By: Stephanie Heino
Are you facing difficulty with knowing what to do in order to embrace and love yourself? It’s a hard one, we know. Many people feel like they don’t know where to start when feeling the need to love themselves first, prior to developing any meaningful relationships with others. We all spend so much time looking for the best romantic partner, so we should all be experts, right? What we soon realize is that our external search was meant to fill the void or emptiness we have inside, that often is created during childhood when there is a lack of love, or traumatic experiences. Finding a good relationship with ourselves can seem like an even harder task! But if not done properly, we will all finding ourselves failing miserably in relationships because of insufficient or little self-love. Do you recognize yourself in this? Self-esteem and self-love are issues that are often related, so if you suffer from low self-esteem, it is possible that the root cause is a case of insufficient self-love.
Sometimes, loving yourself feels unnatural because your mind has been trained to have sabotaging thoughts about yourself for the longest time. However, nothing is going to change if you do not make a conscious decision. When you don’t love yourself, you are basically telling the universe (and those around you) that you are unworthy or undeserving of love and positive outcomes in life. Learning to love yourself starts with making a very basic conscious decision: an intention to be happy and lead a fulfilled life. You can do it! When you make a decision to love yourself, you are really saying that you want to live your life to its fullest. You can accept that you are responsible for the all the outcomes in your life and can work towards letting yourself shine, living a fulfilling and loving life.
“Love yourself first and everything falls into line.”-Lucille Ball
So if you’ve decided on loving yourself but are confused on how to love yourself here are 15 ways which can be helpful:
1. Fall in love with yourself. Think about what makes you You, be happy and proud of it, and nurture yourself in every way. Love yourself for all the good things that you see, accept your flaws and the fact that you are imperfect and unique. This does not mean that you do not learn to change from your shortcomings, but instead, you are being gentle and kind to yourself despite all your “flaws”. Look in the mirror and fall in love with the reflection that is You.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” -Oscar Wilde
2. Eliminate Self Criticism. Do you often beat yourself up over the tiniest thing? Is there a little voice inside your head that often tells you that you are no good because you are stupid or make mistakes? If you find that you often judge yourself, make an effort to stop the self criticism by going inside! Going to see a therapist or counselor might be very effective too!
3. Be Kind And Positive. When you start to think kindly and positively about yourself, the love you have for yourself just grows and keeps reflecting on the outside world. Make it a habit to praise yourself everyday, while in the front of the mirror. You will naturally undertake more empowering actions that support your development.
4. Acknowledge Your Effort. It is not always about winning or coming in first in everything that you do. Many times, it is the effort that counts! Acknowledge that you have done your best, even if you have failed to produce tangible results.
5. Let Go Of Worry. Loving yourself requires you to let go of your worry. It is horrible to live a life filled with constant worrying. I can attest to that! Worry does not help in any way. It cannot, on its own, make things happen. Only wise actions can! So instead of worrying, spend time thinking about what you can do to help in the situation. If the situation is beyond your control, then make a clear mental request or set an intention about what you want. Next, surrender your outcome.
“There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” — Epictetus
6. Trust Yourself. Have confidence in your abilities. Know that you have the ability to make important changes for yourself, as long as you put your heart to it. You can also support yourself by clearly visualizing desired outcomes.
7. Forgive Yourself. If you have made mistakes in the past that caused you to feel less worthy, then you need to forgive yourself. All of us make mistakes; so there really is no need to beat yourself up over them. Also, if you have been carrying around some emotional baggage because of a childhood trauma or a specific occurrence in your life, learn to forgive yourself.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Lewis B. Smedes
8. Be Truthful To Yourself. Loving yourself requires you to be truthful about your own feelings. If you are happy, acknowledge the joy. If you are sad, acknowledge the sorrow. When you are truthful about your feelings, you do not try to lie to yourself or seek to bury your negative emotions. Instead, acknowledging what you feel provides a good guide to what your thoughts are. And as we all know, thoughts can be changed, so healing and growth can take place.
9. Make Positive Affirmations Everyday. Retrain your mind to think differently with positive affirmations. One good affirmation that I repeat every morning is “I love and accept myself completely and unconditionally.” Keep reading your affirmations out loud several times a day. It will help you, I promise!
10. Express Gratitude. Express gratitude for the person that you are. For instance, cultivate an appreciation for your strengths and gifts. Also, feel a sense of gratitude that you are alive and well, and fully capable of making a difference in your life.
11. Boost Your Self Confidence. Make a deliberate attempt to look for opportunities that can help improve your confidence. For instance, if you are particularly good at doing something, set aside more time to indulge and improve your skills on it. Knowing that you have particular gifts can boost your self-esteem.
12. Relax. Give yourself space to take breaks every now and then. If you spend all your time working, without paying attention to your health, you’re showing yourself that you do not love You enough to take care of your own body. Fill your time with silence, soothing music and visions of beauty to soothe your soul and you will become more peaceful, connected, kind, loving and compassionate as a result of this.
13. Enjoy Life. Life is meant to be an enjoyable, so have fun people! Don’t take life or yourself too seriously. If you can think of life in that way you will automatically relax and quit worrying over things that do not matter.
14. Take Care Of Your Body. It is important that you strengthen yourself with proper nutrition and regular exercise. Your body is a temple and you should treat it with respect, love and care. It has been found that lack of self-love is often the root causes of conditions like eating disorders, obesity or even some terminal diseases.
15. Learn To See Beauty Around You. When you learn to see beauty in everything, you will also see beauty in yourself. So take some time to stop and smell the flowers. Try to notice things you haven’t noticed before, and feel it. How about the amazing yellow color on that flower in your garden, or the whisper of the gentle wind, or the endless hues of an evening sky. Watch the sunset tonight and pay attention to the beauty of it!
Choose to be happy, and make it happen!