It’s a common catch phrase these days, but despite its popularity, it is a concept that is often misunderstood. Many people mistakenly interpret self-love as putting one’s self and concerns above others—a perspective that generally leads to a heavily inflated ego.  But practicing self-love couldn’t be further from this misconception. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your personal well-being for the sake of others.  Think of it this way, if you lived your life pleasing everyone else, would you ever be completely fulfilled or pleased yourself? Not a chance.

As women, it’s all too common that we put ourselves and our needs last because we’re always caring for those around us first.  However, care should begin with the self or you will eventually diminish your ability to care for anyone. It is necessary to care for yourself first so you can serve those around you in a bigger and better way.  Neglecting yourself and your needs is like trying to take on the day with an empty stomach. You must fuel your body with a healthy breakfast so you can seize the day.  The practice of self-love works in the same way because it has more to do with nourishing than pampering yourself.

What Self-Love Isn’t

Self-love isn’t about instant gratification. Sure, a new designer purse might make you feel good in the moment, but the feeling doesn’t last and could leave you with buyer’s remorse later on. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’ve put yourself on a pedestal considering yourself the smartest, the most beautiful and most talented person in the world. Instead, when you love yourself, you acknowledge your strengths, accept your weaknesses, and appreciate your shortcomings as something that makes you, YOU.

Self-love means giving yourself what your body, brain, and soul need at any given moment so that you can continue to navigate through life and continue moving closer towards your vision.

Self-Love Practices

Cultivating self-awareness is essential because being self-aware is the key to knowing what fills your cup so you can get what you need when you need it most.  Here are some common self-love practices that will help you rejuvenate your soul and leave you with positive energy.

Practice Escapism

Do the things that bring you joy.  Maybe reading a book, sipping your preferred coffee blend or tea from your favorite cup, going for a swim, taking a walk on the beach, doing a yoga class etc.  Focus on those activities or enjoyments that you can do alone so that you’re not dependent on anyone else having to fill your cup.

Connect with Friends

If you’ve got the right friends—friends who make you happy and support your ambitions— this is a great time to reach out to them to build you up and strengthen you emotionally or spiritually.  A good inner circle can be a valuable life support and sounding board to get you through tough times.  If you don’t have a good supportive circle of friends check out THE LIMITLESS WOMAN’S CIRCLE—a group of like-minded women striving to achieve their greatest potentials.

Slow Down

Distractions are everywhere and will weigh you down and impact your lifestyle if you allow.  Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to learn how to slow down and enjoy special moments while taking care of yourself.

Disconnect

Whether you want to admit it or not, you probably spend way too much time on your devices. Just by ditching your phones or tablets during down times, you’ll feel more connected with yourself and relaxed.  Start by removing your device completely when eating, sleeping and relaxing.  As you see the positive changes in disconnecting, you may want to distance yourself from devices while working as well.  This will allow you to get more done in less time because you’re completely focused on the task at hand.

Eat slowly

Learn to savor every bite appreciating your life and the atmosphere around you.

Breathe Deeply

Life can get chaotic, so it’s important to give yourself permission to take it down a notch and enjoy some time to take care of yourself.  Just breathing in deeply and holding it for ten seconds and then releasing it will help you re-center and re-focus.

Listen to Your Body and Rest  When you have pushed your body to the limit, it needs rest to recover.  Make sure you’re listening to what your body needs and don’t beat yourself up if you have to skip on a workout or leave the laundry unfolded a while longer.  It will still be there when you’re ready.

Talk Positively to Yourself

What you say to yourself matters more than you think.  Loving yourself requires that you show yourself compassion. Sometimes self-doubt may creep up, and it’s your job to block out that noise with positive affirmations or lean on your inner circle for support.  It’s imperative that you speak highly to yourself and not nitpick on your shortcomings because everyone has them.  Focus on your strengths. Recognize your efforts for improvement.

Be Grateful

Have an attitude of gratitude. Some people prefer a mental exercise of appreciation by quietly reflecting on all the things they are grateful for while others opt for the physical motions of writing their list down in a gratitude journal.  Either way works, but one thing is for certain, establishing a practice of gratitude is powerful. The more grateful you are for the things you have, you’ll quickly discover a greater sense of fulfillment and your life will change for the better because positivity attracts.

Self-love matters because in order to achieve success in your life you must deem yourself worthy; you must love yourself to commit to the journey ahead of you because in the end, it is all about realizing your greatest self—if you don’t care for and love yourself, you will lose traction and momentum along the way.  Self-love is a crucial element to reach your vision because the journey requires a positive, healthy mindset. Remember, the relationship you have with yourself is paramount, and like any other relationship in your life, it requires nurturing, patience, and kindness.