Nurturing love, acceptance and kindness for yourself
February can be a difficult month for self-appreciation. Perhaps we are criticizing ourselves for lack of progress toward our New Year’s goal. Or for many people the Valentine’s Day advertising and hearing about others’ romantic plans can bring about pressure to show love for others or unwanted attention to our own circumstances. Others may simply be battling the winter blues. Whatever your circumstance, this month is the perfect time to tame your inner critic and cultivate some self-love! We have some solid tips to help you realize just how great you really are and to show yourself some kindness, appreciation and compassion.
•Drop the comparisons. Comparison is enemy number one for self-love and joy in general. There is no one on this planet like you, and no one gets to define what success or beauty looks like for you except for you.
•Start and end each day with a positive statement. This could be that you made a stranger smile or that you handled a difficult situation well – anything to make you smile or reaffirm your worth.
•Celebrate your wins, no matter how small. Be proud of your achievements!
•Embrace the qualities that make you unique.
•Get creative where you spend your time; create a fun and clean space that represents your style.
•When you’re feeling happy, make a list of your best qualities and accomplishments. Then you can refer back to this when you’re feeling down.
•Keep a gratitude journal and write down at least one thing every day you are grateful for.
•Treat your body as a beloved friend and vehicle to your goals. Your body is an instrument, not an ornament; so do not spend another moment at war with your own body. Feed it nourishing food and celebrate all it’s capable of by getting regular, enjoyable movement.
•Make time for mindfulness; it is an act of hospitality. The root of being mindful is to observe your thoughts and bodily sensations without judgement. What a perfect way to send yourself a message of love and care, to show up for yourself and to simply listen to your own being.
•Be your own best friend. Schedule time to just hang out with yourself and enjoy your own company. Treat yourself the way you would treat your best friend.
•Learn to let go. This can be much easier said than done; wounds from our past are often the root of self-despair. To really set yourself free, it may be wise to talk to a therapist about past trauma. We can also bring this concept into the small daily annoyances that keep us preoccupied with others and fill us with negative emotions.
•Eliminate toxic relationships. A “frenemy” isn’t a friend. Put your energy into friendships with people who truly want to see you succeed and be happy.
•Create a self-love ritual. Stretch your muscles, take a soothing bath, moisturize your skin, give yourself a foot massage. Find what feels good for you and prioritize these acts of self-service daily.
•Be kind to yourself. Simply make it a rule not to tolerate negative self-talk. Take time to self-sooth with words of encouragement, reaffirming your worth and strengths.
•Set boundaries and say no when you need to. Your life is too precious to be a gerbil on a wheel, over-committed to other people’s agendas. As you create more self-love you will become less dismissive of your own needs and desires. The more you respect yourself the less willing you will be to let others treat you poorly.
•Forgive yourself. Accept your own humanness and just give yourself a break. Where you criticize yourself for failure, find opportunity. Where you punish yourself for mistakes, look for growth.
•Act on your passions. Whether it’s rediscovering an old hobby or crossing something off your bucket list, do something you love regardless of practicality.
•Do something you are good at. What better way to build confidence in ourselves than utilizing our strengths?
•Be of service to those around you. Serving others will bring immediate gratification, pride, joy and connection… so many great emotional experiences that reaffirm our ability to make a positive contribution to the world.
•Use affirmations daily to declare your own self-worth. “I am enough,” “I am worthy of kindness,” and “I deserve happiness” are all examples. Try a few different affirmations to see what you really need to hear.
•Build a supportive community. Meaningful, lasting relationships are undisputedly key predictors of feelings of fulfillment. Once you have eliminated toxic relationships, you’ll be able to focus your energy on people who reciprocate your care and concern.
Building a deeply rooted self-love can be very challenging. It takes time to build a real appreciation for yourself and create habits that support your physical and psychological growth. Self-love is a prerequisite for giving and receiving the type of gratifying love that is available in the world. Select just a couple of the items from the list above to take action on in the coming week and see how you feel; you deserve it!
CLICK HERE to view the complete edition of February 2017 CBIZ Wellbeing Insights.