Although February 14th may be a day shared between people who want to express their love for one another. it is also a good time to learn to love yourself. Whether you’re single, dating or in a serious relationship, loving yourself is just as important as loving others and is likely one of the most important lessons one can learn in their lifetime.

Self-love Q&A:

Why is self-love important when it comes to relationships?

When you truly love yourself, you are able to recognize when toxic situations no longer serve your highest good.

Does loving yourself make you seem arrogant or self-centered?

Often times, arrogance stems from self-esteem issues, therefore the self-love is not as present as it may seem. However, If you love yourself, it means you are fully in acceptance of who you are, regardless of any imperfections or shortcomings you may seem to have. Loving yourself also means knowing your worth. Self-love is not selfish. Often times people want to be loved by someone in a way in which they are not willing to love themselves, this creates a lot of dissonance within the individual and that relationship.

What steps can I take on my journey to self-love?

7 things you can do to begin your journey to self-love:

Practice Forgiveness

The will to forgive doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process. However, forgiving yourself and forgiving those who may have brought hurt or harm to you may be a liberating experience. Ask yourself this question: “Am I harboring resentment or anger towards another?” Keep in mind that when you hold on to these negative emotions, you are welcoming more stress into your life. It is okay to practice forgiveness. You owe it to yourself.

Become mindful of what you consume

Paying attention to what you consume does not only include watching what you eat. Although making healthier food choices is important when it comes to sustaining good health, watching what you consume also includes how much time you spend browsing social media or the media in general or who you spend your time around. All of the above mentioned can impact how a person may feel about themselves especially in comparison to others.

Learn to reframe and re-direct your negative thoughts

If you’re like many people who may have experience with anxiety, you may realize that what you think about yourself can impact how you feel about yourself. For example: thinking to yourself “I am such a screw up.” can eventually lead you to believing exactly that. Where’s the love in that?

Is that how you would speak to someone you truly love? Reframing those negative thoughts about yourself into more positive ones can help you to change what you feel. Re-frame by saying things like “I’ll do better next time.” or “I am working really hard on improving my abilities.” etc.

Be sure to carve out some alone time

So much can happen for you when you make time for yourself. Spending time alone helps you to get to know yourself better. You can do activities such as taking walks alone in nature, writing, sharpening your craft, meditating, using positive affirmations. These are ways to get to know yourself better, and they can also help you to accept you for who you are.

Practice Radical Acceptance

“Radical acceptance is a distress tolerance skill. Practicing it can help people to enhance their quality of life and may help to reduce unnecessary suffering.” (Rollin, 2017).

When you find yourself in situations that you have no control over, it may lead you to ruminating over the past and what you should have done.

Rather than cause yourself increased suffering and pain, shift your perspective on what you can control within the situation. Often times your options are limited, but how you perceive what has happened is the one thing you may have control over. Remember the past is behind you. Besides, the less suffering you have to endure, the more likely you are to accept who you are, your life experiences, and what you have to offer the world.

Practice Altruism

Giving back without expectations can bring a great sense of peace within.

By, Ashley Vazquez, MA, MBA, EAP Counselor