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How practicing self-love can help you live a better, happier life

Self-love and self-care. In a time when seeing triggering news seems to be the norm, these two buzzwords have become increasingly relevant. By definition, practicing self-love and self-care simply means taking care of yourself by doing things that make you happy emotionally, spiritually, and physically. To love yourself is not just a trend, but is a practice that should be done by everyone to build self-esteem, self-confidence, and a positive self-image.

Self-care varies by definition to everyone. It can mean taking a break by going to the spa or something as simple as taking personal time for yourself. Regardless, it puts yourself in the center of everything, because it follows the rationale of making yourself feel valued and cared for as an important element of living well and making other people feel the same.

Contrary to what other people believe, self-love doesn’t go hand in hand with being selfish. Rather, it focuses on creating a state of appreciation for oneself in order to help yourself grow physically, psychologically, and spiritually. When practiced well, it can help in building self-esteem and a positive self-image. And really, who doesn’t want that, right?

There are many ways to practice self-love. While it may differ from person to person, the following are good examples that can get you started, in case you are drawing a blank on how to give yourself quality me-time.

1. Disconnecting from social media.

We live in a time where we are connected 24/7. We are updated with everything, from major negative political news to something as simple as our high school classmate having her first baby. While being up-to-date with everything is good, it can also be a double-edged sword. Many people, for example, feel the fear of missing out (in millennial terms, FMO) which, in return can make us feel unsatisfied with our own lives. The thing is, a lot of things we see in social media are curated. There is a reason why they are posted there–because they paint a perfect life. Disconnecting from social media every now and then can not only be refreshing, it also helps you put things into perspective by giving you time to look at reality.

2. Learning how to say no.

This sounds so simple, but a surprising number of people find it so hard to say no. Whether it be accepting an additional task at work even if you are already drowning from responsibilities or saying yes to a night out, we have a tendency to automatically say yes because we have a mentality about being perceived as negative or boring if we do the contrary. Learning how to beg off to certain things, however, is a good example of self-respect. It simply means you know what your limits are so that you don’t take things you can no longer chew. So the next time you would rather stay in bed rather than strut your stuff at that hot new bar, don’t be afraid to say that two-letter word.

3. Giving yourself personal space.

Socializing and connecting with friends, family, and other loved ones is not a bad thing. Human connections, after all, is an important part of living an enriching life. However, you don’t need to feel like you have to be a social butterfly all the time. In fact, taking some time to give yourself personal space can help nourish your well-being because it helps you focus and recenter on yourself. It isn’t odd to feel tired of being out with people all the time. Instead, it simply a sign that you have stretched yourself too thin and need to find your center again. Take a quiet weekend off and spend it doing whatever you love–by yourself and for yourself.

4. Treating yourself to a day at the spa.

A spa day isn’t just a luxury. It is also a good way to practice self-care after a rather tiring run from everyday life. Going to the spa can offer precious mindfulness time because everything about the experience is designed to help you relax–from the music, the lighting, even the smell of the environment. You don’t need to exactly go to an expensive spa center just to experience this, however. With a little bit of creativity, you can recreate a relaxing spa experience at home, too. Just light some scented candles and put a few drops of aromatherapy oil on your tub and you’ve got yourself covered.

5. Owning your flaws and finding beauty on them.

This can be hard, especially in a time where we are always bombarded by things that set a beauty standard for us. It is hard to feel confident when you always see unrealistic perfection glorified, but there is also a bigger movement in society now that puts the spotlight on beauty that comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Finding self-confidence is not always about loving your good aspects, it’s also about the opposite–which is loving your flaws! So you got some stretch marks? That means your body has adjusted to your growth. You don’t like your love handles? They only make you an even more perfect snuggle partner. The next time you don’t feel confident about yourself, look in the mirror, look yourself in the eye and say what you deserve to hear: “I’m me, and I’m beautiful.”

Practicing self-love doesn’t come easy. Like a lot of things, it takes hard work and time, but the effort will surely pay off if you invest in it. Practicing it can make you realize things about yourself that you may have never noticed before, and in turn, can help you in loving yourself more. And when you really, truly, love yourself, it doesn’t matter if other people don’t. So own it like you mean it. It’s what you deserve.

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