Updated: Mar 18, 2022
Photo Credit: Gigi Hadid
The relationship we have with ourselves is the longest and most significant relationship we will ever have. It is also the foundation for all our other relationships because our self-love determines our capacity to love others - what we can give them and what we are able to receive in return. So how do you know if you love yourself?
I still remember when a very well-known, intuitive doctor in New York almost ten years ago told me that my desired outcomes would happen when I learned to love myself first. My initial reaction was defensive and maybe a little confused. I thought, "well, I do love myself." But it honestly took me a few more years and many more experiences to fully understand the concept because it can sound like a very abstract idea.
If you want to know if you love yourself, pay attention to your inner dialogue. We have thousands of thoughts, and internal conversations pass through our minds every day. How do you speak to yourself? Are you your own worst critic? When you make a mistake, what do you tell yourself? Do you say, "I'm so stupid," or do you tell yourself things like "you're doing a great job," "you're handling this well," or "it's ok, you are doing your best"? Speak to yourself how you would want someone like a friend or your mother to speak to you – with love, kindness, patience and encouragement.
Being able to speak kindly to yourself and loving yourself even on your tough days is how you know you truly love yourself. It's being able to look in the mirror and say, 'I love you.' It's accepting all the parts of you but also honoring and loving the older versions of yourself, knowing you did your best at your level of consciousness at that time.
You can also practice self-love through the below acts of love:
Take the time to feed your body the right foods and cook yourself healthy meals that make you feel good, and support both your energy and mood. Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Get outside regularly for some sunshine and movement. Read books and do things that inspire you. Your body needs nourishment on all levels.
Lay Some Ground Rules for Yourself
Being disciplined and consistent is an important act of self-love. Be accountable by setting some routines or rituals for yourself that you enjoy.
Set an early bedtime for yourself every night so you can get the rest you need and wake up refreshed.
Set up a workout routine that you enjoy. Make a goal of how often you want to work out per week but do it with the intention of making yourself feel good; not because you are putting pressure on yourself to look a certain way or achieve a certain weight. The mental benefits of a workout far outweigh the physical benefits anyway.
Develop a morning routine where you set aside enough time for yourself to mentally prepare. Set intentions for the day before just jumping right into your ‘to do’ list on auto pilot. Take some time to go inward and connect with yourself through prayer, meditation, or a gratitude practice. Enjoy your favorite cup of tea or coffee. All of these are healing rituals that will benefit you.
Make a to do list while you’re at it! Organize yourself and plan out all the monotonous tasks like laundry, cleaning, and organizing. All of these things will help you feel grounded and when you are consistent enough with the small things, you also won’t feel as overwhelmed with the big things. You also won’t be as hard on yourself when you can’t make a workout or miss something else because you know you show up for yourself 99% of the time.
Spend Time Alone
There is a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. When you spend time alone you know yourself on a deep level and you will become very in tune with your own intuition. When you love yourself enough you also won't be able settle for a relationship just to be with someone. You will know your own worth and wait for the right person. It's also pretty easy to spend time alone because you enjoy your own company.
Nurture and Care for Yourself
When your body is tired, take a break. When your mind is tired, take a nap. Do the things that make you feel good and lift your spirits. Do a face mask, watch a feel-good movie, or go for a walk because feeling good and keeping your vibe high is everything.
Make the Tough Decisions
Sometimes acts of self-love are “tough love”. It can be leaving a relationship that isn’t right anymore or not answering a phone call because you don’t have the mental space or energy for it in the moment. Some decisions are hard in the moment but are best for you in the long run. Protect and prioritize your own energy. Set boundaries with love. Don’t abandon yourself or your own needs to be loved by someone else. Give yourself the love you deserve first and watch how easily others love you.
Call it self-care or self-maintenance, but SELF-LOVE is showing yourself the love and compassion you so willingly give to others, unconditionally.