10 ways to love yourself

I'm pretty sure we don't love ourselves enough. If you're someone who struggles with self-esteem and/or with self-love, then increasing your self-love behaviors is very important. I think most of us know that our beliefs and thoughts influence our behaviors, but fewer people know that our behaviors can also influence our thoughts and beliefs. So there really is some truth to that phrase "fake it 'til you make it". The mind doesn't like to have unexplained experiences and therefore works to justify our behaviors. Thus, if you perform behaviors daily, over time that represent self-love, you are more likely to begin cultivating self-love. Even if you have great self-esteem, it's still nice to show yo'self some sweet sweet love regularly to keep your mind, body, and soul healthy. Below are 10 ways to love yourself:

  1. Dress yourself in an outfit you love. Some days are just bad and I wake up not excited about the day ahead of me. On those days I make sure to wear an outfit I'm excited about, because it makes the day a little bit better. Dress in clothes that make you feel good about your body, flattering clothes, with fabrics that feel good. Wear accessories you love. Do this every day. You deserve to enjoy the things you cover your body with. 
  2. Play your favorite song on your way to work, and sing along shamelessly. There is power in music. Music goes straight to our emotions, so play your favorite song and sing along or not, whatever feels best for you.
  3. Take an extra day off work. Call in sick, or schedule a vacation day in which you focus only on you (e.g. home spa day with DIY pedicure, body scrub, a good book, or a long cafe visit).
  4. Take a bubble bath. Candles, music, wine, sparkling water are all optional but encouraged. 
  5. Meditate or take a restorative yoga class. I'm placing emphasis on restorative, gentle activities rather than strenuous. If you are someone who needs to increase the self-love, an intense yoga or exercise session could have the potential to turn into another way to push yourself beyond your limits. Restorative yoga and meditation, are all about relaxation, and giving back to yourself, so stick to something gentle.
  6. Look into the mirror with the sole purpose of finding things you love about your appearance. We all have something we like about ourselves. It could be your hands, or your eyes, your smile or your hair. We often place emphasis on the things we don't like about our appearance, things we want to change and don't put enough emphasis on the things we do like. Taking a minute to do just that can help to shift your self-view.
  7. Get a massage, pedicure, manicure, or facial. Pampering yourself is an awesome way to show yourself love. Not only are you taking the time to seek out ways to give back to yourself through these activities, but you're also spending money on yourself, further reinforcing the belief that you deserve to be loved and cared for. Of course, this is not license to rack up debt on these types of activities but it is a nice treat every once in a while. If you're short on cash, or trying to save, you can always do an at-home spa treatment (e.g. face mask, pedicure). The key to this one is to choose the activity with the intention of pampering yourself not to make yourself "better" (e.g. don't get a pedicure because you think your feet are gross and you need to make them look better, get one because you want to show yourself some love). 
  8. Take a walk near something beautiful. You deserve to see beauty. You deserve to have time set aside simply for walking near something beautiful or inspiring. If you live near nature, this should be an easy one but even big cities, have beautiful views and beautiful streets. Go there. Walk. Breathe deeply, and enjoy this time.
  9. Set aside time for lazy reading. This could be a book, magazine or blog. It doesn't matter what you read, but make it something you love. Setting aside time just for lazy reading is an awesome way to say "I love me, I'm setting aside time just to enjoy reading (fill in the blank)"
  10. When choosing your meals, think of foods to nourish yourself. So often, we choose foods for weight loss (e.g. low fat, low carb). This can easily turn into the opposite of self-love (e.g. choosing foods to lose weight because you don't think you're good enough the way you are). It's ok to want to drop some lbs and get healthy, but shifting your goal to caring for your body through food choices can get you there even quicker because it's coming from a place of love rather than hate. 

Lastly, do these actions with the intention of loving yourself. Intention is the key here! Any of these activities, if done without intention, will have no effect. Intention is really what gives these actions their power. Lastly, remember, that we all deserve love, first and foremost from ourselves! Our relationship with ourselves is the foundation for the rest of our relationships to rest on so make it a strong, positive foundation.