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Power of Self Love: 6 Ways to Increase Self Love By Mayra Sotomayor, MA, LCPC

When we think of the month of February, we automatically think of a month of showing how much we love others. A month symbolized by red hearts, acts of service and lots of gifts. It is easy to get caught up with showing your love to others and wanting to feel loved and desired by them. But instead of looking outward for love, we need to focus on the love we can give ourselves.

 Some of the benefits that self-love have include decrease in stress,increased ability to manage difficult situations, being an optimistic thinker, and willingness to explore and try new things.

This month, lets focus on giving ourselves the love that we often look for in others. And by doing so, let’s also improve our mental health. Different ways of self love:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Strive to have unconditional acceptance for yourself. Accepting all parts of you, even the ones you do not like. When we strive to be what others want us to be, we get to a point where we are not happy about ourselves. We start realizing we are living to the standards and expectations of others and compare ourselves to their paths. Instead, focus on the goals and things you want to do.

  • Evaluate your circles. Don’t be afraid to let go of people that aren’t adding anything to your life. Take time to reflect on what friendships add to your life; add joy, add peace, add happiness, add comfort and which relationships take away and leave you feeling drained. A form of self love is being able to surround yourself with people that increase your way of living.  Accept that it is okay to grow out of relationships and leave behind those that are no longer benefiting you.

  • Be kind to yourself.  Increase self compassion. We can be very critical of ourselves and hold us to higher standards than the rest. Remember that you are doing the best that you can at the moment for yourself. Give yourself the same grace and compassion you would give to someone else if they were in a spot of hurt.

  • Put yourself first. Increase self care and let go of the belief that putting yourself first is selfish. Take the time to check in on how you are feeling and what is needed for you to feel happy. Pick an activity that will bring joy to your life.

  • Daily gratitude. Take time to create a list of what you are grateful for in your life. Creating a daily gratitude list increases happiness due to being able to see what things are going well in your life. This helps you love the things in your life, causing you to love your life more.

  • Take care of yourself physically. It is important to eat a good meal, get movement in, and take time for your hygiene. What better way to show love to yourself by treating your body with respect. Your body deserves the best care.

Next time you feel selfish for putting yourself first, think of the benefits that it provides for your mental health. Self love can lead to higher self esteem, better mental health, and an increase in motivation. Self love is a way to reach a new level of happiness in your life and security in who you are.