Recently I’ve been on a quest to develop a more loving relationship with myself. Naturally, a quest such as this one comes off the back of placing myself in a position where I felt unloved and unvalued. Unfortunately, my quest for more ‘self-love’ continued to bump up against my resistance to the whole manufactured ‘self-love’ movement. Thankfully, I discovered a way around this: self-compassion.
By extending a little more compassion my own way, I’ve been able to bypass the ‘self-love’ crusaders while still developing a more nurturing, more loving relationship with myself.
Here are seven simple acts of compassion I’ve been practicing on my quest to give myself a little more love:
1. Think kindly of yourself
Have you ever stopped and listened to the thoughts you have about yourself? Chances many of them aren’t that complimentary. Most of us a highly critical and judgmental, never more than towards ourselves. And yet you wouldn’t dare speak to another person the way you speak to yourself. So how about throwing a little more kindness your way. You’re doing your best, and your best is good enough. Love yourself by speaking kindly to yourself.
2. Forgive yourself
We all make mistakes. Unfortunately, not all of us are as good at forgiving ourselves, or others, for those mistakes. To have compassion means to have the capacity to forgive the wrongs made against us, even when those wrongs are self-directed. If you’re someone that tends to hold grudges, it could be that you struggle to forgive. Let yourself off the hook. After all, if you can keep yourself on the hook, surely you can let yourself off it. To love yourself means to love yourself even when you get it wrong, which we all do from time to time.
3. Be there for yourself
Life doesn’t always work out the way you want. Sometimes it feels like life isn’t working out at all, and you’re left wondering what on earth is the point of all this pain and heart break. When those times come around, be there for yourself. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions and feelings are arising. Whether it’s fear, sadness, anger, hurt, disappointment, give yourself the time and space to feel it without judgment or making yourself wrong. Love yourself by being there for yourself.
4. Hold yourself
Literally. Wrap your arms lovingly around yourself and literally hold yourself. Give yourself a gentle squeeze. Hold yourself like you would a loved one who is feeling sad or lonely or broken hearted. When there’s no one there to give you a warm hug, then don’t hold back on giving yourself one. Love yourself by wrapping your arms around each other and holding yourself.
5. Romance yourself
Now let’s face it – you’re smart, funny and as sexy as all get out! So, what the hell are you doing curled up on the couch in your faded pyjamas eating takeaway again? It’s time you got out there again. Not with someone else, but with yourself. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner. Or lunch, if that feels more comfortable. Order a glass of wine. Indulge in some dessert. Get your sexy on. To love yourself means getting a little romantic with yourself.
6. Laugh at yourself
When was the last time you laughed so hard you snorted? For some of you, it will be yesterday, but for most of us, we probably can’t remember. That’s because something not-so-funny happens to us as we mature. We become a little less playful and a lot more serious. Even the research tells us that the older we get, the less we laugh. It’s time to prove those academics wrong. Look for the funny and chances are you’ll find it. To love yourself means to laugh at yourself, preferably to the point where you snort.
9. Celebrate yourself
When was the last time you saluted yourself just for being you? Not just for your achievements and accomplishments (which I’m sure are many) but for everything you’ve had to endure in life. Life ain’t always easy. It takes guts to keep your head up during the hard times. It takes courage to stand up again after a fall. It takes perseverance to show up again in the face of failure. But you’ve done it, time and time again. So, what are you waiting for? To love yourself means to celebrate all that you’ve done, but more importantly, all that you’ve endured.