Self-love: Learning to cultivate it while embracing your imperfections

Self-love is becoming a popular term. 

We read about it in books and on social media. We hear about it in videos and podcasts. Life coaches and motivational speakers frequently advise us to love ourselves. But what does self-love actually entail? How does it look and what does  it feels like?

Is it selfish? Does it make you obnoxious? Does it mean having a high opinion of yourself? Absolutely not.

Self-love is in fact the exact opposite. 

To love yourself means to recognize your worth and value. It means to know your boundaries and respect yourself. Self-love helps you to grow as an individual, and not depend on anybody to make you feel whole.

So why is self love important? 

Self-love can act as a cure to the problems you have surrounding self-confidence and self-esteem. It is our responsibility to feel whole, and not depend on anyone to complete us. Self-love helps us do that. So if you’re struggling to recognize your worth, feel as though you put yourself down too much, or people mistreat yourself: then self-love is your antidote.

So how can you start sprinkling some self-love into your life? In this article, I’m going to share six simple strategies to help you love yourself, and embrace your imperfections.

Practise self-care 

Life is busy. And most times, we get trapped in the everyday routine of work, eat, sleep, that we forget to practise self-care. 

Self-care is a great act of self-love because you’re showing yourself that, despite all your responsibilities, you recognize the importance of making time for you!

Here are two tips to help you start practising self-care:

  • For your mind – start developing habits that will build good thoughts and beliefs. Such as journaling, meditating, reciting positive affirmations, and reading self-development books. 
  • For your body, you can start eating a more balanced diet. Drink more water, stretch your body and exercise.

There are many other ways you can benefit your mind and body to practice self-care. Can you think of any?

Don’t compare yourself to other people

You might have heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy” . It’s often cited to explain how destructive comparison can be. 

To practise self-love, you have to quit the habit of comparing yourself to other people.

In this day and age, with social media and advertisements all around us, it is difficult not to compare our lives with others. We are bombarded with images of society’s definition of perfection. 

The best self-love gift you can offer yourself is to ignore all the social messaging which plays on your self esteem.. Accept that perfection doesn’t exist, and much of what you see on the internet is not real. Your life is unique. So is your body and who you are as a person. 

If you want to strive to become a better person, by all means, do so. But do it in a healthy way. Compete with the old version of yourself only, not someone else.

Celebrate your small achievements

This is something that we don’t do enough. 

Creating big goals and objectives for yourself in the future is great. But don’t forget to celebrate the little things you do each day. This too is an act of self-love.

If you’re into personal development, for example, you might have a list of habits you’d like to start doing. And a rough idea of what you want your life to look like in the future. Celebrate the little things you do every day to reach this goal. 

The same is true for all your other objectives.

Surround yourself with good people

The kind of people we surround ourselves with does have an impact on who we are and who we become. 

Are they loving? Caring? Do they value you as an individual? If the answer is no, you owe it to yourself to let go of relationships that do not serve your greater good.

Self-love means you respect yourself enough to walk away from people and situations who are toxic and negative.

Don’t be afraid of solitude. The more you grow in self-love, the more you’ll appreciate your own company. And naturally, you’ll attract people who appreciate you for who you are, too. 

 

Embrace your imperfections

One of the benefits of self-love is that you learn to embrace your imperfections. 

As I mentioned above, many of us are obsessed with comparing ourselves. We point out our flaws and beat ourselves up for not meeting an unrealistic and non-existent idea of “perfection”.

Once you develop self-love, you more easily accept your flaws and imperfections.

Here’s a good self-love exercise to try: 

  • Write a list of everything about yourself you consider a flaw. – When you’re done, consider which of these things are objectively negative and that you should change. For example, if you have anger issues, think of ways you can start fixing them.

As for the things you can’t change, and you know are actually okay, promise yourself that you’ll start accepting them. And eventually maybe even love them. Learn to appreciate the person you see when you look in the mirror.

Be good to people

You might be wondering what being good to others has to do with increasing in self-love. 

One of the most powerful things about being good to people is that it makes you feel good about yourself. Psychologists have proven that practising philanthropy has an immense benefit on our mental health. Of course, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone else happy because of something you’ve done for them. 

Just think about the last time you offered a gift to a loved one. Or a kind word, or some support. How did that make you feel?

Being good to people is an act of self-love. In pleasing others, you please yourself. In benefiting others, you benefit yourself. 

 

Every day, try to do something good for people. Whether it’s giving a smile, being charitable or offering gifts and support. 

Caveat People- pleasing is not an act of self-love. Make sure you are always in a healthy balanced relationship. There has to be a balance of give and take from both parties.

 

Final thoughts

The foundation of self-improvement is self-love. You cannot improve and develop yourself without practising self-love.  You must be prepared to give yourself what you need before someone else will see your worth and do the same for you. 

If you have been struggling to practise self-love and you are ready to let go of the habits and beliefs that keeps you stuck in your patterns of behaviour which does nto serve your greater good, I can help. Read some more about the services I offer http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/love-and-relationships/

Self-love can come naturally to you if you’re willing to change your mindset. This change starts within. And with all the love you pour onto others, it’s time you start offering some to yourself.