5 Ways to Practice Self-Love

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“If I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?” - unknown

We tend to place others happiness above our own and not provide enough care on own physical and mental health. It’s crucial to love ourselves by exercising regularly, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep, but there’s more to it at a deeper level. Self-love starts from within.

Below are five ways to practice self-love:

1. Express Authenticity

Expressing authenticity is a fundamental tool to practice self-love. It means being unapologetically true to yourself and accepting your imperfections. It’s choosing to be yourself in public, even when you want to fit in with the crowd. It’s speaking up and voicing your own opinions even when it’s unpopular, and nobody seems to understand or agree with you. It’s being honest with yourself and saying no to good opportunities because you want to protect your energy and keep your priorities in check.

When you’re authentic, you don’t seek validation from others and lose sight of who you are and what you truly desire. Be free of others’ opinions and limitations on how you should lead your path. Chase perspectives, but trust in yourself and enjoy the ride. Being authentic takes effort in various situations, but practicing it on a consistently makes it easier to build your self-confidence and therefore, self-love.

2. Embrace Vulnerability

Embracing vulnerability means being true to your emotions, owning your stories and sharing your struggles. It’s being transparent, which goes hand in hand with expressing authenticity. Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness, but an act of bravery. It’s as simple as asking for help when you need it, admitting your faults, and expressing your insecurities. It’s also taking risks, embracing uncertainty and rising again after having fallen.

Embracing vulnerability strengthens your relationships with others because you will receive support from loved ones and feel connected when you realize you’re not alone. Be kind to yourself and don’t forget all the small wins and tackled obstacles leading up to where you are now. Every failure and experience is a lesson learned that will take you closer to where you want to be. You will transform into a stronger and braver you for bigger things to come.

3. Build Your Tribe

You are who you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and support your goals and dreams in life. Surround yourself with genuine, beautiful souls who will cheer you on when you’ve hit rock bottom, and celebrate your successes while you’re climbing the mountain – big or small. Build a support network of family, friends, mentors and professional connections that inspire, motivate, and empower you to do more and become more.

Surround yourself with people who will invest in you – positive role models that you can learn from or bounce ideas off of, helping one another thrive. These might be people who “get you” – your values, interests, and visions for the future. They will challenge you to live your full potential. Attract the right people in your life and keep the ones worth investing time in. Only then will you shine and soar higher than you can believe to achieve.

4. Cultivate Passion

We’re all passionate individuals, but it takes courage to tap into your passion and live it. You may face financial or emotional setbacks from not being fully supported by it. Your passion can be your skill or talent, hobby or interest that you invest your time in because it’s what you love to do; it’s what makes your heart dance. Whether you’re an artist creating your craft or in a profession doing what you love and loving what you do, you’re set. If you aren’t able to find the meaning or fulfillment in your work, you can change your job or your mindset about it.

Either way, it’s important to understand that you’re never stuck in your circumstances. You can cultivate passion for your work; whether it is to propose a new project, take on a new role, or perform a skill set you already have. Whatever you do and wherever you go, take your passion for life everywhere. Your life will be effortlessly more meaningful, and you’ll be noticed for it, with many doors of opportunities open before your eyes.

5. Exercise Gratitude

One of the best tools to live a joyful and fulfilling lifestyle is to exercise gratitude each and every day. When you dedicate a few minutes a day to be mindful and reflect on everything life has to offer and everything that you are – you’re able to appreciate where you are now while focusing on where you want to go.

Wake up each day with gratitude that you can, here’s another day to make it a good one. Go to bed each night expressing gratitude that even with the endless amount of to-do lists and tasks, you are enough. Physical exercise is crucial, but your mental health is just as equally important. What are you grateful for? Think about it, write about it, talk about it, and feel it. Count your blessings, visualize the day you want and reaffirm your priorities, choosing self-love as one.

There are so many reasons to love yourself and many ways to do so. Small consistent acts and positive self-affirmations lead to greater self-love. When you choose to love it will enhance every aspect of your life. Self-love is a daily practice, but these simple acts to express authenticity, embrace vulnerability, build your tribe, cultivate passion, and exercise gratitude boosts your overall health and happiness.

Originally published on Live Your Potential (February 23, 2018)