Everything is a reflection of ourselves – the people we meet, the situations we find ourselves in and the experiences we encounter. Qualities in others we are attracted to are ones that reside in us too or are qualities we would like to possess ourselves. And similarly, when we judge, critique and find fault in qualities of others; really we are judging that which we do not like of ourselves or that which we wish we were (what we lack).
A lot of our so-called problems with situations or other people are actually a reflection of ourselves or more specifically – our lack of acceptance and love for ourselves.
When we love and accept ourselves other people have no power over us, their opinion of us has no bearing over our self perception, self worth, thoughts and decisions. As the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt put it so aptly “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent“. When we love ourselves we realise we are in control and responsible for our lives – for allowing a situation to continue or taking action to change it. And so we have the power.
Understand that to be able to be happy, to be able to love, and to be successful; you must love and accept yourself first. Practically, you may ask, how do I ‘love myself‘? There is no one answer nor right answer. There’s no easy way of suddenly loving yourself if you never have, it’s not like we were all taught how to love ourselves when we were younger – we may not of even realised we don’t love ourselves till now! Loving yourself is almost a skill you can acquire if you’ve never had the privilege of loving yourself growing up. So if it’s a skill, then anyone can learn to do it. You just need to commit and practise, practise, practise.
Here are some tips to give you some ideas:
- Take a shower, you will feel cleansed and refreshed. When you feel better physically, you feel better mentally. Both mental and physical are important, they are not independent but influence one another.
- Eat well. You will feel better for it. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink lots of water.
- Exercise. It goes without saying exercise makes you feel better, stronger and more powerful. Take care of your body because it takes care of you. Take care of your body and your mind will follow.
- Don’t do work when you are unhappy, you will only produce poor results due to low productivity, but maybe high effort which is a waste of your energy. Wait until you are feeling better mentally to do important work. When you are happy, your work flow is much better, your productivity levels higher and the work you produce is of much greater quality.
- Treat yourself as you would a friend or someone you love, make time to do the things you love, relax and enjoy life.
- Spend time with happy, positive people who support you and make you feel good about yourself – your friends and family.
- Do mental work. Loving yourself requires both physical action as well as mental. Say affirmations in your head and aloud, repetitively and religiously. You must put in the hours of mental programming for you to be positive and become naturally self-loving.
- Observe thought. Negative, disempowering thoughts and empowering thoughts which create your beliefs. Pay attention to the mental chatter in your mind. Is it empowering or disempowering? Focus your attention on the positive and empowering ones.
- Don’t say negative things and put yourself down all the time, you’d never do that to a friend so why do that to yourself?
- Learn to say no with integrity and self-compassion. You are not obliged to do things you dislike – don’t say yes to the things you don’t want to do.
- Write down lists of your achievements, all your good qualities. Write down all the sincere reasons you love yourself. If this is difficult for you, think what a friend would say.
- Forgive yourself for your mistakes, your past and your failures. Forgive others because you are really forgiving yourself and giving yourself peace. You don’t have to say it to them in person (you can if you want to), you just have to really mean it from your heart, feel it and let go.
When we learn to love ourselves unconditionally and accept every aspect of ourselves, everything flows. First we need to be able to accept and love ourselves to love others, to be able to find purpose and meaning in our lives which will lead us to fulfilment and happiness in our lives.
It is only when we come from a loving place, true to our self, that we can find fulfilment, happiness and true success in life. So love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does.
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