“Love yourself.” It’s a saying we hear all the time these days—from TV shows, magazines, blogs, and books. But what does it really mean to love yourself? How do you make self-love a part of your everyday life?
The best way to truly love yourself is to treat yourself just like you would your best friend. When it comes to our closest friends, we only see the positive in them. We don’t criticize them or point out their flaws. We help them feel empowered, encouraging them and cheering them on.
But we rarely treat ourselves this way. We’re often hyper-critical of every mistake we make, every minor flaw, and our insecurities distort the way we see ourselves. If we treated ourselves more like we do our best friends, then maybe we’d feel stronger and more empowered and see ourselves as we really are.
🖤 Forgive yourself.
How many times have you lain awake at night, thinking about a slip-up at work or a poorly-thought-out remark made to a friend or family member? We run our mistakes over and over again in our minds, punishing ourselves until we feel like we can’t do anything right.
It’s important to accept blame for the things we’ve done wrong, but being quick to do so can often cause us to be overly hard on ourselves—and to take the blame for things that aren’t our responsibility.
When your best friend screws up and apologizes, you’re ready to give her a second chance. Show the same kindness and understanding to yourself. Remember that one mistake doesn’t erase all the good things you’ve done or any of your fantastic qualities. Forgive yourself and move on.
🖤 Listen to—and tend to—your own needs.
When your best friend is up late the night before a big exam or work presentation, you tell her to go to bed and get some rest. You make sure she doesn’t drink too much when you go out and offer her advice when she needs it.
Your own body and mind let you know what you need to stay healthy. Listen to them. Too often, we push ourselves too hard, trying to get everything crossed off our to-do list. But sometimes you need to slow down, for both your physical and mental health. Taking care of yourself is a great way to show self-love, just as you do so by taking care of your loved ones.
🖤 Surround yourself with people who love and respect you.
The people we let in our lives have a huge impact on how we see ourselves. If you spend your time with people who don’t respect you, you won’t respect yourself.
If your best friend had relationships that were toxic or hurtful, you’d tell her to drop those poor friends. But when it comes to yourself, you may think you deserve what you’re given. Instead, try to make sure your life is full of people who genuinely care about you. When you’re well-loved by others, it’s easier to see how deserving you are of that love.
🖤 Stand up for yourself.
You wouldn’t allow anyone to tell your best friend she’s unattractive or terrible at her job. Why would you allow someone to say those things to you?
Unfortunately, the meanest person in your life is sometimes yourself, which means you have to stand up and remind yourself of your own worth and value. It can be a challenge to learn to stick up for yourself, but it’s well worth it.
🖤 Treat yourself.
Some of the kindest things our best friends do for us are unexpected surprises: bringing you your favorite drink or inviting you out for a spontaneous lunch.
Show yourself that same love with the occasional treat. Sometimes you just need a latte or a massage to make a rough day a little better.
Your best friend is your best friend for a reason. She wouldn’t stick around if you she didn’t love everything about you, and you wouldn’t hang out with her if you didn’t love her just the same. If you learn to show yourself the same care and kindness you show your best friend, then you can truly learn how to love yourself.