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What Is Self-Love?
Self-love is a practice that can give our lives the meaning and depth needed to remain healthy. With self-love, we instill healthy habits and live in accordance with our bliss and truth, along with our values, morals, and beliefs.
Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that is cultivated through our thoughts and actions. Our actions support our growth; physically, psychologically, and spiritually. Self-love is dynamic; it grows through our thoughts and actions. With self-love, we learn to have compassion toward ourselves and become more centered on our life purpose and values. We learn that to live a fulfilling life, we must put effort into each decision we make. As we begin to cultivate self-love, we begin to accept our weaknesses and embrace our strengths. We also set healthy intentions to act in meaningful ways. Meaningful actions support our intentions, which will increase our self-esteem and love for oneself. Learning to nurture ourselves is critical in early recovery as how we feel about ourselves is a direct result of our actions. Positive actions result in positive feelings toward oneself.
Whether our self-love habits include getting massages, avoiding conflict, or venting frustrations to others, self-love creates a transformative inner-peace. Daily, we can include self-care rituals in our lives as we make ourselves a priority and remove self-judgement.
The practice of self-love has a multitude of benefits, including greater life satisfaction, increased happiness, as well as greater resilience. We must first learn how to love ourselves before we can stop engaging in destructive behaviors. It is through the practice of self-love that we learn to stop engaging in behaviors that are unhealthy for us. Self-Love shows us how to cope with problems in a healthy way.
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Self-love often involves self-compassion. Self-compassion involves having understanding about oneself and having kindness, care, and warmth toward oneself no matter what you are going through. Self-compassion is about nurturing oneself and showing love onto oneself despite the circumstances. It is being gentle and kind toward who you are in any and all situations. This inner patience can carry us into being gentle with ourselves and allows us to give ourselves credit when we’re learning from mistakes.
Incorporating self-compassion into our daily lives creates space for self-transformation and the awareness needed to improve relationships. The practice of self-compassion reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. Self-compassion can be developed by embracing our humanity and listening to our inner-voice.
Self-compassion enables people to be themselves without beating themselves up for a mistake or poor decision. Kindness for self encourages people to make healthy long-term decisions to maintain a life of wellness. This may include leaving toxic relationships, investing in self-care routines, or leaving stressful jobs.
Self-compassion can be cultivated through various actions.
Being mindful of your thoughts, feelings and actions increases awareness of yourself so that you can act according to your values, morals, and beliefs. When we are mindful, or in a state of non-judgmental awareness, we are unable to get lost in the process of over-identification or giving in to our inner critic, also known as negative thoughts. Mindfulness relieves us from unhealthy negative rumination.
Treat Yourself as You Would a Close Friend
If you encounter a difficult situation, consider how you would treat a friend if they were in the same situation, and then treat yourself accordingly. This will decrease any initial negative criticism you may feel toward yourself, as we often have a tendency to blame ourselves. Instead, treat yourself with kindness.
People who lack self-compassion often exhibit a pattern of unhealthy relationships. How you treat yourself reflects how you let others treat you. Setting healthy boundaries is one of the most important tools when practicing self-compassion. Taking time to identify your boundaries is very beneficial. With self-compassion, you can learn to set boundaries at home or in the work place regarding what you are willing to do, unwilling to do, willing to take on, and unwilling to take on, all of which are an integral part of being compassionate toward oneself.
Healthy self-esteem impacts health and wellness, and studies report strong links between low self-esteem and addiction. It reveals insight on how people perceive themselves, as well as their perceived value. Healthy self-esteem can manifest in confidence, self-forgiveness, problem-solving skills, and trusting others.
Building self-esteem, particularly if it is low, is an empowering act to help people break free of addiction and self-harm. The lower your self-esteem, the more likely you’ll feel depressed, anxious, lonely, and incapable of achieving new goals. Exercising, for example, is a great foundation to build healthy habits upon. With exercise comes increased confidence, focus and energy. As people discover their strength through physical fitness, they also uncover their inner-strength.
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Using the Power of Words
Words have power and can deeply impact us. Positive self-talk encourages us to maintain a healthy self-image. Think of positive attributes which define you that you can use to affirm a positive self-image. What affirmations or mantras can you use? Being mindful of how you label yourself can make a big difference in self-perception. For instance, instead of saying you are being “lazy,” you can choose to be kind toward yourself and state you are relaxing. Instead of shaming negative emotions, embrace them as the evolution of expressing difficult emotions.
One way to understand the power of words is to consider times when you’ve heard how you positively impacted someone. How did the person describe you? Take time to reflect on positive and negative thoughts you may have about yourself. Shine your light by sharing your gifts as a reminder of your value, and be proud of your growth.
Making Space for Self-Care
Self-love involves upholding self-care. Self-Care is any activity that we engage in that enhances our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health. When beginning to focus on the practice of self-care, it is best to start with the basics. Taking time to do something good for yourself, even small changes, will help as you find your own rhythm and routine. Self-care is something that you actively plan, it does not happen in the spur of the moment. It is also never forced upon oneself. It is an active choice. Therefore, it is helpful to schedule time into your daily routine for self-care. A key thing to remember is to always be aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels, and what the outcomes are. This is the basic foundation of self-care.
Self-care can vary from person to person yet include basic functions to enhance wellbeing. For example, Investing in a wholesome diet full of vitamins and nutrients will sustain the physical body. Getting restful sleep is an important part of self-care, as is tending to regular health checkups.
Another component of self-care is enhancing mindfulness in order to live for today. Mindfulness is being conscious or aware of oneself in each moment that one experiences. It is allowing life to unfold before you while you are simply aware. Mindfulness can include taking inventory of how new activities can make us feel. As we explore new opportunities, we can look within and connect, further guiding us to know where our joys and sorrows are.
Practicing meditation will greatly allow us to manage anxiety or heightened stress levels, adding to our self-care routine. Mindful meditation, for instance, increases our connection to our higher self and our intuition. Following our intuition honors our inner truth and guides us to gain mental clarity over our lives. Self-care also includes looking your best, investing in your dreams and surrounding yourself with the warmth of caring friends.
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Living a life of self-love is about cultivating kindness and compassion toward oneself throughout each day. The path toward loving yourself is a path of transformation and wholehearted living. If are struggling in your quest for transformation and creating a better life, there is help available. Contact a dedicated treatment provider today to learn more.
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