love yourself back

By Ruth Wong of MomMe Circle & The Mommy Cafe, Singapore

If I were to ask you what you like versus what you dislike about yourself, chances are, quite a number of you will end up with a longer list of what you don’t like than what you do appreciate about yourself.

The fact of the matter is, many women, myself included, struggle with self-love in varying degrees. Yet unless we love ourselves and embrace the totality of who we are, we will never be able to step into our highest potential and thrive in life.

But loving ourselves doesn’t have to be difficult. It should not be. Here are 7 self-love practices you can start incorporating in your life to deepen your capacity to love yourself:

1. Make a list of what you love about yourself
Write down everything you like about yourself – physical features, personality, strengths, talents, achievements etc. You can even include compliments you received from others. Make the list as long as you can. Even if you find it hard or awkward at first, push through it and at some point, it will all begin to sink in – that you are a special individual worthy of love, success and more.

Put this list somewhere easily visible, and be constantly reminded about what you love about yourself. You may even like to make the list a beautiful one – get creative with some washi tapes, book scrapping embellishments or any other materials you like and have fun.

2. Be aware of your inner self-dialogue
I think many of us are not very mindful of our daily inner dialogue but it pays to be more conscious of what we think and say to ourselves. In the next few days, start being conscious of what goes on with your thoughts. Are you often critical of yourself or are you forgiving and gentle? When you catch yourself thinking something negative, immediately replace it with an affirming and positive thought.

3. Stop the comparison
There’s no purpose and meaning in comparing yourself to someone else. The only reason you may be doing it is because you don’t believe that you are good enough. But the truth is, we all are special. We all have our unique combination of strengths, talents and life experiences that we can bring to the world as a gift.

4. Make self-care a priority
Stop living life on depletion mode and start taking better care of yourself in all aspects of life – physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. Taking good care of yourself is an expression of self- respect; it’s saying that you are worthy as an individual.

Today, note one thing you will do to take better care of yourself in each of the four areas of your life. Commit to doing them and you will soon start feeling better about yourself.

5. Create an absolute no-no list
This takes the previous point a step further. When you create a list of things you will not do no matter what, you are identifying ways to support and protect your physical, emotional and mental well-being. The list guides you in choosing actions that will nurture you, empower you to set boundaries and live a life aligned with your core values. The list could include things like not sleeping later than midnight; not saying yes when you meant to say no; no mindless surfing online etc.

6. Stop saying negative things about yourself
When others praise you, do you graciously accept it? Or is your first instinct to find something negative to say to nullify it, because you think you are being humble by doing so? The truth is, what you just did was to put yourself down – in front of the other person and yourself. So the next time when someone praised you, simply give thanks and show your appreciation.

7. Feed your mind and soul with positive ‘food’
Are you selective about what you feed your mind and soul? Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are absorbing what you read, watch and listen to, and overtime, they will have an impact on your life.

So if you want to feel good about yourself, then you need to be highly selective about feeding your mind and soul with content that enhances your life. For example, choose to read inspirational blogs like this one, or uplifting books such as the MomMe Quote Book: Positive Words to Uplift, Inspire and Motivate. It’s a free ebook I created that contains over 150 inspiring quotes. You can download it for free at here.

This year, make it your priority to love yourself more. Start by choosing to work on one or two of the self-love practices above. How will YOU celebrate the unique individual that you are and fall deeper in love with yourself this year?