Learn how to love and accept yourself with practical advice from psychologist Melina Georgiou. For more information on self love contact Melina at Meaningful Minds Psychologists.
February. The month of love.... For some, an exciting time filled with expectation and excitement, for others, a time of dread and disappointment. Whether in a relationship or not, why not take on a different interpretation of love - from the norm of expecting love and adoration from others, to focusing on giving that to yourself. So often we seek happiness, acceptance and love from other people, but it is the relationship that you have with yourself that sets the tone for all other relationships in your life. Take the time this month to focus on accepting and loving yourself.
Some practical steps that can be taken to achieving a greater sense of self love:
Self reflection can be an intimidating process, as it is always difficult to face the reality of our thoughts and actions. However, the more introspective and reflective we are of ourselves, the easier it is to facilitate self-growth, acceptance and love. One can go about this process through writing or setting aside quiet time to think through actions, reactions, thoughts and behaviours. We are often our own worst enemies, thus this process can help identify if we are possibly being over-sensitive, irrational or acting out based on assumptions rather than facts.
At times we can develop a sense of hopelessness, incompetence and failure. These feelings can often feel overwhelming and we forget about the strengths we possess, our assets and our past achievements. This month try to make time for things you know you are good at, be it a sport, playing an instrument, baking, gardening, sewing, knitting or any such thing. Engaging with activities that we are good at helps to keep us motivated and feeling more confident within ourselves.
We place a great deal of emphasis on what other people think or say, to the extent that we forget that the strongest voice inside our head is actually our own. Use this tool. Control this voice. Whether you do this by writing affirmations on sticky notes and placing them on your bathroom mirror, or using meditation to clear negative feelings and thoughts from your mind, or even by using past reminders of your achievements. Attempt to make daily positive statements about yourself to yourself.
Have compassion for yourself. In a society so driven towards monetary success and idealized physical beauty, we are at times quick to be critical and demeaning towards ourselves. Stop it. Nobody is perfect. We all have bad days and flaws. Allow yourself to be imperfect. It is ok to make mistakes, the past is the past. Be more understanding and compassionate towards yourself... tomorrow is another day to learn from your mistakes, make amends and better yourself.
Humour and laughter are known to relieve stress and increase happiness. An increased sense of happiness equates to an increase sense of self love. Make an effort to not only laugh more, but to surround yourself with people that help you do that. You should also learn to laugh at yourself. Humour is a wonderful tool that helps to diffuse tense or conflicting situations, difficult feelings, embarrassing moments and stress.
Love yourself and make time for yourself this February, and remember, that "you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection" - Buddha.