How do you practise self-love especially on tough days like this?
You have had a tough day at work. Deadlines pile on top on one another. And you feel you can barely cope. But you get things done, and that feels okay, sometimes. Yet, you are always busy and tired.
You are expected to rise up to the occasion and when things go awry, you feel you are all at fault. You have no time for yourself yet you’re expected to be full of energy and zest every day. Sure, you go on holidays but you come back even more tired and piles of work await you as soon as your holidays end.
At home, relationships seem to get stale. You are always tired and your family members complain that you’re never there. You lose track of what your loved ones are doing. Even when you arrange and attend gatherings or outings, you don’t feel exactly present when you’re there. And, you barely have time for your friends and feel that you are swallowed by the commitments and expectations from everywhere and everyone.
Then, you start comparing yourself to others of your age in your social circle and how they seem to have it all. You get critical of yourself. You expect more from yourself. And you beat yourself up when you feel that you don’t measure up.
Do these thoughts haunt you when you are alone? Are you spending your alone time thinking about these issues that you have and focusing on what went wrong because of your actions or lack of actions?
Do you tend to beat yourself up for the mistakes you make? Are you always critical towards yourself yet more forgiving towards others? Would you be quick to set high expectations of yourself but go easy on others?
In times like these, it’s time for you to stop everything you have in hand and cease what you are thinking.
Then, breathe deeply for 5 to 10 times and learn to loosen up and let go of any tight feelings in you.
And show yourself some love.
How do you love yourself more? How would you be able to practise more self-love when you are constantly criticising, beating yourself up and belittling everything you do?
The world is already harsh enough, don’t be extra hard on yourself.
The best self-love method is to love and care for yourself and to put yourself in the first place.
It is hard, especially when you are used to putting everyone and everything else before you; your family, your parents, your children, your spouse, your friends, your work, even your pet.
We only have 24 hours a day, and after spending so much time at work and sleep, we have a handful of hours left. If we have to spend the remaining hours of our day focusing on other people, of course, we would feel drained to the pit. But, showing ourselves love does not mean we ditch everyone else in our lives and focus only on ourselves.
Even spending 30 minutes a day for ourselves is good enough. Go for a job, have a coffee with your phones switched off, do yoga, read a book you enjoy with music in the background, going for a massage. Sure, some of them may seem like a luxury but there are other things we can do for ourselves as well. For instance, spending some time painting, going for walks alone, practising brush lettering, and so on.
When you are tired, rest.
If you are hungry, take your meals.
When you are unhappy, do things that make you happy.
Allow yourself to relax and be yourself.
Other ways to show yourself more love
Stand up for yourself.
Whatever you believe in, stand up for it.
When you find yourself trying to please others too much, stop it. It can have a negative impact on yourself even though you may not realize it now. Over time, you may feel that you are slowly losing control over what you can do or say because others will take your response for granted.
When you have an opinion or a stand of your own, voice them out.
It doesn’t matter if others don’t agree with you. In fact, if others agree with you all the time, you have already formed yourself a groupthink. In a realistic healthy social circle, we should expect disagreements, but it will be okay and everyone would agree to disagree because that’s what respect is all about.
Find and be in your happy space.
Do you know where to go when you are unhappy, lost or frustrated? Is there a place or space in you that you can go back to whenever you are sad or tired? Do you know where to seek internally for the answer you already have?
Within each of us, there is a happy space in us. It is our core where we already know what we value and what we want. It is a home we already have in us that we can return to whenever we want to.
If you are always thinking that you don’t know what you want or who you want to be, it’s time to find that happy space within you.
No one else can reach that space except for you, and you are the safest and strongest in there.
Let go of what’s not serving you.
It’s okay to have expectations on yourself but when your expectations have gone beyond you and make you stressed and unhappy every day, is it worth it?
Would you be happier with lower expectations and lesser commitments?
Say No when you don’t want to. You are doing yourself a favour when you do that, by giving yourself the permission to slow down or even being courageous to say No to what you don’t want. It may make you feel bad but do you value yourself more, or other people?
Sometimes, we have to say No to what’s no longer serving us too, even though we may feel comfortable with them.
Alternatively, say Yes when you want to. Give yourself the opportunity to what you really want even if you are scared. You need to give yourself the permission to go ahead instead of waiting for others to say yes to you.
This is a huge one but one of the most empowering action we can do for ourselves.
It is often tougher for us to forgive ourselves than others because we generally expect too much from ourselves. We expect ourselves to act, think and do as our wisest self would when we were making decisions and taking actions based on the limited information and capability we possess at that time. We are just humans.
It’s time to let go of the guilt and shame you carry too, no matter how long that incident or issue has passed.
Be kind to yourself.
Allow yourself to move on.
Whether you have made a serious mistake, failed terribly or did something extremely wrong in the past, you need to forgive yourself and allow yourself to move on.
Stop hanging on to the past. Stop analysing what has happened and is now over. Don’t mull over it anymore.
Come back to the present. Breathe in deeply. Open up your view, and start noticing things and people around you. Be more present. Feel the air brushing against your skin.
Look forward to the future. It can be something that will happen in the next minute or hour. It could be something you have in plan for tonight or tomorrow. Start small. Then build on to your future with big plans and actionable steps.
Start doing activities that you have dropped off before. Something you used to enjoy.
Be courageous enough to ask for help when you need them.
You don’t have to do these all by yourself. Be it a work assignment or a house chore, you can re-assign, delegate or outsource them if you want to.
Prioritise what really matters to you and reduce or eliminate the rest.
Instead of doing all the manual and menial work by yourself, would you be able to delegate to someone else so that you can focus on the higher level work?
Unless you choose to cook dinner for the family every night, would you be able to share the load with your spouse, cook on alternate days or engage a helper at home?
It may make you feel less capable or independent but a strong person possesses the courage and humility to ask for help when they need. And there is no wrong in doing that.