In today’s fast-paced world, you hardly get the time to engage with yourself on a deeper level. Most people tend to abandon themselves or drown in guilt and despair in times of difficulty. In a way, self-love is a forgotten art. But it has benefits that can be beyond your imagination. So, how to practice self love and acceptance?
Self-love, a magic wand that heals everything
Self-love is interchangeably referred to as self-compassion and self-kindness. Professor Kristen Neff teaches human development at University of Texas, Austin. According to him and a few other scholars studying the concept of self-love, it means: Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.
Self-love has three important aspects to it. They are:
- Self-kindness, that means showing understanding towards self and forgiving for mistakes
- Next is to recognize your place in the human community. It further means that you need to acknowledge the fact that no one is perfect. And your own, personal experiences are nothing but a part of a larger scheme of experiences.
- Practising mindfulness in day-today life is the next step here. Mindfulness can help you avoid being carried away with negative emotions.
Most people aim for perfection. Whether it is perfect and flawless looks to impeccably perfect houses, no one wants to settle for anything less. But the problem is when you loathe yourself for your imperfections and shower yourself with self-criticism, that’s exactly an opposite of self-love.
Self-criticism is self-sabotaging
While self-criticism is considered to be a motivating factor, research is proving the opposite. Studies have revealed that self-criticism is equivalent to self-sabotage. Self-criticism hampers your growth in various ways. It hold you back from progressing in life.
With self-criticism, you tend to focus on the not-so-good aspects of you. That in turn leads to negatively impacting your confidence levels. You may become fearful of failing and that can affect your performance. You may even give up on yourself or make not-so-useful decisions. It also affects your resilience. In short, self-criticism needs to be ditched right away!
Why choose self-love?
As opposed to this, practicing self-love can make things look up for you. Here are a few benefits of self-love that you must know about.
- A rise in levels of motivation and willpower
- Better perspective that leads to good decision-making skills
- Increased resilience that helps you bounce back
- Improves your relationships by increasing emotional intelligence
- Reduced stress levels, overwhelmed feelings, anxiety, and depression
- Boosts your psychological well-being and improves overall health
Here’s how to practice self love and acceptance in four ways
Practising self-love in your daily life can be simple. Here are a few useful exercises that you can begin with.
1. Positive self-talk
Kristen Neff advises that you should look at your self-talk. Mostly self-critical people tend to engage in a negative self-talk. Replacing that with a positive, uplifting talk can do the magic. So, instead of focusing on what went wrong, shift your focus on what is still in your hands. Telling yourself about how you can resolve a certain situation can be of great help.
2. Self-addressed letters
How often have you read open letters on the internet? They do the trick, don’t they? Similarly, writing compassionate letters to yourself after making a mistake or taking a wrong decision can help you feel better, says Kristen Neff. And of course, you can keep them private. But instead of being aggressively reprimanding, make your letter soothing and comforting. Many studies have displayed how writing can help in regulating your emotions.
3. Have an uplifting Mantra
A Mantra, or even an affirmation for that matter, can help you in sending love to yourself. Keep repeating this to yourself in times of challenges and even otherwise. You can have your own phrase of positivity, something like the ‘All is well’ of 3 Idiots, that can keep your spirits high even in the face of adversity. Time to get creative!
4. The classic, old Gratitude-list
Maintaining a Gratitude journal is the best way to express love for yourself. At the end of the day, list things that you are grateful for. Add in a little twist to this by ensuring that at least 1 thing on your list has something to do with you. It could be a quality of yours or even some action of self-love that you did through the day.
Self-love is key to happy, healthy, and positive relationships, whether it’s with yourself or those around you. So, start showering yourself with some love now.
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