I saw this little plaque at a discount store and it has such a simple message: Love yourself.
I thought, “Yep. I need to see this every day.”
Because everyone knows it’s important to love yourself, right? Like, if you don’t love yourself how can you love anyone else, right? That’s what I’ve always heard.
But if you’re like me, you kind of say, Yeah that’s true. I agree.
But wait. Am I living that truth?
- Embrace the true meaning of the statement?
- Even know what that means? What does “loving yourself” look like?
- Actually practice it?
So if we look at what it means to love yourself, it could lead you to ask, what is love, anyway?
And then it gets so sticky and confusing and you think, love isn’t something I can label with a bunch of words and it’s not always the same, like I love my kids one way and I love chocolate another way, so of course, I’d have to love myself a different way.
But if you really believe it’s important to love yourself, then isn’t it worth taking the time to figure out what that means?
The directive to love yourself is meant to be taken seriously, not blown off, like, Yeah yeah. I get it.
In her book, You are a Badass (I know, I always mention this book), Jen Sencero ends every chapter the same way, no matter what the chapter’s about, every chapter ends with the words (you guessed it): Love yourself.
I came to expect it, but still was like, I know, I know, love myself.
But really. Love yourself. What exactly does that mean?
I don’t think it’s about doing more or less, I think it’s a way of being.
Here are 6 things a person who loves herself does:
1. She is kind to herself.
We can be our own worst critic and our own worst enemy, especially when we compare ourselves to others. But someone who loves herself has compassion for her failures. She accepts that she’s not perfect and doesn’t act like everything she does and says needs to be perfect. She forgives her mistakes which makes her better at forgiving others. She contains her inner critic. She talks to herself as she would talk to someone she loves and values.
2. She stands up for herself.
I’m always amazed when I see this in action. It seems so ballsy. I struggle standing up for myself, for sure, because I don’t want to offend people, don’t want to make a scene. But someone who loves herself knows she can stand up for herself without being rude or aggressive. She doesn’t allow herself to be used, taken advantage of, or treated like a doormat. She doesn’t expect people to read her mind so she speaks up, otherwise she knows she risks getting angry and resentful. And that’s not who she is.
3. She sets boundaries.
This relates to standing up for herself, but it goes beyond that. She sets boundaries for her own well-being. That includes being okay with saying “no,” loving toxic people from a distance, and not feeling guilty when she does what she knows is best for her even if it may disappoint some people.
4. She plays a self-love mental playlist. On repeat.
She replaces negative messages, both from the past and in the present, with messages that remind her she’s a miracle of creation. There’s no desire to be like anyone else because she has everything she needs to create the life she desires. She knows this, believes it, and lives it.
5. She sets personal goals and works toward them.
Even if she has to set them aside for a time or other commitments take priority, she doesn’t forget them. She allows them to evolve as she does. The woman who loves herself knows the essence of her passions and pursuits. She knows she has gifts she is meant to develop and nurture so she gives them attention.
6. She practices self-love.
It’s easy to fall into old patterns and habits so she knows she has to practice taking care of herself… in her relationships, her body, mind, and spirit.
The master of self-love described above is not an actual person, but a super-strong, super self-loving fictitious character who is a culmination of some serious self-love habits.
Want to be more like her, but have some work to do in this area?
You’re not alone!
But it’s okay!
Because no matter where you rate yourself on the self-love scale (1 being “not at all”, 5 being “I’m pretty awesome. And that’s not vanity. It’s my truth.”) improving self-love is do-able. For some of us it may take more conscious effort and practice than for others.
Practice treating yourself with compassion, patience, and attention.
These 6 traits are what came to my mind when thinking about how I want to love myself. Do you stuggle with any of these? Did I miss anything?
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts, and additions or subtractions to my list in the comments.
For more on this topic, read It’s important to be good to others, but don’t forget to be good to yourself too.