So, Here’s the jackpot question of your life… do you love yourself??? I know, it’s a loaded question that many of us would answer with a “yeah, but” or maybe even a flat out “no”! And if you said “yes” to this, you’ve either done A LOT of work or you’re not being honest with yourself!
You see, we love ourselves naturally for a very short period in our lives! Then the expectations of society and others come in and we suddenly begin to feel less than, self-conscious, and inept. If you are raising or have raised children, you see it happen right before your eyes. You see the moment when they become afraid to do something for fear that it won’t be good enough or they’ll be rejected. And you see that fear grow throughout their young lives until it tears away at their perception of themselves. It seems like self-doubt creeps in in the middle of the night and steals that innocence and knowledge that they are completely loveable and amazing! How, though, can we prevent this or even reverse it later in life? How can we develop the self-confidence, acceptance, and feelings of worthiness we once had?
What is Self-Love
Let’s start here… what is self-love? Have you ever thought about what it really takes to love yourself? I don’t mean to practice self-care, eat healthy or pursue your wildest dreams. Those are the results of self-love, not what creates it! Self-love is multi-faceted! Some of us are amazing at some facets and struggle mightily with others. No one has it mastered 100%, 100% of the time. We’re all works in progress! But if you focus on developing these components of self-love, you’ll get there, you’ll reclaim your love for yourself! And let me tell you… it’s SO worth it!
Why are we so hard on ourselves? We all have strengths and weaknesses, struggles and challenges, talents and gifts! They are not the same as others! And guess what, someone else probably longs for yours!
Learn to accept and embrace your natural ways. Give yourself permission to struggle or have weaknesses. Give yourself permission to be far from perfection! And don’t just stop there, embrace your uniqueness!
Stop being so focused on everything you think is wrong with you or falls short and focus instead on all of your amazing attributes. Remind yourself that there is only one you! That you deserve to be accepted.
Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation or settling! It doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you’d like to work on. No skills you’d like to develop or things about yourself that you’d like to improve. But anything you choose to change or work on MUST come from a place of loving acceptance! Not from rejection and hostility! You will be far more effective at making change if you are doing it from a place of love!
Seriously! Let it go! You can spend your whole life in misery blaming yourself or others for your lot in life! It does nothing to enrich you, make you a better person, or improve your life.
The truth is that we are typcially harder on ourselves and slower to forgive ourselves than we are anyone else. I know right now you’re probably thinking of an ex who would never admit they did anything wrong. How could they struggle with self-forgiveness if they always blamed everyone else and held grudges to the end? Well, let me tell you, people who do this struggle the most with self-forgiveness. They’re just trying to play a head game with themselves. If they don’t admit they’re wrong, they don’t have to worry about forgiveness which they feel completely unworthy of. That doesn’t mean that deep down they don’t know they’re wrong! It just means they’re fragile and incapable of admitting it to others.
Let’s be honest, we all make mistakes, we all make poor choices, we all hurt people we love sometimes. We all do all sorts of stuff we regret and need to forgive ourselves for. But we tend to hold ourselves to a standard that isn’t even human! Would you forgive someone else for this travesty? Well then, forgive yourself!
Give yourself permission to make mistakes and poor choices. Call them lessons and move on! Stop beating yourself up! All that does is prevent you from showing up in the world as your best self and that’s a shame! There’s only one you and the world needs you!
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve asked someone “would you treat a friend this way”. Or even “would you treat your worst enemy this way?!?!” We tend to be SO cruel to ourselves!
What would happen if you gave yourself the same compassion and consideration you give everyone else? If instead of thinking “why are you such a screw up” you thought “you rock, you tried your hardest and put yourself out there and you’ll do it again” or “you deserve a break, this is difficult!” I’ll tell you what, you’d get a lot more accomplished! You’d chase your dreams! You’d set the world on fire!
If you could find a way to be compassionate to yourself, to stop judging yourself so harshly, and to give yourself a little (or a lot) of credit it would change your life!
So, tell me, what would you say to or do for a friend in the situation you’re in, dealing with the circumstances you are? I’ll bet you would show them compassion! How’s about you do that for yourself from now on!
UGH!!! I still struggle with this one and if you’re a recovering perfectionist like me I’m sure you do too!
Have you figured out yet that Rome wasn’t built in a day? I often forget that things take time! I’m not going to be able accomplish everything I want to right now and guess what, that doesn’t mean I’ve failed, or I’m unworthy, or not enough! It means I’m human and bound by, you know, the laws of nature (just like everyone else)!
Give yourself permission not to be perfect! Be proud of your growth and progress! We are all on our own path and we need to encourage ourselves! No amount of haranguing, frustration, or self-flagellation is going to get you there faster! If anything, it will derail you!
Be as patient with yourself as you would be with a child learning to walk! Would you be berating them and angry or encouraging and kind? Yeah, that’s what I thought! Now do that for yourself too!
Not just an AWESOME Aretha Franklin song! It’s a way of life!
Now, let me be clear… I’m not about to go into an 80,s after school special type lecture about self-respect. That’s SO not the point! The point is, have enough self-respect to avoid doing things that are harmful to you! Have enough self-respect to take care of yourself!
Sometimes this might relate to something physical like nourishing your body or exercising. It could even mean quitting smoking or drinking. But sometimes it will also relate to something mental or spiritual. Like upholding boundaries, saying no, and setting aside the time you need for self-improvement!
You deserve your respect! And there is truth to the saying that if you don’t respect yourself, no one else will respect you!
Let’s get real! Your first loyalty should always be to YOURSELF! Do NOT betray yourself for any reason!
There’s a reason why terms like loyalty and integrity are thrown together so often. Integrity means sticking to what you believe in! You should ALWAYS have your own back! You should ALWAYS be your biggest cheerleader! And you should ALWAYS believe in yourself more than anyone else!
Now, don’t get it twisted, loyalty doesn’t mean always thinking you’re right and never self-evaluating! Don’t use Real Housewives or middle school standards to define loyalty! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking people who are loyal always agree with you or support whatever bad decision you’re making!
Your loyalty is to your truest and best self! If you aren’t being your best, if you’re letting yourself down, if you have a dream you’re not pursuing, be loyal enough to make a change! Show up for yourself and say “HEY! I believe in you… this isn’t your best! Get on it!”
Loyalty doesn’t always feel good but when we are loyal, we bring out the best in ourselves and those around us!
While we’re on the subject of loyalty, let’s talk about another heavy hitter, honesty!
Listen, I love my body! It’s done amazing things and it’s the vessel that carries all my brilliance in this world. I’ve learned to embrace it, even if it isn’t the social ideal (whatever that is, it seems to change daily). That said, if I’m completely honest, for optimal health I have a few lbs to lose. Anyone out there feel me?!?! Sometimes I don’t make the healthiest choices for my body. It’s something I’m working on and since I’m also working on patience, I’m proud of my progress and know it will take time.
Loving yourself doesn’t mean lying to yourself! It doesn’t mean that you pretend that everything is perfect (see, there’s that word again). If you love yourself you can be honest about your weaknesses, struggles, and challenges so you can make necessary adjustments and grow!
Do you know what else honesty means? It means no false modesty! There are SO many incredible amazing things about me! See, I’m not even going to attempt to be humble here! There’s nothing wrong with being honest about your strengths and talents too and being proud of yourself!
So, toot your own horn as loud as you want, especially to yourself! Celebrate your uniqueness, honestly!
Have you ever seen those workouts where people jump on the giant box? You know, where they’re just standing in front of it, jump in the air and BAM land right on top perfectly? Yeah, that’s definitely an example of physically trusting yourself! And NO, I’m not doing that or suggesting you do! I’m pretty honest about my talents and that’s not one of them!
I will however trust myself to do other things! And not just physically but mentally as well!
So, let me ask you, do you trust yourself? When you have a thought or idea or something in your gut tells you something, do you dismiss it or honor it? Do you mentally talk yourself out of it or do you believe in yourself!
Sure, we all struggle with that sometimes but that shouldn’t be our typical response! We would avoid a lot of pain and strife if we trusted ourselves! And if we reminded ourselves that we are trustworthy! Your inner voice is your truest and most faithful friend! Lean in! Listen! Trust it!
Oh, and if your inner voice IS telling you to jump on that box, DO IT!!!
Guess what, love isn’t just a feeling, it’s an action!
To grow in love, we need to nurture it and ourselves! We need to commit ourselves to it and work on it! It takes intention, effort and time! It doesn’t just happen overnight!
It was a long journey from early childhood to now, the point where you struggle to love yourself fully and completely. And it won’t be a short trip back! But it will be worthwhile! Because when you love yourself and I mean truly and completely love yourself, nothing can stop you! You accept yourself; you forgive yourself, you’re patient and compassionate, honest and loyal, and you trust yourself! What can’t you do if you can do all of that! What could possibly stand in the way when you love yourself enough to nurture the very best you? Enough to show up in the world authentically! Enough to show up for yourself wholly!
I’m going to say… NOTHING!!! YOU’RE UNSTOPPABLE!
Share this with all your friends and people you love! Inspire them to nurture self-love and conquer their dreams!
I really need to do more of all the things you’ve mentioned above. I do all of them for everyone else, even people I don’t like sometimes! And then I leave myself behind. I’m sharing this post to read it again later for when I need reminding 🙂
It’s so easy to fall into that habit! I hope having read this makes you more mindful of taking care of and prioritizing yourself. I’m so glad you found it helpful!