7 Ways to cultivate self-love
“You can search the whole universe, and you will not find any being more worthy of your love than yourself.”– Buddhist teaching
Self-love is not just something we have or not – the more we cultivate and nourish it, the more it will grow. By genuinely loving ourselves for who we are, we become more happy, healthy, and whole.
You may hear statements like:
• Self-love is the prerequisite for true happiness and fulfillment
• The more we love ourselves, the better we can serve and love others
Do you have some skeptical thoughts while reading these statements and ask yourself, is this true?
If yes, it could be that, like many people, including me, you learned the opposite. But unfortunately, self-love is not what our society taught most of us when we were growing up. This is why we probably won’t understand this concept of self-love and feel it in our bodies until we practice it and realize it.
I, too, used to believe that self-love is selfish. However, through my inner work and commitment to transformation, I have learned that this can’t be further away from the truth. So, in this blog, I would love to share with you 7 ways to help you cultivate self-love and realize it from within.
1. Take time to go inwards and connect with your true Self
It is difficult to even grasp the concept of self-love when we are disconnected from ourselves, stuck in our thinking minds, and not in tune with our bodies and intuition. You can only truly know what you need when you allow yourself to turn inwards, calm the mind and feel your body. Then, you can access your intuition through the body and the senses and start connecting with your true Self. From that place, you will be guided from within and realize that self-love is the foundation of well-being. One of the best and time- proven methods to go inwards is meditation. You will find more information about my meditation offerings here.
2. Create and maintain daily self-care practices and rituals that nourish you and bring you back to balance
I could probably not live without my daily self-care rituals and habits. To me, they are an expression of self-love. I take care of someone I really love – myself. Many people, however, believe that taking time for themselves is a waste of time, and they limit it to the minimum because they prefer to (or have to) take care of others.
By cultivating healthy habits and rituals daily, you take time for your well-being. Through that, you will contribute not only to your health and well-being but to the health and well-being of others. Why? When you take care of yourself, you are better rested and relaxed and have more energy to serve others. Additionally, your discipline and commitment to your own well-being will be an inspiration for others to do the same. Visit this blog post for more ideas on bringing yourself back to balance.
3. Replace self-diminishing self-talk with a positive and self-affirming self-talk
Do you realize how often you criticize yourself in your mind? Saying things like “You are so stupid,” “I hate you,” “your mom/dad/teacher was right, you are worthless,” and so on is harming yourself! Please, as soon as you can, replace it with loving and caring self-talk. By saying things like “I fully love and accept myself,” “I am amazing,” “I am worthy of love,” and “I am enough,” you cultivate and nourish the lot for yourself.
Yes, it may sound strange at the beginning. It is because we are so used to criticizing and bullying ourselves! Changing this negative pattern may take time and commitment to inner work.
Try this: say these self-affirming sentences loud in front of a mirror. If this intimidates you, start by writing them down in your journal and repeating them as much as possible. Notice the changes on the same day, week, and month.
4. Embrace your Inner Child
The inner child is your inner, childlike aspect. This part greatly influences your adult life, whether you are aware of it or not. Because your inner child carries wounds and traumas that may have accumulated during childhood, acknowledging and healing that part of yourself is very important on your self-love journey.
We tend to ignore our inner child because looking at your childhood wounds can be very, very painful. However, when you feel sad, anxious, reactive, or defensive, it may be your inner child crying for love and caring support. This is the part that needs your love and attention the most.
Try to spend some time with your inner child every day. You can visualize her when closing your eyes, embracing her, talking to her, or just being with her. Offering some loving attention to your inner child is incredibly healing.
5. Practice Loving-Kindness meditation
Metta—loving-kindness meditation—comes from the Buddhist tradition. It consists of repeating phrases of loving kindness and sending loving thoughts towards ourselves and others. It opens your heart in a beautiful, warm and caring way. This practice may seem very simple and insignificant at first, but it works magic! It has the potential to change your life because it teaches you self-love and allows you to perceive the world from the perspective of unconditional love and kindness.
I can say with certainty that Metta did change my life. This practice allowed me to open my heart in a way I didn’t think was
possible. In 2016, shortly after a very intense Metta meditation experience, I decided to change my life completely, and I have followed my heart since then—always! For me, Metta is the foundation of self-love. Loving-kindness is the practice of softening the mind through the power of the heart.
6. Accept compliments
How do you react when someone says, “you look so beautiful today”? Do you reject it by saying, “oh, I look horrible, but thank you for saying,” or do you feel intimidated by saying nothing (thinking: why would someone say I look beautiful), or do you smile, accept the compliment and say thank you? Which one do you think will nurture your self-love? Accepting compliments is like accepting acts of kindness and love from others and taking this positive energy in because you know you deserve it and because you love yourself. So be open to receiving compliments, and more will come your way!
7. Do things that bring you pleasure and joy, just by yourself
Again, many people would think that doing things that bring them pleasure and joy, by themselves, just for the sake of it, is selfish. But this is not true! Taking care of yourself and spending time just with yourself, as you would do with a loved one or best friend, is nurturing yourself with self-love. You become your best friend, a partner who will always love and never leave you. You become less dependent on others and other things that bring instant gratification.
Try this: take yourself on a dinner date. Dress up as you would when going out with your friend or partner. Treat yourself, enjoy every bite, maybe even a glass of wine. If the idea of going out just by yourself sounds like too much for you, prepare yourself a lovely meal at home, set up a table as if you would for a guest, or enjoy a glass of wine on the sofa or in the bath tube), just by yourself. Celebrate yourself!
Remember, no other being is worthy of your love more than yourself! So, what are other favorite ways you cultivate self-love?