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Newsflash: Self-love is not a destination. 5 actionable tips from a beloved voice in the empowerment game.

3-3-2021 | MIND
Two women walking with arms around each other. heroimage

BY Candace Reels | 2 MINUTE READ

When we think about self-love, we often think of treating or caring for ourselves through acts that have a beginning and an end. But—and this is key—self-love is not a destination, it’s an everyday practice. We don’t wake up one day fully loving ourselves without putting in the daily work of acknowledging our individual value. Everyday challenges, triggered trauma and society’s judgment can derail self-love, so it’s important to have simple tools to help get us back on the path.

#1: Create an affirmations list and read them aloud every day when you wake up
Some of my favorites are, “I am worthy of love,” “I am proud of myself,” “I love myself fully” and “today I will give myself the care and attention I deserve.” Reciting your affirmations will change the course of your day and are powerful ways to improve your mindset. Positive statements encourage, inspire and motivate us and have been shown to increase our feeling of self-worth, as several studies have shown (including this one by Murad founder and board-certified MD Dr. Howard Murad). To make them part of your daily ritual, post them in your space, write them on your bathroom mirror, or create a note in your phone. Since I often check my phone first thing in the morning, I make new phone backgrounds every month with my affirmation to ensure it’s the first thing I see every day.

#2: Surround yourself with women who support and love you.
This is critical! It might be called self-love, but when you’re on this journey with other women, it creates a community-love that will carry you through those moments when life is too much to deal with alone. When we feel safe to reach out and ask for help from our community, and rely on them to talk to, learn from and challenge us, that’s when we begin to deepen our self-love practice.

#3: Allow yourself to make mistakes.
We all do it. Nobody’s perfect, no matter how hard we strive for perfection. And this advice is coming from a perfectionist, who struggles with this daily. I’ve learned that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow on this crazy journey called life.

#4: Allow yourself to feel all the feels.
We’re complex beings capable of feeling pain, grief and joy all at the same time, so we need to allow ourselves that. By acknowledging all of our emotions, we begin to understand ourselves. We need to know ourselves fully to love ourselves fully.

#5: Be gentle with yourself.
Celebrate big and small moments, accomplishments and everyday tasks. Far too often our self-talk is something we would never say to our loved ones, so why are we saying such horrible things to ourselves?! We need to be our own best friend. Show yourself the same compassion, patience, love and gratitude that you show your loved ones. Taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish—it’s absolutely necessary.

About the author: Candace Reels is an intersectional feminist, self-love advocate and fierce champion for women’s empowerment. Her community platform, Female Collective, uplifts and celebrates the feminine spirit, with nearly 1 million followers on Instagram.