I was recently having a conversation with someone in which we were discussing how another individual’s lack of self-love usually landed them into situations that aren’t favorable. The individual I was talking to couldn’t understand why the person in question didn’t or couldn’t do better for themselves. I reminded them that life experiences give us copious reasons for individuals to devalue themselves, especially Black women.
The conversations surrounding self-love are relatively new. There is a lot of talk and awareness about the importance of self-love and how it is imperative for our overall health and self-care. However, there aren’t many conversations being had about how to love yourself.
Loving yourself is learned and practiced behavior. So, I wanted to share some tips that I have acquired over the years on how I’ve learned (and continuing to learn) how to love yourself.
Be intentional – as I mentioned earlier self-love is learned and if you aren’t taught foundational principles at an early age, then it makes learning it as an adult hard to navigate. So many are taught in childhood and in adolescence to feel unworthy and to hate themselves and it helps to foster a negative and false narrative of self. It takes time to reverse the damage and reset the mind to think differently. Even if you do happen to have some fundamental knowledge about what it takes to love yourself, life experiences can often dissuade otherwise. Rejection from relationships and jobs can help feed a narrative that we are inadequate. That’s why WE MUST CHOOSE every day to be purposefully about the journey of self- love. It requires you to be intentional on changing your attitude and behavior about the things that keep you in thinking lowly about yourself.
Grant yourself grace – I don’t know about you but I know that I am my harshest critic. If I make a misstep I condemn and berate myself more than anyone else. I had to learn to forgive myself and give myself the same grace I give others when mistakes are made. When you’re overly critical of yourself it stifles growth and prevents you from moving forward. So in order to quell admonishing thoughts I keep affirmations around to remind me that I am only human and am still allowed to make mistakes and be great all at the same time.
Connect with God – There is absolutely nothing that can be achieved without God. Learning to love yourself is no different. For me studying God’s word and building a deeper connection with Him helped me to get a better understanding of the meaning of love. It’s assuring to know that His love is sufficient and perfect even in the moments I fail or feel low. Pray for God to help you think and behave differently. Ask for guidance on how to love yourself more deeply. Seek His solace and comfort in times when you feel like you can’t do it. I promise you His spirit will lift and sustain you when you need it.
Build a supportive community – In addition to connecting with God it is good to connect with a community of loved ones that will support and nurture your growth. These groups of people should be those you can trust and who will be equally committed to ensure you thrive and make better decisions about your self-care. I would also suggest adding a good therapist into the mix who can give you practical tools on how to build yourself up.
In what ways or steps did you take to learn to love yourself better?