Every new year brings the exciting possibility for new changes and growth in our lives. While new year resolutions can be quickly forgotten after a few weeks, there are important life lessons we can and should continually strive towards throughout the year and the rest of our lives. With that being said, if there's one thing you want to work on this year, it should be to love yourself more. Let's make 2019 the year of learning to practice self-love and investing more time into ourselves and our wellbeing.
We often put so much energy into loving others that we forget about loving ourselves. You only have so much capacity and energy to love and care, and if you give it all to someone else, it can be taken away by them at any moment.
If you're worried that loving yourself first is being selfish, you shouldn't, because you need to realize that loving yourself is actually helping you to love others better. If you don't understand how to love yourself, how will you know how to truly love others?
You should love yourself because you're worth it. Love yourself because you deserve it. Love yourself because it's vital for self-care and self-improvement. Love yourself because it will help you grow as a person. Love yourself because who will be able to love you if you don't love yourself first?
If you can't love yourself, you won't fully be able to accept other people's love. It's important to understand yourself and your own needs and wants before preparing to love someone else. The way in which you love yourself impacts how you are able to accept love from others. As said in the book, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, "we accept the love we think we deserve".
If you don't appreciate yourself, you can end up rejecting or questioning the love other people give you since you don't understand why you're lovable in the first place. You might self-sabotage because you don't think you deserve their love.
You deserve to love yourself and to experience love from others.
For me personally, this year I am vowing to be less hard on myself when I make mistakes, because we're all human, and mistakes are a means towards growth. Instead of beating myself up over things I feel I did wrong, I am learning to give myself more grace and compassion.
Hindsight is 20/20 so it's easy to be hard on yourself when you make mistakes. We're only here for so long and nobody's perfect. One way to practice self-compassion is to learn to forgive yourself for making mistakes. Maya Angelou once said, "Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn't know before you learned it". I think that is one of the most important lessons to learn about self-compassion.
It's so easy to criticize yourself, so next time push yourself to instead be self-compassionate. Treat yourself like a friend – we tend to be more forgiving with others than with ourselves. Why don't we treat ourselves with the same level of love and respect with treat others with?
You can start practicing self-love today. Next time you feel a negative thought about yourself coming, first realize that you can't control what thoughts come to your mind but you can control what you do with them. You don't have to give extra energy to the negative self-thoughts to grow within you if you don't want them to.
Treat your thoughts like flowers and weeds – pull out the negativity like weeds and prevent them from spreading. You should water and nurture the positivity so that it blooms into a garden. It might sound cheesy, but it works.
There are several other ways you can practice self-love regularly. For starters, let go of toxic relationships and the things that bring negativity into your life. Instead, surround yourself with a community of people who love and encourage you to be your best self.
Intentionally set time apart in your schedule to invest in your wellbeing, like taking a day to do something that you yourself love, not because it's something your boyfriend or friend wants to do. Treat yourself to things that make you happy and improve you, whether it's for your physical or emotional health, whether it's a spa day or your favourite food or just a day of relaxing at home and doing what helps you feel rested.
Make 2019 the year you stop neglecting the most important relationship in your life – the one you have with yourself. Make 2019 the year you stop criticizing your flaws and love yourself for all that you are because it makes you the beautiful person you've grown to be.
Make 2019 the year you applaud your strengths and forgive your weaknesses. Make 2019 the year you stop scrutinizing every little imperfection or mistake. Make 2019 the year you start loving yourself.