How to Learn to Love Yourself
Steps to take to love yourself
Self love is a concept that is tossed around with ease. We can all agree that self love is a good idea. But how does one do it? How does one put self love into practice?
“If you are unable to love yourself, you are unable to truly love other people.” ~Jackie VanCampen on @JustStayCurious
There’s no time like the present. Don’t wait another day to start loving yourself, actively and intentionally. Make the decision that you are worth the effort and get going! “If you are unable to love yourself, you are unable to truly love other people.” Jackie VanCampen, author and coach.
Start with kindness and forgiveness
Be kind to yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re 29, 33, or 58. Today is the day that you have decided to start. Do not beat yourself up about the fact that you didn’t start yesterday, or last year, or ten years ago. Be kind. Congratulate yourself on your decision. Start thinking about ways you can treat yourself with loving kindness.
Never underestimate the power of affirmation. Identify three true and positive statements about yourself. Write them down and repeat them daily. If you need help with this, try these:
· “Today, I am treating myself with kindness.”
· “Today, I love myself.”
· “Today, I am taking care of myself by eating good food / meditating / exercising / whatever.”
As you get used to daily affirmations, write your own.
Engage in life enhancing activities
Life enhancing activities include healthy eating, exercise, yoga, meditation, chanting, practicing religious or spiritual beliefs. Make yourself a list of life enhancing activities that are attractive to you. Make sure the list includes things that are doable. Your list should include identifiable activities in three different areas, physical, mental, and spiritual. Make your list long enough that you have a buffet of options to choose from each day. Love yourself enough to actively choose at least one activity from each category each day.
Here are a few activities from each category to get you started:
Go for a walk;
Take a swim;
Go for a run;
Work on a crossword puzzle;
Play a board game such as Scrabble;
Participate in guided visualization.
Read a religious text;
Explore your interests
Perhaps you’ve been so busy working and paying bills that you have forgotten your interests. Take some time to rediscover what you enjoy.
Be willing to surrender to the now
Don’t waste your life longing for the past or wishing for the future. Surrender to the now. Right now. What do you currently have in your present life? Love yourself enough to take joy in your fluffy towels, your pretty orange plates, the flowers in the front hall, your family, your friends, all your blessings.
Don’t forget to be patient
You will not love yourself perfectly today. You will not love yourself perfectly any day. But you will get better at it. This is a learned skill set that requires conscious choices every single day. (See, “Be kind to yourself”)
You will not love yourself perfectly today. You will not love yourself perfectly any day. But you will get better at it.
Honor yourself and your space
Loving yourself includes honoring yourself and your space. There are many ways to accomplish this. The easiest, and most basic, is simply including, “I honor myself” in your affirmations. But you should also honor yourself with your actions. Make sure you have clean, comfortable clothes to wear each day. Consider your space – your office space, your home space. Can you add something to honor your space? A lavender plant? A small photo of a beach that you love? Loving yourself includes honoring yourself in the spaces you spend the most time in.
Consider your words. Complaining does not contribute to loving acceptance of any person or situation. Before you speak, ask yourself about your purpose. If your purpose is to degrade, or to be disparaging, or to add to a sense of ill will, stop. Identify something positive in the situation if you can, and focus on that. If there is nothing positive in the situation, pivot and focus on something else. Speak, or don’t speak. But shift your attention to a positive, loving space.
Police your thoughts
You are in charge of what you think about. If you find yourself spiraling into negative thoughts that are inconsistent with self love, stop yourself. If something’s bothering you and you can fix it, then fix it and stop letting it bother you. If you can’t fix it, then stop letting it bother you. You can’t fix it. Leave it alone.
“Play” can mean different things to different people. It doesn’t matter if play means swinging on a swing set, or solitaire, window shopping, or reading a trashy romance novel. Figure out what play means to you, and do some of that every day.