5 Ways to Decode Self-Love

Self Love has been a term that has always been a bit of a frustrating thing to me, but also something that I wanted to master because I’ve spent most of life feeling inadequate and getting into relationships where I lost myself trying to be the perfect girlfriend for my partner. After each breakup, I’d write affirmations and post them all over my apartment and read tons of articles on self-love, hoping that I would into the beautiful world of Self Love through osmosis.

The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And, if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” — Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

“Self-Love” is a tough concept to grasp because we now live in a world where we are constantly being told that we are not enough. We scroll through Instagram and see perfect (filtered) women or perfectly plated meals. We scroll through Facebook and see people living perfect lives in their perfect relationships with their perfect kids going on perfect vacations. When you are bombarded with so much pressure to be perfect, the battle for self-love becomes damn near impossible.

I realized that self-love wasn’t about reciting affirmations or meditating to open your heart chakra. It was about a feeling…love is a deep emotion, a solid connection, and true appreciation…and that is where Self Love begins.

Here is how I have been exploring self-love and it’s been a wonderful journey thus far:

  1. Spend Quality Time With Yourself: Recently, someone special flaked on me last minute to go to a concert that I was excited about and even more excited to go with that person. The old me would have sulked in my apartment letting the feelings of rejection take over. Instead, I went to the concert…ALONE. It was terrifying at first, but it became liberating and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. No longer was I bound to the idea that I had to be with someone to enjoy my life. Regardless if you are in a relationship or not, it’s important that you spend time with yourself. This week do something alone — go to a movie, sit in a coffee shop, go for a long walk, or take a long bubble bath. Use this time to simply connect with yourself and enjoy your own company.
  2. Spend Quality Time With People You Love: In the past, I would suffer in solitude, but that’s not healthy and only perpetuates feelings of loneliness and despair. Lately, I’ve been making brunch dates, yoga dates, and workout dates with people I adore. I’ve been spending time with people who can make me laugh my ass off and allow me to feel free. I have some friends where we do nothing together and it’s their presence that fills me up, while other times we talk about what’s on my mind and heart and they let me vent. Each time I leave these people, I feel uplifted, loved, and safe. Who are your people? Reach out to them today and set up time to hang out.
  3. Spend Quality Time In Self Reflection & Personal Development: Many people shy away from self-reflection because it can bring up tough memories and heavy emotions like guilt or shame. But this is crucial to your self-love journey and your overall growth. I typically start my mornings journaling, reading the bible, and meditating, from there I read a few pages from a personal development book, listen to a podcast, or a read a few articles on Medium. I take what I have read or heard and reflect it back to my own life and see how I can grow. This habit has helped me to let go of playing the victim and to take responsibility for my own life and my own happiness. What habits can you begin to create that will edify your growth?
  4. Spend Quality Time Nourishing Your Body: When you love yourself, you honor and respect your body. I won’t go on my soapbox, but I’ll simply say, fueling your body with healthy foods, drinking at least half your body weight in ounce of water, working out at least 30 minutes a day, and getting plenty of rest is how you show your body the love it deserves. Not only does it help to produce serotonin (feel good hormones), but also you will begin to notice that your confidence increases. You begin to show up in your life with this electric, attractive, and powerful vibe that is generated from the inside out. How will you nourish your body on a daily basis?
  5. Spend Quality Time Focusing on Gratitude: It’s so easy to focus on the crap that we face on a daily basis, but you have a choice. You can count your burdens or you can count your blessings. When you focus on being grateful, you shift your perspective and condition yourself to be present. You are able to see the silver lining, even in the most F-ed up situations. I have an alarm that goes off every day at 1:11PM and it says, “What are you grateful for right now?” It helps me to take a moment to pause and connect with the power of gratitude. I also end my night writing 3–5 things that I am grateful for that day; it’s the perfect way to end my day. What are you grateful for?

The key to Self Love is to simply start doing things that make you feel loved, nourished, supported, and happy. Ultimately, you will (re)connect with yourself, accept yourself, and love the amazing person that you are and the beautiful life that you have.

Allison Tibbs