The one force that drives everything that we do is love, whether it is love for the self or someone or something else. Some of us often struggle in personal and professional relationships by stretching ourselves, losing our boundaries and keeping others first, all in the hope of getting love and validation from outside. What we forget is that love and value has to stem from within first. A lot of this is also driven by childhood trauma or past experiences.
The basis of every relationship in life is our own relationship with our self. Self-love has become quite a fad, nowadays. Self-love is not about going shopping or going to the spa. It is more about accepting, appreciating, healing, supporting, empowering and transforming the self from a space of compassion instead of criticism and judgment. Self-love is all about treating yourself in the same way you would treat your best friend or a loved one.
We reached out to Dr. Chandni Tugnait, Psychotherapist and the Founder of Gateway of Healing, and asked her to help us uncover what self-love looks like. Read on to know all that she shared!
1. Honouring Your Boundaries And Needs
Are you saying "yes" to others when you really want to say "no"? Are you compromising on your sleep, work, health or desires in order to please others? Are you drowning yourself in guilt and shame when you take some time off? Do you often find yourself overcompensating? It is important to set healthy boundaries in relationships and then honour the same. Extending compassion to yourself does not equate to being selfish.
2. Accepting Self
Almost everyone can take pride in the 'good' they see in themselves, however, it is when we accept the shadow parts within us, we truly graduate to the level of self-love. We all have flaws and sometimes due to the parenting we received as a child, we develop beliefs of being unworthy of love or not being enough. Sometimes, kids subconsciously imitate their parents who themselves never practiced self-love. Hence, it is important to break patterns, alter unproductive beliefs and accept the self, compassionately. Even if you wish to change certain aspects about yourself, let love drive you and not self-criticism.
3. Paying Attention To Self-Talk
Be mindful of your self-talk as it is your thoughts that create your reality. Are you treating yourself with respect or degrading self? Whenever you talk to or about yourself, do it with love. Stop the constant judgment about self and instead choose to be nicer to yourself.
4. Appreciating Self
Make gratitude and appreciation for yourself a part of your life. Say it out loud. Appreciate your body, your skills, your efforts, your beating heart–every big and small thing that adds value to you and your life.
5. Forgiving Self
Be kind to yourself and even if you make a mistake, learn from it and forgive yourself instead of constantly bashing yourself for it. Don't let your mistakes define you or become your identity. For instance, if unintentionally you forgot to pick your friend's lunch on your way to work, it doesn't make you a 'bad friend' or a 'forgetful person'. You can always set a reminder in the future but refrain from labelling yourself as 'wrong', 'not enough', or 'unworthy'.
6. Listening To Your Body
When was the last time you let yourself loose? When was the last time you laughed without the fear of being judged? When was the last time you took time out for yourself or prioritised yourself? Listen to your physical, mental and emotional needs. Nourish yourself daily with sound nutrition, exercise, sleep, meditation, healthy social interactions, intimacy, regular breaks and indulging in self-care.