I frequently write about self-love here on this blog. I have already talked about what self-love and self-care can look like. But practical tips on how to learn self-love have not been given so far. I would like to make up for that today. Because self-love can be learned along the way, in tiny little baby-steps that often only take a minute…
Great little things to learn and strengthen self-love:
- Put sticky notes all over the flat, saying what I love about myself.
- Writing a letter to myself, a real love letter, with stamps and everything. Send it.
- Write a wonderful compliment on my mirror where I see it every day.
- Leave a message on my answering machine about what I love about myself.
- Find out what smell, what fragrance makes me happy, and keep it available at all times. On the nightstand or in the glove compartment. Or both.
- Every evening, write down three things that I love about myself or that I did well that day, what I love myself for. (Powerful thing, this diary!)
- Record a short video with my mobile phone telling myself how much I love myself and email it to myself.
- Pick out songs that make me happy, whose lyrics touch me, that I can relate to. Make a „self-love list“ with these songs – and then actually listen to them when I need to. Maybe make several different lists…
- Eat dessert first.
- Write a letter to myself: why I am proud of myself.
- Hiding small love letters in jacket pockets, glove compartments, handbags, suitcases and other rarely used places. (This one is so much fun!)
- Buy myself flowers on an ordinary Thursday. Just because I deserve flowers, always.
- Dressing up for myself.
- Taking myself out for dinner, ice cream, to the theatre, to the cinema….
- Treating myself to that wonderfully scented shower gel.
- Apply my favourite lotion from top to toe.
Even these seemingly small things can be big challenges.
It’s completely normal to have trouble finding the right words for a love letter and to feel silly writing a love-note to yourself. You may find the idea of leaving yourself a loving message on an answering machine unbearable. It might be much easier for you to put luxurious lotion on yourself every single day – or it might be the other way around. Both ways of feeling are fine, both are human, both are normal.
Most of us have yet to learn to treat ourselves with the same respect, appreciation and love that we treat our partner or best friend. Practising self-care is a wonderful way to learn self-love.
It is worth it: you are the most important person in your life!
Relationships or friendships may break down, beloved companions may die or be moved elsewhere by life, leaving only ourselves, alone. All the more important that we are good friends to ourselves. When there is no one else left who is good to you – you, yourself are still there! You are always there! You can be your knight in shining armour, or your fairy godmother. And if you think you can’t, then know this: you can learn.
So, let’s stock up: Stores of compliments and kind words, of sensual sweetness and musical security. Resilience is self-love: Let’s fill our stores of love, care, and tenderness to the brim!
Stocking up in good times for the bad times – that´s self-love, too.
„She takes a beautiful suitcase, old-fashioned, made of cardboard reinforced with wooden slats. In this suitcase she puts the old flannel shirt and the comfy slippers. A perfume bottle. A book of love poems. A whole bundle of love letters, tied together with a red bow. A little plush bunny snuggled in a wreath of fabric flowers. A list of food, a list of music, a list of films and a list of books. Shells from a favourite beach. Some stones. In addition, a small album with photos from many years ago: she finds herself beautiful in all these photos. Smiling, she puts the soft woollen blanket and a lavender sachet on top. Then she closes the suitcase and puts it in the living room, on the handle a note that says: „For emergencies!“
„He sits in the café. Next to him the briefcase, in five minutes he must leave. But one thought seems to occupy his mind, he takes out pen and paper and writes at the top of the sheet: what I like about myself. Then he looks out of the window and chews on the pen obliviously. Suddenly he begins to write, first one line. Looking out of the window. Another line. Then another and another, he turns the page over and only when the second page is also filled does he look at the clock, startled. He laughs sheepishly, puts the folded sheet in the inside pocket of his jacket, reaches for his briefcase and hurries away.“
No matter when she finally opens the suitcase again or when he reads his list again, they have shown themselves today that they find themselves important, valuable, lovable. And that is the most important step.
For the more advanced, here’s the most intense and perhaps most beautiful exercise: looking yourself in the eye in the mirror and saying, „I love you!“ Yes, that is a challenge. To endure that it feels strange and to feel how it becomes more honest and real each and every time you try. To involve the whole body in the exercise.
And finally, to realise that you flirt with your own reflection as you walk by, even on bad hair days, or in convalescence, or at half past three in the morning with jet lag.
Because there is love.
Heartfelt, wherever you are,
P.S: Learning to love yourself is a journey, there may be turns and setbacks, but also moments of pure joy… and when you’re ready to stand naked in front of the mirror and love everything you see – then you’re pretty darn close to your goal, I’d say!