By: Brittany Berlin

One of the most ironic parts about our culture is our desperate search for love outside of ourselves, when we should be looking inward. Yes, loving relationships are important in our lives, but the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself.

If you can’t love yourself, your day-to-day life is pretty hard (yet you might not even realize it because of the negative self-talk going on autopilot constantly!). The fact of the matter is, you cannot fully love your life without loving yourself first.

And the funniest part of it all is that you’re so worth the love. You’re beyond worthy of offering yourself love and receiving it from others. You’re amazing, as cheesy as it sounds, and yes we can say that from not even directly speaking to you. But you won’t even see that unless you can let down your walls to see the beauty within.

Now, self-love is different from being self-absorbed. Ironically, most self-absorbed people actually have little to no self-love and self respect. Loving yourself means seeing yourself for who you truly are and allowing yourself to step into your truest potential.

So today we’re going to go over our top 20 ways to practice self-love. If you’re new to this, a fair warning, it will feel really uncomfortable at first. But the more you practice, the more you’ll see how worthy you are of loving yourself.

  1. Look yourself in the mirror, make eye contact, and say “I love you.” It will feel silly at first, but keep doing it. Say it 3 or 5 times at a time, slowly and intentionally, as if you’re speaking with a family member, friend, or partner.
  2. Stop comparing you, your life, your weight, your body, your accomplishments, your failures, etc. to others. Nothing good comes of comparison. You’ll almost always see yourself less than, and besides: it would always be like comparing apples to oranges. Both are good fruits, though nothing alike, so they can exist and be enjoyed concurrently.
  3. The next time you make a criticism about yourself, your body, or any part of you, counteract it with what you’re grateful for about that same thing. So for instance, say you got into a heated argument and ended up getting emotional and crying. Instead of getting down on yourself for showing emotion and crying, say thank you for these human emotions, for without them, I would not know the true experience of happiness and joy. Another example: if you’re upset with how your stomach looks, instead of saying how “fat” you are, say: I’m so grateful that my stomach can digest all of the nutrients that I feed it, and I love feeding myself with nutritious and nourishing foods.
  4. Find new ways to express yourself. Whether that’s taking a few moments to paint, picking up knitting, going for a bike ride rather than a walk, or journaling instead of typing, explore new avenues that spark your interest.
  5. Sit in silence and meditate daily. This could mean 5 minutes, or it could also mean an hour. Whatever level you’re at, take time to just be with yourself and familiarize yourself with the inner dialogue that’s going on. From there, you’ll become more mindful of how you speak to yourself, how you act towards others, and what you do during the day that either goes against self-love or towards self-love.
  6. Have patience with yourself. Learning to love yourself takes time and is ever evolving, like any other type of love we have in our lives.
  7. Realize that true beauty and attractiveness comes from within. Outward appearances are skewed left and right, through media channels, magazines, social media, and yes even in person. Those are never the true markers for beauty.
  8. Celebrate what makes you different. That’s where your uniqueness lies and your strength.
  9. Surround yourself with people that lift you up rather than tear you down. Even if it’s people that are tearing down themselves, you don’t need to be in that energy. Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Choose who you surround yourself with wisely.
  10. That voice in your head isn’t always true: learn when it’s aligned with your ego mind (most often sending you into fear, scarcity, or bringing you down) or with your mindful self (most often unemotional and unbiased, reason, and caring).
  11. Practice self-care. A huge part of self-love actually comes from self-care. Make sure you’re treating yourself right; that saying, treat others the way you want to be treated also includes how you treat yourself.
  12. On that note, make sure that you are treating others with kindness. When we treat others how they deserve to be treated (with love and respect, not what they’ve “earned” when doing something wrong), we often feel good about ourselves too.
  13. Practice gratitude daily. Yes, you should turn it inward, but don’t forget to express thanks for all that surrounds you. Even just that the sun came up and you got to try again.
  14. Mentor yourself as you would a child. If a child did something wrong, like eat a cookie before dinner, you wouldn’t be yelling “You’re so stupid, Karen, why’d you do that?! You’re so fat!” would you? You’d be gently correcting and redirecting the child. The same goes for how you speak to yourself.
  15. Learn when you need to say yes and when you need to say no. This is a fine balance. Sometimes we need to push ourselves to go outside of our comfort zones and say yes when we want to say no, but other times, we need to honor that calling to set boundaries and abide by them. Everyone is different and this will take practice.
  16. Get rid of guilt. Stop feeling guilty for what you do! You are a human being on this planet. You’re allowed to take up space.
  17. On that note, get rid of shame too. Let go of the past. You cannot return there, so there’s no use training your body to respond to the emotions of stress, shame, guilt, and anger for an experience that has long passed.
  18. Allow yourself rest. Prioritize sleep and learn when to turn off electronics, work, etc.
  19. Keep your space clean and organized. A clear space helps to have a clear mind
  20. Reach out for help. If you’re struggling in any way, you do not have to do this alone. Asking for guidance can sometimes be the biggest act of self-love. Strength also comes in accepting help.