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What is can you truly hone in on its powers?

How many times today have you heard the words ‘Love yourself’, maybe in an empowering pop ballad, or on another self-proclaimed ‘influencer’ video?

In the counselling or therapy world, it is referred to as ‘self-love’, it is bounded about, almost like a pill you take if you have a headache. So, you just broke up with someone or maybe you find yourself being critical of yourself? The Therapist orders a course of ‘self-love’!

So what is self-love, and how do we really love ourselves, without it feeling like an egotistical exercise of self-admiration?

A blog is not complete without a philosophical reference; so let us turn to the wise words of Aristotle and his account of self-love, for it is simple and to the point: ‘One loves another as one loves oneself’. When we think about how we love others, there is an abundance of descriptive words, but in its authentic and pure form, to love someone incorporates words such as caring, kindness, compassion, attentiveness, and support.

How do we practice self-love?

Practising self-love involves developing a healthy and compassionate relationship with yourself. Applying the same principles of loving others to yourself, and even as abstract as it sounds there are some practical exercises you can put in place for yourself.

1. Practice self-care: Take time to prioritize your wellbeing, and consider your physical, emotional, and mental health. Identify and engage in activities that make you feel good and enhance your better self, such as exercising, eating nourishing foods, getting enough sleep, and taking quality restorative breaks when needed.

2. Set healthy boundaries: Learn to say no when necessary and establish boundaries that protect your time, energy, and emotions. This helps others to respect your time and needs and prevent burnout and fosters a sense of self-respect.

3. Practice self-compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes and that self-criticism only hinders growth. Instead, practice self-compassion by speaking to yourself as you would to a close friend, offering support and encouragement.

4. Notice and challenge negative self-talk: Become aware of negative thoughts or beliefs about yourself and replace them with positive, empowering affirmations. Focus on your strengths and accomplishments, and remind yourself that you are deserving of love and respect.

5. Surround yourself with positive influences: Choose to spend time with people who uplift and support you. Surrounding yourself with positive relationships can have a significant impact on your self-image and overall well-being.

6. Practice mindfulness and self-reflection: Take moments to be present, tune into your emotions, and reflect on your thoughts and experiences. Mindfulness exercises, meditation, or journaling can help you gain clarity, self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of yourself.

7. Do more of what you love and enjoy: Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy and fulfilment. Whether it's painting, reading, dancing, flower arranging or anything else that resonates with you, dedicating time to things you love can boost your self-esteem and happiness.

8. Embrace self-acceptance: Accept yourself as you are, recognizing that you are unique and valuable. Embrace your strengths and weaknesses, and avoid comparing yourself to others. Remember that your worth is not defined by external factors or achievements.

9. Prioritize self-development: Engage in activities that contribute to your personal growth. Set goals, pursue new skills or knowledge, and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. Continual growth and learning can foster empowerment, self-confidence, self-worth, and a sense of purpose.

10. Get help and go on a self-exploration journey: If you're struggling with self-love, consider seeking professional help, such as therapy or counselling. A trained counsellor can provide guidance, tools, and support to help you develop a healthy relationship with yourself.

It is important to remember that self-love is a lifelong practice. It requires consistent effort, patience, and self-compassion. As you practice self-love, you will discover the transformative power it holds in enhancing your overall well-being and fostering a deeper sense of love and acceptance for yourself.

If you are looking for help with coaching or counselling support on learning to be more kind and loving to yourself, contact Kemi at 

Kemi Fadero is a Wellbeing Consultant, Counsellor and Coach based in Cambridge, UK. Kemi works with individuals and organisations offering, virtual and in-person coaching and counselling services, helping individuals seeking to overcome emotional distress and effectively tackle life challenges.

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