The Power Of Self Love: How To Develop A Loving Relationship With Yourself
You are the only person you will always have.
We want you to read that sentence again. Take a second and really let it sink in. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had the same group of friends since childhood, spend 24 hours a day with your other half, or share a deep connection with your work colleagues; the relationship you have with yourself is the most intimate and long-lasting one you’ll ever have.
Think of it like this: You’ve been in a relationship with yourself every second of every day since the moment you were born. You can’t take a break or go on a holiday from you.
Given this knowledge, you’d imagine nurturing this relationship would be priority number ONE. But for many of us, the relationship we have with ourselves is the one we nurture the least. And some of us treat ourselves very poorly indeed. But take heart, whether you’re a fan of regular ‘me’ time or wouldn’t know self-care if it walked up and introduced itself, there are many ways to revolutionize the way you interact with yourself.
But first things first…
Why is this whole self-love thing so important anyway?
Well, it’s one of the singular most important things you can do to improve your wellbeing. No, we aren’t being OTT, science says so too.
Research says by developing our self-awareness we are able to see ourselves more clearly, make better decisions, and build our confidence and self-belief; the perfect ingredients for attaining your goals, if you ask us.
Not only that, nurturing a good relationship with yourself will strengthen the relationships you have with others too. Scientific studies suggest that tending to your own needs first adds depth to your interpersonal relationships and enables you to communicate more effectively. The premise is simple: the more you give to yourself, the more you have to give to others.
That’s not all. We reckon looking after number one is a magic bullet when it comes to living your best life. Armed with a self-loving mindset, we believe there’s nothing you can not have, do or be. (Trust us, it’s true!)
Not sure where to begin? Here are a few relationship-transforming pointers to get you started…
Feed your Soul
Your soul is a little like a plant. You need to feed it the right nutrients to ensure it grows. Just like you wouldn’t expect the plants in your garden to thrive without showering it with water and sunshine, you can’t expect your soul to flourish without nourishing it on the regular.
Showing your soul a little love doesn’t have to be a lengthy procedure. Grab 5 minutes of meditation in the morning on The Head Plan App, get yourself into a state of flow by journaling, or connect your mind, body and soul with a spot of yoga.
Struggling to think of other ideas? Ask yourself what you love to do. What activities allow you to be your best self? Open The Head Plan Journal and schedule them in. It only takes a little extra self-care every day to feel the difference.
Practice Self Compassion
Sometimes self-love feels like too much of a stretch. If having a relationship with yourself is new to you, it might be easier to start with self-compassion.
To put it simply, self-compassion means being a friend to the person you are right now. Think of how you interact with your close friends. You accept them for who they are and embrace their flaws and imperfections. They don’t need to do anything to meet your approval and you don’t expect them to be perfect.
Do you offer this same acceptance to yourself or do you believe you’re only worthy of acceptance if you meet some level of success or accomplishment?
If you fall into the latter camp, it’s time to bring in the big guns of compassion. That means removing judgement if you fall short of your own expectations, nurturing your negative feelings, and offering yourself the same level of understanding and empathy you give to the people you love.
The next time you find you’re beating yourself up: ask yourself, how could I respond to this in a more loving, kind and compassionate way? Got your answer? Great! Do that.
Conquer those limiting beliefs
Limiting beliefs have a habit of holding us back from our hopes and dreams and they can be oh-so convincing. The thing is, they’re just negative chatter. They aren’t true: they are simply stories we have told ourselves, and you can de-construct these narratives quicker than you can say ‘Matcha latte, to go, please’.
The easiest way to rewire your beliefs? Affirmations. First, suss out what limiting beliefs are holding you back from your best and then turn them into positive statements.
Been telling yourself since day dot that you’re not good enough? Try ‘I am enough, I am capable and I succeed at everything I put my mind to’ on for size. Finally? Repeat those affirmations over and over again – out loud or in your head – until they seep into your subconscious and begin to shape your reality.
Say ‘see ya’ to people-pleasing
Be honest with us: do you often put other people’s needs before your own? While it’s good to be kind and accommodating to others, excessive people-pleasing can often come at the expense of your boundaries and over time this behaviour can compound the idea that your needs are second best.
Ready to break the habit? Consider scheduling a no commitment day, where you tend to nobody’s needs but your own. Stick your phone on flight mode if you want to, say ‘no’ to that last-minute request that’s only going to cause you stress, and resist the urge to reply to your emails straight away.
Can you see how these subtle shifts allow you to value your needs, focus on your priorities, and conserve your energy for the stuff that matters? Use that insight to begin setting boundaries that honour you and your needs.
Paulo Coelho sums it up: “When you say yes, make sure you’re not saying no to yourself.” BRB, writing that one down.
Take Yourself On A Date
Coffee catchups with your besties, a romantic dinner with your other half, a lunch date with your colleagues…. We’ve no doubt you carve out plenty of time in the calendar for the people you love most. But let us ask you this, do you carve out anytime for yourself?
If you don’t, it’s time to start. Plan a date day with yourself that’s jam-packed with all the little indulgences you love. It could be a shopping trip with a pitstop for coffee and a slice of cake, appointments to get your hair, nails and brows done, or an afternoon exploring your favourite nature spot.
Imagine it’s your birthday and your best friend has been tasked with giving you the best day ever. Asks yourself what that day look like and then make it happen. It could be something you do once a month, once a week, or around special occasions. The important thing is, you carve out that special time for you, just like you would a loved one. Doing so acts as a powerful reminder that you matter, so pop a date with you into the diary.
Me, Myself, And I…
We want you to know something: you matter and you are important. And there’s only one person who can give you all the love, approval and understanding you crave: YOU.
So go on, indulge in self-love and begin developing the relationship you have with yourself because to quote author and professor Brené Brown, “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we will ever do.”