How do we begin to love ourselves? Be kind to yourself.
If you feel like you aren't practicing self-love then it's probably safe to say that you struggle to speak kindly to yourself. Notice I use the word practice because love begins with practice. With practice, we figure out what works, what feels good, what helps, and what doesn't feel right.
When we change our perspective from mastering self-love to simply practicing it, we begin to give ourselves the type of kindness and gentleness we need.
Self-love is the love you’re giving yourself, so in reality, no one can tell you how to love yourself. I think our society doesn’t truly have self-love because we’re listening to so many people tell us how to love ourselves. "You need to buy this, do this, go to this place". No – do whatever YOU need. Figure out what works for you.
Before we can dive into loving ourselves, we have to stop being mean to ourselves. We have to stop feeling like we should be further. Feeling like we’ve wasted time. The definition of kindness is the quality of being friendly, generous, or considerate. Do you share any of those qualities with yourself? If not, then you are not being kind. Comparison is the thief of joy, but to even make it to joy – I believe you need to learn kindness.
Kindness is a pre-requisite for self-love. Practicing kindness with yourself is to become your own friend. Friends speak kindly to one another. Tell yourself it's ok to not be ok. Tell yourself that you are proud of all the progress you've made these last few months. Remind yourself that there is so much more to life and you'll make it to the other side.
Somewhere along the way, you could have learned that it's not safe to be kind to yourself. Maybe a parent, a caregiver, a lover, or a friend influenced your self-worth by using harsh words or being emotionally unavailable. Somewhere you learned that it wasn't safe to be yourself so you neglected the most authentic parts of you.
Self-love is about choosing to believe that your feelings matter, who you are matters, and staying committed to feeling good in your body.
This means we may have to go against everything we have learned and done in the past. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. It's very possible that the unkind version of yourself helped you make it through a tough situation or survive a traumatic event because you felt like you didn't have the time or space to tend to your needs.
As you desire to make it to the other side of love and healing, I pray that you can begin to be kind to yourself. It is very possible to give yourself the love you desire from others. It's ok to be you. It's ok to be kind to you.
Check out this quick video about self-love.