How to Practice Self-Love (& Start Feeling Happy Again)

Mar 22, 2024

Self-Love & A New You

We all have that nagging inner voice that loves to nitpick, criticize, and tell us we’re just not enough.

For so many of us, that harsh internal monologue of negative self-talk can be overwhelming at times.

It causes us to overlook our immense self-worth and dwell on perceived flaws or inadequacies.

But here’s the real truth: EVERYONE has value — and that includes YOU.

Self-Worth: The Inner Critic

 It all comes down to perception.

Our minds scrutinize and judge ourselves way harsher than anyone else does.

We examine our existence under a mental microscope, fixating on every tiny flaw and insecurity.

But here’s the thing:

The outside world isn’t holding that hyper-critical magnifying glass up to you. They just see you as you are: a normal, imperfect human, quirks and all.

Those “flaws” you obsess over? Chances are, others barely even notice them.

The first step to self-love is understanding that WE will always be our own toughest critics.

The second is realizing that your negative thoughts and negative self-perception are likely just your overly harsh inner voice talking, not necessarily an objective reality.

The third step is then taking action to cultivate a sense of self-respect and love that opens the door to you finally feeling happy again.

It’s a door that always has a key; it’s a just a question of whether or not you can find it.

Cultivate Self-Love For A Better Future

Something that distracts so many of us from find ng that key is the fact that we’re clinging onto — consciously or subconsciously — an old ‘us’, an old identity that we can’t get rid of. 

We all tend to cling to self-perceptions and identities rooted in our past, even when they no longer apply.

Maybe you still view yourself through the lens of old trauma or negativity that trapped you in a mindset of low self-worth years ago.

But ask yourself: Is that REALLY me anymore?

So much has changed since then that you simply can’t be the same person as you were back then.

Cultivating self-love requires letting go of that old identity and investing who you are now and who you want to be in the future

Because that is ENTIRELY up to you.

You? Who? 

Our bodies and minds are constantly changing, upgrading, and evolving, just like the natural world around us.

Fun fact: Aside from the lenses in our eyes, our physical bodies regenerate brand new cells every few years.

Our brains rewire themselves too, swapping out old neural pathways for fresh ones as we grow. 

The fact of the matter is the human body is in constant flux (as is the mind) and we simply aren’t the same people we were even a short time ago.

If you want to get deep about it, we could even say we’re not the same person we were when you read the last word in this sentence.

But that’s a conversation for another time.

So, if we’re constantly changing physically and mentally, how can you be the same person you were in the past

The answer is because we’re holding on that person — that identity — in our mind.

Somewhere along the line it’s a choice we’ve made and are still making.

In many cases, we’re still lugging around an antiquated self-perception and identity shaped by a past and events we can’t even really remember in detail!

Whatever version of you you are still holding onto, you need to know that by all accounts that version of “you” is gone — if you want it to be

Whatever you did or said in the past is in the past

Not the present

Everything is different now. Literally.

So, it’s up to YOU to decide your current self-esteem and self-worth, and start creating the future YOU want to live in.

6 Ways to Practice Self-Love

Here are some simple strategies that will help you start the self-love ball rolling:

1.     Set boundaries

Learn to set healthy boundaries with yourself and others.

Don’t overcommit, say no when you need to, and protect your energy and personal space.

Carefully consider who to keep close to you.

2.     Practice meditation and mindfulness

Make time for meditation, deep breathing, or just being present in the moment.

Remember that the past is the past and the present is the present — and the present moment is NOW. 

It’s the only moment that matters. 

3.     Use positive affirmations

Counter negative self-talk by looking in the mirror and speaking kind affirmations about yourself out loud.

If that’s too tricky, grab some post-it notes, wrote the affirmations down and post them around your room/apartment/house.

The bathroom tends to be a good place to post things, especially around the mirror; the fridge in the kitchen is also another good one.

By doing this you help to slowly reprogram your subconscious.

Smiling is also a powerful mechanism for happiness, so smile at yourself, too, if you can manage it.

Here are some simple affirmations you can try for starters:

4.     Prioritize self-care

Try to do small things that recharge you, whether it’s taking a bath, reading an uplifting book, or indulging in a hobby you love.

It’s also important to get move.

When human are stressed or depressed, they naturally react by becoming static, often for long periods of time, which is bad for the mind and for the body.

The mind and body are directly connected, so if you want to move the mind out of it’s current state, there’s no better way than to get your body moving; it acts as a natural circuit breaker.

Getting out for a walk in nature is a great tonic

If you can’t get out into nature, at least get out of your house and breathe in some fresh air regularly.

5.     Accept that you’ll make mistakes

No one is perfect — you included.

There are lots of people you’ll see everyday who seem like they have everything — but you ever know what’s happening behind closed doors.

You never know how happy they are or what stresses they have in their lives.

Their lives are rarely, of ever, as perfect as they seem.

When you are on your journey to cultivating self-love, don’t judge yourself against othersit’s a false comparison. Instead, compare yourself against yourself, against where you were mentally yesterday or last week. And celebrate any improvements, however small!

Importantly, accept any mistakes and setbacks (for example, negative thoughts) with self-compassion.

Then re-commit to the journey right away.

You can’t expect your journey of self-love to be perfectly linear.

There will be peaks and troughs, but overall and over time you will see — and FEEL — improvements.

And that’s what counts.

6.     Know the Danger of Digital Devices

So many people still don’t understand the dangers of digital devices on mental health (especially if you use them before bed)

Don’t be one of them.

Limit your screen time and be strategic about what you consume online.

The simple way to check whether or not what you’re viewing or interacting online is good for you or not, ask yourself this question:

Does it give me positive energy or negative energy?
Does it make my mind relaxed, light and bright, or heavy, dull nd stressed?

With it’s an influencer you follow, a blog you read or particular TikTok vids you love to binge on, asking yourself these questions — and openly receiving the answers — will tell you what you need to do.

Be Gently Patient With Yourself

Overcoming years of negative self-talk and unfair self-judgment isn’t something that happens overnight

After all, it takes time to reprogram a mind that has told itself the same old story and been cheated by the same illusion for so long. 

But it CAN be done. 

Before we finish, please think about this statement carefully and remind yourself of it every day as you walk the path of self-love:

Image overlayed with the words: I will always treat myself with the same patience, the same compassion and the same understanding I'd give a good friend.

This statement may be the single most powerful tool you have.

Kick Out The Critic!

You MATTER.

You have VALUE.

You deserve to be HAPPY.

The only moment that is real is RIGHT NOW, so it’s up to you what you decide to do with it.

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