As a society, we often talk about self-love in terms of treating ourselves, bathing with bath bombs, putting on face masks, and drinking wine. But self-love is so much more than that.

It’s about taking care of yourself in every aspect of life in order to protect your peace, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

After having a rough week, where I ended a friendship, neglected my mental and physical health, and realized I wasn’t doing my best at work and school,  I began thinking about what self-love means to me and how I can maintain it for myself.

I hope that what I’ve come up with will serve as a reminder to both you and myself how we can love ourselves a little more everyday. 

1. Understand Your Worth

This week, losing a long-time friend reminded me the importance evaluating who you are surrounding yourself with. Sometimes we can become so caught up in being a people pleaser, that we end up putting our needs on the back burner to satisfy others.

However, this only leads to repeated patterns, getting taken advantage of, and risks your own comfortability.

So, in order to love yourself better and protect your peace, set boundaries, learn to say no, be vocal about your needs, remove anyone or anything that drains you of your energy, and for the sake of sanity, choose yourself first

This goes for friendships, relationships, jobs, and even communities.

Your time is valuable, and you only get one life; spend it with people who understand your worth.

For more advice on this topic, check out Love, Life, and Toxic Relationships: 5 Things I Wish I Knew at 18

2. Take Care of Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

Living in a hustle-addicted society, it can be so easy to believe that we have to neglect our needs for the sake of success.

I am 100% guilty of this, and can admit to being so busy lately that I’ve literally been forgetting to eat.

But part of loving yourself is choosing yourself first, and ignoring your mental, physical, and emotional health just leaves you drained and exhausted. When your body doesn’t function right, neither do you, which only ends up hurting yourself in the end.

So, practice wellness, get your full 8 hours, do things for you, and if you can, eat as well, and exercise as often as possible.

If it’s time that you’re worried about, practice time management. Lessen your load and learn to say no when you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

It’s when you feel your best, that you perform your best, and are better prepared to foster the success you’re looking for.

3. Take Risks and Chase Your Dreams 

Something I’ve been all about lately is taking risks and following your dreams; even though fear of failing or what others think has held me back in the past, I’ve to realize that we owe it to ourselves to be all that we can be.

For me that means putting myself out there in order to grow as a person, and not taking no for an answer when it comes to the things I want in life.

So, be disciplined, ambitious, and love yourself enough to not settle for less because you deserve the best that life has to offer. 

For Motivational quotes for following your dreams, check out this post

4. Stop Blaming Your Problems on the World 

Something else I feel like isn’t talked about enough is holding yourself accountable.

We love to point out others’ toxic behaviors, but won’t recognize our own, and we love to complain about the results we aren’t getting, but won’t think about the bad habits that are holding us back. 

I was reminded of that this week when I received a bad grade on an assignment. After searching for an excuse to make as to why I didn’t do well, I had to admit that it was me who didn’t put in the work. 

Don’t be the person who blames your circumstances on everything and everyone else. You have to love yourself enough to be honest with yourself. 

That means addressing your insecurities and how you might project them onto others, being disciplined enough to get in the gym when there’s something you dislike about yourself, and not making excuses when it comes to the tedious tasks that come with accomplishing your goals.

If you want what’s best for you, then be proactive, take control of your life, and be the change that you want to see. 

5. Forgive Yourself

In relation to what I’ve just said, it’s also important that you learn to forgive yourself when you don’t follow through.

While it’s important that you’re always trying your best, remember that that’s all you can be: your best.

So be kind to yourself when you make mistakes. Recognize them, sit in them, and then think about the ways that you can do better tomorrow. After receiving the bad grade on my assignment, I decided I to suck it up and try harder next week. 

Eating one cookie isn’t going to ruin your entire diet, and missing one assignment doesn’t mean you’re going to fail and should drop out of school.

We’re only human, sometimes you have to just take the L and move on.

6. Talk to Yourself How You’d Like to be Talked To

Living in the age of social media, we’ve all, at some point, been victims of the comparison trap.

But even more, just being human beings, we all have insecurities. However, it’s when we inflate our insecurities and allow them to take over that we’re in trouble. For example, I often find myself falling into negative mindsets, especially when I feel like I’m not seeing the results or making the progress that I want. 

So, affirm yourself often; consistently remind yourself of all that you are instead of all that you’re not, and remember all of the beautiful parts of you that make you you.

Use sticky notes, post to your instagram story, do whatever you have to do, But by any means, do not allow yourself to fall into a pattern of self-hate and negative self-talk.

Part of loving yourself is blocking out things and people that make you feel bad about yourself and remembering that just because others are awesome, doesn’t mean that you aren’t.

For more advice on this, check out How to Stop Comparing Yourself

7. Live your Life Unapologetically

Last but not least, just be you! Do the things you enjoy, love yourself for who you are, and don’t feel bad about it.

I’ve spent so much time holding myself back, and had to realize that this is my life. I’m allowed to speak up, follow my dreams, and be exactly who I want to be. 

When I’m conforming to others’ around me, I’m only hurting myself. 

So here’s a friendly reminder that there is nothing wrong with who you are, or who you want to be.

So, enjoy your bath bombs, face masks, and wine, but remember that self-love is also learning yourself, continuing to grow, and choosing yourself first, everytime.

It’s the first step to living your best life.

With love,

Sabria Sparrow