Yes, you read that correctly. Fall in love with yourself. February is full of celebrations of love, but how can we keep self-love going all year round?
Loving yourself is about being content with who you are, and gaining self-worth from the things that make you who you are. Knowing how to love yourself is a very important skill that can help you feel more confident in who you are.
Here are 8 ways you can start your journey to loving yourself:
- “We’re all human beings, not human bodies.”– Chris. Many times, we can put too much importance on aspiring to look a certain way, so much so that we forget how amazing we are. Appreciate what your body can do, and realize that you are not defined by a physical attribute. Also, make sure you are listening to your body’s cues. Sleep when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry, and encourage yourself when you’re feeling down.
- Practice gratitude! One way to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Try to write down at least one thing that you’re grateful for every day. Another way to practice gratitude is to try to go a week without complaining. It may seem impossible, but just having the intention to be gracious for whatever life throws at you may improve your overall mood! The more time you spend worrying about things you can’t control, the less time you have to enjoy the things that make you happy.
- Avoid negative self-talk. Think about how great you feel when your friends recognize something great that you’ve done. By practicing positive and affirming language towards yourself, you’re mimicking that same effect! This can take time and practice to master, but it is possible, and definitely worth the effort.
- Identify your strengths. You may know them already or you may still need to discover them — either way, we all have them. Take some time to reflect on your strengths and keep an ongoing list, either in your head, on your phone, or on a sticky note at your desk. Try to include strengths from multiple aspects of yourself – maybe you love your smile, or your positive attitude, or maybe you’re just proud of yourself for knowing all the words to your favorite song. Whenever you’re feeling like you need a boost, you can read over it to feel better!
- Let go of the past. Forgiveness is a key component of this happiness and self-love journey. Forgive yourself and others so you can move on. Yes, I know it’s hard, but remember that keeping hate or anger bottled up doesn’t change the past. Focus your energy into working towards a better present and future instead.
- Find things that you’re passionate about! Being at the University of Maryland, there are opportunities all around you, many that you may be unaware of. There are concerts, art shows, movie screenings, workshops, sporting events, craft nights, volunteer and activism opportunities, and so much more. Take some time to explore the world of UMD and figure out what speaks to you. Push yourself to try something you may not have experienced before – you may be surprised at what you love!
- Smile! Take notice of your surroundings and be mindful of the little things. Try your best to not let life weigh you down, and remember that laughter truly is the best medicine. College is stressful, complicated, and challenging – but it’s also full of new friends, exciting opportunities, and memories that can last a lifetime.
- Try not to compare yourself to others. Have you ever been really happy with yourself, only to see someone else doing something “better”? Take pride in what you do and be supportive of your peers who are succeeding with you. If you’re struggling, turn to a friend who seems to be excelling – it’ll help you both learn and grow to work through this challenge together. Life is not a competition, and everyone grows at their own pace. Your path may look different than your peers, and that is OK.
When you fall in love, everything seems more beautiful. Falling in love with yourself is the same way- your outlook changes and you’re able to see your life in a different perspective. Being more positive toward yourself and others can change your mindset and can open yourself up to more positivity. Learning how to love yourself is an ongoing journey that looks different for everyone. The important thing to remember is to give yourself a chance!