work or home. It’s nice to be the go-to and to be able to help others solve their problems. Although it can make you feel valuable, it often results in frustration and stress because you are taking on other people’s burdens and not spending enough time on what's important to you. Also, don’t tolerate energy-draining people or activities; make conscious choices of how and with whom you spend your time.
4. Be grateful - Gratitude fills your heart with love and changes your perspective of every situation you encounter. Be thankful for everything you have and for all of who you are and how far you’ve come. We often forget to stop and celebrate our successes; make sure you reward yourself for your accomplishments and encourage yourself by being your biggest cheerleader.
"Self-love is the source of all other loves."
5. Live with purpose - Design your life, don’t live at the cause-and-effect of situations or people. It is easy to fall into a vicious cycle between work, house chores, and family responsibilities and forget to enjoy life and make a difference. Ask yourself: what is my purpose? What type of life do I want to live? How do I want to show up for others? Decide what you want and then keep it by your side. Write a mission statement, write your own set of rules and values to live by, then use these when facing a difficult decision or straying from your purpose to keep you focused.
6. Practice self-care - Block a few hours a week to do something you love: yoga, meditation, dancing, or whatever it is that brings you joy. Self-care is about taking care of your body and your mind. You can do that by spending quiet time journaling and reflecting. Set time aside to plan your week, so you can be intentional about using your time and manage how much responsibility you take on. Create a daily routine that allows you to fit your new habits and personal time into your schedule.
7. Invest in yourself - Learning new skills is also a great way to support your personal growth and enhance your self-love and confidence. Maybe you have thought about finishing school, going after a master's degree, or getting a certification. Perhaps you have thought of hiring a personal Life Coach to provide the strategy and accountability you need to reach your goals and increase your life satisfaction. When you've accomplished a milestone that you've always dreamed of achieving, you get a great sense of pride and an immediate boost in confidence; this is why investing in your personal development is so important.
8. Get moving and eat well - Staying active and involved in some physical activity is essential for your wellbeing. Even if you are not a fan of exercising, you can find ways to incorporate activities into your life that help you increase your energy levels. Eating well is also essential. It's not about dieting, though; it's about treating your body to good food that supports your body's health and makes you happy. Treat yourself to some chocolate and wine too, heck, a healthy balance includes treats!
9. Be comfortable asking for help - If you struggle with some areas of your life or have a difficult time making yourself a priority, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Having someone like a coach, spiritual healer, or even a therapist could be incredibly beneficial. You don't have to do it alone; in fact, having this type of support could be a very transformational experience for you! If you would like to explore how I support my clients in their self-love journey or experience what it's like to work with me as your coach, book a complimentary call with me!
I hope that you put into practice some of these decisive steps, if not all, into your life today and that you find great value in them.
I would love to hear from you; how are you practicing self-love today? Comment below!