Self-care, self-love, love yourself, treat yourself etcetera etcetera. We hear this all the time - from TV shows, magazines, blogs, podcasts, books and the list goes on! And to be honest, in a world that has become increasingly uncertain, self-care has never been more important! But what does self-care actually mean? What does it really mean to love yourself? How do you make self-love a part of your everyday life?
The best way to truly love yourself is to treat yourself just like you would your best friend. When it comes to our closest friends, we only see the positive in them. We don’t criticise them or point out their flaws. We love to help them feel empowered - always encouraging them and cheering them on.
But we rarely treat ourselves this way. We’re often hyper-critical of every mistake we make! We magnify every minor flaw and our insecurities distort the way we see ourselves. If we treated ourselves more like we do our best friends, then maybe we’d feel stronger and more empowered and see ourselves as we really are.
So here are a few ways you can start practising self-care in your life today:
1. Forgive yourself.
How many times have you tossed and turned at night, thinking about a slip-up at work or a poorly-thought-out remark made to a friend or family member? (guilty!!!) We run our mistakes over and over again in our minds, punishing ourselves until we feel like we can’t do anything right.
It’s important to accept blame for the things we’ve done wrong. But there's a difference between accepting responsibility for something we can fix and beating ourselves up over a mistake we can't change. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves and to also stop taking the blame for things that aren't our responsibility.
When your best friend screws up and apologises, you’re ready to give her a second chance. Show the same kindness and understanding to yourself. Remember that one mistake doesn’t erase all the good things you’ve done or any of your fantastic qualities. Forgive yourself and move on.
2. Listen to and tend to your own needs.
When your bestie is up late the night before a big exam or work presentation, you tell her to go to bed and get some rest. You make sure she doesn’t drink too much when you go out and offer her advice when she needs it.
Your own body and mind let you know what you need to stay healthy. Listen to them. Too often, we push ourselves too hard, trying to get everything crossed off our to-do list. I get it - I do it all the time too! But sometimes you need to slow down, for both your physical and mental health. Just like taking care of your loved ones shows them you love them, taking care of yourself is how you show self-love. It's important!
3. Surround yourself with people who love and respect you.
Ooh - I could talk a while on this topic! The people we let in our lives have a huge impact on how we see ourselves. If you spend your time with people who don’t respect you, you won’t respect yourself. #facts #chooseyourtribecarefully
If your best friend had relationships that were toxic or hurtful, you’d tell her to drop those poor friends. But when it comes to yourself, you may think you deserve what you’re given. Instead, try to make sure your life is full of people who genuinely care about you. When you’re well-loved by others, it’s easier to see how deserving you are of that love.
4. Stand up for yourself.
You wouldn’t allow anyone to tell your best friend she’s unattractive or terrible at her job. Why would you allow someone to say those things to you?
Unfortunately, the meanest person in your life is sometimes yourself, which means you have to stand up and remind yourself of your own worth and value. Standing up to your inner critic can be scary and it's tough but it’s well worth it!
5. Treat yourself.
Some of the kindest things our best friends do for us are unexpected surprises: bringing you your favorite drink or inviting you out for a spontaneous lunch.
Show yourself that same love with the occasional treat. Sometimes you just need a cappuccino or a massage to make a tough day a little better.
Your best friend is your best friend for a reason. She wouldn’t stick around if you she didn’t love everything about you and vice versa. If you learn to show yourself the same care and kindness you show your best friend, then you can truly learn how to love yourself. #winning
One of my favourite ways for hard working ladies to treat themselves is to a photoshoot. I believe this is one of the ultimate acts of self-care where you spend time falling in love with yourself all over again. Click here to find out more about the photoshoot experience with Wani Olatunde Photography.