Do you love yourself? Really give it some thought. Do you feel unconditional love for the person in the mirror? Do you feel compassion for all that that person has been through AND embrace all of their flaws? And do you celebrate all of their gifts, talents and accomplishments?
If you do… Keep on keepin on! That’s AWESOME!
But the reality is… many of us don’t. Many of us struggle to feel this kind of love for ourselves. And it’s not always because we don’t want to. Some of us just don’t know how… and some of us have a hard enough time getting past the things we “hate” about ourselves that the thought of “loving” ourselves can sometimes feel like an unrealistic dream.
For me… hate was never really the problem to be honest. For me it was apathy. For years I just felt apathetic towards myself and was completely unaware of how much I was truly neglecting my relationship with ME. My dreams, my goals, my thoughts, my desires, my self awareness. I had just kind of let all of them go on autopilot. I stopped checking in with myself basically. I stopped questioning if I was OK because I was focused so much on my family and other things going on outside of me. I didn’t understand what self-love looked like, nor did I focus on making it a priority. It seemed selfish to me in a way. I even cringe a little as I write that- because that mindset is one that held me back for so long!
I grew up a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and my belief that I am a child of God has always been something I live by and trust in. But at some point in my life I started forgetting that this belief shouldn’t ONLY be a belief. It should also be put into ACTION. An action taken by ME. I say that because for a long time I believed that much of my worthiness and lovability had to come from other people validating it. Like many people, I depended on other’s actions and words to help me feel that love for myself.
I’m so thankful I was wrong about that concept. And I’m even more thankful that I finally REALIZED I was totally wrong about it! I found help and guidance through amazing life coaches and other empowering women who at one point in their lives were in the same place I was mentally and emotionally. Below I’ll share some incredibly useful things that I’ve learned in my journey with Self-Love.
3 THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT SELF LOVE:
- SELF-LOVE STARTS IN YOUR MIND: Just like most of the things I write about… it’s mental. Your mind holds the key that unlocks this feeling of self-love. I promise.
- SELF-LOVE IS NOT SELFISH: It’s actually the exact opposite. I have found that when you love yourself you actually think about yourself much less! Because you stop putting so much energy toward worrying about you and your own flaws, and you start being able to put that energy and focus into loving others more.
- SELF-LOVE MEANS MAKING YOURSELF A PRIORITY: When you make a To Do list of things that HAVE to get taken care of, YOU should be on that list! Whatever it is that your mind, spirt and body need… making it a priority and seeing it as something that’s necessary is key! Otherwise it’s just too easy to push aside.
5 WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF-LOVE: (some of the ways I love to do it)
- POSITIVE THOUGHTS & SELF TALK: Remember how I said it all starts in your mind? It’s because it truly does. The way we THINK about ourselves shows up in the way we treat ourselves (and others)…it also comes out in the things we SAY about ourselves. Choosing to be aware of your thinking is the first step toward changing your thoughts about yourself and redirecting your brain to more love and positivity. I’m telling you this is powerful!
- MAKE A LIST: Get out your journal or even just a piece of paper! Now, make a list of 50 things you appreciate about yourself. Seriously, do it! It may sound like a lot but I bet you will come up with things more easily than you thought you would. And remember this is YOUR list so it can include whatever you want. It doesn’t just have to be your gifts and talents. I once read a list by a woman who got creative and put all kinds of good things that she appreciates about herself like, “I laugh out loud at movies, I sing in my car, I am not a perfectionist, I know how to love difficult people, I am at peace with my past.” See how she went deeper and didn’t only list surface level stuff? This is such a good exercise for your brain and it’ll actually help you with changing your thought process about yourself!
- DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE “LITTLE THINGS”: Things like making your bed every day, organizing your master closet, taking a shower and getting dressed every morning, eating well and being active, etc. There was a long period of time where these things didn’t really matter too much to me. I just lived my life day to day not giving any priority to these things, and all the while I had no idea how much it was contributing to the mental clutter inside my mind. Not to mention the feeling of apathy I couldn’t seem to escape. Now I see it so, so clearly. Little things can make a world of difference!
- MAKE TIME EVERY WEEK FOR YOUR “THERAPY”: Whatever it is! I have several things that I pick between that I feel are therapeutic for me and feed my spirit. Reading is one of them. Painting watercolors is another. Sewing is another. Writing has been a big one for me this year especially. Whatever it is…Set aside time to do it and DO IT! Even if it’s actual therapy you’re needing. Do it! You are worth it. AND by deliberately doing these things every week you are conditioning yourself to believe that you are important. 🙂
- BUILD YOUR FAITH: Having faith in someone or something means “believing in or trusting in” that person or that thing right? And often it means doing so without any proof. Many of us believe and have faith in God even though we can’t physically see him or even though we weren’t physically there to witness his miracles we read of in the scriptures. You can apply this same faith to the concept that you are a child of God and you are 100% loveable! Whether or not it seems true or evident to you at this point… you can STILL believe in it!
You can believe that you are capable of anything you want to achieve mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. Even if you’ve never achieved it before. BELIEVING in yourself even if the proof isn’t there yet. BELIEVING that you can achieve “that goal” even when there’s no evidence yet. BELIEVING that you can love yourself even though you’ve never fully experienced it before. BELIEVING you can heal from whatever it is you might be struggling with in your life right now. BELIEVING in what’s possible for you. That’s part of building your faith. That’s part of Self-Love.
“Learning to love yourself is one of the most important things you will ever do in this life… and one of the most important things you could teach anyone else.” -MK
What are some ways that you practice self-love?