As the popular Whitney Houston song goes, “learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all”. But how exactly do you love yourself? Does it mean giving yourself a hug? Sometimes, the answer is a surprising yes.
Loving oneself means accepting yourself as you are, regardless of your age, weight, height, educational attainment and sexual preference. You can’t expect other people to love and accept you, if you can’t do it for yourself first.
- Stop with the negative judgment. The most important thing you can do right now is to stop judging yourself so harshly. Stop the negative self talk. Set aside thoughts like being fat, ugly, short, unattractive, insecure, loser and all other negative adjectives. You would never say these things to another person, so why the heck would you say it to yourself? You need to create a new dialogue in your head that affirms you as a good person capable of many great things and worthy of love.
- Focus on the positive. So what if you’re a size 22 and haven’t had a date in a year? Think about what makes you great as a person. Are you thoughtful, generous and kind to strangers? There is something good in everyone so think about what is good about yourself. Do you have a smile that lights up your face? Create a positive mantra that you can say to yourself over and over again until you finally believe it. Try “I am a loving person capable of many great things” or “I deserve all the love, happiness and success the world can give”. If you can’t think of anything good to say about yourself, remember that just the fact that you were born makes you worthy to be loved by yourself. Even without having to do anything, it is your birthright to love yourself and love others.
- Put your energy towards things that matter. Focus on making yourself the best person you can be, from the inside out. Start with your attitude, spirituality and personality. Rather than working yourself to an early grave thinking people will love you if you are successful, do things that fulfill you as a person, such as writing, doing good for others and spending time with your loved ones.
- Learn to say yes to yourself first. Don’t put your needs on the backburner. You need to take care of yourself first even if it means saying no to others for now. Don’t volunteer for something if you know your body needs to rest or you’ll get burned out. Make the time for yourself to exercise, get enough rest and do the things that you want to do. It can’t always be about work, family and the community. Go ahead and spend your bonus money on those pair of shoes you’ve always wanted. It’s ok to say no to others every now and then. You don’t always have to try and please others to be accepted. Never compromise your health for the sake of something else. If you’re not happy and healthy, you won’t be around for others to love.
- Treat yourself well. If you have a guest in your home, you will make sure that he is well fed and rested. You will make sure that he has enough entertainment, and has an enjoyable time with you. This is how you should treat yourself. Don’t go cheap on yourself or sell yourself short. It’s ok to be good to yourself. Make your surroundings safe, calm and relaxing. Indulge in your creative passions. Do things that make you feel good and bring joy to your heart.
Loving yourself will come more easily the more you do it. It may feel
weird and you may think you are being selfish, but there’s nothing
selfish about taking care of yourself so you can be well enough to love
others in the world.