How to Love Yourself

How to Love Yourself

Loving yourself makes loving others easier. It makes life easier – without as much focus on looking for acceptance and reinforcement from the people in your life, you have more energy and love to give others. Here are tips on how to love yourself. 

Be kind to yourself.

Nobody is perfect, but the imperfections we tend to gloss over in our loved ones become insurmountable personal failings when we recognize them in ourselves. Leg go of the little things you wouldn’t pick on in your best friend, and be your own best friend.

But be strict with yourself as well.

If you’re a parent, you know one of the hardest lines to negotiate is being loving and being strict. My boys are little, and cute, and are starting to work out how to use the cuteness to get what they want. But to be a good parent, I have to say no a lot of the time, and just deal with the tantrums or the pouting as a result. Don’t let yourself get away with everything you want to do in the moment. Just like you call your kid out on acting like a spoiled brat for their behavior, you’re going to have to call yourself out occasionally, too. 

Exemplify what you value in others.

Think about what you admire about the people in your life you love. Is it their kindness? Their desire to learn? Their optimism? If you see it and love it in someone else, then it’s an important quality to you. Find that quality in yourself, and if you think it’s lacking, then cultivate it. 

Learn to enjoy your own company.

It’s so easy to distract yourself these days. We have entertainment in the form of tv, internet, music, whatever you can think of, at our fingertips at all times. If you can’t remember the last time you just sat with your own thoughts, alone, without any form of distraction, then start doing it as an intentional practice. You can call it meditation, relaxation, me-time…whatever feels right. 

Learn how to love yourself

Let go of comparison.

There’s always going to be someone who is a LOT better at something you care about than you are. Sometimes being aware of that is beneficial – it drives competition, for example, and makes watching sports all the more interesting as a result. But if your form of comparison with others is making you judge yourself harshly rather than inspiring you, all it will lead to is self-pity. Remember what you love about yourself, admire what you see in others, and don’t conflate the two.

Practice gratitude.

You will love your body, your mind, and your heart more if you begin thanking yourself every day. Thank your body for what it can do. Be grateful for your ability to learn and grow and think. Write down lists of everything that’s wonderful about yourself and your life. It may feel silly and self-serving when you first start doing it, but you’ll be amazed at the difference it will make to how you feel about yourself.

Love more.

When I was pregnant a second time, I sometimes would think about just how much and how fiercely I loved my son, and wondered how I would be able to share that love and emotion with my second child. As soon as I gave birth I realized the unconditional love you have for your children isn’t a shared love. Your heart expands and you just love more. Letting your heart open to love more – more people, more fiercely, just more – will only help you learn how to love yourself more as well.

Do good things.

Donate to charity, give your time to someone who needs it. Smile at people. See where and how you can help others and then do it. Doing good things makes you feel good about yourself. That’s okay – enjoying how you feel when you are kind and giving is not the same as being boastful and proud.

Forgive yourself.

While you’re at it, forgive others too. If there’s something you’ve said, or done, or not said, or not done, and you just can’t stop torturing yourself over it, ask yourself if there is any way to change it. If there’s not, then what will be accomplished by continuing to obsess about it? Nothing. If someone did or said something that affected you negatively, does it make you feel better to dwell on it, think about it constantly, or harbor a grudge? Does it solve anything? Nope. You can try to learn from it, sure, but if it’s eating you up inside and making you feel negative, it’s hurting you. Just let go.

Be your own advocate.

If something is important to you, speak up and be passionate. Don’t put up with being treated badly by anyone. Communicate what you need and want to make your life the best it can be. Go after your dreams. Inspire others. Inspire yourself!

How to love yourself more

 

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