Repeat after me: putting yourself first is not selfish. We’ve been trained (especially women) to think of others first and ourselves last. We’ve been told that beauty treatments are superficial luxuries. I’ll be the first to proudly admit that I treat myself to a spa day every month, and I’m not sorry! This beauty ritual makes me happy and clears my head of built up stresses. I used to feel guilty because I always associated spas with luxury and extravagance. I’ve come to learn that getting a massage and relaxing in a sauna isn’t indulging in anything. It’s how I honor myself and well-being and one way I choose to practice self-love. If you decide to undertake this practice (and you should!) you’ll discover surprising physical and mental benefits that can positively change your life.
Find confidence in beauty
Beauty is a controversial topic because it’s often linked to societal expectations and definitions of how to be beautiful. But beauty isn’t about looking like a celebrity or having perfectly contoured makeup, it’s a state of mind. Therefore, beauty has a unique meaning to each person, and it’s helpful to understand what makes YOU personally feel beautiful. When you are able to give yourself your own style of beauty, you also give yourself happiness and confidence. When practicing self-love, building self-confidence is one of the most important benefits. Maybe some of you have experienced the power of a new gorgeous haircut. When your hair is on point sometimes you feel like you can take on the world! Many beauty treatments have this psychological effect!
Although beauty is of course more than skin deep, when you are happy and comfortable with your appearance, you feel more confident. Have you ever had a day when acne or especially unruly hair made you want to hide out at home? That nagging little worry in the back of your mind about imperfections can be distracting and retract from your happiness. If a cleansing facial or hair smoothing keratin treatment gives you peace of mind and the confidence to tackle your day, then it’s worth it! Giving yourself beauty isn’t superficial, it’s one way of feeling more comfortable in your skin and appreciating yourself.
YOU-time is an investment
Every step you take towards self-love is an investment in your total well-being. Find a healthy activity you love and make time for it every week. For me, yoga classes are my go-to. We all know that yoga is great for the mind and body because it’s calming and increases strength and flexibility, but it has a surprising extra benefit. Yoga allows you to practice setting and achieving goals. Starting is the hardest part so here’s your first goal: learn to do a headstand within the next two months. What does a headstand have to do with self-love? When you achieve a fitness goal it builds confidence and you’ll better appreciate what your body is capable of!
When your mind and body are well taken care of and engaged, you’ll notice you have more focus and drive to achieve other goals. You’ll find that this positive energy affects every aspect of your life, from your work productivity to your personal relationships. Explore ways to spend time with yourself and don’t be ashamed to be self-focused. Try painting, learn a new language, or add some crazy color to your hair! You’ll become more self-aware as you discover new talents and things you enjoy.
Take a moment to pause
Pause. Breath. When was the last time you actually took a conscious pause to stop and think about what you want out of life? When do you feel the most alive? What makes you happy? Have your answer? Okay, do more of that! It sounds obvious, but in reality, we don’t always follow this advice. A moment of self-assessment allows you to prioritize, making time for things that serve you and getting rid of things that don’t. This pause acts as a tool to redirect your focus and put you on your right track.
Once you know your priorities, you’ll also be able to draw your limits. Many of us bend over backwards for others (at our own expense) because we worry what they will think or are too afraid to say no. It’s great to help others, but not if it’s personally draining. Practicing self-love means understanding how much you can mentally handle and politely declining situations that break your limits. Your confidence and assertiveness will be increased as a result. Once you are clear about your priorities and the direction you are heading, your new confidence will allow you to make choices based on your internal compass rather than what you think others want to hear.
Once you are taken care of, it’s easier to help others
Practicing self-love doesn’t mean you only focus on yourself all the time. It means that you accept that you need to first help yourself before you can help others. You can’t possibly expect to be a rock and carry the weight of anyone else if you yourself are not strong and grounded. The more you practice self-love, the more you’ll want to give love. It’s simple, when you are fulfilled, you have more to give. Making time in your schedule to treat yourself to a manicure might sound trivial in the big scheme of things, but it’s the small actions and mindful habits that we practice every day that lead to long-term happiness. It’s called practice for a reason, self-love is a constant and evolving journey, and a fun one at that!