Whether it be our children, spouse, parents, or friends, we are always so concerned with those around us that we often lose sight of taking care of the one person who matters the most: ourselves. Some of us do not even consider ourselves to be one of our top five priorities.
However, the repeatedly mentioned phrase may just have a point…
Before you can truly love someone else, you must first learn to love yourself.
When you genuinely love yourself—that magical, confusing, frustrating, beautiful person that you are—your actions most often, if not always, generate love for other people. It even opens your heart to Earth’s non-human inhabitants, too. And since we are inseparably connected at both the material level and the spiritual, how could things be any other way?
The fact that loving thyself is on the same level of importance as loving thy neighbor may seem paradoxical to many, and even downright wrong to those who equate self-love with selfishness and narcissism. However, consider this: You can only love others to the degree that you love yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you can love others. The love that flows from the depths of your being creates even more love, and that energy nourishes everything around you.
Remember, we are not perfect. Nobody is.
We all have flaws and shortcomings. But we are more than worthy of love, and that is what we all need to acknowledge and embrace on a day-to-day basis.
The holiday season is right around the corner, which is a great time to show some appreciation and adoration for yourself. However, for those of you who rarely think of yourself and might be unsure where to start, I have created a list of ten easy ways to love yourself more.
I hope you can find a suggestion in these ideas that will remind you how special and worthy you are.
1. Find Your Passion.
One of the most powerful ways to love yourself is to do something that you genuinely love. The benefits that come from you living and expressing your passions can be the most valuable things that you can offer the world. Think of what excites you. Deep down, what kind of woman or man do you want to be? What inflames your soul? Whatever your answers are, let them be the catalyst for what you can bring to your life and your community. Revisit these questions occasionally because, just like you, your answers will continue to evolve.
2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.
As humans, it is only natural to compare ourselves to others. That is not always a bad thing; comparing ourselves with someone who we idolize can help us feel more motivated and driven.
For some, however, comparisons can quickly lead one down a path toward low self-esteem and can easily bring on thoughts of not being “good enough.” Any person who does not think that they are good enough for something can easily find it difficult to love themselves. Nonetheless, it is only when you stop comparing yourself to others that you can truly love yourself.
3. Don’t Seek Approval.
Seeking approval from others is what makes us human. Getting approval from your family, friends, or partners is not only a good source of support, but it also helps you set your mind straight on some essential matters. The only caveat with continually seeking approval is that all of your choices eventually become dependent on what others think. When things get to that point, you may begin to lose respect for yourself and can ultimately end up feeling miserable.
When you need to make big decisions—whether that be about your career, your personal life, or your relationships—it is wise to do what you think is best. It doesn’t hurt to seek advice, but it’s only best to do you at the end of the day.
4. Connect with Yourself.
Find some alone time to explore and reflect on what’s happening in your heart and mind. Find out what you like, what you dislike, your dreams, your desires, your motivations, and your questions.
Do what makes you feel calm and peaceful—whether that be walking through the park, meditation, or even dancing. When you take the time to connect with your inner self, you’re not only finding an outlet for identifying your flaws and the things that prevent you from loving yourself, but you’re also recognizing your strong suits and the qualities that make you admirable and lovable. Once you have discovered your weaknesses, you can work to fix them and become a better person. Once you have found your strengths, it will become that much easier to love yourself.
When identifying your “self,” be courageous enough to be honest with yourself. Some parts of yourself will be easy to love, but others may not be as admirable. However, even your flaws are just as important because they are yours. Seek to understand and accept them, and you will discover that they too have gifts to offer.
5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up About the Past.
Yes, you may have failed in the past, and like me and most others, you may be good at beating yourself up for those failures.
The next time you become upset with yourself about something that happened ages ago, try this: picture the little girl or boy that you once were and imagine that child sitting on your lap. Would you tell them that they are a failure, a loser, worthless? No! You would most likely helpfully correct them, but then you would wrap your arms around them and tell them what a miracle they are; that even when they make mistakes, you love them more than you can even express. That little one is in you right now. Why not treat your current self with that same solicitude and endearment?
6. Don’t Forget to Express Your Love for Yourself.
What is typical of us to do when we love someone? We generally do what we can to express it through being considerate of their feelings, caring for them, and maybe even showering them with gifts. Why not do the same for yourself?
Be more likely to outwardly express that you love yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and tell that reflection that it is loved. List every quality that you love about yourself and every good thing that you have accomplished. When you are alone, go to the movies, draw, sing, laugh, cry, run, sit quietly, sleep, jump rope. Notice how your body and psyche feel.
You can even write love letters to yourself. Post positive statements such as “I am beautiful,” “I am smart,” or “I am lovable” in certain places that you come into contact with every day. Pamper yourself or buy yourself gifts. Constantly remind yourself that you are loved.
Tell yourself how great you are and that there is no one else that you’d rather be.
7. Take Care of Yourself.
Loving yourself also entails taking care of your physical and mental wellbeing. Always make sure that you are working toward your goals. Wake up early. Instead of being a couch potato, get up and move around as often as possible. Hit the gym or do a quick cardio workout at home.
Also, it’s important to eat healthily and stay hydrated. Instead of consuming frozen, canned, dried, baked, or pasteurized foods, consume more veggies and fruits.
Also, limit the unhealthy things that you may be feeding your mind. Avoid watching mainstream news and ‘reality’ TV shows that might not make you feel your best. Unfollow or unfriend negative people on social media. Nourish your mind, body, and spirit. If you feel good about yourself, you are much more likely to love yourself as a whole.
8. Be Kind to Others.
If you’re looking to find new ways to love yourself, it’s also important to have some sense of self-worth. One of the best ways that you can find this is by doing helpful things for others. Treat everyone around you the same way that you would hope to be treated! However, this does not mean that you should expect anyone to repay your service. Expectations can be dangerous. That said, try to limit your expectations and be kind to others without any conditions. Knowing that you can do that is a considerable attribute to loving yourself as a person.
9. Learn to Live with Suffering.
Even when you love yourself deeply, suffering may eventually arrive at your door. When it comes, however, don’t expect yourself to feel unafraid. It’s best to simply not let the fear stop you from doing whatever is best for you.
In The Prophet, the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran said, “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” How will your pain shape you? To a great degree, the answers rest in your hands, in your attitude, choices, and perspectives. Allow suffering to shape you into a better you.
10. Continue Learning About Who You Are.
Dive deeply into the mystery of you, and you will discover that your essence is love, that same “[l]ove which moves the sun and the other stars,” as Dante writes in “Paradiso” (Canto XXXIII).
Be guided on your quest by openness, curiosity, patience, acceptance, wonder, and gratitude. And trust what the mystic Julian of Norwich said: “All is well, and all is well, and all manner of things shall be well,” which is merely a medieval way of saying, “It’s all good!” And it is.
The Last Word
Well, there you have it! A few easy tips that can help you love yourself more. Incorporate these into your life one by one, and you will feel like a brand-new person, beaming with life!
All the best for your self-love journey!