Learning to love yourself
Learning to love yourself can be difficult. It moves beyond just “taking care” of you. It makes you put yourself first before you love others. If you do not love yourself can you truly accept love from others?

If you are not used to putting yourself first it can sometimes feel selfish in the beginning. It starts with remembering the things you can control. The first thing we can control is how we use our time. Where is all of our time and energy going? Who do you spend all of your time with?
We can control our own personal boundaries. Setting boundaries is another good example of loving yourself. Every relationship has to have boundaries. These are things that you are comfortable and uncomfortable with doing. If someone asks you to do something that you do not want to do or do not have time to do, it is okay to say no. Remember you are the only one in control of your time. Using your time on something you do not value or think will be appreciated can lead to self-doubt and frustration.
We can control how we talk to ourselves. Encouraging and speaking kindly to yourself is important when learning self-love. A phrase we often use at Crisis Services is, if you would not say it to your best friend then you should not say it to yourself. Often, when experiencing emotional or psychological abuse, the voice inside your head is really no longer your own but the voice of the abusive person. Learning to use positive affirmations helps. Remember that person no longer gets a say in your life and that includes your personal thoughts. Controlling what we say to ourselves has a big impact on how we feel about ourselves.
We can control what we continue to learn about ourselves. Learn to enjoy things just for you. We can start fresh every single day. Picking up a new hobby, skill or interest is a great way to learn how to spend time by yourself and connect with you. Trying new things should not just be reserved for that elusive bucket list. New experiences help us grow and keep us in tune with our authentic self.
According to Brene Brown, “Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.” We need to learn to connect with ourselves so we can genuinely connect with other people. Learn to trust yourself and know that you will be okay with you no matter what.
If you or someone you know has ever experienced domestic violence or sexual assault, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. We provide free, confidential crisis counseling. Advocates are ready to meet with survivors and help them start the process of healing. We can be reached locally at 256.574.5826, on our 24/7 HELPline at 256.716.1000, or on our website: www.csna.org.

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