If I asked you to name all the things you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?
Loving yourself is one of the most important decisions – and actions – you have to make. What makes it critical is that it needs to be put into action every day, even (or especially) during those days when you despise yourself.
Loving yourself is the foundation of your being. It will affect every other decision you make regardless if the outcome is good or bad. It has a direct impact on all aspects of your life – your presence, your relationship and social interactions with others, your hobbies and free time, your faith, and most importantly, your future.
And in fact, your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every relationship you will have with other people.
The Struggle is Real!
Love yourself! – Easier said than done. It’s easy to tell someone to “love yourself,” but it’s a lot more difficult to show them how to do it. Perhaps, this is because we all have our own individuality. What makes one person happy can make another person miserable. Also, there are several fundamental influences in your life that help in cultivating the relationship you have with yourself, such as:
The dynamics you have with your family plays a crucial part in having a commitment to love, respect, and accept yourself. Unfortunately many people grow up parentless. But a parent’s love is a critical aspect in the development, or lack thereof, of your loving yourself.
As a child, you look up to your parents, and when they give you the kind of love that helps you thrive in any environment you’re in, loving yourself becomes second nature.
It gets very difficult when there’s no foundation of this love and support from your family. That’s when self-doubt and self-neglect kick in. And with these negative feelings, loving yourself can be seen as a superficial feeling, or worse, something you see as only those who are “worthy” can have.
As wonderful and enriching as social interaction is, it has a very dark side. At times, society stresses that your worth is found in the ideas and obsessions of the culture.
These include modern technology, prominence, outer beauty, sex, money, and romantic entanglements. These obsessions are part of the external world. If you heavily rely on any of these to gauge your worth, you will never be capable of loving yourself.
These influences can make or break your love affair with yourself. However, even if they serve as foundations of your self-worth, they’re not the groundwork. The basis should come from within you.
To feel worthy of self-love demands that you see yourself with awareness and respect. Love and acceptance must always come from within.
So, How Deep is Your Love?
For some, self-love comes easy. For others, it’s a constant battle that must be won. Regardless of what category you fall into, here are some steps on how you can gain more perspective in your journey to accept and love yourself.
- Begin and end your day with love.
When you wake up in the morning and before going to bed at night, remind yourself of your worth. Think about how valuable you are to God. Think of those who love you and who are happy you’re in their lives. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or not. In fact, your relationship status must not ever be a gauge on how you love yourself. Instead, be grateful for the people and things in your life that bring out the best in you, make you laugh, and make you love and feel loved.
- Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is tough one for many people because jealousy and insecurity are two of the hardest negative emotions to handle. However, they CAN be handled better and they can be obliterated into nothingness or transformed into positive feelings. When you compare yourself to others, you deliberately let jealousy and insecurity knock your walls down. Remember that even the most successful person failed at one time or another. People achieve success and experience failure at different rates.
- Expand your interests.
You’ll never know if there are other things or activities that can bring additional joy in your life if you don’t expand your interests. Even if you have a perpetually hectic schedule or a busy family life, or are simply living under a tight budget, you still have the right to an awesome, enriched life. Don’t feel guilty if you take time for yourself to learn a new language or try a new recipe. Do things you’ve never done before and improve your life with new experiences. I know I do.
- Let go.
There are moments, people, and things in your life that you simply need to let go of. It won’t do you any good to hang onto them when they’re dragging you down a path that isn’t good for your soul. This is also pertinent to the circumstances that you can’t control. Stop fighting with yourself and wishing that you would’ve done this or that if you can’t do anything about it anymore. Breathe, let go, and move forward.
- Have patience.
You are a work in progress. There may be times when you don’t always love yourself – 100% with no questions asked. This could be due to the fact that you have made a terrible a mistake or hurt someone. It’s understandable and okay to dislike your behavior because of this. But you also need the patience to take a step back from the negativity, forgive yourself for what you’ve done, and learn from it so you can love yourself again. Let go of that urgent feeling that you have to be on track all the time.
- Appreciate what you have.
Teach yourself to be grateful for what you have, especially for those you take for granted. This involves more than just your belongings and material things. Rather, appreciate your own beauty, your talents, and your brilliance. Appreciate and believe that even if you’re imperfect your road ahead will be drastically different.
Loving yourself is seeing your worth. And your worth comes from God who has given you an inner goodness and a love that you can give to others.
Even with our individuality, we are interconnected with one another. When you learn to love yourself, you are able to love me. And when I love myself, I have the ability to love you. This is indeed the beauty of experiencing and expressing love together.