5 Steps to Cultivate Self-Love

Self-love is a term that gets tossed around a lot—and it’s often misunderstood.

Self-love is not just about feeling good or taking time for yourself. It’s a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support your physical, psychological, and spiritual growth. Self-love allows you to accept your weaknesses along with your strengths, and to have compassion for yourself as you strive to find personal meaning and fulfillment.

It may seem hard to grasp, but self-love and self-care are important for overall well-being.

You might think of your thoughts as reflections of the outside world; you’re actually creating your life with your thoughts. It can be challenging to shift from self-judgment and negativity to compassion and positivity. Fortunately, you can change your body and brain with the thoughts you think, and the words you speak.

Self-love builds out of the thoughts and actions that you choose. This, in turn, will support you emotionally, psychologically, physically, and spiritually. Self-love is a dynamic experience that expands and moves with you as you change, experience life, and grow.

This year, nurture yourself and become your own valentine. Start with these strategies to get back in touch with your own heart:

Foster Mindfulness to Help You Cultivate Self-Love

Being connected to what you feel, think, and want allows you to remain mindful of who you are and act on this knowledge. Slow down and begin to notice what you’re saying to yourself and the thoughts that you’re having. Reflect on how these are impacting your mood, health, and behavior. When you become mindful of who you are, you’re more likely to act in accordance with this wisdom rather than on what you perceive others want from you.

Practice Self-Care

Nourish yourself: Commit to healthy activities such as balanced nutrition, exercise, getting adequate sleep, play, and social interactions. When you show yourself love through these types of actions, you’ll continue to take better care of your basic needs. This sets the foundation for growth and living an authentic life.

Forgive Yourself

It’s important to own and take responsibility for your actions. It’s also important to learn and grow from your mistakes rather than punishing yourself. Practice self-compassion when you make a mistake. Reframe mistakes as lessons, and embrace them as chances to learn and grow.

Set Boundaries

Being able to set limits and say no to activities, interactions, and work that depletes or harms you physically, emotionally, or spiritually shows self-love and compassion. If there are people who incessantly stress you out, inflame you, or bring you down, see if you can take a break from them. Creating space can help you evaluate your relationships and commitments and decide which ones you want to invite back into your life.

Live Intentionally

When you live with purpose and meaning, you’ll make decisions that support your intentions. This makes you feel great about yourself when you accomplish your true purpose. If you set your intention to live in a healthy and meaningful way, you will take actions that support this intention.

Choose one way to start caring for yourself today. As you work on beginning to accept and love yourself more, you will exercise actions of self-love naturally.

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About the Author

Jennifer Weinberg

Preventive and Lifestyle Medicine Physician and Author
Dr. Jennifer Weinberg, MD, MPH, MBE is a preventive and lifestyle medicine physician, author, corporate wellness specialist, blogger, and the founder of the Simple | Pure | Whole Wellness Method. Weinberg offers innovative online wellness and education programs for individuals looking for sustainable optimal health as well as health care providers seeking health communications support and corporations wanting to integrate a comprehensive approach to corporate wellness. Get a free preview of her best-selling stress management guide ...Read more