When we discuss mental health, we often focus on managing anxiety, depression, trauma, and other related challenges. But at the core of many of these issues lies an even more foundational topic: self love and self acceptance. How do we move from doubting and criticizing ourselves to truly liking and eventually loving ourselves?
1. Understand the Difference Between Ego and Self-Worth
Often, when we think of self love, we picture ego driven behaviors, like arrogance or self centeredness. But true self worth isn't about thinking you're better than others. It's about recognizing your value as a human being and treating yourself with the same kindness and respect you'd offer to someone you love.
2. Acknowledge Past Hurts
It's not uncommon for feelings of low self worth to stem from past traumas or negative experiences. Childhood experiences, in particular, can leave lasting scars. By acknowledging and processing these traumas, with the help of therapy and reflection, we can begin to heal and reframe how we see ourselves
3. Practice Self Compassion
We are often our own harshest critics. When you catch yourself engaging in negative self talk, try to imagine what you'd say to a close friend if you heard them talking about themselves in a similar way. Chances are, you'd encourage them to be much kinder and understanding when speaking about themselves. Extend that same kindness to yourself.
4. Celebrate Small Achievements
In our quest for self improvement, it's easy to overlook the small victories. But celebrating these moments can be instrumental in building up your feelings of self worth. Whether you managed a day without negative self-talk, stood up for yourself in a challenging situation, or even just took time out of your day to engage in some self care, recognize and celebrate these steps forward.
5. Surround Yourself with Positive Affirmations
Words are powerful. Consider placing positive affirmations around your home, workspace, or as wallpapers on your devices. Phrases like "I am more than enough," "I am without a doubt worthy of love and respect," and "I am growing and evolving and that is a beautiful thing" can serve as daily reminders to shift your mindset from negative to positive.
6. Cultivate Gratitude
Gratitude can shift our focus from what we feel we lack or need to what we have and appreciate. By keeping a daily gratitude journal or simply taking a few minutes each day to reflect on what you're thankful for, you can shift your mindset to one of abundance and self worth.
7. Seek Professional Help
If feelings of low self worth persist or are linked to trauma, depression, or other mental health challenges, consider seeking therapy. A mental health professional can provide valuable insights, tools, and coping strategies to help you on your journey to radically loving yourself.
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8. Remember, It's a Journey
Self love isn't a destination; it's a continuous journey. There will be days when you feel more in tune with yourself and others where doubt creeps in. It's essential to remember that these fluctuations are normal. What matters most is your commitment to the journey and the small, consistent steps you take toward self acceptance.
In the end, learning to like and love yourself isn't just about boosting your mood or self-esteem. It's about fundamentally shifting how you perceive and relate to yourself. It is challenging, we are almost brainwashed not to put ourselves first, not to love ourselves, warts and all, but if we cannot learn to love ourselves, how can we expect others to love and respect us?
You are love and light, you are strong and fierce, you are powerful beyond measure!
All the best,
Food for Thought:
What is your favorite self affirmation?
What is one thing you do that makes you feel good about yourself?
What is one act of radical self love you are working on or have accomplished?