There’s a cliché saying that you must first love yourself, before you can deeply love another.
Or, the more you love yourself, the more love you’ll experience in your life.
Tricky, ins’t it?
What if we are not sure about the love we have for ourselves? Can we still love others? What if we fell out of love with our life? Do we need to fix that, first?
How Do We Start the Self-Loving Process?
Most online blogs and articles suggest that you’ll go about it by forgiving yourself, treating yourself kindly, giving yourself pep-talks in front of a mirror, etc.
This may help to some degree (forgiving yourself for what, for being you?) yet, it’s not all there is. A big part of self-love comes from discovering just how much others adore you.
Ken Page writes in this article in Psychology Today, “If we want to experience true intimacy, we need to be taught to love aspects of ourselves – again and again – by the people around us. As much as we want to control our own destiny, the humbling truth is that sometimes the only way to learn self-love is by being loved – precisely in the places where we feel most unsure and most tender. When that happens, we feel freedom and relief – and permission to love in a deeper way. No amount of positive self-talk can replicate this experience. It is a gift of intimacy, not of will-power.”
I wholeheartedly agree. What taught me to love myself more than anything else was the positive feedback I received from others, and their belief in me and my talents. Apart from that, I learned to appreciate myself through practicing my gift, my natural vocation. I started to do the things I loved. Every day. This had a huge impact on my life. Not only did it help me to feel good about myself, others loved me for it as well.
Here are several ways to infuse your life with self-love:
It takes years to really get to know yourself and your individual needs: how much sleep you need and how much exercise, how much time you like to spend on the computer, working, in the bath tub, with people, in nature, with your dog, etc. Get to know yourself and start adding to your life the ingredients that help you to be relaxed, happy, and fabulous.
Put Yourself First
This might seem a bit narcissistic, but only if your needs are met can you truly relax and share your love with others. Sacrifice and self-neglect will exhaust you and ultimately make you angry.
Do the Things You Love
Find out what it is you love doing. Use your gift, your unique talents every day. The more you engage in your natural brilliance, the more you’ll love yourself. You’ll also receive praise and acknowledgement for what you do, which in turn will make you happier.
Surround Yourself With “Your People”
Be around people who make you feel good and avoid the ones who don’t. I call them “your people”: they speak your language, have similar interests, and genuinely appreciate you. We all need encouragement and support. Having a team who cheers us on is vital for our self esteem. Nurture your connections with the people you love, keep them healthy and alive.
Be There For Others
A big part of liking yourself comes from serving others. There is only so much you can do to please yourself. Making others happy is the ultimate experience. Do things for your friends, volunteer at a place of your interest, write letters, give gifts, send love notes, cook a meal for a friend, throw a party. It will make you appreciate yourself more.
Give and Receive Acknowledgment
Some people have a hard time giving and receiving acknowledgments. Learn to welcome and accept the praise you receive from others. People want to tell you how much they appreciate you. Rejecting or neglecting acknowledgment is not only disrespectful, it hurts. Accept positive feedback and take it in. You deserve it.
Don’t Listen to Criticism
I don’t believe in constructive criticism. It’s an oxymoron. Criticism makes people feel bad about themselves. My tip: Ignore it.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Count your blessings. Every day.
My Bonus List of Daily ‘Love’ Practices:
Treat Yourself with Kindness
Rest, nap, get plenty of sleep
Have Good Hair Days
Pamper your body
Read a novel
Have tea with a friend
Get a massage
Take long walks
Smell the roses
These are my basic practices in loving myself. What’s on your list?
As always, thank you for reading.
Want to share your ideas with me? Post your comment below or simply write to me. I’d love to hear from you.
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