Learning to love yourself is a journey.
Like many other spiritual journeys, self-love is not a destination, but a journey.
A journey during which you will hate yourself on some days. But if you are working on loving yourself more every day, you will learn to stop growing the hateful part of yourself.
Instead, you will learn to forgive and fall in love with yourself again.
But how do you start the journey of self-love?
How can you learn to love yourself?
Nobody can be perfect when it comes to this, since we all are human beings and we make mistakes.
But it’s still important to start to accept the not-so-loveable parts of ourselves and embrace ourselves for who we are.
Let’s see how can you learn to love yourself.
1. Accept yourself as a whole person
This is the most difficult thing to do for all of us.
No matter how much other people may appreciate us, we all have something we don’t like about ourselves. Be it our bodily features, or our character flaws, we are our own worst critics.
And this makes it hard to love ourselves fully as we always find fault within ourselves.
Have you ever found it hard to acknowledge compliments?
It’s because we see our own flaws and negative qualities through a magnifying glass.
We think others really don’t know our true character or flaws, so we are unable to accept compliments gracefully. So we deny the compliment saying “Oh, actually I never get it right”, or “Usually, I am not that good at this”, instead of saying a simple “thank you”.
When we become obsessive about the dark side of our character or bodily flaws, we are not fully accepting ourselves fully.
We are ashamed of it and we think we can’t love ourselves for who we are because we can’t come to terms with the fact that “my skin is dark” or “I am not good at —-”, etc.
But just imagine! That’s what makes you, you!
It’s exactly when your good qualities and the qualities you hate about yourself come together, you become _________(insert your name here).
So whenever someone says, “You are so thin”, learn to say, “Yes, I am. So what?”.
It’s an empowering way of thinking of yourself. Like you dismiss compliments, learn to dismiss things about yourself that you cannot change. And learn to accept compliments when they come.
Learn to say, “Yes I am, so what?”. Repeat this mantra often so that you learn to think that you become a whole person only when you include your negative qualities too.
And remember, these negative qualities are negative only when you compare them to the so-called standards set by society. Set your own bar on what is good and bad, and then you learn to love yourself more deeply.
2. Repeat Mantras
Affirmations or mantras are very helpful to change limiting beliefs into more empowering ones.
The negative beliefs we have about ourselves are also affirmations. These beliefs have been repeated so many times in your mind that they have now become firm beliefs.
So in order to change that, you have to reaffirm positive beliefs enough times to start believing them. Affirmations help to rewire your beliefs when you repeat them enough times.
Here are some self-love affirmations for you to say when doubt starts creeping in.
- I choose to stop apologizing for being me
I accept myself as I am
I am worthy of infinite love and compassion by just being me
I accept my limitations and choose to look at what I can do instead of what I can’t
I am not my mistakes, and I choose to see them as lessons
I embrace my flaws and I believe they make me complete
I deserve all the love and abundance in the world
My flaws make me human
My imperfections make me unique and whole
3. FORGIVE YOURSELF
For many of us, compassion comes easily when we are expressing it to others.
But when it comes to showing compassion to ourselves, we fail in it.
If you want to love yourself, forgiving yourself is a must. Beating yourself up about past mistakes will not help in loving yourself fully.
We all make mistakes and that’s how we learn lessons and grow. So, look for the lesson and move on with it. These lessons will help in the future.
4. EMBRACE YOUR FLAWS
Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you – George R R Martin
This is one of the hardest things to do as well. We see our flaws more than others with a magnifying glass and believe that everyone is focusing too much on our flaws as we do.
The reality is, everyone else is also focused on their own flaws as much as we are on ourselves.
And how much time do we spend thinking about other people’s mistakes? Or flaws?
Instead of self-loathing by agonizing over self-created fantasy ideals, try to openly see what you have and where you are.
It’s easy to get lost in the perfect images of celebrities created by the media. We don’t know how much make-up or editing they do to make those celebrities stand out and look so beautiful.
If we are to compare our own unedited versions with their edited versions, it surely can lead to low self-esteem and self-loathing.
So re-evaluate the standards you have been setting for yourself.
Are they unreal?
Do you really need to live up to those standards?
People show only their best pictures on social media. And they portray only the best parts of their lives on social media.
This is one reason I am using less and less social media now. I want to remind myself of the good things in my life. Social media prevents that.
And there is always a flipside to your flaws. If you think you talk less, it means you are a great listener and a thinker, and therefore have good wisdom to offer others.
I know this because I have always been criticized for my quiet nature. I have had to do a lot of work on myself to accept this “flaw” and embrace myself fully.
And only recently I realized it’s not a flaw as people made it to be. It’s just my personality and a lot of people are like me too. I now see my strengths because of the quiet nature and I constantly remind myself of it to love myself as I am.
So declare to yourself that, you love the good, bad and ugly in you, no matter what. The more you say it to yourself, the more you can identify your strengths. And the more you will be able to use your strengths to your advantage.
That being said, all of your flaws are not permanent. There are certain things you can improve and work on.
5. KEEP TOXIC PEOPLE AWAY
Are there people in your life for whom whatever you do is not good enough?
Do you feel that they constantly make you feel bad about yourselves?
Keep your distance from them by setting firm boundaries. Choose to spend less or no time with people who body-shame you or shame yourself in any other way.
Instead, keep people who love you for who you are close by.
Even when you fail to see your worth, these people can remind you of your qualities.
They love you despite your flaws, and that’s a blessing.
6. NURTURE YOUR BODY
Nurturing the body you are given is a part of loving yourself. Focus on the external appearance less and focus more on keeping your body healthy.
If getting into shape is important for you, do it by all means. But comparing yourself with someone else’s body and feeling bad about it will make you sad.
Think about how your body heals from all diseases and helps you walk on this earth and experience the beauty of life.
Think about how much mental torture and hatred (by ourselves) has gone through and yet it is still there for you.
Express gratitude for your body even though your body parts are not in the perfect shape and have the best features.
Stop comparing your body with others and embrace your imperfections. Change what you can, but stop putting pressure on yourself.
Nurture your body with lots of love, care, and healthy food. Indulge in self-care activities and preserve all the goodness of your body.
7. TREAT YOURSELF LIKE HOW YOU WOULD TREAT OTHERS
Since we are our own worst critics, we treat ourselves harshly. We let ourselves say negative things about ourselves and view ourselves with low self-esteem.
To accept your flaws easily, think about how you treat your loved ones. Do you love your daughter less because she gained a lot of weight? Do you love your spouse less because he is not tall?
We all have certain beauty standards but we still love and accept people despite their shortcomings.
Do the same with yourself. You are hearing what you talk to yourself. So let the self-talk be respectful and loving.
8. STOP SEEKING APPROVAL
When you love yourself for who you are, you do not need anyone else’s approval to be confident in your own skin.
When your self-worth is low, you seek other people’s validation to feel loved. You tend to become a people-pleaser so that you don’t have to lose the love and attention of others.
Again, it all comes down to accepting yourself fully with all your flaws and limitations. When you are okay with how you are, you will feel more confident and stop seeking other’s approval.
If you choose a path that makes you happy and if it is against someone’s will, choose what feels right in your gut. Trust your intuition and live the way that makes you feel authentic.
When you start firmly believing that “You are enough”, you will learn to stop seeking other people’s approval. You will become more tuned to your inner compass which knows where you want to go.
For the same reason, stop following the crowd and believe in yourself. Find out your limiting beliefs and do the inner work until you love yourself so much that you never want to compare yourself with others.
9. INVEST IN YOURSELF
I have seen so many people who forget to live for themselves by constantly serving others. They don’t appreciate themselves and they don’t love them enough to spend money or time for themselves.
They buy gifts for others, but when it comes to splurging money on themselves, they suddenly start feeling unworthy.
There is a lot of resistance when thinking about buying a course that will help you change your life, or getting a beauty treatment that will enhance your looks.
Start telling yourself “I am worthy of all the good in the world” and “I am worthy of all the pampering I can get”.
Even though you will feel uncomfortable initially, you will get used to the new way of thinking and the new way of appreciating your worth.
10. CELEBRATE YOUR WINS
Another way to fall in love with yourself is by celebrating the achievements – big and small – you have had in your life so far.
Have you made anyone smile?
Have you acted on a decision despite feeling fear?
Have you changed a habit and replaced it with a better one?
Have you helped anyone in need?
Have you worked hard for any goal?
Regardless of whether you have won or not, celebrate your hard work. Pat yourself on the back and tell yourself how proud you are.
Celebrate yourself by expressing gratitude for being born as you. Count your qualities and make them the reason to fall in love with yourself over and over again.
You are doing well. No matter what, you have a purpose to play here and you are doing good in it.
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