We hear the words ‘ self-love’ all the time, and we say that we need to love ourselves first… but how many of us actually do it?
Self-love is the foundation of a healthy and happy life. We all know that loving ourselves more means we’ll be better equipped to love others more too, but sometimes it can be difficult to put those thoughts into action.
Thanks to external influences, social media, past relationships, and Aunt Maude’s well-meaning but oh so damaging comments, we’ve conditioned ourselves to be hypercritical of the person staring back at us in the mirror, while preaching to others how important it is to love yourself.
It’s okay though, it doesn’t have to be like this and one of the good things is, you have control over how you feel about yourself.
No one else can make you feel a certain, way, but we do have to learn how to love ourselves again. This is where self-love exercises come in.
What Is Self-Love?
Before we can ‘do’ self-love, we have to actually know what it is.
While we all have a different idea of self-love, the concept of self-love is generally the same.
Self-love is not just thinking you’re amazing, it’s a deep respect, admiration, and acceptance of yourself.
It’s recognizing that you are worthy of love and happiness and taking care of yourself both physically and emotionally. It means being gentle with yourself, speaking kindly to yourself, and making choices that support your well-being.
When you love yourself, you are more likely to make choices that are good for you because you know that you deserve only the best.
Self-love is also recognizing your own needs and making sure they are met. It means setting boundaries in relationships, saying no when you need to, and taking care of yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Self-love also means taking time to reflect and focus on your own growth, both emotionally and spiritually. It means being honest with yourself about what you need in order to be healthy and happy.
It sounds like a lot, and it might feel like a lot of hard work, which may be the case to start off with, but just like a muscle, the more we use it, the more we practice self-love, the easier it will be. The only person who can increase your self-love is you.
Why Do We Need Self-Love?
Self-love is essential for a number of reasons, but here are just a few:
It Helps To Boost Our Self-Esteem And Confidence
When we love ourselves, we feel good about ourselves and this radiates outwards.
We become more confident in who we are and what we have to offer the world.
Over the years our self-esteem and confidence can waver. Common causes for women to lose their self-esteem and confidence can be issues with work/career, relationship breakdowns, or divorce, and sometimes even becoming a mother can cause us to lose a bit of who we are as an individual.
Self-love techniques can help with increasing our sense of self-worth, creating high self-esteem, and focusing on deep, true self-love.
It Makes Us Happier
When you love yourself, you are filled with a sense of peace and happiness that can’t be created by anything else in the world.
You’ll find yourself smiling more often, laughing more, and genuinely enjoying life.
It Increases Our Self-Awareness
When we are constantly putting ourselves down, it’s impossible to see all the amazing things that we have to offer.
Self-love gives us a chance to be free of judgment and negativity so that we can get in touch with who we truly are and what makes us happy.
It Makes Us Healthier
Loving yourself means taking care of your body, doing what’s best for it, nourishing your mind and spirit – in short, you’re living a healthy life.
Eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly are just a few ways that self-love can impact our wellness.
There are many other benefits of self-love, but these are some of the most important ones.
If you’re struggling to love yourself, or even if you just want to boost your self-esteem, try out some of these self-love exercises.
Exercises To Help You Deepen Your Self Love
As we mentioned earlier, self-love is like a muscle, you need to exercise it in order for it to grow and for it to work properly.
Thankfully, the exercises to help deepen your self-love are quite simple to do. They may make you feel a little uncomfortable at first, but so does any form of exercise or personal growth.
You don’t have to try all of these at once, the best way to get started is to pick one or two that resonate with you and start with them. Then, once you’re ready, come back to this list and add another one or two exercises.
The more you do this, and the more you make it a habit, the faster and more effective the self-love growth will be.
Keep an open mind with the following exercises, use them as part of your self care routines, and see which ones work for you.
1 – Speak Only Kind Words To Yourself
This is probably the most important self-love exercise on this list.
The words we speak to ourselves have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves, and unfortunately, many of us are far too critical.
We need to start speaking kindly to ourselves if we want to love ourselves more.
This means no more negative self-talk, no more calling ourselves names, and no more putting ourselves down.
Instead, we need to focus on the positive aspects of who we are and what we do.
So make a conscious effort to catch yourself when you start to speak negatively about yourself, and turn those negative thoughts around into something positive instead.
2 – Use Self Love Affirmations Every Day
Self-love affirmations are positive statements that we can say to ourselves to help us feel good about ourselves. Another way to think of them is like self-love mantras that we can say to ourselves on a regular basis.
They help to increase our self-esteem and confidence, and they remind us of all the amazing things we have to offer, while keeping us in the present moment and focusing on positive feelings.
The power of positive affirmations lies in their ability to influence our subconscious minds and actually create new neural pathways in our brain – they can literally train our brain to think differently about certain things. Amazing.
There are tons of different self-love affirmations out there, so find some that resonate with you and start including them in your daily life.
You can say them in the morning when you wake up, before bed at night, or any time throughout the day that feels right to you.
Ensure the affirmations you use are in the present tense and are positive statements. Remember, in order to achieve a positive mindset we must use positive words.
Some great examples of self-love affirmations include:
- I am enough
- I am worthy of love and happiness
- I am strong and capable
- I love and accept myself exactly as I am
- I make choices that align with my best self
- It is safe for me to be unapologetically myself
- I know who I am and what is right for me
3 – Take Time For Yourself Each Morning
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to take some time each morning just for yourself.
This is time that you use to do something that makes you feel good, something that’s just for you and that nobody else has to be involved in.
The reason why you should take this time in the morning is because if you try and make it for later in the day, or at night, chances are you’ll make something else a priority, you’ll run out of time, or you could simply forget.
By taking time for yourself each morning (even if it means you have to get up 20 minutes before your kids do) you make yourself a priority first thing in the day.
It doesn’t matter what it is that you do, as long as it brings you joy and makes you feel good.
Some ideas for a self-care morning routine might include: taking a walk, reading your favorite book or magazine, meditating, journaling, drinking a nice cup of coffee or tea while listening to relaxing music, exercising, taking a relaxing shower or bath, sitting in the quiet by yourself – the possibilities are endless!
Just make sure that it’s something you enjoy and can do each day.
4 – Create A Habit Of Journaling
Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings, and it can be very therapeutic.
It’s also a great way to track your progress when it comes to self-love, and can help you to understand more about who you are, what is important to you, and what you want in life.
Start by challenging yourself to journal each day. There are no rules about what you need to write about, or how much you need to write, go for whatever feels right for you.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can use journal prompts to help you along the way, or simply start a gratitude journal and write all of the positive things you are grateful for.
Some great journal prompts to get you started might include:
– What is something that I’m grateful for today?
– The best part of my day was…
– Something I did really well today (or in the past few days) was…
– One thing that would make me feel more fulfilled in life is…
– One way I can show myself more love today is…
– What are some things that make me feel good about myself?
– What is something I want to work on in myself?
– Why do I deserve love and happiness?
Journaling may seem like such a simple exercise, but it really can have a positive impact and help create greater self-love.
5 – Try Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT, otherwise known as emotional freedom technique, is a form of energy healing modality that is based on the principles of acupuncture and the body’s energy meridians.
It’s believed to work by removing blockages and disturbances in the body’s energy system that can create negative emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear, allowing for healing to take place.
Often a lot of the same negative thought patterns found in trauma and anxiety are similar to those experienced with low self-love and low self-esteem.
Therefore using a tool like EFT can help us overcome these patterns of negative self-talk and replace them with positive self-talk and self-love.
Here is a video from Dr Peta Stapleton who has extensively studied EFT, explaining the basics of EFT and how you can do it yourself.
6 – Find Your Energy Leaks And Plug Them
We all have energy leaks in our lives, for example, we might spend too much time on social media comparing ourselves to others.
Or, we can feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders because we are constantly worrying about things that are out of our control.
These energy leaks can drain our energy and make it difficult to feel good about ourselves.
To plug these energy leaks, we need to identify them first.
One way that you can do this is by keeping a journal where you write down how you are feeling each day, and then try to find patterns or common themes in your journal entries.
Once you have identified these areas of your life that are causing you to feel drained, you can then work on finding ways to plug the energy leaks.
Some possible ways that you could plug your energy leaks might include: removing yourself from situations or people that cause you distress, taking a break from social media, practicing self-care like getting enough sleep and eating well, focusing on gratitude and appreciation for what is good in your life, and setting boundaries with yourself and others.
7 – Pay Attention To Your Body And Ask What It Needs
Our bodies are incredible machines that are constantly giving us information about how we are feeling, both physically and emotionally.
Unfortunately, we often ignore the signs that our body is trying to give us, and instead push through with what we think we should be doing regardless of how we are feeling.
This can lead to us feeling run down, stressed, and anxious, which can all contribute to lowered feelings of self-love and self-esteem.
One way that you can start to pay more attention to your body is by asking it what it needs. This applies to both how our physical body is feeling, as well as our mind and our mental health.
For example, if you are feeling tired or run down, this might be a sign that you need more rest or relaxation.
If you are feeling anxious or stressed, this might be a sign that you need to focus on some self-care or take some time for yourself.
The more you pay attention to the signs that your body is giving you, the better you will be able to take care of yourself and prevent these negative emotions from taking over.
8 – Make Time For Personal Development And Learning
Another powerful way that you can start to cultivate more self-love and self-esteem is by making time for personal development and learning.
Taking the time to learn new things, read books, attend workshops, or take courses on topics that you are interested in can help you feel more confident and capable of achieving your goals.
In addition, personal development can also help you to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and how they impact your life.
This increased awareness can lead to more self-compassion and understanding, which are essential components of self-love.
You might find it helpful to create a personal development plan where you set out some specific goals, topics you want to learn about, or activities that you want to focus on, as well as the timeframe that you want to complete them in.
This can help keep you accountable and ensure that you are making time for your personal development every day.
9 – Remove Negative People From Your Life
One of the quickest and most effective ways to start feeling better about yourself is to remove negative people from your life.
These are the people who drain your energy, make you feel bad about yourself, or who are always putting you down.
It can be difficult to let go of these people, especially if it is a family member. But it is important to remember that you deserve to surround yourself with positive people who support you and make you feel good about yourself.
This comes back to protecting your energy too, and understanding that you don’t owe your energy to anyone.
If you find the people in your life are draining your energy, and you’re feeling more exhausted after being with them, then take steps to remove them (or at least limit your time with them).
This video is all about how to declutter your friendships and identify when you may need to let negative people go from your life:
10 – Do Something Each Day That Brings You Joy
One of the best ways to start increasing your self-love is by doing something each day that brings you joy. This is something that is just for you and not something you do for someone else.
This could be anything from reading a book, taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk in nature, playing with a pet, listening to your favorite music, or getting in touch with your creative side by painting, drawing, crocheting, or dancing.
The important thing is that you take the time to do something each day that makes you feel good, and fills your body with energy.
This can be a powerful way to start changing the way that you think about yourself and your life, and can help you see all of the wonderful things that are already present in your life and appreciate them more fully.
Try implementing these practices into your daily routine and see how they impact your self-love and self-esteem!
11 – Get To Know Yourself And How Amazing You Are!
Yes, this may make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but it’s also very true!
One of the best ways to love yourself more is to simply get to know yourself better and start appreciating all of the amazing qualities that make you who you are.
This means taking the time to really think about what you like and don’t like, what your values are, and what makes you happy. It also means accepting yourself for who you are, flaws and all.
One way to do this is to write down a list of things that you love about yourself, both big and small. This could be anything from “I am a great friend” to “I can always make people laugh.”
Another way to get to know yourself better is to think about your personal values and what is important to you in life. This can help you make decisions that are in line with who you are and what you believe in, which can lead to a greater sense of self-love and fulfillment.
Finally, it is also important to take time each day to appreciate your body and all that it does for you. This can be as simple as taking a few minutes to stretch, go for a walk, or treat yourself to a good meal.
Remember: you are already amazing just the way you are! Start focusing on what makes you special and unique, and you’ll start to see just how lovable you really are.
These are just a few of the many self-love exercises that you can start doing today to improve your relationship with yourself – literally the most important relationship in your life.
Self-love is so important for our overall wellbeing, yet it is something that many of us struggle with. If you are looking to improve your self-love, then hopefully these tips and exercises will be helpful for you.
Remember: self-love is a journey, not a destination. It is something that you have to work on each and every day, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.
And finally, don’t forget to be patient with yourself. It takes time to change the way we think and feel about ourselves, but if you keep working at it, you will get there.
Start implementing some of these practices into your life and see how they impact your overall well-being!