By Kathryn Tiffany, MS —

Recently, I reached out to a group of high school students and asked what they would like to know more about. Many of the answers came through with a familiar theme: self-love.

How do I learn to accept myself in the midst of media bombarding me with images of females who are photo edited?

How do I tell myself that I am enough, when the people around me do not give me those same messages?

Why am I more compassionate with my friends than I am with myself?

Let’s look a little deeper into the area of self-love and how you can get some.

What is self-love?
Self-love is treating yourself with compassion, understanding and patience when you make mistake. Self-love is knowing that you are only human and you will need to forgive yourself for your past mistakes if you are to enjoy a healthy sense of self.

How do I get some self-love?
Self-love comes from the messages that you have been told as a child. For example, if an adult tells you that you are worthy of love- then you believe it. If an adult tells you that you are worthless and don’t deserve love, then you believe it.

The trick here is to make your own definition and find out what it is that makes you loveable and able to love yourself.

1- Identify your strengths.
What are you good at?
What do you succeed at?
What do you like to do?
What would your best friend say about you?

2- Forgive yourself for your past mistakes.
Understand that you are an imperfect human.
Everyone makes mistakes- even you.
Can you make your mistake right?
–If you can, go for it.
You have time to live differently and make new choices.

3-Give and receive compliments with no expectations.
Tell someone you like their outfit.
Make a nice comment about someone’s hair.
Say “thank you” when someone compliments you.
Tell someone “thank you” when they have done something nice for you.

Try some of these suggestions and observe your mood. Do you feel better about yourself at the end of the day? Do you accept yourself a little bit more?

This will be a process, good things take time. You will need to be patient and kind to yourself as you try some of these new behaviors.