Family, Kids & Yourself, Love More, Nurture Yourself

How to Practice Self-Love Like You Mean It

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By Kelly Cunningham, a licensed psychotherapist and health coach (Duke Integrative Medicine and Nutritious Life Certified)

You can’t think of February without thinking of the word love. But what if you showed yourself the same love you showed your partner and family? That means treating yourself with the same respect, compassion, and warmth as those around you. 

Your day would be brighter and those around you would feel the difference. Are you up to the challenge? Since loving ourselves is often easier said than done, I encourage you to apply these tips to your life this Valentine’s Day, and throughout the entire year. What have you got to lose?

Keep your own promises.  

We often bend over backward to keep promises to others but break the ones we make to ourselves. Keeping your word is important, and building up trust in yourself can also build up your confidence. 

If you know you struggle in this department, try writing down your promises in a journal, then refer to them each month. It’s a lot harder to ignore the goals you write down.

RELATED: 3 Reasons You Should Set Goals, Not Resolutions

Do things that nourish your soul.

Practicing mindfulness. Being in nature. Doing yoga. We often feel like these are “extras,” great things to do if we have time, but we must make time to nourish our souls. Days turn into months, and months turn into years if we don’t take time to really be with ourselves. 

Remember that journal I mentioned above? Use it to schedule these nourishing self-care practices, and think of them as non-negotiable meetings with yourself. They may even make you more productive in the long run! 

Be honest with yourself.

This is a big one. Honesty is difficult in any relationship, but especially one with yourself. What are your biggest dreams? What changes do you need to make to achieve them? It’s all possible, but you need to be honest about the things that are holding back, maybe even yourself.

To start, evaluate your life in these key areas: career, health, and connections with others. Are you happy with the path you’re on? If not, empower yourself to shift what isn’t working anymore.  

Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  • What voices have I allowed to influence my life?
  • How would I label the chapters in my life? What’s my current chapter called?
  • What dreams do I still want to pursue?

It can be difficult to go this deep with yourself, but it’s well worth the dive. To work through these big questions, reach out to a trusted confidant, get into therapy, or find a coach. Processing these ideas and emotions out loud can help you grow and find your magic again.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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