A little self-love daily is a good thing—not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter. Real, actual, love, as in being able to hang out with yourself for one-hour a day.
No shame in a table for one, says Jill P. Weber, a psychologist in Washington, D.C. and author of Building Self-Esteem 5 Steps: How to Feel “Good Enough” who tells Psychology Today that you shouldn’t be looking for acceptance or getting your self-esteem from your relationships, you should be getting it from yourself.
She explains that it takes daily work to understand and love yourself, and not get your validation form outside sources.
“Instead of settling for a few crumbs when it comes to love, hit the pause button and take a big step back,” Jill says. “Through self-love and self-compassion, you can give yourself that which you never received.”
She says the more you do the following steps, the more you will find an outside love that matches the one you have built for yourself.
1. Spend time alone each day
“If you never felt adequately loved then being alone can be a terrifying experience. This lack means you were never taught how to be kind and friendly with yourself, so you avoid yourself at all costs. This pattern of avoiding you, however, just perpetuates a low self-esteem spiral. Once and for all, commit to at least one hour a day when you are by yourself. Spend this time, writing in a journal, meditating, or finding ways to be with yourself that are peaceful and comfortable. If you don’t take the time, you never give yourself the opportunity to figure out what you need to feel safe and secure standing alone.”
2. Talk to yourself compassionately
“Today, even at this very moment, pause from time to time to pay attention to what your internal narrative is telling you about you and your life. We all have a little voice in our heads that comments, judges and draws conclusions about our lives and about ourselves. Start noticing yours. Work to make it less harsh, less judgmental, and kinder in tone and words so that you can start connecting to yourself in a warm and loving manner.”
3. Develop a hobby or interest that’s all yours
“Another extremely effective way to build self-esteem is to do something that doesn’t involve your friends or family but that gives you a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. If you have struggled with low self esteem, it may be hard at first to allow yourself to come up with what you want to do because you think you won’t be good enough. This isn’t about being good it’s about doing good. Perhaps your interested in volunteering to help others or in developing your own individualized exercise or physical fitness goals. Perhaps you take on a small part-time job. Anything that helps you connect with the intrinsic rewards of feeling competent and effective will make a difference. But remember: it’s not about being perfect, it’s about doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.”
4. Force yourself to make your own decisions
“When you struggle with low self worth, you come to feel as if you don’t know what’s best for you. Feeling at a loss, you use others to guide and steer your course. Others in your life may manipulate you or take advantage of you in this way. Instead, become your own compass. When you can’t decide on what to do or not to do, sit with the angst. Allow yourself the space to plot your own course. Even if you make the wrong decision or make a mistake, it’s still a success because it was your decision and you were working for your own best interest.”
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