5 Ways to Practice Self Love

by Melissa Skinner, M.A., LCPC

In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8th, a political holiday which emphasizes women’s struggles, contributions, accomplishments and continued need for gender equality.

(1) Silence your inner critic. We all have gifts to offer the world that are fueled by our deepest passions and it is really OK to share these gifts with the world. In fact it’s great to share these gifts with the world! Often times women will downplay their strengths to appear less threatening to others. This is not self love. Maximize your strengths. When you express your interests and what you’re good at, it’s not bragging, it’s telling the world who you are and what makes you tick.

(2) Get to know yourself. What do you really like or dislike? What are your core values? What are your dreams and hopes for the future?  What types of people do you want to surround yourself with and how do you want to be treated? Where would you like to be in 5 or 10 years? If you contemplate these types of important questions, you will be more likely to make choices in your life which align with the answers.

(3) Set healthy boundaries. Having good boundaries helps you develop a positive self concept, as well as develop and maintain strong relationships.

(4) Have compassion for yourself. Self compassion is an important part of self love. Cut yourself some slack when you need a break. If you’re tired, overworked or had enough, take a time out. Talk to yourself in a kind, gentle way, as you would to a close friend or your own child and be willing to forgive yourself when you’ve made a mistake. Letting go of perfectionism is a huge part of self care and self compassion.

(5) Practice regular mindfulness. Try to let go of anything that feels toxic. This may include self destructive habits, bad relationships, a tendency to compare yourself to others and obsessive worry or resentment. Develop your own personal source of spiritual guidance and faith.