You know the infamous “they” everyone’s always talking about? Well, one of the things I’ve heard “them” say is that you can only truly love someone as much as you love yourself.
It’s no secret that being LGBTQ+, polyamorous, or ethically non-monogamous in today’s society is still widely unaccepted – and even more so in the bible belt of Texas! So here’s a question for you: as someone who has probably been told over and over again that something is wrong with you, or as someone who has likely been made to feel less than for who you are and how you love others, how much do you think you really love yourself? How do you feel about yourself as a mass of people try to pray away your self?
It’s quite possible that you were lucky enough to have or find a family that taught you how to love yourself despite what other people say and think. Or maybe you’ve already worked through your self-love issues with years of therapy. But if you’re someone who still struggles with accepting yourself as you are and loving yourself unconditionally, then perhaps it’s time to start practicing some much needed self-love (emotionally… or otherwise as needed).
How to Practice Self-Love
Contrary to what some people may believe, being LGBTQ+, polyamorous, or ethically non-monogamous doesn’t mean you have no interest in finding love or establishing healthy relationships with your partners. Even the swingerest of swingers, with a whole public park jungle gym’s worth of swings to play on, may still want or need someone to say “I love you” to. (Full disclosure, I was literally believing it was Jungle Jims my entire life until I just wrote that sentence and spellchecker said no.)
To love and be loved is one of life’s greatest gifts, and no one should be deprived of that, but what people often don’t realize is that loving yourself is an even greater gift. I often tell people I spend a lot of time with myself so I try to put a lot of upgrades in this package.
The question is, how can you learn to love yourself if you’ve only ever been taught the opposite? What does it mean to practice self-love and how do you do it?
In truth, therapy is probably the best option for anyone who struggles with self-love. Still, there are a number of tools you can use to help yourself along the way. The self-love languages are one my favorites.
What’s Your Self-Love Language?
The self-love languages are no different from the regular love languages, except, instead of using them on others, you use them on yourself.
So ask yourself this: what makes you feel loved?
Is it physical touch? If so, treat yourself to regular massages, engage in more physical activity, or spend more time snuggled up and surrounded by soft blankets.
Do acts of service make you feel loved? Then show yourself some love by cleaning up around the house so you can spend your time in a nice, tidy space. Or, take a few responsibilities off your plate by delegating tasks to others. You’ll appreciate yourself for that.
Are you the kind of person who loves receiving gifts? Then treat yourself! Take a trip to somewhere special, buy yourself something nice, or invest something you’ve always wanted.
If quality time is your thing then schedule out some good old-fashion alone time. Try journaling, practicing meditation, or taking yourself on a date. Show yourself a good time give yourself the quality time you crave.
Do words of affirmation make you feel loved? Give yourself a pep-talk, say daily affirmations, and encourage yourself whenever possible.
Whatever it is that makes you feel loved, you deserve it.
Love Yourself First and the Rest Will Come
For some people, it’s pretty difficult to work on themselves without having some sort of ulterior motive, and that’s okay. We all have to start somewhere. With time, effort and consistency, your heart could grow three sizes one day!
The greatest things in life are born out of self-love. So learn your love language and make self-love a regular practice. Or, schedule an appointment with a mental health counselor like myself. Get support and discover more tools for building a strong, loving relationship with yourself.
Click below to book a free, brief consultation with me to start the new year out with an act of self-love. I serve LGBTQ+, polyamorous, and ethically non-monogamous individuals throughout the state of Texas.