Learning to love yourself directly affects your state of mind, your personal and professional relationships, your wellbeing, your aspirations and, ultimately, your future. Self love is, therefore, key in your trip to happiness.
As Lea Vendrami says, “your primary relationship needs to be with yourself – all others are mirrors of it”. When you develop commitment, trust and contentment within yourself and have a happy relationship with yourself, this energy will shine out and will attract the same expectations from others.
Learning to appreciate, accept and honour what you have and what you can offer to the world means that you are able to live in a more peaceful state of mind. If you are comparing yourself to others or setting up expectations for yourself that are not realistic, you are setting yourself up for failure and self-rejection, making you feel worse. You don’t need to believe these thoughts.
There are parts of your mind creating an idea of what you should be, and there are other parts rationalising this to understand whether that is realistic or not. When it is not, you become dissappointed, leading to a mental notion of you not feeling good enough for not meeting a fabricated idea of what you “should be”. By seeking this “should be”, you are rejecting how you are already. But it is not your whole mind telling you this, it is the process of self-rejection. So, by telling yourself and feeling, truly, that you are happy and content with yourself, that can alter your perceptions of yourself, your life and ultimately, your strive to happiness.
But this must not be confused with being selfish or narcissistic. Being selfish is having a lack of concern for others, literally not caring about anyone but yourself and narcissistic is having excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance. It is not in any form becoming self-obsessed with yourself to the point of making others feel inadequate, but appreciating, loving and caring about yourself, setting the standard for how others will treat you too.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
1 – Treat yourself as though you are a separate entity, as though you are another individual and your body is someone else’s. Would you talk to someone else in a manner that states that you hate how they look, how they talk, a certain element of them? No. So why would you do it to yourself?
Treat yourself as though you are your own biggest fan, and make yourself feel good, really good, about yourself. Don’t feel bad about giving yourself that boost of confidence of “I feel great today”, “I look amazing” or “I am happy with myself”, even if you are not. It doesn’t make you narcissistic to feel confident. And even if you don’t, this will cause a ripple effect of positive thoughts, as executing positive thoughts and feelings towards yourself will ultimately make you feel better.
We all have bad days, but putting yourself down on a bad day will make you feel much worse than if you try to see the good in yourself. I wrote a post “5 easy ways to look after yourself” which may help some ideas of treating yourself well and taking care and valuing yourself, and if you feel something is missing, ask yourself why that is.
2 – Accept your flaws. It is important that we are able to accept ourselves, flaws and all, because if we can’t love ourselves, how can we expect others to? We are each individual and have some amazing qualities, why not embrace them? This is having different relationship with yourself aside from putting yourself down, because that, in the long term, will make you feel worse about yourself too.
It won’t come naturally, of course, and you will have days where it will feel much harder than others to feel good about yourself. It is natural to feel that way. But, even faking it at the start to encourage a new habit to form will really make you feel significantly different. “Fake it till you make it.”
3 – Your power is within yourself – if we can love ourselves, we can open ourselves up to being loved too. Don’t let others take control of your own power towards yourself. don’t let others control your flaws. Ensure that you are surrounding yourself with positive people, who lift, inspire and encourage your inner and outer qualities, rather than putting them down. It makes a whole lot of difference.
It is important to be able to say no and find a good balance of what is important to you, and what makes you happy, and the rest will follow. This leads to more peaceful living without any external demands. If your friends don’t understand this, they probably don’t have your best interests at heart. Don’t lose yourself and worth getting lost in pleasing others.
4 – Remember, you choose how you get to feel towards yourself. You have the ultimate control of how you react to things. You are able to control how you feel and how others and situations make you feel.
It may not feel that way, but it is really true. Find it within yourself to have peace and trust to know that whatever happens you will be ok. If you trust yourself like you would someone you love, you really can do whatever you want to!
5- Develop your interests. If you are expanding on hobbies and finding new interests, you are growing knowledge and finding your worth and importance in things that you are good at. Trying new things, pushing your creative boundaries, doing exercise etc. will keep your mind busy and happy, away from negative thoughts and feelings. You never know what you could be good at if you don’t try!
What does self-love mean to you?