Self-love is the art of introspection, mindful patience to learn and grow, and the openness to embrace you for you. Each one of us harbors a unique ability to add a new color or light to our relationships. When we spend time focusing on our flaws, inabilities, or shortages, we are neglecting ourselves and others of the good that we possess. Our mission at Northern Fir is to invoke thoughtfulness, mindfulness, and self-care into your daily routine, but establishing healthy habits for self-love starts from the inside and it’s a choice each one of us has to make on our own.
Learning to love yourself is an intentional process and takes hard work. There is literature for eons about introspection and steps to heal yourself from within, and it can be very beneficial to read up on how others have learned the art of self-love and put it into practice in their daily lives. Thinking of learning new habits as a calculable, bite-sized process can lead to big results and leave you feeling more fulfilled and grateful for what you have at the end of the day.
One of the biggest factors in appreciating your strengths is to focus on your accomplishments. When we hop on Instagram first thing in the morning and scroll through all the photos of others’ perfectly-posed lives, we subconsciously compare ourselves to them and hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. The reality behind that photo was a lot of detailed preparation, at least five imperfect versions before the money shot, the implementation of a softening filter, and probably a significant amount of wasted time. All we see is the final result that the account holder posted for the world to see, leaving us to think that’s all there is to the picture. Don’t let yourself fall down the rabbit hole of living a life of comparison. This will only lead to consistent dissatisfaction and a longing to be something you’re not. The world needs one of you, so embrace all your flaws, weaknesses, strengths, dreams, desires, and more and give yourself the credit you deserve.
Another important note when it comes to self-love is the ability to embrace your sadness. All too often, we bottle up or internalize our negative emotions, avoiding them altogether or letting them explode at a time we are not proud of. Instead of pushing those feelings aside, try acknowledging them and learning from them. Pinpointing a negative emotion and its root or cause is the first step to embracing your sadness. Ask yourself, “What is this I am feeling?” and “What caused this feeling to arise?’. When you can mindfully answer these two questions, you are giving yourself a starting point to figure out a method for recovery. We tend to let emotions swell and grow when we don’t lend them the acknowledgement they need to heal, so by recognizing that you are feeling a certain way, you are giving yourself the tools to figure out how to learn from the situation. The key to this is remaining mindful throughout the day and staying in tune with your emotions and responses to situations around you. From road rage to a scuffle at home with your loved ones, you have the ability to learn from each part of your day, which helps you to grow in a healthy way and be more proud of yourself and your responses to others.
Here are 7 quick habits we like to keep in mind that will help you love yourself more and find more fulfillment from your own accomplishments:
- Recite (internally or out loud) three things you are grateful for before you fall asleep and first thing when you wake up each day.
- Avoid your cell phone for the first 30 minutes of the day and spend this time reading, getting in some yoga, or enjoying a cup of hot coffee.
- Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. It’s been said many times, for good reason. Giving your body the time to rest and rehydrate will leave you feeling recharged and more energetic to take on the day.
- Get to know your body and treat it right with regular exercise. Not a runner? No problem. Something as simple as some body-weight exercises in your own living room or a morning swim will not only improve your health but will release endorphins leaving you feeling more positive.
- Recognize your false beliefs and mindfully focus on deconstructing them by reinforcing positive notions about yourself and others around you. False beliefs are divergences from reality like believing you are not worthy of love or a relationship. Understanding that you inevitably will have some false beliefs and focusing on altering those to align with reality will help your worldview in a positive way.
- Self-evaluation: reflect on the changes you have made to practice self-love and notice the improvements. Healing takes time, so be patient but focusing on your accomplishments will motivate you to keep growing.
- Giving back gives you more than you think. Helping others is a well-known way to improve your own happiness and sense of purpose. When you are feeling down, there is no better way to lift your spirits than to find a way to brighten someone else’s day.
When you love yourself first and foremost, you will find that over time every other aspect of your life will improve as well. We believe that the time and care it takes in having a daily grooming routine yields an individual to have more self-confidence. With patience and consistent practice, you are arming yourself with the tools you need to establish and maintain healthy relationships. Actively learning to love yourself lays the foundation for building relationships and connectedness with others, which gives us a sense of purpose, belonging, and community. This is the stuff of life, and it all starts from within.