Embracing Self-Care: 5 Essential Steps Toward Self-Love

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Loving yourself is the number one way to improve your confidence, worth, and outlook. Loving yourself simply means that you appreciate yourself and the value you bring to the world. Having a positive self-view increases your happiness and satisfaction in life and enables you to meet your true potential.

If you don’t love yourself, you may feel inadequate, shameful, and even angry and bitter. You may also not provide yourself with the resources and tools needed to succeed in life. Unfortunately, it may cause you to succumb to addiction or other short-term solutions that will not make you feel happy or loved.

To genuinely love yourself requires that you get to know who you are, what you want from life, and investigate what’s needed to help you achieve your goals, regardless of where you are now.

To fully love yourself, differentiating between needs and wants, caring for yourself, setting boundaries, eliminating toxicity, and going forward in life with intention are imperative for your success.

Know Your Needs Versus Your Wants

Everyone on the planet has both needs and wants. The problem is that most of us don’t know how to differentiate one from the other. We erroneously believe that getting our wants met, like buying a big-screen TV or dining out, will make us happy, so we put our needs, like working out and eating, right on the back burner in the name of happiness.

The truth is, if you act on what you need, not what you want first, you will be much happier. When your needs are met, you will not be cold, hot, hungry, sad, fearful, angry, tired, or lonely most of the time because you’re ensuring that the most basic needs you have are met. When choosing whether something is a need or want you need to know the difference between the two.

  • Do I need this to live?
  • Do I need this to function?
  • What happens if I don’t have it?

Answering these questions helps you determine if your choice is a need or a want. Wants are desires or wishes, while needs are required and necessary for a happy, healthy life.

For example, is going to the gym an hour a day a need or a want? If the only way you will work out regularly is by going to the gym, it’s a need. It’s a need because humans require constant movement throughout life to be at their optimum health. You could indeed work out at home instead, but if you know you won’t stick to exercising at home, the gym becomes a necessary need. An effective way to organize this in your mind is to categorize your wants and needs as:

  • Low Want / Low Need – Eliminate
  • Low Want/ High Need – Reduce
  • High Want/ High Need – Implement
  • High Want/ Low Need – Trap

If something is organized and categorized as a “high” want and high need, then it’s a huge priority or should be. If something is a high need and a low want, well, you need it, so it’s right after the double high in importance. When something is unneeded, but you want it, it can end up being a trap financially and otherwise, so make sure you really can take the risk when it comes to high want and low need stuff. List all your wants and needs, then mark them E, R, I, or T so that you can prioritize your to-do list each day.

Practice Good Self-Care

When you feel good, you will find that you deal with the difficulties of life with a lot fewer problems because when you are well cared for, your body, mind, and spirit work together to fight illness, negative thoughts, and trauma.

Self-care is so much more than taking hot baths or getting a manicure – although if you need to do that, it’s included. Instead, self-care involves determining who you are, who you want to be, and learning how to ensure it happens, and then following the daily steps to see it to fruition.

There are at least eight primary areas of concern regarding self-care. These include your physical, mental, emotional, social, professional, environmental, spiritual, and financial care. Each area of your life requires planning and acting to ensure your overall happiness by recognizing and fulfilling your needs in each area. A few self-care habits you may want to incorporate into your life may include the following habits.

  • Sleep Well Every Night – Scientists who study sleep know that human adults need about 7 hours of nightly sleep to be at the top of their game. If you know this is true based on science, you need to find a way to ensure you get that much sleep most of the time.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet – The healthiest diet for you depends on many factors, but science is clear on this too, although politics often gets in the way of this discussion. A naturally derived, mostly plant-based diet without additives in the right caloric amount for your body type improves health and fights off disease and sickness more than any fad diet you’ve ever tried or read about. However, you don’t have to be perfect to experience success, and once you meet your nutritional needs, you can always indulge some of your wants later.
  • Exercise Regularly – The human body needs to move a lot. Moving more will keep you healthy and fully functioning for much longer than being sedentary. However, you don’t even need that much to experience amazing benefits. Your exercise needs include only 150 minutes a week of moderate movements, such as fast walking.
  • Practice Mindfulness – Being self-aware enough to know what’s in your mind at the time you’re thinking it and what’s going on around you while it’s happening is an especially key component in your happiness. When you are more mindful, you make better choices at the moment.
  • Experience Nature – Most people need to spend more time in and around nature to feel good. Spending just twenty minutes outdoors each day will increase your vitamin D levels and boost your mood so you can be more mindful, sleep better at night, and do all the other things you need to do.
  • Read and Learn Frequently – Accepting the fact that you cannot know everything means that you need to continue to learn throughout your life. Personal and professional development offers a myriad of choices that can help you learn to make better decisions every day.
  • Declutter Your Environment – Studies show that living in clutter, whether mental or physical, is distracting and detracting from your overall happiness in life. Turning off notifications, stopping intrusive thoughts, cleaning your office, keeping your home clean, and organizing your work are particularly important to your happiness and your ability to love yourself.
  • Learn to Say No – It’s hard to meet your own needs if you say yes to everything others ask of you. Learning to say no is more about learning to think before you say yes, so you give yourself time to figure out if your ask fits in with your overall goals, principles, morals, values, and time availability.
  • Honor Your Commitments – If you say you’ll do something, you must do it because it will make you feel good about yourself. This is the reason you need to give yourself time to say yes or no, so you don’t overcommit and disappoint yourself and others.
  • Build Healthy Relationships – If you surround yourself with supportive, kind, loving folks, whether at work or home, you’ll be much happier mentally but also physically. Stress from bad relationships affects your entire body, not just your emotions.
  • Manage Your Time Well – Everyone has a limited amount of time on the earth, including you. If you’re lucky, you will live to about 80 years old. But whether it’s 80 or 45, your time is finite. Due to that, managing it so you can get the most out of it is imperative.
  • Manage Your Money – Money is much more limitless than time, and you can buy someone else’s time with money freeing up your own. Therefore, learning how to manage your money properly will also lead to more happiness in life, as well as lead to more feelings of self-love.

It may help you write down each area mentioned above to identify your true needs in each of the eight areas of your life that require self-care.

Set & Enforce Boundaries

Establishing and enforcing boundaries for yourself and others will give people the impression that you respect yourself and others and that you are worthy of respect. For example, when you have healthy boundaries, you know that you can say no to things without any guilt or concern about what anyone thinks.

When you have solid physical and emotional boundaries, you will stand firm in your power while respectfully letting people know how you feel. Remember that you are in full control when it comes to choosing with whom you’ll spend time. To set and enforce boundaries, you need to consider learning more about the following elements.

  • Increase Your Self-Knowledge
  • Be Crystal Clear Regarding Your Needs
  • Know When Someone Crosses Your Boundaries

When someone crosses your boundaries, the best thing to do is be very direct with them about it. Tell them about the limit, communicate what you’d like them to do or not do, and then follow up with consequences if they don’t listen to you.

If someone is crossing boundaries regularly and they have been told, but keep doing it, the best course of action is to separate yourself from them as much as possible, if not all the time. But, again, it depends on who it is, a controlling parent or another relative, or even a lifelong friend; you are the one who has a say about how you spend your time and whom you spend it with.

Eliminate Toxicity from Your Life

In life, you’re going to be exposed to people, places, things, and situations that aren’t healthy for you. To eliminate toxicity from your life, you will need to know how to recognize it when you see it. You can usually tell if something is toxic if it stresses you out or makes you feel bad. It might even make you question your judgment if you’re dealing with a toxic person. To eliminate as much toxicity from your life, try the following suggestions. 

  • Communicate Effectively – Stopping unproductive conversations with toxic people is an important way to avoid and remove toxicity from your life. A toxic person isn’t interested in coming to any agreements and only interested in causing trauma.
  • Be Mindful of Your Thoughts – How you think before, during, and after a situation or event offers important insight into whether you’re exposing yourself to a toxic person or experience. Listen to your intuition. Your inner voice will frequently try to warn you of any possible danger. So, listen to the signs and pay attention to your gut feelings.
  • Know What You Want – This is a common theme in life; knowing for sure what you want out of life and in the moment is imperative if you’re truly eliminating toxic things from your life. For example, if you know you want to have a big family with lots of great memories working 24/7 isn’t going to cut it.

Finally, understand that even if you set boundaries and try to eliminate all the toxicity from your life sometimes, you’re going to confront it anyway. So, when you do, try to deal with it by examining the entire situation to identify how to stop it sooner next time, then let go of anything you cannot change and focus on your actions and behavior.

Live With Intention

Living with intention means identifying what you want from your life and doing the things that enable you to have those things. Whether it’s money, love, health, or something else — it does not matter. If you know what you want and how to achieve it with integrity and follow your plan, you will happily arrive at your chosen destination without many problems.

When you’re eighty, and you look back on your life, you’ll have no regrets because you will be assured that you lived your life how you wanted to on the path you chose that put you where you are right now.

  • Know The Destination – There’s no need to go through life without having a plan for where you’re going or how you’re going to get there when it comes to your retirement. However, if you can realistically define what you need and want, you can also design the action steps necessary to achieve your goal.
  • Do Things – You can’t arrive at your destination without following the correct path. This requires that you take action to get results. So, decide what actions you need to take to improve your life. Your YouTube channel will not build itself. Your novel will not accidentally be finished. You must take action.
  • Build Healthy Habits – Motivation is overrated when you incorporate healthy habits into your life. If you can ritualize and habituate your actions, you’ll end up succeeding without struggling as much as others.
  • Enjoy Each Moment – Your life is about today and the journey, not the destination. Learning to enjoy each day requires that you focus on each moment without allowing intrusive thoughts or someone to tempt you to stay from your path.
  • Work Towards Balance – No one is perfect, so striving for balance is important. Understand that balance isn’t always perfect either. Today you may need to give 100 percent to your sick grandmother, but tomorrow you’ll give 100 percent to your business.

Most things that you say you want from life can and will happen, if you know where you want to go and do the things required to get there. For example, when scientists create innovative technologies, they have a process to test the item out on paper first. Then they test their theories using a computer. Only after those tests do they move on to test the physical prototype in a variety of situations, before manufacturing the item.

It’s no different in real life. For example, if you know you want to lose thirty pounds, turn to the experts, and choose a plan that works best for your needs. Once you choose a plan, all you need to do is follow the plan, reduce your caloric intake, and exercise, and after a time, you will succeed.

Another example that might bring this idea to life for you is going on a cross-country trip. Sure, you arrive at your destination without planning and mapping it, but that will lead to problems, such as potentially running out of gas, not finding places to eat, using the toilet, or staying for the night. Hardly an enjoyable journey.

If you plan and map your trip so you know where you’ll stay, where and when you’ll eat, what sights you’ll see, and what you’ll do, you can then plan your entire trip knowing that the entire thing will be successful. Living your life is no different from that.

Know what you want to achieve, learn how to achieve it, and then work towards achieving your goal. Check and celebrate your progress as you go. Adjust your plan if needed. As you get closer and closer to succeeding, your confidence and self-love will increase.

Related Article: 4 Simple Steps to Embrace Self-Care in Your Life

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About The Author

Ricardo is the quintessential Real Estate Junkie, Entrepreneur and Blogger, with over 30 years of customer service experience. The bold & visionary founder of and, he teaches busy entrepreneurs and bloggers how to successfully build and grow their business whilst having fun and living the maximized life. He enjoys spending time with his family, multi-family real estate investing and surprise get-a-way trips with his wife.



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