Self Love: Learning to Embrace Inner & Outer Beauty
By Erica Blasso
Self love can be defined as an appreciation for one's own worth or value that grows from actions that support an individual’s physiological, psychological, and spiritual growth. We can often forget that the relationship we have with ourselves should be top priority, because no matter what happens in life, who may enter or leave, we are the one constant.
Practicing as a psychotherapist, it’s common I see clients enter therapy after noticing they lack self love. Individuals may begin their journey in developing self love after spending much of their life attempting to derive self esteem or acceptance through all the wrong avenues. When there’s an emphasis on fitting into societal norms or expectations, for example, we can quickly lose sight of what makes us unique as individuals. Part of developing self love is learning to embrace our uniqueness as strengths. Read along if you want to know how you can start this process today.
View yourself in more neutral terms if self love seems like a stretch
Many people struggle with jumping straight into self love if they have a history of negative self talk or negative self image. If loving yourself feels inauthentic, make the goal of viewing yourself from a more neutral viewpoint instead. So instead of having an expectation that you should love what you look like in the mirror, how about still seeing yourself as worthy of nourishing your body and taking good care of it? Focus on still meeting your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs even if you are having an off day. Showing up for ourselves in these ways, even on days we are least motivated to, helps develop self trust. Self trust is a prerequisite to self love.
Gratitude for our body parts functions in our life
Place less focus on your body’s appearance and bring awareness to the utility of what it does for you everyday, without you even asking it to. To stop fixating on appearance based thoughts, exercise gratitude. For example, if you’ve been self conscious about your thighs, can you appreciate that they helped you walk all over Europe on your last vacation? Exercise gratitude for the fact that your legs allow you to explore beautiful countries when you vacation, or however that body part allows you to live a life that is meaningful to you.
Embrace inner and outer beauty
True confidence first comes from within. We want to limit using external validation as a barometer for how we feel about ourselves because this sort of feedback is fleeting. Relying on things outside of our control sets us up to have an unstable view of ourselves. To develop a more stable view of self, we should take into account who we are at our core. Try connecting with what makes you, you - including your values and personal characteristics.
Develop self compassion through self talk
We can’t talk about self love without talking about self compassion. Self compassion is offering ourselves the same grace and kindness we would a friend. Interrupt any negative self talk with speaking to yourself as a supportive friend would. This means having understanding for yourself rather than being harshly critical when we make mistakes or feel inadequate in some way. Self compassion allows for change and growth, stepping into the best version of ourself.
- Self love is having the appreciation for one's own worth or value that grows from actions that support an individual’s physiological, psychological, and spiritual growth.
- If self love seems inauthentic to you, try viewing yourself in a more neutral way. Instead of loving how you look, start developing self trust by still meeting your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual needs for the day.
- To stop fixating on the appearance of a specific body part, redirect thoughts to gratitude for the functionality of it and how that body part allows you to do meaningful things in life.
- Embrace inner and outer beauty to reach true confidence and a more stable self image.
- Develop more compassionate self talk in order to feel motivated to step into the best version of yourself.
Erica Basso is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT #114828) practicing statewide in California. In her private practice she provides individual psychotherapy for the modern woman who’s struggling with anxiety, perfectionism, and relationship challenges. To learn more about working with her, visit www.ericabassotherapy.com. You can also connect with Erica on Instagram @ericabassotherapy.