Getting to know and love yourself takes time and commitment. It requires learning to appreciate your strengths and weaknesses, and letting go of negative self-talk.
Start by embracing compliments, acknowledgments and any other positive attention that comes your way. Also make room in your life for healthy habits, like nutritious eating and exercise.
Meditation is one of the most accessible tools for personal development, it’s something anyone can do. It’s a simple technique that helps us disidentify with our minds and emotions, allowing for a deeper level of self-love.
Sit in a comfortable position (a chair, cross-legged on the floor, kneel) and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing, notice how your body feels as you inhale and exhale, and when your attention wanders, gently bring it back to the breath.
If you find it difficult to stay focused on the breath, think about things you love, like your family, friends and pets, or even your favorite foods. This type of loving-kindness meditation has been shown to strengthen the parts of the brain that manage your senses and help you regulate your emotions. In time, this will change the way you think about yourself, transforming your internal dialogue to be more positive and loving. This, in turn, will improve your relationships with others.
Often, exercise is seen as a punishment or something you have to do because “it’s good for you.” However, exercising doesn’t have to be painful. You can learn to love it. The first step is to change your definition of exercise.
Try to make it fun by switching up your routine. For example, instead of going to the gym, go hiking, take a group exercise class, or ride your bike together.
Exercising with a partner can also be a great way to spend quality time together and can help you stay on track. Research shows that couples who exercise together have better relationship satisfaction, as well as a stronger bond. This is because exercise can inspire a shared sense of accomplishment and increased motivation. It also increases the feel-good chemicals in your brain and can even boost your sex drive! It’s a win-win! Just think: the more you like exercise, the more you’ll love yourself.
Time with friends
Whether you’re laughing over drinks or making a movie night more fun with some snacks, spending time with friends is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Friends are a source of love, community and healing and their importance is often celebrated in heartwarming quotes like the ones below.
The benefits of friendships are wide-ranging and include better health, increased happiness, more positive emotions, feelings of belonging and higher self-esteem. People of all ages rate spending time with friends as a top activity in their lives.
Friends are also a source of social support, and many people find comfort in confiding in friends about their struggles. But beware of complaining or bringing down your friends with negative energy. Instead, focus on the positives in your life together and share your own successes, such as breaking a personal record in a race or conquering a fear. If you can’t find time to spend with your friends, consider scheduling it in, just like you do with workouts and other important commitments.
Self-care is a term that means putting one’s own needs first and taking care of ones health, both physically and mentally. This includes getting enough sleep, exercise, a healthy diet, hobbies and interests, spiritual practice, and social and community connections.
Oftentimes, people neglect these areas of their lives and fall into a pattern of work, watch Netflix, eat, sleep – repeat. This can be unhealthy and even damaging to relationships.
To begin practicing self-care, try to identify what activities make you feel happy and calm. For some, this may involve writing or art but it can also be as simple as a bubble bath or a nap! Bringing a more balanced and happy version of yourself to your relationship will help you feel more connected and lead to greater intimacy. This will also enable you to show up for your loved ones in a more effective and nourishing way.