The Mandatory Guide to Practicing Self-Love (And No, We Don’t Mean Masturbation (OK Maybe a Little)
This Valentine’s Day, whether you have a special someone or not, there’s one other person you need to keep in mind: yourself. Yes, you, kind sir, are worthy of love. And chances are, you don’t give yourself props for the wonderful being you are often enough.
Self-love may be one of those cringey terms you read about in self-improvement books, but it’s an incredibly important concept. (And, no, by self-love, we aren’t talking about more frequent masturbation, though if rubbing one out lifts your spirits, by all means, plow ahead.) Being gentle with yourself, treating yourself with respect, and pumping up your ego from time to time is not only healthy, it’s essential to a life well lived.
In this Mandatory Guide to Practicing Self-Love, we’re going to give you a primer on how to start caring for yourself more – mind, body, and spirit. It’s not as simple as sending yourself flowers and chocolates on Feb. 14, but instead consists of everyday habits that, over time, will make you value yourself and your life on a more profound level. (And since when has masturbation ever done that?)
Cover Photo: AaronAmat (Getty Images)
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Acknowledge your strengths.
First things first: what makes you amazing? Because we know there have to be some things that set you apart from the rest. Are you a gifted public speaker? A crossword puzzle savant? Maybe you can grill a mean steak or know how to fix bikes. Get those positive attributes down on paper and refer to them as often as necessary to bolster yourself up.
Celebrate your achievements.
When you hit a home run, give yourself a round of applause. We don't mean brag about it on social media; we mean treat yourself to something special. This isn't about getting other people to acknowledge your awesomeness. It's about recognizing it yourself and having a private appreciation party.
Hey, we all fuck up from time to time. Mistakes just mean you dared to try something different. As long as you learn from your failures, you don't need to beat yourself up about them. In fact, forgive yourself. As long as you aren't hurting others and are learning from your mistakes, there's no harm, no foul.
Edit your environment.
Your bubble needs to be free from criticism, doubt, negativity, and toxicity. Your inner and outer worlds need to be "good vibes only" spaces. Clear anything out that doesn't contribute to mental and physical wellbeing. This might mean saying goodbye to gossip, reality TV programs, profanity, and any other sort of bad influence.
Be kind to your body.
If you feel physically unwell or worn down, it's hard to summon any sense of gratitude for your life or pride in who you are as a person. Eat well, move more, and get adequate sleep so you have the energy to tackle everything that comes your way. When you feel good from the inside, it radiates out of you and attracts others to you, too.
Spend time in nature.
If you've been in a rut lately and are feeling down on yourself, we'd bet anything that you're not getting outdoors enough. Fresh air, a change of scenery, and some greenery will do you and your outlook good. Remember: humans were made to wander in the woods. Honor this ancient, meditative art at least once a week.
Tap into your sensual side.
No, we don't mean sex. (Although that could be one area in which to practice being more sensual.) We mean start tuning into all five senses. What scents do you enjoy? What kinds of fabrics feel good on your skin? What colors make you feel calm? What music feeds your soul? What flavors tickle your taste buds? Incorporate more of these elements into your everyday life.
Pursue your passions.
What would you do with your time if you could do anything? Your passions lie in your answer to that question. Whether it's traveling, home brewing, car restoration, or something completely unconventional like sewing, make sure you dedicate time to it every week. Pursuing your passions makes you feel more alive.
Find better friends.
It's hard to love yourself if you're surrounded by assholes who are constantly cutting you down. Sure, some ribbing is par for the course between dudes, but if your friends leave your self-esteem destroyed every time you hang out with them, it's time to find some new, better buddies.
Listen to your heart.
Everyone and anyone will give you advice if you invite them to (and sometimes even if you don't). Stop listening to the hoi polloi and tune into your own intuition. What is your heart telling you to do? It sounds corny, but it's incredibly valuable: listen to your heart.
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