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February 1, 2024
Self-Love: Your Blueprint to Boost Self-Esteem and Improve Your Life

Olivia Vander Vloet

To emphasize self-love this image is of a black and white sign with the words "you are worthy of love" on it.

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Empower Your Life: The Essential Role of Self-Love

Let's remember that self-love is really about accepting and cherishing all parts of yourself, the strengths and the weaknesses. It doesn't mean being egotistical but nurturing a healthy sense of self-worth. Self-love is all about valuing yourself, having a deep connection to who you are, and generally thinking and feeling positively about yourself. Self-love is all about caring for your own happiness and well-being. It’s about making sure you’re taking care of yourself and not putting your needs aside to please others. Self-love entails understanding your worth and refusing to settle for anything less than what you deserve.

How does self-love affect mental health?

  • Self-love isn't just about thinking only of oneself. It's about looking after your own needs and health.
  • To love yourself, do things that make you feel good, such as eating healthy food, sleeping enough, staying active, and keeping the spaces around you tidy.
  • You can boost your self-love with mindfulness, meditation, and breathing techniques which help you to connect with your thoughts and feelings.
  • Remember, there's no 'one size fits all' for self-love. What helps one person might be different for another, so it's important to find what works for you.
  • Self-love is about daily actions, not just the occasional treat. Make self-care a part of your routine.
  • Learning self-love may take time, especially if you're used to negative thinking about yourself. It's okay to take it slow.
  • Part of self-love is giving yourself kind feedback. It's not about giving yourself a hard time but understanding and learning from your mistakes.
  • Finally, don't forget to celebrate what you achieve. Big or small victories are both important to recognize and appreciate.

Self-Love vs. Narcissism

At this point, you might be thinking that this self-love thing feels or sounds selfish or maybe even narcissistic. The truth, though, is that self-love and narcissism are on opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Self-love does not mean putting ourselves on a pedestal above everyone else but rather enforcing our boundaries and putting our values first. Narcissism, on the other hand, refers to self-absorption with a lack of empathy for others but a reliance on external validation. Narcissism ignores the needs of others in order to get what they want.

Now, how do we incorporate this into our daily life? It starts with small, mindful practices. This includes setting healthy boundaries, leaving negative situations, and finding time for self-care and personal growth. It's important to avoid negative self-talk and instead use positive affirmations

How to Practice Self-Love, Daily:

  1. Positive Self-Talk and Affirmations: Use affirmations such as “I am on my way to becoming the best version of myself” to promote positive self-perception.
  2. Self-care: Attend to your physical, emotional, and mental needs by making healthy choices and taking time for activities that bring you joy.
  3. Setting Healthy Boundaries (this one's very important!): Clearly define limits with work and relationships to avoid overcommitting and maintain a healthy balance.
  4. Surrounding Yourself with Supportive People: Spend time with individuals who love and support you, fostering a positive social environment.
  5. Acknowledging Strengths and Learning from Mistakes: Recognize your strengths and accept that mistakes are part of the learning process. Use them as opportunities for growth.
  6. Setting Realistic Expectations: Establish achievable goals to avoid unnecessary stress and disappointment.
  7. Noticing Progress and Effort: Celebrate small victories and recognize the effort you put into your endeavours.
  8. Pursuing Interests and Goals: Dedicate time to activities that align with your interests and work towards achieving personal and professional goals.

Valuing Your Feelings: Acknowledge and validate your emotions, understanding that they are essential aspects of your human experience.

It's important not to forget that self-love is a journey, not something that happens overnight. Despite being occasionally hard, the benefits make it worthwhile - like a better mood, increased resilience, and improved relationships. Everyone wants to live a happy, satisfied life, and it's entirely possible if we learn to love ourselves. 

Looking to learn more about self-love in 2024? Check out our latest monthly blog feature: February Feels: Navigating the Landscape of Self-Love, Toxic Patterns, and Loneliness

Self-Love and Personal Boundaries: Why it's Important to Say No

Personal limits can seem at odds with self-love. But setting boundaries is vital for self-love. It stops us from overdoing things and neglecting our needs. When we can say 'no', we make time for ourselves. 

Think of personal limits as a shield around your thoughts and feelings. They keep out any unwanted pressure or demands. Saying 'no' is a big part of self-love. It's not just about turning down others. It's about doing what feels right for you, even if it disappoints someone else. 

Setting limits isn't about pushing others away or being selfish. It's quite the opposite. Knowing our limits means we can help others without forgetting about ourselves. This balance between helping and self-care is key. People will respect you more for it. Your relationships can even become healthier as a result. 

Learning to set boundaries can feel tough. Here are some tips to help guide you: 

  • Figure out what your own personal limits are. Everyone's are different. They can be around how you think, feel, believe or physically behave.
  • Speak up about your limits. Decide what you're okay with and express this confidently. Don't let anyone rush or guilt-trip you.
  • Upholding your boundaries can be hard, especially when others resist them. If this happens, remember it's okay to put your needs first.

What are The Signs of a Lack of Self-Love?

Understanding the absence of self-love can be hard. It often hides behind behaviours and thoughts which don't seem related to self-love, making it tougher to spot. However, some common signs could help you identify this lack of self-love. 

If you constantly feel unhappy or dissatisfied with yourself, it's a strong sign that you're lacking self-love. This might surface through regular self-comparison, self-criticism, or a constant feeling of self-pity. These are red flags, highlighting that you need to cultivate self-love better.

Self-love means being okay with your faults, not just embracing your strengths. It's not about settling but about knowing where you can improve and making efforts to do so. Nobody is perfect, and we all have things we're good at and things we can do better. Recognizing this and accepting ourselves as we are, rather than comparing ourselves to others, helps us to love ourselves more. 

It's also important not to keep criticizing yourself. Yes, it's important to look at what you've done and think about how you could do better, but constantly blaming yourself doesn't help. Instead, tell yourself, "It's alright, I'll do it better next time." Learn to forgive yourself for the things you've done wrong. Your past mistakes are not failures but lessons that teach you and help you grow. This way of thinking not only helps you to love yourself more but also makes you more resilient.  

Feeling sorry for yourself can be a trap. Rather than focusing on what you lack, try to focus on how you can grow and improve. Changing your mindset in this way will help you to feel less self-pity and more self-love.  

Do things every day that make you feel good about yourself. Spend some time alone, say positive things about yourself, look after your body, do things you enjoy, or just take time to relax. Over time, these will become habits and help you to develop a stronger relationship with yourself, which is at the heart of self-love.

Long Story Short…

In a world full of self-improvement jargon, self-love emerges as the anchor, reminding us to value ourselves, set boundaries, and prioritize our happiness. It’s not about being self-centred but rather about nurturing a positive relationship with the person staring back at us in the mirror. 

So, let’s keep spreading those self-love vibes and watch as we blossom into our happiest, most authentic selves. If you’re looking for some support on your self-love journey, Shift Collab has therapists who are excited to get started with you!


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