It is commonplace to see whatsapp statuses and social media updates of family and friends highlighting a quote on self-love. “Pamper yourself!”, “Love yourself!, “Be yourself!” and the other “loving yourself” messages we are familiar with. Don’t get me wrong, this is good but I see it as just an outward show of self-love which is a component of the process to practising self-love. This got me thinking more about what self-love really is.
Why do you find someone hanging out with friends on a Friday night head home and still not feel loved? Why do you enjoy a grooming session at the spa, take a pic with the most perfect caption on self-love and that feeling vapourises at the end of the day? I call this temporary self-love. The more permanent type of love is the inner self-love. This is the sustainable solution.
Yes! once you work towards loving your true self, that version of you that everyone is not exposed to is when true love for yourself starts. That version of you that doesn’t need to be covered when you are with others. That version that is not focused on appearing as a perfect person who has their life under control. The question now is, “how do you achieve this?”
I will be sharing what has helped me over the period. This year I am trying to be more open with my struggles and challenges with the aim to hopefully cause a positive change in another even if its just one person. Believe me or not I have battled with this and this step by step guide developed through self-testing has helped me a lot. It got to a point I placed the needs of others above mine and with time I didn’t even know myself or what I stood for. So in 2021, I decided to hold back and find out who I really was. Holding back didn’t mean I stopped reaching out to help others but it meant I learnt to help within my capabilities and not over extend myself to the point of exhaustion and regret.
The turning point for me…………..
I expected same from people and got hurt when they did not reciprocate my efforts. I realised I was becoming negative and that wasn’t me. I had to act fast before I became a shadow of my self. I told God, “If my purpose is to help others and bring hope to them, you have to be there for me in the moments when I also need help.” This was the beginning of extending genuine help to others. I didn’t need anyone to have my back, because God had it on this mission He had called me to. Even if they didn’t show appreciation, you know your actions are not for the cameras and appreciation but out of genuineness. So here goes my self-tested self-love practice steps…..
- IDENTIFY YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
At this point grab your phone (your notes app), a book or a sheet of paper and make separate lists of your strengths and weakness. This should be an on-going activity. You can bookmark this post to make it easier to return to it after you are done with this exercise. List some points down before you proceed!
What possible strengths could you have? A good listener, a forgiving heart, making peopple smile, bomb diffuser (helping settle issues between others), writing and journalling, leading people, a good team player and many others. And the weakness could be short tempered, low self-esteem, lack of personal drive and any others. Its all up to you. I will advice you keep this list and add to them as you discover them.
2. WORK ON YOUR STRENGTHS
I call your strengths, your SUPERPOWER!!!! They make and define you. Most of the time we throw our strengths down to the curb and go chasing and developing the strengths that we think we should have. Embrace what you have because that is your God-given purpose in this life.
For instance I am a good listener so I can be there for people who need a listening ear and I can develop it futher to be a life coach that is if I decide I want to make an income out of my strengths and purpose. God never made a mistake when he gave you these qualities. Admire that of others but do not look down on yourself because you don’t have what they have.
Allow yourself to be a human being.Rob Dial
3. ACCEPT YOUR WEAKNESSES
Self-love is not complete without knowing your weakness. First reminder is that we are all human and take it from me, NO ONE IS PERFECT! I used to be very hard on myself. Even with this awareness there are days I am equally hard on myself but its much much better than before. I am making this conscious effort on a daily basis until I master it fully.
What were the weaknesses you identified? Read through them once again and remind yourself that your imperfections do not define you. They are reminders that you are human. I read somewhere that the same advice you give to friends to make them feel better, apply those same kind words to yourself. Once you learn to identify and accept your weakness, you can now take the step to work on them and create an awareness towards triggers that incite your weaknesses.
The barrier to self love is self acceptance.Rob Dial
4. START SPENDING TIME WITH YOURSELF
As humans there is the desire to get validation from others. Who doesn’t? It is beautiful music to our ears but over reliance on validation from others is the most shaky ground we can ever stand on. A little shake to that foundation becomes the entry point for self-doubt and low self-esteem. The most stable foundation is God and validation from yourself. At this stage you would appreciate the first 3 steps of the self-love practice journey. Embracing who you are both the good and the bad makes it easy to accept yourself.
You have to start spending time with yourself with the same effort you use to get to know others. Once you achieve this level of self dependency without feeling low that would be the next progress to loving yourself. Validate yourself first! and let the validation from others be the additional complement. One thing I am learning, is to be confident and learn to self-praise myself and accept complements. We worked hard and deserve it! even if others do not see this.
True validation comes from ourself.Rob Dial
5. BE INTENTIONAL ABOUT YOUR CIRCLE OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND PUSH OUT NEGATIVE ENERGY
With stages 1-4 done and dusted, the next step is to work on your external environment. With everything going on, it is essential to find your own way of controlling the external environment despite the uncontrollable nature of it. For instance, you can’t control what others say to you, but you can control the time you spend with people who always bring you or others down.
There is always bad and fake news online which you can’t control but you can decide to unsubscribe from these and be selective in the kind of sites you visit and the frequency with which you do it. Its a daily task. Be very intentional about who you let into your positive sphere and space. See it this way, one bad cook can spoil the whole broth you spent years on cooking. Don’t allow that!
6. KEEP EXPLORING!
Achieving steps 1-5 is just a comma to self-love and not the full stop. Why? Everyday something new comes up to test our well-laid foundations which helps us to get to know ourselves well. It is a journey.
What can I handle? What is my breaking point? How do I get back on my feet after falling? Part of the exploring process is knowing what brings you joy and what kills that joy. What brings you joy might not necessarily be the same thing that brings others joys. Know what works for you and create a routine out of it. Find a group of friends who share the same traits and journey together in self-love!
Now you know how to love yourself intrinsically, the next stage would be tips to loving our outward self which we all know how to do. The friends hangout, the phone chitchats, the breaks and rests, the road trips, the exercise and walks, the volunteerism, the spa sessions, the binge watching, the breakfast at a restaurant, the sleepover, the partying and any other thing no matter how weird it may seem to others.
Once it makes you happy that is the goal!
Hope this post helped you. What is your style of practising self-love? Tell me in the comments section or email email@example.com
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