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Self Love

"If you can't love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" - RuPaul

DETAILS

February is often coined the “month of love.” For many, it can be a time of romance and connection. For others, it can be a time of loneliness, grief, jealousy, anger, or some combination of these emotions. For all, February can be an opportunity to tune in, reconnect with what we need, and recommit to practices that are within our control to build and emanate more love within and outside of ourselves.

Rupaul said it best, "If you can't love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"

When it comes to psychology research, you see self love and self compassion used interchangeably. Some such research has defined self love as:

"A state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth... it's dynamic; it grows through actions that mature us."

Research has also identified self love as encompassing three main components:

  1. SELF-KINDNESS
    The ability to treat yourself with understanding and forgiveness, feeling warm and empathetic towards yourself particularly when you suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. It's the ability to quiet down the self criticism and up the positive self talk.

  2. SHARED HUMANITY
    The understanding that when we do fuck up, that's the nature of being human. None of us are perfect, and making mistakes is what connects us as human beings.

  3. MINDFULNESS
    Being open and curious about yourself! Not judging yourself or over-identifying with negative emotions, experiences, or self-talk. Identifying the reality of your experience and being able (or attempting to) separate that from your emotional reaction or experience.

If taking this on seems daunting to do alone, we also consider therapy a true act of self love and self kindness. Therapy is a rare and invaluable opportunity to learn more about yourself and your distinct wants and needs. You receive 45-60 minutes per week of uninterrupted time and space to share anything and everything on your mind and receive focused, unbiased, professionally trained care and support to work toward who you want to be.

HOMEWORK

Let's break down some Self-Love homework into the three main categories that encompass the subject:

SELF-KINDNESS

  • Rather than getting angry at yourself for a mistake, ask "what did I learn?"
  • Stay on top of your self care routine.
  • Prioritize your needs and your boundaries.
  • Challenge the negative stories or ideas you have made up about yourself.
  • Laugh! Laughter is one of the most underrated opportunities to bring more love into your life. Some benefits of laughter include relieving physical tension and stress, boosting your immune system, releasing anger, and increasing your capacity for forgiveness.

SHARED HUMANITY

  • Forgive yourself when you make mistakes - accept your humanness!
  • Surround yourself with people that lift you up - end all toxic relationships!
  • Instagram clean out: unfollow accounts that make you feel anything but inspired or happy.
  • Treat others with love and respect. That doesn't mean you will always get the same in return, but you will respect yourself for doing so.

MINDFULNESS

  • You can't fall in love with someone without having a deep understanding of who they are - the same goes for loving yourself!
  • Cultivating a true understanding of how you think, feel, want, your desires and needs, your boundaries - all of this self work contributes to your ability to truly love yourself for who you are.
  • Accepting yourself for who you are right now, all the strengths and weaknesses, not where you want to be in a year or five, but who and where you are right now.
  • Keep up with your daily mindfulness exercises like meditation, mindful eating, walking, etc.
  • Meditation not only will help you reduce anxiety, manage stress, enhance self-awareness, reduce memory loss, increase attention span, and promote emotional health, among a plethora of other benefits, it can improve your ability to give and receive love.

Often, in our world today, we might feel guilty or like we’re wasting time if we engage “too often” in activities that aren’t “productive.” We challenge that. If you allocate 30-60 minutes per day to something that brings you joy, purely for the sake of feeling joy, the health benefits you will enjoy will go on to improve your productivity, reduce your stress levels, deepen your relationships, and strengthen your overall health. Consider it an investment.

CITE YOUR SOURCES

This Toolkit is a collaboration with Alyssa Petersel, LMSW, therapist and the Founder + CEO of MyWellBeing, where she and her team connect people with the *right* therapist, while helping therapists build and manage their business.

If you’re interested in finding the right therapist for you and you’re located in NYC, we @FindMyWellBeing are here to help. Not in NYC? Follow @FindMyWellBeing for regular wellness tips and check our Content Corner to learn more about what therapy is really like and how it can help you.

Learn More About Self Love

Why Self-Love Is Important

A Self Love Yoga Class

Yoga With Adriene "Self Love" Yoga

More Tangible Self Love Ideas

A Seven-Step Prescription For Self Love

Eight Powerful Steps To Self Love

30 Ways To Practice Self Love & Be Good To Yourself

10 Tangible & Thought-Provoking Ways To Practice Self-Love