Do you feel like you need to improve your relationship with yourself? How do you show self-love? Should you buy yourself flowers and chocolates? Book a night of romance? Here are five ideas to get you started. Try these five things and let us know what works for you.
Your most important relationship is with yourself and whilst Valentine’s Day might make you think that romantic love should be your priority. We think you should start by loving yourself. It can be easy to talk about self-love, but how do we show ourselves love? And why is it important?
You’ve heard the old adage that charity begins at home… well, so does love. Self-love helps you to understand the infinite expressions of love which is infinite. Caring for ourselves doesn’t leave us unable to care for others, but rather helps us to do so more deeply and authentically. Showing ourselves more love, results in a deeper understanding of what it means to be human and can open our hearts more to others: flaws and all.
1. Move in a way you need
You can’t know what you need, until you take some time to determine what this is. This is particularly true of movement. We’re so trained to believe that movement is related to punishment, that we don’t always stop to ask ourselves what sort of movement would help us most? We might need the heart-racing, blood-pumping thrill of a run or other aerobic exercise to keep our hearts healthy and to release feel-good endorphins, or we might need to soothe ourselves by allowing for a more somatic flow. Are we able to slow down enough and listen to what our bodies are telling us? We might have bought the line ‘no pain, no gain’ alongside a dozen over-priced red roses but in reality, our bodies need to move in different ways. So pause today, before you move in a habitual way and show yourself love by moving in the ways you need.
Try Feel Your Pleasure from Ava Riby-Williams to explore moving in a pleasurable way.
2. Write Yourself a Love Letter
Write yourself a letter of appreciation. That might sound cheesy, but it is a proven way to offer yourself comfort. Kristen Neff, researcher into the power of self-compassion suggests that writing a letter to offer words of comfort as you would to a friend is a powerful way to show yourself love, particularly when your feelings might otherwise feel overwhelming. This can help you to gain perspective on any given situation, increase your motivation, decrease anxiety and support your health. Alternatively, why not try listing twenty things about yourself that you love, or twenty things that you are good at.
3. Show Gratitude
Practicing gratitude has been proven to have both physical and psychological benefits. People who practice gratitude sleep better, report fewer aches and pains, exercise more and are able to face challenges more mindfully. We can’t think of a better way of showing self love. If you want to kickstart your gratitude practice read our article on 5 ways to practice gratitude.
Try this class with Nikita to explore how gratitude feels in your body
4. Take yourself on a date
Spend time alone doing something you love. This needn’t be anything expensive, but sometimes when we’re busy looking after others, we forget what it is that lights us up. Take some time to go on a long walk, and notice what you see. Set aside even a short time for a favourite crafting activity, or even take ten minutes to spend outside with a cuppa. Allow this to feel like fallow time – no need to make plans, or achieve anything. This is time for you to be with you!
5. Notice your self talk
Give yourself a break! Seriously, when we pay our attention to how we talk to ourselves, we come to realise that we often give ourselves a really hard time and talk to ourselves in ways that we would never talk to our loved ones. Why not try to notice what you say to yourself when something doesn’t quite go the way you think it should and re-frame it. Instead of saying,’oh you’re stupid to have let that happen…” try, ‘oh dear, that’s a shame, but that could happen to anyone’. Not convinced? Ask yourself if it’s true. For any given mistake or unsatisfactory outcome, is it something that could have happened to anyone? And if so, would you have given a friend such a hard time?