5 Ways to Fall in Love... With Yourself
Self-love is not just a fad. It's necessity.
"Love thyself." Though succinctly put in the Bible the majority of world religions hold the very same sentiment but in varying forms. This call for self-love happened long before the current deluge of books, films, talks centred around this very topic. The over saturation can push some to become cynical and tired of hearing such messages. Totally understandable. However, I would argue that the downside of this is that people ignore a legitimate stance; one should work on loving themselves. This shouldn't be rooted in selfishness or arrogance, rather it should develop from a place if self respect and kindness.
Being British and therefore inherently cynical, showing some unconditional love towards myself can seem arduous. Years have gone by and this is still very much the case but I've had the time to find things which work for me.
A lot of people associate journaling with your teenage years, a space for you to vent your frustrations. It is still a space to do that in your adult years but I think journaling can be used in more thoughtful, constructive ways. Journaling gives you the freedom to be completely honest with yourself and an opportunity to give yourself a break.
You might spend the day wrapped in your thoughts, replaying awkward or uncomfortable scenarios where you have positioned yourself as the villain or problem. Journaling allows you to reframe those situations. Be a little kinder to yourself and find ways to reconstruct your thoughts about yourself in a less harsh fashion.
I personally find it extremely helpful. When journaling you do not have to consider the prying/judging eyes of others. You get to have a conversation with yourself at the end of the day or week where you can really work to be a friend to yourself.
Which brings me to my next point.
2. Talk to yourself as though you were a friend.
It is unbelievable how often we talk down to ourselves. Using words and phrases that we would never dream of saying to someone we care about. We talk to ourselves more than anyone else and yet at times the majority of those words can work against us.
When you're going through a hard time and the default position is to wallow in self-pity or berate yourself for past decisions, think. Think. Just as you would think before speaking to a friend when they too are having a rough time of it, and shape your words to actually help you and not hinder your efforts to move forwards.
It might be embarrassing sometimes even to engage in an inner monologue where you tell yourself how amazing you are. But hey, you would do the exact same thing with a friend where you shower them with compliments to get their spirits back up!
3. Read a book.
Yes it is said time and again though there is a reason for that! Reading a book can alter your mindset entirely regardless of the genre. It gives you the chance to bring you out of yourself and any negative thinking. It is like a spa for the mind. I find that even the most harrowing stories that I read allow me to in the least take a break and have an independent experience allowing me to get to know myself more.
They say that reading is a form of therapy. Depending on the content, you are confronted with important questions and are encouraged to engage with them. You may take pause and in the process gain a better understanding of who you are and what you want from life.
4. Set time aside for the things that you love.
This could be anything. For me, this is writing, watching films, spending time with loved ones, and listening to a good true-crime podcast. As you can tell I am not the most exciting person in the world... though that doesn't matter, as long as I am able to take some time out of the day to ensure that I am doing something I know I love is an act of kindness... to myself!
Even if it is 20 minutes, you'll be surprised how much of a difference this can make. Even today I still have to remind myself to make the effort to stop being a couch potato and take care of myself. Ironically sometimes doing things we know for a fact we enjoy can be difficult. We can be our own worst enemy. Just as we would hopefully never bail on a friend or a family member, don't bail on yourself. Make a date with yourself to do one thing you absolutely love each and every day.
5. Invest in yourself.
Buy books which will help you grow. Put in the time to learn a skill you've always wanted to learn. Take yourself on a trip. You are an investment and you will get to benefit from those returns. Sometimes it can get to the point where you are so focussed on staying afloat that you forget to swim and dive. You lose a sense of enjoyment and ultimately lose touch with who you are.
By investing in yourself, you are reconnecting with your soul. You're also telling yourself that you are worth the time and money. Sometimes you need to be reminded of that.
So clearly this list is not exhaustive, but for me these are the five clear-cut ways that I have been able to fall in love... a bit more each and every day.