Well let’s first define self-love as a feeling of being content that you are uniquely, fantastically, overwhelmingly you, and that there is no one else in the entire world exactly like you. A feeling that you are happy that you have your own set of creative thoughts and talents and ideas and aspirations. A feeling that you are awesome enough to deserve whatever you want in life (to follow your dreams, to be happy, to be successful, you name it.). A feeling that you deserve health and self-care. This is my definition of self-love. It encases mostly love of your internal attributes (loving the way you think, your intentions, dreams, awesomeness, talents) as well as your external stuff (body-confidence, knowing you are beautiful, etc.).
Oh, you already feel self-love? GO YOU!!! That’s amazing! Want to know how to cultivate it further? Keep reading. Struggling with the idea of loving yourself exactly as you are? Keep reading to get some inspiration and some ideas for self-love practices that might help you.
What is a self-love practice? Doing something that makes you feel good inside and good about yourself; it could be anything that does that for you. This is very broad, so I’ll tell you what mine include and how they help me feel self-love and how regular practice helps me feel self-love in my core and more throughout the day.
- Yoga. I have been practicing yoga almost every morning for all of August and September. When I feel the connection of my body to my breath and my breath to the present moment I feel at peace, content and energized. I feel self-love for taking care of my body, mind and spirit during and after the practice. If you are feeling interested in yoga I recommend “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube, the “30 Days of Yoga” is a great way to start a regular practice of yoga for beginners and she incorporates talk about self-love.
- Journaling. I have been journaling for over 2 years pretty consistently. To write down all my jumbled thoughts onto paper helps clear my head, helps me feel release. I journal when I’m feeling stressed to ease my stress. I journal when I’m feeling sad to reflect on why. I journal when I’m feeling happy to record that moment so I can look back on it when I’m feeling down. I journal about anything that’s on my mind. I journal about questions I have. Journaling is a way for me to free my thoughts and at the same time record them– a way to reflect and grow. This creates a feeling of self-love, especially when I write down things that inspire me, people and experiences that I am grateful for, things that I love about myself, little quotes, happy memories.
- Practice good, natural hygiene. Everyday to look in the mirror at myself and tell myself that I am worth the time and effort to truly take care of my body and health is very much an act of self-love. You know the basics of brushing your teeth, flossing, showering, washing your face… but stop looking at it like a chore. Learn to love cleaning and taking care of yourself. You deserve to feel amazing about your body. Look outside of the basic self-care. Maybe once a week give yourself a spa-day, literally. Put a facemask on, exfoliate, whatever your body is telling you it needs. Takin the time for yourself to properly clean and feel good about it is an act of self-love. (ALSO be aware of what you are putting on your body) I am not so much about all those toxic chemicals that are in a large amount of hygiene products. Let me know in the comments if you want a post about how to make your own with natural ingredients that are much cheaper, very effective, and good for the environment and your health!
- Eat for health and love. When I eat foods that make me feel good on the inside and taste good I am taking care of my body and I feel self-love. I eat a vegan diet for ethical, environmental and health reasons. I eat a mostly whole-foods vegan diet with the occasional treat of something life a vegan baked good with refined sugar and something with added oils. Processed vegan food still isn’t healthy, but it is important to eat for mental health as well– being restrictive about food is no acto fo self-love. So yes, I don’t eat a 100% whole-foods vegan diet, but I do eat a vegan diet with the occasional treat. Eating this way makes me feel so good on the inside, and is absolutely an act of love for the world, the animals and myself. I would like to say that having a healthy relationship with food is important for self-love. If you feel like you are being restrictive or obsessive about food please talk to someone and get the information you need to start going in the direction of intuitive eating. I know it is hard, but know that you deserve so much, and you deserve to feel so great about your body and the food you put in it.
- I take time for myself everyday to practice another art besides dance. I play my guitar, or I watercolor or I write a poem. Taking this time to just jam out or be lost in the moment makes me feel refreshed and creative, and awesome. Taking the time to do an activity that makes you feel good is always an act of self-love.
These are some of the practices I have that make me feel self-love. I want to reiterate that any activity where you feel good on the inside and feel good about yourself brings you self-love and the more you do it the more self-love you feel, the more you can bring that feeling with you outside of the activity. Your self-love practice doesn’t have to include yoga, or journaling, or anything that I talked about, but really look inward and think about what makes you really happy, what makes you love yourself– now practice it regularly.
If you love yourself already, awesome, you know that you are awesome and are capable and deserving of everything you want in life, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. If you are not there yet, know that you are just as awesome and capable and deserving of everything you want in life, and you will feel that about yourself with practice and time.
Thank you for reading, please leave any questions in the comment section, and let me know one of your self-love practices.
ALSO: read, “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. It is a huge inspiration and life-changing in my opinion.
COVER PHOTO BY ASHLEY COOK