Society often emphasizes the need to care for others. Although you need to look after your loved ones, don’t prioritize their needs forgetting your own. But what is learning to love yourself? Contrary to popular belief, loving yourself isn’t about selfishness. Instead, loving yourself involves attending to your wants, so you have enough love to share with others.
Moreover, to love yourself goes beyond words; you need to align your actions with your intuition. Whether you’re single or dating someone from the best dating sites, here are a few ways to love yourself when you don’t know how.
6 Ways to Love Yourself
How to love yourself, how to put yourself first? Is it selfish to do so or is it just the right thing to do?
1. Forgive Yourself
Your inability to love yourself may arise from grudges you hold against yourself. Whether you mistreated an ex or missed a career opportunity, bitterness steals your joy and prevents you from forging meaningful relationships. There are several ways to love yourself through self-forgiveness. Start by being honest with yourself. You can only love yourself once you know the source of your guilt.
What’s more, acknowledge your errors aloud. By voicing your thoughts and emotions, you take full accountability and release your burdens. You could also learn how to love yourself again by pausing negative thoughts.
You cannot change the past by remembering traumatic events. Instead, picture yourself putting your pain in a jar and leaving it there until you’re ready to deal with it. Another way to love yourself is through apologies. Like apologies to other people, self-forgiveness requires honesty. Feel free to send yourself a letter and refer to it whenever you’re unable to love yourself.
2. Work Out
The exercise shows you how to love yourself when you don’t know how. First off, physical activity benefits your mental health. By stimulating endorphins, exercise soothes your muscles for tension release. Moreover, physical activity increases your brain’s responsiveness to norepinephrine and serotonin, hormones that relieve depression.
Exercise also fights loneliness. You meet new people when you go to the gym or play team sports like basketball. Don’t forget the weight loss benefits! Cardiovascular workouts such as swimming and running lower your appetite and increase metabolism to hasten calorie burning. Likewise, workouts help you love yourself by toning your muscles and giving you the body you’ve always wanted.
Another reason to get active is to keep hypertension, cancer, and diabetes at bay. Past studies name lack of exercise as a major chronic illness cause. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym. Morning jogs, dance parties, even house chores like babysitting and cleaning keep you active.
3. Healthy Eating
Binging, consuming large portions, or eating junk food is no way to love yourself. Besides inviting obesity, poor nutrition exposes you to diabetes, hypertension, and heart problems. Healthy food choices take different forms. For starters, replace processed foods with whole alternatives. Because they digest quickly, the body burns less energy trying to break down processed foods, hampering weight loss. Apart from packing more calories, processed foods activate the dopamine centre to increase food cravings.
Additionally, increase your food and veggie consumption. Phosphorus, magnesium, zinc; you name it, fruits and vegetables supply essential minerals and vitamins. This is in addition to their high fibre content that improves gut health. Some fibre sources include apples, green peas, cauliflower, pumpkin, and raspberries. Since they contain fewer calories, you can indulge in fruits and vegetables while watching your weight.
Remember, healthy eating isn’t just about what you eat but how you eat. For example, eating slowly lets you know when you’re full. Another way to love yourself is by limiting distractions during mealtime to enjoy your food.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep features prominently in the list of what ways to love yourself are. For starters, sleep boosts concentration and cognition for more productivity. Similarly, rest improves athletic performance by facilitating muscle repair and increasing coordination and energy levels.
Sleep also aids weight control. Sleep deprivation increases the hormone ghrelin that boosts appetite and reduces leptin that signals satiation. Again, staying awake disrupts circadian patterns and presents more opportunities to eat. You may want to love yourself more, but sleep doesn’t always come easy.
You can fight insomnia by avoiding caffeine before bedtime. By stimulating the nervous system, caffeine keeps you alert when you’re supposed to be sleeping. If you cannot do without coffee, stick to decaffeinated alternatives. You can also adopt relaxation activities before bedtime. Biofeedback techniques, autogenic training, and breathing exercises come in handy to lower blood pressure and heart rate for an overall sense of wellbeing.
5. Invest in Quality Relationships
Although you have to love yourself first, you also need love from other people. For starters, healthy relationships allow you to love yourself by promoting personal growth. You’re more likely to chase your dreams when you have someone cheering you on.
Social connections also help you to love yourself by reducing stress. Friends provide emotional support during traumatic events such as illnesses or a loved one’s death. The first step of building healthy relationships is communication. Apart from effective listening, communicate your needs to avoid misunderstandings.
What’s more, spend quality time with your friends, family, or romantic partner. Even if you’re busy, take time off your schedule to connect with the people you value. You can find shared interests like dancing and cooking, or try new things together, for instance, eating at a new restaurant.
6. Follow Your Passion
Financial constraints, uncertainty, and unsupportive friends make it hard to love yourself and follow your passion. However, chasing your dreams is rewarding. First off, pursuing your passion is fulfilling. Provided you don’t have malicious intentions, working towards something greater than yourself adds meaning to your life.
When you love yourself too much and follow your passion, you become happier since your pursuits no longer feel like work. You also become more persistent. You’re less likely to give up or worry about naysayers when doing what you love.
Working on your passion is surely a way to love yourself. You can identify your passion by looking at the things you already enjoy doing. Whether it’s writing stories or playing music, find a way to make money from your hobbies. You can also seek insight from your friends and relatives. Your inner circle might identify abilities in you that you never knew existed.
Conclusion: Can You Learn to Love Yourself in a Relationship?
You can still learn how to love yourself when in a relationship with these workable ways to love yourself. In addition to increasing empathy, self-love reveals your self-worth to prevent other people from taking advantage of you. This is possible by establishing boundaries with your lover, spending time alone, and making new friends. Is it true that you have to love yourself first to spread love to other people? Tell us why it’s important to love yourself in the comments.
About the author: Davis is a marriage and family therapist. She has worked in a variety of therapeutic settings over the past 7 years providing services to children, adults, families, and couples. She is currently doing specific research on the topic. Miranda loves travelling and hiking.