It’s important to take care of yourself and nurture your soul (aka—love yourself), especially if you’ve been through something difficult. Be kind to yourself, be gentle. Show compassion and charity to yourself, the way you would a dear friend. Here are 20 ways to do so:
1). Nurture. Do something nourishing for yourself. Something that makes you feel amazing. Something that makes you feel peaceful. Drink those 8 glasses of water. Read that book in the hammock under the shade tree, soak in a bubble bath, get a massage, have your nails done, or meditate with essential oils. Do whatever makes you feel good, whole, and sound. Nurturing yourself sends a message to your mind and heart that you are worth taking care of.
2). Self-Discovery. Self-discovery is a great was to love yourself, and one of the easiest because it’s fun. Self-discovery is the process of finding out what makes you tick, what ticks you off, what you love to do, what talents you have, where your compassion lies, what style of leadership you have, what personality type you have, etc.
If you’ve been through challenges, or have been in survival mode for any length of time, you begin to forget who you are. I was in survival mode for so long that I literally didn’t have any favorites of anything! I couldn’t answer the questions: What is your favorite candy bar? Favorite food? Favorite season? Etc. Because what I wanted didn’t matter for so long, I lost myself. The good news is, you can rediscover yourself through self-reflection and trying new things.
3). Invest in Yourself. Take a class, learn an art, read a book, get some training, hire a coach. Do something that says to your mind and heart, “I’m worthwhile.”
4). Honor Yourself. If you know you need a certain amount of sleep, or that eating certain foods makes you sick–If you know that flashing lights give you a headache, or spending time with a particular person makes you feel horrible about yourself, then HONOR YOUR NEEDS! It’s okay to have boundaries. In fact, it’s necessary. Say NO, if you need to. Exercise willpower on your behalf and see how great you feel, not only physically, but also emotionally.
When you honor yourself, you tell yourself that you deserve to be respected. This message builds on itself, giving you confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Honoring yourself is not about Ego or narcissism. The idea is not to get to the place where you think “Hey, it’s all about me”, but rather to gain a healthy self-respect. It’s important to do the things that you know serve your Highest Self, your highest good.
How do you know if you’re honoring yourself or just being egotistical? Here’s something that may help: Honoring yourself might offend someone else, but it doesn’t diminish them.
5). Practice Self-Compassion. You have compassion for others, right? Why not for yourself? We are generally our own worst critic and judge. We condemn ourselves for far less than we would ever condemn others for. Self-compassion is the act of being kind and gentle with ourselves. It is allowing for imperfection and extending forgiveness to the Self.
6). Recognize the Good in Yourself. When you do something good, acknowledge it. Write it down in a special journal designated for just that purpose. When you’re feeling down, go back and read all the good things you’ve noticed about yourself.
7). Praise your successes. It’s not prideful to acknowledge that you are successful. Acknowledgement is an affirmation. If you tend to get down on yourself, praising your successes is vitally important because you probably tend not to see them at all. Acknowledge challenges overcome, weaknesses avoided, performances well-delivered, thoughts well-spoken and feats well-done. Most people don’t actually speak the kind things they are thinking, so be your own cheerleader. Compliment yourself once in awhile.
8). Acknowledge your gifts. Take note of any and all gifts you have be they physical, spiritual, creative, academic, emotional. You have them, but do you see them? Practice seeing your gifts and talents and own them rather than hiding them.
9). Acknowledge efforts not results. It’s easy to think we have failed when we don’t get the results we anticipate. But learning to see and acknowledge our efforts is an important way to show love for the Self. Effort means you had the courage and faith to try, and that’s a lot more than many people ever do.
10). Stay Present in the moment. The past is the past, and although it’s fun to look back and remember good times, more often than not we remember things gone wrong, or pains inflicted. Looking at the past generally fills a person with dissatisfaction.
Looking ahead is wonderful for setting goals and creating a vision but it also creates longing and anxiety, even fear about what might or could happen.
Focusing on the present helps us accept our current state of being and make changes if necessary. It also allows us to live life. If your mind is always somewhere else you miss out on everything that is happening now. Life passes you by. Love yourself by staying in the present moment, experiencing all the wonder and education life has to offer. Yin yoga can help you learn to stay in the present moment because it is slow and deliberate. You can’t rush through it. It teaches you to be where you are right now.
11). Sit with your Feelings. Emotions are a part of the human experience. Loving yourself means allowing yourself to experience those emotions. When you feel uncomfortable emotions the best thing to do is label and acknowledge the way you feel. Let your emotions work through naturally instead of suppressing them with distraction. This is a powerful way to honor and love yourself. A yoga therapist once taught me to say, “I feel ….(fill in the negative emotion), and that’s okay.” Even God feels anger at times. Again, yin yoga can really help with working through emotions. Also, see my article on labeling emotions.
12). Expand your Spirit. The Spirit is part of the soul. It is the intangible part of your essence that combines with your physical body to create you. If you don’t have a spiritual routine, create one. You will add beautiful, meaningful depth to your life.
13). Express Gratitude. Gratitude helps you see how truly blessed your life is. Training yourself to notice the small details in life not only makes you feel rich, humble and blessed, it helps you stay in the present moment. Noticing blessings helps you see how much God loves you.
14). Dream. Take time to dream. Let your mind envision your ideal life, don’t censor or judge yourself. Just dream. Possibility is what keeps us moving forward.
15). Build Confidence. Take one action toward developing a skill, ability or knowledge. Recite affirmations. Step out of your comfort zone. Experience builds confidence.
16). Be Still. Take time to be completely still. Speed is by-product of modern life. It is not a natural state for man. Let yourself experience quiet for a few minutes every day. No music, no T.V., no distractions. Just silence. Unplugging actually recharges body, mind and spirit. did I mention yin yoga? 😉
17). Have fun. Make time to have plain, old-fashioned fun. Experience some of the joy and wonder of childhood by bringing fun activities into your life on a regular basis.
18). Learn to see Beauty. Look for the beauty in everything. See the wonders that nature creates right before your eyes. As you cultivate an eye for beauty you feel filled with wonder, joy and peace.
19). Create Space. Get rid of things you no longer need. Let go of things that no longer serve you physically, mentally and emotionally. Clear the toxicity from your life. New and Better need a place to go, so if your life is overstuffed they can’t come to you.
20). Seek a Solution. If you have a problem or situation you’ve been avoiding, seek to find a solution or to set things right within yourself. You can’t always fix what is external to you, but you can find peace within. Getting help from a qualified therapist or practitioner can be a game changer.
21). Choose Love. Make the choice to love yourself. Open up to the idea that you are worthy, beautiful and wonderful. After all, it is a choice.