The idea that you can only love another person until you love yourself is expressed frequently. And while loving yourself is truly valuable, the language used around it is often limiting. The fact of the matter is that self-love is not an easy deed. A person may even wonder, what is self-love? What does it entail? How do I achieve it? Do I have to love every part of myself?
Let’s talk about self-love in a less limiting light. Perhaps we can use both self-love and self-trust interchangeably. Because without trust, it is difficult to love ourselves. We are often focused on whether we trust those around us, but do we trust ourselves and our internal experiences? It can be helpful to trust ourselves before we can fully trust others.
Below you will find a few tips on how to build trust with yourself:
- Honor the promises you make to yourself. What are these promises? Remember why you made them in the first place. Consider journaling about these promises to hold yourself accountable.
- Live in alignment with your values. But first, what are your values? Many therapists will help you to identify your values so that your words and behaviors are congruent. If you are interested in values work, you may consider working with a therapist who uses acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
- Be mindful of your time and needs. It is your personal right to have needs and to assert them accordingly. Your time is something you cannot get back; use it wisely.
- Setting and maintaining boundaries with yourself and others. Needing to restate a boundary does not mean that you were wrong for setting it in the first place. It is also healthy to feel annoyed or hurt when your boundaries are not respected. Embrace the feelings and reinforce the boundaries.
- When you make yourself a to-do list, aim to stick to it. However, if you do not, make room for self-reflection and self-compassion.
Ultimately, the goal is to show up for yourself as much as you can. This does not mean being critical of yourself when you do not follow-through on the things you say you’re going to do. However, keep in mind that the more consistency you have with yourself, the more trust you will gain in both yourself and others.
If you need support and would like to speak to a professional counselor about topics, such as the one featured in this blog, and are in the Chicago area, please contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.
Written by Liz, Mental Health Counseling Master’s Level Intern (Learning and practicing ACT currently).