13 ways to make self-love a reality in your life.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”- Buddha

Self-love is notoriously difficult and I’ve been terrible at it all my life. But an unbearable grief this year broke my heart open so I could begin this process of becoming more than I am. Over the past few months, I’ve learnt a great deal about myself and how we can all start being kinder with ourselves.

1. Stop sabotaging yourself.

You can always conjure convincing arguments against yourself because this is the easiest way to drown your potential. This self-limiting behavior is destructive and programmed to prevent yourself from trying or even caring anymore. You need to learn to recognize this state of mind so you can begin to escape it.

2. Acknowledge you are your own worst enemy.

You are the greatest threat to your own happiness; and the quicker you recognize this fact, the less time you will waste on preparing yourself for external harm. You are perpetually in your own blind spot and hence cause the greatest injuries.

3. Do not give into doubt or fear.

There is a clear difference between being self-aware and cautious, and lacking conviction. You can never allow yourself to give in to the worst parts of you. When you find yourself in a difficult situation, remember that all you have to simply do is pause and make the next right move. Success is this exact loop played out over and over again, but doubt and fear have the ability to break it so beware.

4. Take care of your health.

The one thing you absolutely need more of is sleep. No matter how ambitious or driven you are please remember that your life is a marathon and not a sprint. Most people grossly overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can achieve over a decade or two. Give yourself the time you need to realize your potential by taking care of yourself.

5. Feel less guilty about pleasure.

You feel guilty about things that bring you joy because you either feel they are undeserved or that there is still so much to be done. Please remember that your time on this planet is fleeting, so make peace with this guilt if you must and give yourself permission to experience life fully with whatever excites you.

6. Allow yourself to feel what you feel.

Everything you feel is justified and does not need to be explained. You may have grown up having to justify your choices to others or even yourself but there is no need to anymore. Understand that this behavior emerged out of conditioning and can just as easily be reversed. Do not let this discomfort deter your growth.

7. Start to put yourself first.

When you put yourself first, you reclaim control over the narrative of your life. You can then no longer live in the shadow of others and make compromises that take away from your joy. And unless you are happy, you cannot bring happiness to others. This is how you evolve from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

8. Reflect deeper and more often.

There are certainly parts of you that you hate or are ashamed of. This is normal. Please converse with them until you understand them enough to forgive or forsake them. This isn’t easy and most people will not put in the effort to reflect upon themselves, but if you yearn for an extraordinary life it must be done.

9. Surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you.

If you are around people who value your company and really care about you, then you will eventually learn to appreciate the things that they love about you. They will act as your mirror and reveal the best and worst of you so you can become the best possible version of yourself.

10. You are enough both as you are and as you will be.

Your personal and professional achievements are never a mechanism to unlock your self-worth but a byproduct of it. Remind yourself of this fact as often as you need to so you can be free from the expectations you place on yourself.

11. Procrastinate.

You are human and fallible. Please don’t hold yourself to unrealistic expectations of productivity all the time. Procrastination is not a sin. Use it whenever you need to slow life down so you can regain your breath.

12. Do more things that make you softer, kinder and prouder.

These things matter and will bring you joy. Do more of them.

13. Serve a purpose.

Your ability to love yourself is exponentially magnified when you move your purpose from serving yourself and your selfish needs to serving others and a common good.