I don’t know who needs to hear this, but self-love is a crucial part of good mental health. I’m sharing this topic today because I know there are a lot of people out there who need help practicing self-love; one of them is my dearest friend, who recently asked for my help. I’ve been practicing self-love for 3 years now, and somehow I feel like I’ve mastered it and am already in my villain era. I began my self-love journey when I needed to rebuild myself after leaving a bad relationship in which I was mentally and emotionally abused by my ex. The journey is long, full of ups and downs, with no endpoint. It’s not easy, and it’s not something that just happens over night. It takes work and dedication, but in the end, it is truly worth it.
Here’s how you can start:
Disappear; detach yourself from everything and everyone for at least 6 months.
This does not mean you need to change your name or move to another country and start a new life. No. (Well, if you can afford it, why not? I would do the same). What you really need to do is disappear from social media—deactivate your Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. Detach yourself from any emotional attachment; have no tendency to cling to people or have special feelings towards anyone. Essentially, you begin to be alone. You need no distraction. You can’t fully focus on yourself when something else distracts your mind.
What I did: I deactivated my Instagram account for almost a year during 2020–2021. I still do it every 2-3 months now when I catch myself spending too much time on it. It’s not a big deal for me because I can literally live without social media. I haven’t used Facebook for more than 6 years now. I dislike Tiktok, so I don’t use it. Being able to detach myself from social media has really made me connect with life itself.
Stop being involved in other people’s lives.
As I said above, no distractions. You already have your own issues you need to deal with. Do not, in any way, get involved in other people’s issues; relationships, or lives—it’s none of your business. Stop listening to it and stop reading about it. Stop giving attention to it. The path of inner peace starts with four words; Not your fucking problem. Also, for a while, stop reading the news. There is so much negativity these days with pandemics, war, politics, etc. All these stories and events tend to cause you anxiety.
What I did: I muted people on my WhatsApp who I found often shared toxic statuses. I stay away from gossip and drama wherever I go. I mostly listen to podcasts for self-improvement and spend a lot of time reading everything that can boost my knowledge, which led me to develop an interest in astronomy and ancient history.
Learn to be happy alone.
If you rely on something other than yourself to be happy, you can’t find it. So, you need to develop a relationship with yourself. Start to fully use the time and energy that you use for things other than yourself, on yourself. Learn something new. Find a new hobby. Do things that you have always been scared to do alone, such as go watch movies alone, eat at a restaurant alone, go shopping alone, or travel alone. Trust me on this: once you’ve learned to be happy on your own, you won’t tolerate any nonsense that threatens your happiness.
What I did: I bought a keyboard piano and a guitar and started learning musical instruments. I took a 3-month videography online course at Skillshare. I also invested some money to furnish and decorate my living room and bedroom to make them cozy and comfortable spaces—a haven that I can’t wait to come home to.
Invest in yourself.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself if there’s something about you that you have always wanted to improve. It’s time for you to stop procrastinating. This is why I said earlier that during the self-love journey, you can’t have any emotional attachment. If you do, it will distract you from focusing all the attention on yourself. Make a solid effort to make healthier choices too. This means eating foods that give your body the nutrients it needs, drinking enough water, and working out. When you fuel your body with the good things that it needs, it will perform better mentally, physically, and emotionally.
What I did: I’d always wanted to wear braces to fix my teeth, until 2.5 years ago, I finally did it. I also started working religiously on my skin with my aesthetic doctor for my acne breakout and other skin concerns. I go for a run 3 times a week and do yoga as well as pilates to maintain my weight and body shape. I also stopped eating fast food and processed food. I don’t drink soda, and I reduce my sugar intake and consumption of dairy products.
Here’s a reminder: it is never a waste of time and money to invest in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it.
Don’t give a fu*k about what people think or say about you. Live for yourself, not what society wants you to be. Do what makes you happy, because your future self will thank you for it. I understand that sometimes, no matter how much we try to avoid getting hurt, we still get affected by people’s words and actions. It’s okay. Just eat donuts, cheesecake, or ice cream and get over it fast because no matter how good you are as a person, people will always have things to say about you. Always. So, think of people who love you and support you instead. That’s what matters most.
What I did: It’s not a big concern for me because I started to be unbothered by people at such a young age. I’ve always felt different from everyone else around me; from the path I chose to the way I dress, the way I look, the way I see life, and my mindset; everything is different. The only reason I’m happy with my life now is that I never give a crap about what people say about me. Their assumptions about me are also not my responsibility.
Do not be afraid of making mistakes.
If only I could teach you one thing, I would say the greatest life lessons are usually learned from mistakes. They are unpleasant and inevitable, but if you know how to learn from your mistakes, they will become invaluable life lessons. Always work on yourself to become a better person. Own up to your mistakes, learn, and move on. I never regret any mistakes I’ve made in my life. I am a better version of myself now because of all the mistakes I’ve made in the past. They led me to who I am today, which I am very proud of.
Entertain your brain every day.
In a world of crazy change and disruptive innovation, your brain needs to be active all the time. The best way to keep your brain active is to entertain it every day. Laugh; watch comedies (movies, sitcoms, or talk shows), and browse for memes, they are funny. Watch documentaries. Listen to the self-improvement podcast. Boost your knowledge. Be curious. When you are curious, you can learn much faster; you start playing and experimenting with exciting things. Listen to music all the time if you can. Music has many benefits for your body, mind, and soul. It can improve learning, concentration, and memory. I entertain myself by doing all of these. I also have my own schedule for my daily life, which keeps me pretty busy but organized. I spend very little time on my phone and more time being productive.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
The journey is not easy, especially if you are not used to being alone. The process of becoming a better version of yourself is delicate. You will still make mistakes, as no one is perfect, but it is necessary to be kind to yourself during the whole process. Just imagine: you are currently in a relationship, but not with other people, the relationship is with yourself. Relationships in general have ups and downs, right? It’s the same. Take your time, recharge, and always come back stronger to your journey, no matter how many times you get distracted. As for myself, every time I feel down, moody, sad, or have any negative feelings, I will go for a run. Running has improved my mental health a lot.
Before I end my post, I want you to know that self-love is very important. If you are not happy with your life now, with the people around you, or feeling overwhelmed with negative energy, take a step back and do what I’m sharing today. I’m not a certified therapist or anything related to it. I’m sharing based on my own experiences and what works for me and my friends. A self-love journey looks different for everyone. You are unique, and so is your journey. One more thing: don’t forget to celebrate yourself every time you have achieved something in life, even the smallest thing. It matters.