The art of loving yourself
Who am I?
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
In a culture which expects you to look and behave in a certain way, and often judges you if you don’t conform to societal norms, we can frequently feel pressurised to be someone we’re not. This can lead to a sense of dissatisfaction with life and the inability to love ourselves for who we are.
But with the topic of love very much in the air (and in the shops) right now, it’s important to explore what it means to love yourself and to accept yourself – warts and all – so that you can be the person you were designed to be.
“I am who I am. Not who you think I am. Not who you want me to be. I am me.” Brigitte Nicole
There’s an art to it
Art can be beautiful. Many of us spend long hours creating or appreciating it (or both). But art can also be messy and time consuming (who wants to argue with that?)! That’s why loving yourself is not only a journey but a form of art. It can get messy; it can take time; but the outcomes are beautiful.
But, what is self-love? And how do you achieve it?
Self-love is: “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.” Psychology Today, 2023.
Self-love is about embracing all parts of yourself and your experiences, including the imperfect and difficult ones. But it’s easier said than done – how do we achieve this?
Six steps to self-love
- Self-acceptance: you’re not perfect – no one is, so accept your flaws and turn your weaknesses into opportunities. Recognise that you are unique and that “your worth is not determined by external standards or comparisons to others”. Psychology Today
- Self-compassion: be kind to yourself especially during testing times. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Learn to forgive yourself when you slip-up.
- Celebrate your achievements: recognise your strengths and acknowledge your accomplishments. Reward yourself for succeeding where you (or others!) thought you’d fail.
- Set boundaries: assert your needs and prioritise your wellbeing. Learn to say “no” to things which place too heavy a burden on you or compromise your values.
- Self-care: engage in activities that cultivate positive physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This can include prioritising exercise, mindfulness, or healthy sleep patterns, or participating in your favourite leisure activities. Learn to better understand yourself and explore your interests, values, and passions in order to be truly fulfilled.
- Seek support: recognise when you need help and don’t be ashamed to ask for it. Accepting care and guidance is an important aspect of self-love.
Write it down
And finally. We often talk about journalling as a way of processing thoughts and feelings – it really is a great way of acknowledging the things we struggle with, and structuring the areas of our lives that we want to improve. Journalling helps us to not only be accountable to ourselves, but it also takes us on a journey of self-discovery that we can look back on and wonder at how far we’ve come.
Write down your goals; the things you want to change or develop but also record the wins, the achievements, and the times when you know you were truly living the best version of yourself.
Practising self-love is a discipline but one which can be incredibly motivating and fulfilling.
We challenge you: love yourself.