4 Steps to Boost your Self-Love and Cultivate Happier, Healthier Relationships
by Deborah Dobbs, MA
What do you think of when you hear someone talk about self-love? Is it too mushy? Selfish? A luxury you don’t have time for? I admit the idea used to inspire an eye roll or a sense of guilt, depending on my mood.
It helped to stop thinking of love as an emotion. Real love is action. Love is forgiving someone for messing up; it’s cooking someone’s favorite meal, delivering earned praise, offering comfort, and thinking before you speak. Those acts of love cultivate healthy relationships and can impact generations.
Love doesn’t change when applied to oneself. It simply means you’re actively participating in your well-being. Self-love is as important as physical exercise and healthy eating. It just so happens that self-love also helps you love others better, so there’s an added perk.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly how self-love works, so I’ve provided four easy tips for getting started or for giving your current regimen a boost.
This has unequivocal benefits, and it’s easy to do: every day, say out loud or write down at least three things for which you’re grateful. It might be the chore your son or daughter did without prompting or the fact you have a comfortable bed. Consciously counting your blessings is a quick and easy way to care for yourself.
The benefits range from improving concentration to reducing stress. It’s not about “clearing your mind.” Rather, meditation helps you take charge of your nervous system. Personally, my thoughts tend to behave like Ricochet Rabbit, so I need guided meditation. Fortunately, there are many apps with guided sessions as short as 10 minutes, so I have no excuse not to do it.
Do something you like, without distraction, daily
This doesn’t have to take much time or energy. For instance, I love my morning coffee, especially outside. I put the phone away and resist the urge to think about what awaits me at the office. I enjoy my coffee, breathe fresh air and do nothing else.
Watch your words
Consider the way you talk to yourself, especially when you make a mistake. Would you talk to a good friend that way? If the answer is no, then change your self-talk. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to someone you love. If you mess up, acknowledge that you might be experiencing some stress. Recognize that we all make mistakes. Like the rest of us, you are human, a work in progress.
Editor’s Note: Debbie Dobbs is the Executive Director of The Counseling Place, a nonprofit agency providing affordable, professional and education services and counseling. Reach her at 469.283.0242 or counselingplace.org.