Self-love: 6 Kind Habits (w/o being a narcissist)
Self-love is a curious concept. Some people embrace it, some people struggle with it. Myself? For a long time, I swept the idea under a mental rug because I thought that I was being egotistic, conceited or worse, a narcissistic person if I "loved" myself. However, along the journey of expanding my knowledge in this field upcoming to writing this blog post, I learned of how different the two concepts are, and that you cannot express both self-love and narcissism at the same time (more on this later).
Self-love can be perceived as the unconditional acceptance and appreciation for yourself. Let's keep this in mind whilst we explore some habits in different areas of daily living that we can practise to make self-love flow to us easier.
In this post I've come up with a way to build self-love holistically, via both internal and external habits. 3 habits affect you directly and internally, and 3 habits are practised externally (meaning they involve others in our surroundings as well).
Let's get started with 3 internal habits!
1. Take control of your social media feed
A few months ago I realised I felt a lot happier when I refined my following list on Instagram to only the accounts that brought joy to my life. But how do you know who to unfollow?! These are the steps I took:
- STEPS: Go to a person's profile. Whilst on their profile, close your eyes and think of the vibes you are feeling. Are they uplifting? Or are they negative feelings of jealousy, unworthiness, and self-doubt? If it’s any of the latter, UNFOLLOW gal! I have unfollowed a whole lot of fitness accounts unless they blossomed in my mind as being truly motivating. True motivation to me is not when I hear myself saying "Ugh I hate myself, I wish I had her body", rather, it is when I say “Wow, that is so inspiring, I’m going to get outside and workout!”
2. Stop negative self-talk
Monitor your thoughts for today, or better yet, the next 7 days. Stop yourself every time your inner voice starts talking about you in a bad way. When I first tried this, it happened more than I thought, and I learned to release those negative thoughts quickly and replace them with positive ones!
3. Accept compliments, rather than deflecting them*
When you deflect compliments, you’re saying to yourself that you aren’t worthy of the compliment. (*Of course, if you truly feel you didn’t do the work to receive it then that’s a different story.) I used to think I wasn't being humble and that I was being overly confident if I was to accept praise. But there’s a balance! If you take it, and use it as momentum to do great things, that’s totally different to letting the compliment get to your head making you feel self-entitled to all praise. Find that balance within yourself.
The next 3 habits are external and are based on our actions. We can practise self-love internally, but if we don't reflect this in our actions and end up treating others poorly, how can we truly love ourselves? (See what I'm getting at?) Since narcissism is a good example of what we should not do, I'm going to use it as the comparison.
What is the difference between self-love and narcissism?
Narcissism is not being able to see other people’s point of view and having a feeling of self-entitlement.
Narcissism is an intriguing topic to expose and talk about. I have had friendships end because of it, which I afterward realised was definitely for the better, and ugly fights which have held narcissism in the forefront. These days, studies are showing that narcissism is on the rise. And this makes complete sense; let me tell you why. In the large cities that we live in today, there is a sense of anonymity which allows for people to get away with more wrongdoings than back in the old days when people lived in small towns. There are no longer those reputational consequences which result from everyone in that town that previously followed a social misbehave.
Narcissists develop their self-worth from a need of constant external validation from others. This is simply because they do not have their own sense of worthiness, meaning they LACK true self-love and are insecure about themselves. They use status symbols such as their appearance and social ranking to measure their self-worth. This differs because people who genuinely embody self-love are capable of loving and caring for others. (Whereas narcissists do not.) These people are soulfully aligned with their internal values which are reflected in their actions, which comes around full circle to feed back into their self-respect and love for themselves.
So this whole narcissism thing sounds yuck, right? So how do we holistically practise self-love, whilst steering clear of narcissism?
- 4. Ensure you ask questions about other people and avoid only talking about yourself.
- 5. Practise empathy and understanding others' points of view.
- 6. Think before blaming others
- Reflect on your own actions first on whether they contributed to the situation before jumping to shift the blame.
- Extra tip: define your values and stick to them.
- For example, one value that I always stick by is treating everyone equal. No matter who they are or how they have treated me, I always give the benefit of the doubt and treat them with the same level of respect as anyone else.
Wooh! So that got deep in the end, which is why this post came up later than usual! When I first thought of writing this post, I didn't think we'd get into this much of a DnM (haha). But the take home letter is that by engaging in both the top 3 internal habits and the bottom 3 external habits, you can holistically build upon real love and acceptance for yourself.
If you enjoyed this post, then please share it with someone who you feel needs a little extra self-lovin'.
Have an amazing day.