“The Pyramid of Self-Worth”: Step 3–Practice Self-Love (& video)

"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.comIt sounds simple, yet so many of us get stuck on this one. Some think, “I love myself,” then, hesitantly wonder, “Don’t I?” Others believe, “I don’t love myself enough” or “I’m not even sure how.” (If you missed parts 1-3 of this series on How to Feel Self Worth, catch up here.)

Self-love is at the core of feeling self-worth, so it’s imperative we each learn to love ourselves more completely. It would be easy for me to therefore say, “Go love yourself,” and leave it at that. But I know from experience that for many of us, knowing how to “love yourself” can feel downright tricky.

 

What Self-Love is NOT

Before we can practice self-love, we must understand what self-love means. First, let’s get clear on what self-love is NOT:

Self-love is NOT…"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Selfishness. It’s not selfish to love yourself. In fact, selfishness involves very little self-love.
  • Narcissism. Self-love is not narcissistic either. Narcissists don’t actually know how to love themselves—or others, really.
  • The opposite of other-love. Nope. Self-love is an important part of loving others. You will never fully love others until you learn to love yourself. You cannot give what you do not already possess.

 

What Self-Love IS, & How to Practice Self-Love

Then what IS self-love? The way I see it, self-love has four important elements, and when we’re able to focus on and practice each of these, we begin to experience true self-love and feel our true self-worth.

Watch this 3-Minute Therapy video on my YouTube channel on “Feeling Self-Worth: Step 3, Self-Love.” Then, continue reading, below.

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Self-love IS…

 

  • Self-Compassion (developing loving thoughts and feelings about yourself). I love the concept of self-compassion. It takes into account all of who we are—our good and not so good—and allows us to apply a loving hand when we most need it. As self-compassion researcher and author, Kristen Neff, writes, “Compassion, then, involves the recognition and clear seeing of suffering. It also involves feelings of kindness for people who are suffering, so that the desire to help—to ameliorate suffering—emerges. Finally, compassion involves recognizing our shared human condition, flawed and fragile as it is…Self-compassion, by definition, involves the same qualities.”[i] When we exhibit self-compassion, we choose to think and feel kindly toward ourselves, despite our suffering and mistakes. It allows us to see we’re just like everyone else—perfectly flawed—and it allows us to touch our flawed nature with self-love. Self-compassion stems from our thoughts—we choose to think with kindness and compassion about ourselves. (More on this, read “Perfect?” or “Fake”: 8 Myths about Perfectionism & 8 Truths to Cure It)

 

  • Self-Kindness (doing nice things for yourself). Beyond taking care of yourself and practicing self-compassion, it’s also important to do nice things for yourself. For some, this may mean giving yourself a break by getting someone to watch your kids for you, or letting yourself go for a hike with friends instead of cleaning the house. It may mean getting a massage for a sore back, savoring a tasty treat, watching your favorite TV show, or finally booking that long-overdue vacation. It may be as simple as telling yourself you look terrific when you look in the mirror, smiling and shaking it off when you make a mistake, or reminding yourself, “I am a good person.” A good question to ask is, “What would I do to show kindness to someone else?” Then, do that for yourself. (For more on this, read Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly)

 "The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Letting others love you. Let down your walls and let the love in. Letting love in not only builds strong, healthy relationships that reinforce your self-love, it creates a stronger healthier YOU. Let others do kind things for you to show you their love. These small acts of kindness and love can make a big impact if you will let them into your heart. Practice receiving a compliment with a simple, “Thank you.” When others ask if they can help or serve you, say, “Yes, that would be wonderful.” Even returning a smile from a stranger can help the walls come down and the love begin to enter our hearts. And listen: if you think no one loves you, you’re wrong. Look around you. Seek to open up a little bit more each day and let the kindness of others plant the seeds of love in your heart. It’s one of the kindest things you can do for yourself. (For more on this, read 10 Ways to Let Love In & 5 Things I Know For Sure About Love)

 

 

Build Your Sense of Self-Worth:

Self-Love Tools

1)    Practice Self-Care, as described above and here.

2)    Practice Self-Compassion: Listen to what you say to yourself throughout each day. Are you compassionate when things go wrong? What would the compassionate response be, instead? Work to replace negative or hurtful thoughts with your new compassionate alternatives.

3)    Practice Self-Kindness: Each day, do one kind thing for yourself. It might be a nap, or time out with your friends, or it might be a massage, or a little extra sleep. It might, and should, often include choosing to believe the compassionate thoughts and feelings you’re attempting to create.

4)    Read, “Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly,” for more ideas.

Join me next week for the final part of this 5-part series on How to Feel Self-Worth. SUBSCRIBE, below, so you won’t miss a thing!

(Part 1) How to Feel Self-Worth: The Pyramid of Self-Worth

(Part 2) “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”: Step 1, Self-Awareness

(Part 3) “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”: Step 2, Self-Acceptance

How do you practice self-love? What gets in your way? Share your thoughts on this important topic by leaving a comment, below!

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"The Pyramid of Self-Worth": Step 3--Practice Self-Love (& video); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

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About Dr. Christina Hibbert

Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. She really hopes you’ll join the Personal Growth Group and choose to grow together!

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