10 benefits of practicing self-love … and how to achieve them

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” – Rumi

“The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that ideal. Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

What is Self-Love?

Self-love is the ability to respect, forgive and accept who you are deep down with no self-judgement. We all have parts of ourselves that we like and there are parts that we dislike. By allowing self-love you take care of yourself and honour your needs and personal boundaries.  You are aware of your limitations and you recognise your dreams and aspirations and you love yourself enough to act on them. When you love yourself you recognise that your joy, good health, and fulfilment are all of extreme importance. Without loving yourself, you will never be able to genuinely love others.

It took me a while to realize that my lack of self-love kept me from living a life that I loved. It was directly responsible for me not being able to set boundaries and kept me from saying no to the ones that drained my time and energy.

The most powerful sentence I know is “I am so sorry it doesn’t suit me. No explanation required. For me self-love is a practice of choosing myself and being kind and compassionate to me. Self-love is an ongoing choice and it is about choosing people, situations and things that are good for me serve me and feel right. This knowledge allowed me to access my life and I realized that I was living a life that no longer served me. This gave me the clarity to change careers and countries and create a life that I love.

Of the many benefits to self -love these ten stands out for me.

1) Your mind set will be healthier and less inclined to self-sabotage.

2) Your confidence in yourself will increase.

3) You will be happier about your life.

4) It will be easier to accept your own weaknesses and flaws and forgive yourself.

5) You will have increased compassion, acceptance and love for yourself.

6) You will have increased compassion, acceptance and love for others.

7) Your relationships and friendships will improve.

8) You will make healthier choices in life and in work.

9) You will have an improved ability to find and make your destiny happen.

10) It will make it easier to have a deeper access to your soul and spiritual path.

We are spiritual beings having the human experience, and that includes great as well as awful moments – and everything in between. There are times when we feel fat, unlovable, ugly, misunderstood and insecure. These feelings are normal. Unconditional self-love is something that does not come naturally and most of us have to work for it.

To include self-love in our daily spiritual practice helps you practice awareness and mindfulness when you are challenged. It will give you the clarity to practice self-compassion and take care of your body, emotions, mind and soul when you are triggered or challenged. Make self-love rituals a part of your daily spiritual practice.

It is normal to have ups and downs every day where you fluctuate between self-love and self-hate. The more you practice self-love the easier it will be to accept what life brings. It means that you can practice accepting and forgiving all things that rise up in you including shame, guilt, insecurity, self-loathing and self-judgement. Just relax and treat yourself with loving kindness.

The following self-love practices have helped me.

1) Find your own truth. On your path you will hear and feel a lot of things both a conscious and a subconscious level.  You will be told you are not clever enough, beautiful enough, that you are selfish or too sensitive. Step back from any situation and ask yourself if it is true. Learning to speak your truth and saying “Your reality is not my reality “or “No, that’s not true” assists you in discerning what the truth really is.  The more clarity you have the easier it will be to stand up for yourself and stand up for yourself.

2) Become your own best friend. To be in the flow of self-love you need to change your relationship with yourself and treat yourself with compassion and consideration. Give yourself the kindness and time to be your very own best friend.

3) Change your mind set about your flaws. Look at your character flaws or imperfections as an opportunity to grow. Every time someone points out a flaw or is critical of you step back from the situation. Acknowledge the feelings of anger, rejection, guilt, sadness or fear that comes up and ask yourself “What is my learning here?”  “How can I grow?” Meet your inner challenges with a feeling of gratitude.

4) Practice self-love with no judgement. We struggle with self-love because we reject and judge ourselves. It can become toxic if we shame, harm, minimize, bad-mouth and condemn ourselves. Whatever the situation or the part of you is that you are judging don’t take it personally. Make a conscious decision to embrace all the parts of you with no judgement.

5) Be kind to yourself. Connect to your physical body and ask it what it needs. Maybe it is more sleep, a walk in the park, a massage or a healthy meal.

Even though the self-care practices are very simple, they send a powerful message to both your conscious and your subconscious mind that you are worthy of being cared for.

Some affirmations that you might like to repeat to yourself include:

“I am free and I am at peace”

“I let go of limitations and I respect the true beauty of my being”

“I have the power to make change”

“I affirm and know that I am worthy of self-love”

“I calmly and firmly honour my needs”

“I respect all my needs in a gentle and assertive way”