“What is it to be loved? To be seen, to be recognised, to feel like you’re no longer alone.” Red Sparrow.
We often go searching for love and recognition from others, sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. We can also go looking for love substitutes through activities, patterns and purchases, not all of them healthy or effective. But real love, true love, comes from within. Once you understand how to love yourself, then finding love in the external world not only becomes easy, it’s highly rewarding and completely unshakable.
I already like myself, most of the time
Liking yourself and loving yourself are very different things. You like yourself when you can see your good traits or you are doing well or looking fantastic. However, this doesn’t apply to your weaknesses or when you are struggling to achieve something, or just making a massive mess of things, those times you don’t like yourself, in fact you might even say you hate yourself and where you are at.
If left unchecked those times of not liking yourself can lead to some self-destructive thoughts or habits that can spiral out of control, like sabotaging relationships, falling into depression or participating in harmful activities, because you genuinely believe you are not worthy of happiness, that you are not good enough, that nobody will love you.
And the truth is you are amazing, you are worthy of incredible love and abundance and you are most definitely loveable. When you love yourself deeply and honestly then you can see how true that is, you can experience a genuine self-appreciation, acceptance and gratitude for everything around you. How much better would life be with that?
Loving yourself is unconditional.
Unconditional love means that no matter what kind of day you are having, even when you are feeling pudgy, have frizzy hair or are snapping at people over minor issues, you know you will be okay, you look forward to tomorrow when you can go to the hairdresser or feel better with a good night’s sleep. It’s those days when you might not like your behaviour you can still love yourself and understand, it’s just a bad day. You know it doesn’t make you a bad person or unlovable to others or not worthy and you can make correcting decisions to get to a better place. You just don’t put any meaning to it and accept it for what it is.
Basically, when you love yourself you become your own best friend and you will never feel alone.
And all this is important because no one will ever love you as perfectly as you can love yourself. So many people live in abusive, addictive and painful relationships, simply because they don’t realise that to find love in the world, they first need to have self-love.
You can pour all kinds of energy into a relationship with someone else but unless you love yourself, you probably won’t get much back. You’ll feel drained, used and taken for granted and crushed when the relationship is over.
Loving yourself takes one thing, a shift in your mindset.
Having a life coach is a great way to rapidly change your mindset. A coach will help you identify the traps and patterns you are falling into a lot faster than you can discover for yourself. They can show you simple and fast ways to turn your negative self talk and thoughts around and catch yourself when you are beating yourself up. A life coach is all about helping you discover the great person you are inside.
Here are some ways you can start to catch yourself and stop those old habits that lead to self-depreciation, and also some ways to strengthen your relationship with yourself.
1. Let go of judgement
If you notice yourself criticising other people, even if it’s just in your head, stop and think it over. Is it really up to you what a stranger wears to the supermarket or what the person in front of you in line orders for lunch? If you notice yourself criticising others it’s a sure sign that you are criticising yourself as well. Cut out the criticism. Find positives in everything you see and think instead, ‘Good on you for having a go.’ When you start to turn off judgment of others you will expand what’s possible for yourself as well.
2. Speak with kindness
If you think about the way you talk about yourself in your mind, would you say that about your best friend or a loved one? Our internal voice can be our harshest critics and most unrelenting bully. Start to pay attention to the words you use and the way your talk to yourself. Stand up for yourself when you hear yourself say something nasty, just like you would if someone said that about your best friend. In a short time the negative words will stop.
3. Live in balance
Healthy food, great sleep, relaxation and exercise are all essential for a well-balanced life. Make sure you are getting enough of the things you need and make time to look after yourself. This includes personal appearance. Bathing, preening and wearing clothes you love and feel comfortable in are just as important as eating your greens.
4. Acknowledge your choices
Every choice you have made to date has led to you being who you are today; this amazing, wise and unique person. Understanding that those choices, the good and the bad, the wonderful and the reckless, have all created you. Accepting that also allows you to take full responsibility for the choices you have right now and to help make decisions that empower you and create abundance.
5. Love your inner child
Place a photo of yourself when you were young where you can see it every day. Maybe you as a baby, or as a five- year-old or as a teenager, or maybe all three. Surround this picture with loving words or pictures you like. Love this child and think wonderful things about them whenever you look at the photo. Be grateful for your journey and what they have taught you and feel their presence in your heart as an adult.
6. Practice gratitude
Have a diary or notebook to record the things you are grateful for each day. Make sure you include something new every night before bed. They can be large or small things. Remember to say why you are grateful for this. The more you practice gratitude, the more things you will find to be grateful for.
7. Fill your love tank
Do things that you love, that fill you with joy and give you pleasure. Let go of any guilt surrounding these activities and revel in every minute. Take a bath, go down a waterslide, sleep under the stars, have a picnic on the beach, climb a tree, go to a spa for a treatment session, dance to music or put your feet up and do absolutely nothing. Your choices are limitless, no matter your age or ability. Be bold about spending time alone, even if that means going for a nice dinner or watching a movie by yourself, it’s absolutely okay!
When you can truly see yourself and embrace everything that you are, that’s self-love. It starts by seeing your faults and scars as the strengths and life shaping lessons that have created an amazing you. Take the time to know yourself, see yourself and recognise your own worth and importance. When you accomplish that you will never be alone.
And keep in mind the whole time that you deserve this, because you do!