The approach of Valentine’s Day is a good time to talk about the “L” word. Love. To us, it’s something so much deeper than cards, flowers, and chocolates once a year. Although gifting the people you love is a special practice (on any day of the year), true love runs so much deeper. True and unconditional love isn’t something to seek from the outside world. It starts inside of you. It starts with self-love.
Self-love isn’t something that you do once in a while to feel better. Self-love is a way of life; a way of being. Loving yourself fully and completely—perceived flaws and all—requires focus, awareness, and dedication.
The reality is that self-love is so much more than taking relaxing baths and enjoying decadent chocolate once in a while. While those are certainly excellent self-care activities, embodying self-love involves so much more. It’s a lifelong journey of learning how to embrace every aspect of your entire self.
So with that in mind, we put together this list of 14 ways that you can start loving yourself more. It’s time to give yourself the love that you deserve!
1. Make a Commitment to Yourself
Self-love requires commitment and practice. At times, it’s not simple or easy, but it’s incredibly worthwhile. So take a moment to really commit to
- Stopping comparing yourself to others
- Loving every single part of yourself, including the parts that you avoid or dislike
- Eliminating negative self-talk
- Stopping beating yourself up over perceived mistakes and failures
- Completing daily acts of self-love, such as talking to yourself positively in the mirror, writing love notes to yourself, and repeating positive affirmations
2. Heal, Forgive, and Let Go
Offering forgiveness to yourself and others, eliminating anything toxic from your life, and letting go of people, places, and situations that are no longer serving you clears your energy field and creates the space in your life for more love, and more people and experiences that fully support you. It helps you become more accountable and responsible for yourself, rather than coming from a place of victimhood and blaming other people for your problems and challenges. And believe it or not, all of this leads to a greater ability to love yourself.
Now although this sounds wonderful, we know that doing this work can be quite difficult, especially depending on the circumstances that you’re trying to change. You may need to seek outside help, such as counseling or coaching services. Or you could explore other possibilities like receiving reiki to help move energy through your body or getting a tarot card reading to help gain further insights into certain areas of your life.
3. Put Your Needs First
This is a huge one. Many of us are givers, always extending ourselves even if it’s to our own detriment. We often give ourselves out of obligation and guilt. If you want to truly love yourself, you must learn how to say no. No more agreeing to things because you “should” or you “have to” or you might hurt someone else’s feelings. If you’re too tired, need time to yourself, have more important priorities, or simply don’t want to do it, say NO and let it go without worrying or shaming yourself.
4. Practice Quality Self-Care
Truly caring for yourself is SO important. And a big part of this means giving your body proper nourishment, sleep, rest, exercise, and hydration. Finding ways to care for your body, mind, and soul on a regular basis. Explore different classes and activities to see what speaks to you. Try yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, spin class, nature walks, skiing, and anything else you can think up. At Zen, we are also big proponents of self-care and offer an extensive line-up that includes floating, salt sauna sessions, massage, reflexology, and many other services that fall into the self-care category.
5. Treat Yourself
Treating yourself is an important extension of self-care that deserves its own recognition. Have a movie and popcorn night with your best friends. Eat the cake. Have the ice cream. Buy the flowers and chocolate. Soak in a luxurious bubble bath. Set all your adult responsibilities aside for an afternoon and cuddle up with a blanket and great book. Schedule a manicure or pedicure, body wrap, or rejuvenating facial massage. Whatever it is that makes you feel loved and pampered, be sure to do that for yourself.
6. Limit Negativity
Step outside of your everyday world for a moment and assess the level of negativity around you. Do you watch and read the news multiple times a day, feeling your energy drawn into all of the sadness, anger, hate, and hurt around the world? Do you spend a lot of time on social media following threads that cause your emotions to rise in an unhealthy manner? Do you spend hours watching reality series and dramatic TV shows? Pay attention to how these different activities make you feel on the inside. For many of us, too much negativity in our environment drags us down. Replace some of these activities with things that fill you up on the inside, helping you achieve a higher state of love.
7. Age With Grace
We live in a culture that is incredibly focused on outward appearances and achieving mostly unrealistic ideals of beauty. People—women especially—are encouraged to spend thousands of dollars trying to look thinner, younger, and prettier. As you learn to love yourself more, you’ll realize that true beauty comes from the inside. The more you fill up with love on the inside, the more that radiates on the outside. Loving every part of yourself means embracing your wrinkles, your grey hair, your stretch marks, and any other perceived flaws; these are all signs that you have lived an amazing life.
And of course there are things you can do that will beautify you inside and out in a more natural way. Zen’s owner, Shawna L’Heureux, is a specialist who focuses on holistic skincare. This means that she looks at ways that your nutrition, environment, and even stress levels could be affecting your outward appearance, and then she provides you with a tailored treatment. Check out her skincare services that help you feel better from the inside out.
8. Celebrate Your Accomplishments
When your loved ones accomplish a goal, no matter how big or small, you probably celebrate that with them. However, we often forget to do this for ourselves. Did you complete a project at work that you never thought you’d get through? Did you have an amazing parenting moment? Did you make a positive change in your life? CELEBRATE IT ALL! Share it with your friends, congratulate yourself in the mirror, treat yourself (refer back to point #5), plan a shopping or spa day with your friends; get creative with the different ways you can celebrate all of your achievements no matter the size.
9. Let Your Inner Child Come Out and Play
As adults, many of us have disconnected from the inner child inside. We have lost sight of how to be present, let go of the world around us, and simply PLAY. Take a moment to remember your favourite childhood activities; playing on swings, swimming at the beach, riding bikes, having picnics, creating art. What were the things that lit you up and brought you joy as a child? Find a way to bring those activities back into your life on a regular basis. Commit to turning off the world around you, becoming fully present, and finding your joy again in those moments.
10. Learn How to Enjoy Alone Time
Learning how to love yourself includes becoming your own best friend and lover. Replacing feelings of loneliness with a love for spending time alone. Schedule dates with yourself and learn how to love every minute of being in your own company. Take yourself out for coffee or dinner, go for a walk in the forest, attend a class, come in for a float or salt sauna session…once you start doing this, which may involve stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll soon realize how much you crave for time to just be you with you.
11. Set Intentions
What is it that you want in life? This month? This week? Today? Give yourself time to set intentions and then follow them through. If you want a more loving and joyful life, then you set that intention and in every situation, you can ask yourself, “Is this going to help make my life more loving and joyful?” If the answer is yes, then do it. If you have a to-do list that you need to get done today, set the intention of being focused and productive. As things come up through the day, ask yourself, “Is this helping me be focused and productive to finish my list?” Setting intentions and following them through helps you commit to yourself and is yet another way to fill your internal cup.
12. Be Grateful
Gratitude, love, and abundance go hand in hand. The more gratitude we express for all of the good in our lives and in ourselves, the more we call that good back to us. And implementing a daily gratitude practice is simple. Whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the day, set aside five minutes to write down everything that you are grateful for that day. Then set the intention to notice all the things that you’re grateful for as your day progresses. Notice how your list evolves and grows over the days and weeks. Notice how the gratitude and love grows in your heart. It’s truly amazing that a practice so simple can be so powerful.
13. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
We often underestimate the importance of making ourselves feel uncomfortable in safe and healthy ways. When you step outside your comfort zone, you stretch and expand in ways that lead to amazing growth, and believe it or not, this enhances your feelings of self-love. You know all of those things that you see or hear about and think, “That sounds really cool, but there’s NO WAY I could do that”? Change that inner dialogue to, “That sounds really cool and although it makes me feel uncomfortable, I’m going to challenge myself to do it!” Even Zen services like floating, salt sauna sessions, reiki, rain drop therapy massage, or LomiLomi massage can help you get started. You’ll quickly realize that stretching yourself and trying new things feels amazing.
14. Be YOU!
Learning how to be the most authentic and real version of yourself is one of the best things you can do to enhance self-love, self-worth, and all of the other positive qualities that make you feel amazing on the inside. Letting go of other people’s expectations, not worrying about what other people think, and loving and celebrating all of the aspects that make you uniquely you is the best gift you could ever give to yourself. Be bold, be brave, BE YOU!