Loving yourself is one of the most important things a person can do in order to achieve a satisfying, meaningful and joy filled life. Yet many people, even those who appear successful to the casual observer, fall short in this regard.
Self-love is analogous to the foundation of a house. If the builder takes care, using durable, quality materials then the home will weather any storm. If he builds it out of cards; even a mild breeze will topple it. Loving yourself is the foundation for a flourishing future. Let’s take a closer look at how you can achieve this…
1. Make Yourself Your Number 1 Priority
Many people fall into the trap of putting everyone else’s needs first. Those of their children, spouse, friends. Never taking a moment out for themselves. If you keep this up, you’ll soon drain your own tank and once it’s drained you’ll have nothing left to give.
That’s why it’s so important to recharge, take a breather and put yourself first. If you don’t, it’s a recipe for disaster. Remember, in order to love others and be loved, you need to first love yourself.
2. Stop Criticizing Yourself
Nobody is perfect and nobody comes from a perfect family. Yet many people judge themselves unmercifully for the slightest shortcoming. I’m too fat, too dumb, and too ugly. Tell yourself these things too often and they become a reality.
Whether you think you are capable or you think you’re not, either way you are right. Each one of us by the virtue of being human, has some degree of insecurity. Perfection is not a natural state. Stop pretending you have to be perfect and cut yourself some slack.
3. Praise Yourself
Praise helps to build your self-esteem and nurtures feelings of self-worth. Criticism tears you down and can leave you feeling demoralized and hollow. When you belittle yourself you destroy hope which can have disastrous consequences.
Having difficulty finding something to praise about yourself? Start with some small things. Accept compliments from others graciously. Don’t respond with, “oh, that was nothing”.
4. Take Care of Your Body
Many people to turn to alcohol, drugs, smoking and overeating in an effort to numb emotional pain. Although this may work in the short term, over the long haul it only serves to make your life worse instead of better.
Respect and nurture your body by eating a healthy, well balanced diet, exercising on a regular basis, brushing your teeth, keeping yourself clean and well-groomed and getting enough sleep. Taking care of your body will improve your health and mental outlook.
5. Stop Scaring Yourself
Many people let their negative thoughts spiral out of control, obsessing over terrifying worst case scenarios. You have a stomach ache and immediately think it might be cancer or a co-worker snaps at you and you assume you’re going to be fired. These thoughts can be terrifying, anxiety provoking and paralyze you with fear or conversely, cause you to act inappropriately under the circumstances.
Take a moment. Breathe. Then replace these negative scenarios with a positive mental image. It can be a beautiful sunrise, bouquet of flowers, the Bahamas or anything that makes you feel good. If you practise this every time you find your negative thoughts spiraling out of control, you’ll eventually succeed.
6. Be Your Own Best Friend
One truth in life is that you go to bed with yourself and wake up with yourself every day. It’s in your own best interest to love yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else. You know all your faults and all your strengths.
You know what makes you laugh and what makes you cry. So who better to be your best friend than you? Show yourself the same compassion and empathy you would your best friend. Learn to enjoy your own company.
7. Accept Your Negatives
No matter how negative your current situation is there are inherent opportunities for growth and improvement. You may be in the throes of an acrimonious divorce, unemployed, homeless or chronically ill. Dwelling on the negativity of your current situation is the same as a dog chasing its tail. It gets you nowhere.
Remember nothing is forever and that includes the negative things in life. Your circumstances are not a reflection of you. How you choose to react to your circumstances is what ultimately defines who you are.