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In school, they teach you about many things. But they never teach you about loving yourself.

So how are you supposed to learn? How do you even know if you love yourself? You might think you do. But if you don’t prioritize your own fulfillment, health, and happiness, then you’re not practicing it. Lots of people will tell you, “Love yourself.” And that’s wonderful! But how do you do it? No worries, we got you.

Here are some ways you can start the journey to loving yourself:

Be your own best friend.

Start treating yourself like you would your best friend or the person you love most in the entire world. You’re kind and compassionate with them, so extend yourself the same level of understanding, courtesy, and love. It’s not selfish. It’s being kind to yourself, so you can be kind to others.

Take time to recharge.

Think about what makes you feel happy. What energizes you? Then, set aside some time to do it. Take a walk once a week to clear your head. Do some yoga to stretch your body. Read an hour a day. Whatever is going to make you feel peaceful, energized, or happy, take the time to do it. At some point in your meditation, painting, or run, you might even find that you’ve learned to love yourself.

Learn about yourself.

How can you love someone you don’t truly know? Whether it’s through journaling or speaking to a friend or counselor. Learning your likes and dislikes, your faults and virtues, can help you accept yourself as you are. You can pinpoint what you want and don’t want in your relationship with yourself and with others. And you can show others how to love you in ways you like to be loved too. The journey to self-love can not only help you, but also those who love you.

Say “yes” or “no,” and mean it.

Setting clear boundaries is one of the most important steps to self-love. You might feel guilty saying “no” to a friend or loved one. But if saying “yes” means that you have to sacrifice your own needs or feelings, then you are not practicing self-love. Let those around you know what you want and expect from your relationship with them. And don’t allow anyone to cross a boundary you’ve already set. Putting your feelings and needs first helps strengthen your love for yourself and others. 

Over time, you will learn self-acceptance, self-compassion, self-care, and self-love. You will be happier, feel better, and love deeper. Go take that walk or read that book, and practice loving yourself.