Self-love is extremely important.
It’s the foundation of how we live our lives and how we treath both ourselves and the people around us.
Without self-love, life can become extremely challenging, filled with food/substance abuse, low self-esteem and bad decisions.
If you feel like you should do better in the self-love department, you’ve come to the right place!
Because we have created a list with 50 ways to practice self love and increase confidence.
So without further ado, let’s jump in!
1. Don’t listen to everything the mind says
This one might be one of the most important ones to take note of. A research paper written by Steve Bradt from Harvard, concluded that our minds are lost in thought almost 47% of the time.
47 PERCENT. That’s almost half of our lives. And this constant mind wandering is a direct cause of unhappiness.
This has to do with the brilliance of the human mind. The human mind has a vivid sense of imagination and a fantastic memory. Although these 2 faculties are incredible, they can cause the mind to turn into a dark place filled with harmful fake scenario’s, unreasonable self criticism and other unpleasantness.
That’s why you should try to be more mindful and objective, and create a bit of distance between yourself and the wandering mind.
2. Forgive yourself
You have to learn to forgive yourself for things that happened in the past. Learn to let go of the things that make you feel bad, embarrassed and ashamed.
As the spiritual teacher Sadhguru said: “What is past cannot be fixed. What is now can only be experienced. What is next can be created.
Focus your energy on the future, which is full of possibilities, instead of on the past which only exists in your head.
3. Be mindful
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us (source).
It is the key to a happier life. In order to be mindful, you’ll have to take the spiritual journey inwards and find out who you really are.
When you’re in touch with the real you, you’ll be able to make a clear distinction between yourself and your body, your mind, your energy and the external world.
When you’ve reached this point, things in the outside world won’t bother you anymore and you’ll be liberated from mental drama.
You’ll be able to look at things objectively, and see that we’re all just living on a big blue rock spinning on its axles in the middle of nowhere.
And the beauty of it is: you have the ability to create wonderful things in this life, as long as you’re willing, you’re in control!
4. Eat healthy
Some people don’t realize that your nutrition has a massive impact on both the physical and mental aspects of the body.
In yogic culture, the physical body is referred to as “Annamaya kosha” which literally means “sheath consisting of food”.
If you look at it objectively, your body is literally a collection of food. It takes the nutrients out of the food you put in your mouth and transforms it into a part of your physical body.
So, if you want your body and mind to feel good, it’s really important that you eat the right food!
5. Be kind to yourself
Self-compassion is something you can learn. For many of us, it is not something we naturally do. In our society we learn that self-criticism is the way to achieve results. But in the longer term, we will only undermine ourselves with that. Therefore, you can use these tips to be more self-compassionate and less critical of yourself:
- Consider how you would treat someone else in an equal situation. If a friend came to you after failing or being rejected, what would you say to him or her?
- Watch your language. You are probably so used to criticizing yourself that you don’t even notice it anymore. So pay attention to what words you use to speak to yourself.
- Practice guided meditation. Meditation helps to train our minds. In this way, self-compassion can become a natural response in difficult situations.
6. Don’t focus too much on beauty
Being beautiful is not important, FEELING beautiful is! If you’re satisfied with who you are as a person, then it’s easier to let go of frivolous things as appearance. And I know what you’re thinking right now, how can I say that appearance is frivolous, when everyone seems to attribute so much value to it.
Well… if you bring more awareness and mindfulness into your life, you’ll realize that the only thing that really matters, is you’re internal well-being. And your appearance doesn’t really contribute all that much. Just look at all the people that fit the “beauty” standards, and who experience anxiety because they always feel they have to live up to certain expectations.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can really help a lot. It can help you stop over-identifying with the frivolous things in life, and put you in touch with the real you.
7. Stop comparing yourself with others
As social creatures, we constantly compare ourselves to others around us. We do it to define ourselves. Sometimes this provides motivation and extra energy, but it can also trigger negative emotions that hold us down.
But, you must realize that when you’re comparing yourself with others, you’re basically comparing apples with oranges. Everyone is intrinsically different and has their own unique journey through life.
Therefore, you should take the correct comparison material by shifting the focus inwards. Compare yourself to yourself! Look at how you are now and compare that with, say, a year or ten or twenty years ago. What steps have you taken towards your dreams, how have you grown, what obstacles have you overcome, what special insights have you had?
8. Don’t worry about others’ opinion
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone. You’d have to bend over backwards and constantly need to take on new personalities in order to even attempt it. That would be exhausting. There is only one person you will be stuck with for the rest of your life anyway (Right: you!). Therefore, you better make sure that what you do is in your own best interest.
9. Put yourself first
Self-love 101. Don’t feel bad about putting yourself first. Sometimes, we get so accustomed to putting others first, that we forget about ourselves. Although it’s a good characteristic to try and help others as much as you can, putting others first at your own expense should not become a habit.
Find the time to focus on you. Whether it’s through meditation, taking a walk outside or just chilling on the couch and watching TV, find some time to recharge and decompress.
10. Look at the beauty of the simple things in life
Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses. It’s easy to get lost in the hectic pace of everyday life, therefore you have to remind yourself to appreciate the little things in life.
Try to notice at least one beautiful, small thing in your environment on a daily basis. Be thankful you got to experience it. Being thankful for the little things is key in finding happiness.
11. Allow yourself to make mistakes
Allowing yourself to make mistakes gives you a sense of peace and freedom. You are not perfect (nor do you have to be). You always try your best, and if it doesn’t work out the way you hoped, you’ll have learned a valuable lesson.
It can be motivating to set high standards for yourself, but the fear of failure can have the opposite effect. If you don’t dare to make mistakes, you will become paralyzed and you will achieve next to nothing.
So, remember this: To be successful you have to make mistakes! Mistakes are nothing more than results. These results may be undesirable, but they are just as valuable as the results that you define as desirable.
12. Let go of toxic people
There will always be people in the world who aren’t fully aware of the energy they put out in the world, or aren’t willing to take responsibility for it. If you have someone in your life who:
- Creates and are surrounds themselves by interpersonal problems
- Tries to manipulate and control you
- Is always angry or cynical
- Is needy and constantly demands your attention.
- Is extremely critical of themselves and other people
- Is unwilling to seek help or change
Then it might be time to distance yourself from them. And don’t you dare feel guilty for doing this. It’s not wrong to protect your energy! Don’t let yourself be drained by toxic people.
13. Process your fears
Don’t get me wrong, fear isn’t always bad. Fear can actually be seen as a tool that helps us protect ourselves. It alerts us of possible dangers and prepares us to deal with them. So, fear in itself is very natural and helpful (well…in some situations). The thing is, most of us feel fear and anxiety when there is no immediate cause for it. It’s not like you have to fear being attacked by a lion when you’re sitting at your desk in the office. But you still feel it right?
That’s because our imagination tends to run wild. You might not be aware of it, but our minds are capable of creating a (seemingly) alternate universe filled with all kinds of fake scenarios that will probably never even happen. If you recognize yourself in this, it’s time to process your fears and let go.
14. Trust yourself to make the right decisions
You have to realize that if you think you aren’t qualified to make a good decision, you’re going to be afraid to make any decision.
This ties in the “allow yourself to make mistakes” section. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As I said, this type of fear is just your imagination running wild.
Have a little faith in yourself. And if things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped, you’ll have learned a valuable lesson. It’s all part of the game.
15. Take every opportunity life presents or create your own
When a new opportunity presents itself in your life that could make you happy, don’t overthink it, just take it!
Even when the timing or “the alignment of the stars” isn’t ideal, go for it. Don’t hold yourself back from reaching your goals.
And when it seems like life isn’t handing you any life-changing opportunities on a silver platter, go create them yourself!
You have more influence on the world and your own happiness than you might think.
16. Use positive affirmations
Affirmations are positive thoughts. By repeating these positive thoughts, they become part of your system, of your subconscious mind and your beliefs. The positive affirmations will settle themselves in the forefront of your mind. Your thoughts shape your reality. The power of well-chosen words can therefore have a particularly pleasant and powerful effect. Some examples:
- I accept myself as I am
- I am good, unique and special
- I appreciate myself
- I am strong
- I am proud of who I am
17. Surround yourself with loving people
Self-aware, loving, positive people can bring out the best in you. When you feel competent, happy and loved, it’s easier to be compassionate and loving to others (and vice versa).
With people that are loving and who are able to fulfill their own needs, there is room to give you what you need. In turn, this can help you support others with their needs.
The more people live from their hearts (and open their hearts for others); the better it is to be in touch with them.
18. Celebrate your wins
We all want to be successful in achieving our goals. And in that growth process it’s important to celebrate small wins. Reward yourself for the hard work! This is an excellent way to stay motivated.
19. Step out of your comfort zone
I know it can feel nice when everything is predictable. When everything runs smoothly, and you don’t have to have any fears. You can arrange your life in such a way that it is totally comfortable. Not too many novelties, nothing you find scary, and no unexpected challenges.
But you know… such a life can be pretty boring. You might start to feel empty inside. Before you know it you are stuck in a rut, and you turn into a kind of zombie: You’re alive but not really. In addition, whenever something does change, you’re more easily disturbed by it.
As spiritual teacher Sadhguru said: “The more security you seek, the more disturbed you will be about every change that happens in your life”
By expanding your comfort zone you start to feel alive again. Your mood improves and you feel fantastic! You are confronted with your fears and insecurities which enables you to grow. Your self-confidence grows, your self-image improves and your life simply gets a lot more interesting!
So stop being afraid of change and do some things that’ll catapult you out of your comfort zone.
20. Go out and have fun
Don’t take yourself or life too serious. Look at it this way: You are a consciousness that has been dropped in an organic robot meat bag, and you’ve been gifted a beautiful world to explore, in which almost anything is possible.
You have the power to develop your organic robot meat bag (physically and mentally) and create wonderful opportunities for yourself and the people around you.
Just go out there and have as much fun as you possibly can!
21. Embrace silence
Spend some time each day in complete silence, without any distractions from your phone, television or people around you. Think of all the positive things happening in your life and what you can do to make it even better. Be grateful for everything you got to (or will) experience today.
Silence has numerous benefits including health benefits, increased self-knowledge, enhanced creativity, better relationships, reflection, wisdom and mindfulness (source).
So try to incorporate some silence into your daily life!
22. Start writing
Keeping a journal with your thoughts can have numerous benefits:
- Things written down form a record of everything you are involved in
- Writing things down creates more space in your head
- You stay motivated when you write things down
- Writing things down stimulates daily progress
- Writing things down helps you to recognize and process your emotions more efficiently
- When you write things down, you clarify your goals, priorities and intentions
- Crossing things of your list feels really good
So write down your thoughts, no matter how crazy they are!
23. Learn to say no
Don’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of because of your good heart. Sometimes you just have to learn to say no.
This won’t make you a bad person, just someone who knows it’s okay to look out for themselves.
As I said it’s impossible to please everyone, so if saying “yes” comes at a cost you’re not willing to pay (or it’s simply very inconvenient), just say “no”.
24. Find your happy place
Find your happy place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a physical place or a mental place. Try to find that place where you’re completely at ease and can feel the positive energies in your body.
Go to that happy place whenever things start to get though or when you simply need some time for yourself.
25. Make a list of your best qualities and accomplishments
It’s well known that your body works at its best when you’re happy. So try to make a list of your best qualities and accomplishments when you’re happy.
This list can help you shift your mind from negative to positive whenever you’re going through a hard time.
26. Embrace the things that make you different
The things that make you different are the things that make you unique. It would be quite boring if everyone would be exactly the same, right? That’s why you should embrace and love the things that make you different.
When that voice inside your head tells you that you should look or act more like others, remind yourself that you are a unique part of the astonishing creation of life.
That’s why you are beautiful. Don’t let that voice inside your head or anyone else tell you otherwise.
27. Realize that beauty can not be defined
If you observe the human mind, you can see that it tends to categorize everything it sees. “safe”, “danger”, “right”, “wrong”, “beautiful”, ‘’ugly” and so on…
These distinctions are made based on different standards which we develop throughout our life.
This categorization is actually a very useful feature that helps us make sense of the world we live in (e.g. it helps us understand language and solve problems).
However, it can also cause problems… if you let it.
The way in which you perceive your appearance can have a big influence on your self-esteem. And in the current day and age, social media has a major influence on the way we develop standards for beauty.
Due to the nature of our minds (categorizing and comparing) it’s therefore easy to label yourself as ugly or not beautiful. However, you have to realize that something as subjective as beauty can’t be defined (although our minds really want to).
You see, things like “safety” and “danger” are easy to distinguish as they rely on objective standards such as “threat to life” to categorize it. However, beauty depends on so many different (subjective) factors that are influenced by things such as culture, country, religion etc.
That’s why beauty can’t be defined.
When social media tells you that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful, it’s actually just a group of people’s perception of beauty. Don’t let yourself be influenced by it too much!
And if that voice inside your head tells you that you’re not beautiful, remember that it’s just your mind trying to categorize something that isn’t objectively categorizable.
28. Follow your passion
You know what they say, “life is too short to live with regrets”. When you have a strong passion for something, follow it! You know… that thing you really want to do but have convinced yourself it won’t work. Just do it!
Go to that job interview. Start that new business. When you do something you really care for, life will start to feel like a gift instead of something you’re forced to live through.
As the spiritual teacher Sadhguru said: “If your work is about creating something that you truly care for, there is no need to balance work and life – life is work and work is life.”
29. Be patient but peristent
Don’t underestimate the power of small steps! Work towards your goals one step at the time.
Change might not happen overnight, but as long as you stay persistent, you’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll be able to organize your life the way you want it.
30. Treat others with love and respect
It’s scientifically proven that negative emotions such as anger and hate have a negative impact on the body (source).
On the other hand, feelings of love and adoration have a very positive influence on the body (source).
That’s why it’s always better to treat people around you with love and respect, even if they don’t return the favor.
Like the spiritual teacher Sadhguru said: “Anger is like a poison, you drink it and expect others to die”
Try to let go of anger and hate when it arises in the body, it will only have a negative impact on yourself.
Instead, treat people with love and respect. If not for them, for your own health!
31. Find something to be thankful for every day
Gratitude is one of the things that can change the way you experience life. If you’d be more grateful for the things you do have instead of worrying about the things you don’t, you’d be a lot happier.
That’s why it’s recommended to find at least 1 thing to be thankful for every day! This helps you shift your mind and energy towards the positive.
32. Get creative and express yourself
When we put our mental process into a physical form, we feel more in control of our thoughts and feelings, and we understand them more clearly.
Having a creative outlet where we can express ourselves means we can better manage those thoughts and feelings (source).
So, try picking up a new hobby like painting, making music or writing… it can help you express your thoughts and emotions.
33. Reach out to friends and family during difficult times
It’s okay to ask for help. You’re not expected to go through hard times alone. Allow yourself to be helped by people who love you and who want what’s best for you.
As I said, there is a massive and beautiful world out there for you to explore. So go out there!
Whether it’s a holiday, or working/ studying abroad, go see as much of the beautiful creations of life and let your life become filled with unforgettable experiences.
35. Give yourself a break
Ofcourse it’s a good thing to learn and grow as much as you can in life. But don’t overdo it! Give yourself a break every now and then, and just relax.
Whether it’s just chilling on the couch watching your favourite TV show whith some snacks and drinks, or taking a nap. Give yourself some time to catch your breath.
36. Make a vision board
A vision board helps you to exercise the brilliant imagination capabilities of the mind on a regular basis, which can create a more vivid perception of your ideal life as you work towards getting there. Some of the benefits of creating a vision board are:
- You’ll start to believe in your dreams
- Clarifies your goals and desires
- You can be creative and express yourself
- You can build and grow
37. Stand up for yourself
Just like anything in life, this is something you have to learn. By being more assertive, you show others that your opinions and needs matter.
And loving yourself means you know your value and can communicate it to others.
38. Pursue new intersts
The world is full of interesting things to do and see. Don’t you dare let yourself get bored!
Pick up a new hobby, try new things, experiment! You’ll be amazed by how much excitement trying new things can bring.
39. Get enough sleep
This might be obvious, but sleep is important because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day.
So, make sure you get enough sleep to stay healthy and more capable of handling things that are thrown your way.
Don’t listen to people that say you need X amount of sleep, just listen to your own body and see what works for you.
40. Challenge yourself
Leave that “I’m not good/smart enough for that” attitude at the door.
You’re human (I think…), and we as humans possess the most advanced piece of technology on the planet.
We are capable of extraordinary things, and you are no exception. You can do way more than you think.
So, challenge yourself to do great things that’ll bring joy to you and those around you!
41. Know and use your strenghts
We all have amazing gifts. As I said, as humans we possess the most sophisticated piece of technology on earth, but many of us fail to notice this gift.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by the mind when it says your nothing special.
Every single one of us has great potential, you only need to be willing to find it. So, find out your strentghs, keep developing them, and use them for good!
42. Accept that some people won’t like you
Yes, it’s bound to happen. As I said before, it’s impossible to please everyone, so stop trying to be liked by everyone.
Every person that’s walking the face of this earth has their own unique path with their own unique experiences.
These experiences will influence their personality, the way they view the world, and the values they uphold.
With so many different people and so many different experiences, it’s impossible to meet everyone’s “standards”. And that’s okay! Accept and respect it.
We need different people with different views in the world in order to live in a society like this one.
If everyone liked the same stuff, we wouldn’t be able to have such a versatile world as we have now!
43. Make room for healthy habits
When your body feels good, you feel good. So make sure to invest some time in healthy habits.
Whether it’s running, going to the gym, doing yoga…
Whatever appeals to you the most, try to invest some time each week to live a healthier and happier life.
44. Don’t demand too much of yourself with physical exercise
Don’t demand too much from yourself. You don’t have to start exercising for 1.5 hours. For example, if you only have half an hour, that’s fine too. Remember that anything is better than nothing.
And try to go with a sport / exercise activity that you enjoy! If you don’t know what this is, you can try different things. You can often do trial lessons or try things out at a discount.
45. Don’t be too strict when it comes to food
Don’t deprive yourself of certain foods.
For example, just eat that one piece of chocolate. That’s called being kind to your body. Eating the whole bar… that’s not being kind to your body.
This also applies to other products.
Whenever you’ve eaten too much, don’t sweat it. Accept it and just go back to your normal, healthy pattern. By compensating you create a love-hate relationship with food (and yourself).
Just try to maintain a good balance and use your common sense. And don’t listen to those voices in your head that are too strict (or those voices that have a “f * ck it” mentality).
46. Have a morning routine
Just the thought of mornings is enough to make some people want to cry. If you’re one of those people, having a mourning routine can be a great help. Some of the benefits of having a mourning routine are:
- It helps you prepare yourself for the rest of the day
- I can increase productivity
- You feel more in control
- It can lower stress levels
- It can help you develop healthy habits
- It can boost your energy levels
Give it a try! You can learn about starting a mourning routine here.
47. Take baby steps to create the life you long for
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to create wonderful things, and that’s okay. Just take baby steps to create the life you long for and enjoy the ride.
Take daily actions and show to universe that you’re worthy of living the life you desire.
48. Stay calm when things get tough
This one is really hard. It takes a lot of time to be able to stay calm when shit hits the fan. But having full control over yourself, even when things turn dark, is key to living a joyful life.
There are many different ways in which you can train yourself to stay calm in these situations.
49. Take time out to calm your mind everyday
This one is very important. People are so focused on the physical part of the body that they forget that the mental part is just as important. As I said, it’s easy to get lost in the mind as we go through life.
That’s why it’s important to spend some time calming our minds as this can help us be more aware and in the moment.
Meditation and Yoga are powerful tools that can help you with this.
50. Let go of past trauma
Sometimes, life throws things at us that feel impossible to let go of. However, it’s just one of those things you have to learn. Although it can be extremely difficult, and might require outside assistance, letting go of past trauma is key to a happier life.
As I said before, things in the past can not be changed, so stop wasting time and energy on it. Whenever you feel the disturbance of stored past trauma come up in the body, relax your whole body and empty your mind. Do this as long and as often as it takes, and over time you’ll see that the pain will start to fade.
Ofcourse you don’t have to try every tip on this list, just see which ones work best for you.
Regardless, I respect you for trying to improve yourself and hope you will find what you’re looking for!
Let me know which ones you’re going to try/ which ones have worked for you in the comments below!