“Self-love” as a term is so widely used that it seems like the answer to almost everything. However, more often than not, the essential practices of self love are missing from the very fabric of our societies worldwide. How many of us can say that we were taught how to cater to ourselves first before giving others? Not many, I believe.
Many cultures, including mine, have time and again imbued us with a sense of sacrifice to help other, or to maintain peace by not expressing our feelings or worse to behave in a certain way to maintain an image. Sadly, these are the very traits that dim our lights and turn our heads away from self-love. We have learnt to deny ourselves the simple pleasures of listening to our heart and being true to ourselves.
Although we know that loving ourselves can make us feel better and is essential for our well being, we do not seem to know which way to go or what to do to feel it. Well, there is no one method to self love and because every person is unique , each one is free to explore ways to up their self love game.
Here are some basic rituals that can be incorporated into our daily living. Although they are simple, their effects could be resounding.
Keeping a light & dark thought book
We are a mix of good and bad thoughts. The secret to self-love and feeling comfortable in our skin is to accept all the parts of ourselves. Keeping a light and dark thought book implies making note of our thoughts and behaviours we liked and those that we rather deny, every day.
During the course of becoming a therapist, we are trained to unearth our dark sides so as to accept the shadow parts of clients and realise that we aren’t perfect but a continual work in progress.
Hence, it’s imperative for each of us to become aware of our shadows as well as bright parts. These revelations are for your eyes only. Unless, we aren’t sure what we are made up of internally, we can’t love who we are.
Check in with yourself multiple times a day
“How am I feeling right now?” is the way to check in. Asking this simple question allows us to reconnect with our inner world. I truly believe that we are all just mere reflections of our inner worlds. Hence, tending to feelings, keeps us in balance inside, whereby we can respond to the external world better.
Validate your feelings
The feelings that we feel are messengers of the body. None of our feelings are good or bad, even jealousy isn’t particularly bad. Accepting these feelings and getting curious about their origins will change the very perspective of how we view ourselves. Sitting with the feelings and saying “okay, I feel________ right now because of_________” is the easiest way to validate, accept and to get a bigger picture of what’s really bothering us.
When we create something, be it art, song, food, a machine or anything, we deploy all our senses to a focused task. By doing this, we cater to our mind (through thinking), body (using body parts) and soul (feeling joy) at the same time. Creating a simple dish with focused attention for 10–15 mins a day can boost our mental health and help us get more comfortable within.
Appreciate yourself everyday
Life can be tough and not every day is a good day. But through the good and the bad, we are the only constants in our life. So why not take a moment every day to appreciate something in us? A plant that is nurtured every day, grows the best. Similarly, when we pour loving kindness into our hearts, we bloom better as individuals.
Feeling comfortable in our skin is akin to accepting ourselves fully. This can only be achieved through self-love. These were just a few tips that can be tried, however, all of us must explore ways of loving ourselves a little more each day.