Does Self-Love Feel Like A Foreign Concept? Why + How To Cultivate It

There’s this thing you hear people talk about called “self-love”. You’ve probably heard about it in self-help books, podcasts, commercials, Instagram posts, etc. We hear it all the time. Yet do you ever think about why it’s important or how to practice self-love?

Most people think humans are just born with the ability to “self-love”. There’s natural instinct to want to take care of ourselves. It may not always feel like it, but somewhere deep inside we all have that.

Why doesn’t self-love feel natural?

Why doesn’t it always feel very natural? There can be countless reasons for that.

I don’t know what may have caused the natural instinct to practice self-love for you to slip away. It could have been the media, comparing yourself to others and feeling that you don’t measure up, the accumulation of comments that made you feel unworthy, or something entirely different.  Either way, there may be something that caused that natural self-love instinct to slip away.

Part of the journey in getting the instinct of self-love to become natural again is realizing that it’s under there somewhere. Just like anything though, cultivating self-love will take work. You’ll need to dedicate time to practice it.

Intentional self-love

Here’s one practical first step. Begin realizing that you are not a prisoner of your thoughts. The thoughts you have are actually a choice. You can choose to develop positive or negative thoughts.

So, choose to let that self-love grow. You probably won’t wake up one day just feeling amazing like you’ve been practicing self love your whole life. It takes time and radical acceptance, humility, gentleness, and patience.

The second you look in the mirror and that negative thought pops up – take that chance to reframe your thoughts and practice self-love. Recognize the negative thought and then replace it with something you DO like about yourself (physical or non physical). Then thoughtfully choose to move along with your day and to focus on that.

When the feeling of worthlessness creeps in – choose to fight it. Choose to focus on what you’re good at. Or simply focus on what you’re doing and be in the moment. Just choose to let the gentleness towards yourself grow.

Growth —> change

After time, practice, and patience, you might start to notice changes. Maybe you’ll think to yourself, “I’m okay being me today”.

Sometime after that you may think, “I kinda actually like me”.

Eventually (and hopefully) one day after all of this practice and softness towards yourself, the “I love me” will finally break through.

Image: @vinaysomanna

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