Today, it seems like everything is feeding into our desire to be better versions of ourselves. From our smartphones to social media, we are constantly exposed to an array of images and messages that tell us what we should look like, think like, and feel like as individuals. As a result, we have become obsessed with being perfect and achieving inner peace in the process; but how do you actually achieve self-love? Self-love is the act of taking care of yourself by loving your flaws, embracing your uniqueness, and appreciating who you are as a person. And while it may seem difficult at first, there are several simple steps you can take today to start cultivating self-love:
Related: Why Self Care Isn't Selfish
Step 1: Be kind to yourself
For most people, putting on makeup is a daily part of their morning routine. Maybe you even apply it with a sense of accomplishment and joy. But, in doing so, are you being kind to yourself? When you put on your makeup, do you also take the time to think about how your actions will impact your day? What if instead of using that time to worry about what other people think of your appearance or whether or not you look good enough for them, you used it to focus on the positive aspects of your day? Perhaps you could work up a silly dance routine that makes your little heart happy or cheerfully recite a list of all the things going right for you today. Most importantly, remind yourself that no matter what happens during the course of the day or how hard it may get, everything will be okay as long as you allow yourself to be kind to yourself.
Step 2: Say thank you
..and be grateful. One of the best ways to start cultivating self-love is with an activity that could seem a little cheesy at first - journaling. Journaling is a reflective activity that helps open up the channels of communication between yourself and your higher power. It's also a way to get in touch with what you're really thinking and feeling, which can lead to more clarity and understanding of what you want out of life. Journaling is a great way to stay connected with yourself on a deeper level, as well as give yourself some much need peace and relaxation. The best part about journaling is it's something you can do for yourself every single day, so don't think about it as an added responsibility; think about it as another routine that will help keep your mind healthy and happy.
Step 3: Show up and be present
One of the most important things you can do in order to cultivate self-love is to show up and be present in your day-to-day life. If you're constantly thinking about where you should be or what your next move should be, it's difficult to focus on the present moment. This is a common trap that many people fall into. By focusing on the now, you will find yourself naturally developing a better sense of self and even learning how to love yourself more. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but just taking five minutes out of your day to breathe in deeply and remember why you are doing this work, it will help tremendously.
Step 4: Journal your feelings
Journaling is the first step towards self-love. Journaling allows you to process your emotions and thoughts in a safe and constructive environment. In this sense, journaling is an opportunity to be vulnerable without fear of judgment or condemnation. Also, journaling helps you remember what it feels like to allow yourself to feel free without judgment or shame--to feel what you truly want to feel. This can help you stop comparison shopping and living in constant anxiety about your place within the so-called perfectionist standards we are always pressured to meet.
Related: 20 Journaling Prompts You Can Use Today
Step 5: Find something you enjoy doing
Finding something you enjoy doing is one of the first steps to achieving self-love. One way to find something you enjoy doing is by writing a list of your interests and observing what makes you happy. Then, spend time focusing on the things that make you happy and explore more about them. Some people recommend incorporating activities in your daily routine that make you feel good about yourself. For example, if you enjoy cooking, then cook for yourself every day. If there is something specific that you want to do or learn more about, try taking a class related to it or spending some time online researching related topics.