You've probably heard this countless times before but when we learn to love ourselves, we learn to teach others how to love us in return. Self love is the gift that keeps on giving.
Whether or not you want to believe it, if you don't love yourself, no one else can truly love you. Certainly you can be in relationships and experience varieties of emotions similar to love, but if you don't love yourself, if you don't respect yourself, I can guarantee you that no one else can really, truly love or respect you either.
How do I know this? From experience. The older I get, the more I get to know myself, and, much to my surprise, the more I actually love myself. And, not surprisingly, the more I grow to love myself and value my place in this world, the more love and acceptance I experience in my relationships with others. It may seem nauseatingly cliche, but from my direct experiences if you want other people to love you, you must love yourself.
And... that is much easier said than done.
Of course we want to love ourselves, but how do we do that? There are days where it can feel very, very difficult to believe that we are worth loving. Sometimes it can feel damn near impossible to believe that we are valuable. But we are! You, me, everyone is capable of loving and being loved. However, it's up to us to take the first step because there is a cycle of love.
The cycle of love is; we learn ongoing to love ourselves, making us then more capable of being loved, which has us be more capable of loving others, which makes us love ourselves even more! So no one but us can take the first step toward loving ourselves. Others can attempt to love us -- and they can do their very best to convince us that we need to love ourselves -- but ultimately it's up to us.
In order to love ourselves, we have to accept ourselves. We have to accept the good and the bad, the mistakes and the triumphs. We have to actually look at ourselves in the mirror and really see who we are - the good, the bad and the ugly. It's way more tempting to just float along, letting the world move around us, just hoping that someday we will be loved in the way we want to be loved. As someone who has done this, I can tell you for sure that you'll never find what you're looking for if you don't start making some proactive attempts to love yourself. And there's no better time than right now to get started on some serious self-love and acceptance.
10 Ways to Love Yourself NOW
Learn to make peace with your past: This one can be a challenging one. There are things about the me I used to be, and that also happened to me, that I don't always want to make peace with. However, everything I did, and all that happened to me in the past made me the person I am today so I need to embrace that past because, without it, I wouldn't be me.
Give in to your desires: Now, not every desire should be indulged in, but sometimes I think it's important to recognize the things that make us happy, that inspire us, that send little shivers of delight down our spine. Doing so helps us recognize our own uniqueness and help us to identify the very things that truly bring us happiness.
Let go of your mistakes: Mistakes happen. To everyone. No matter what we look like, who we are, what we do for a living, we've all made mistakes. We all have and they all suck. I look back on some of my mistakes and literally cringe. But you know what? It doesn't do any good to focus on them. Take what you can from them, learn from them, and then move the hell on! Truly forgive yourself for being a human being.
Transform your mindset: It's easier to beat ourselves up than it is to believe and tell ourselves positive things, but if we want to love ourselves, we have to change our mindset. We have to believe that we're worthy of love and we have to actively seek out positive things about ourselves and our lives. Believe me, if you don't do it, no one else well. Change the way you think about yourself and the rest will fall into place.
Embrace your future: Sometimes we find ourselves in a tough spot, unhappy with life and ultimately unhappy with ourselves. While I'm all about living in the present, I understand that sometimes the present can feel pretty rotten. So in times like that we need to cut ourselves some slack and remember that we have an exciting future ahead of us. We need to focus on the possibilities to come and remind ourselves that we can do anything.
Dive into your passion: Most of us are passionate about something. We have things that really matter to us, whether it's a cause, a job, a loved one or a hobby. Whatever it is that gets you really excited, focus on it. Embrace it. Run with it. One of the best ways we learn to love ourselves is to zero in on the things that make us the happiest and then spend as much time as we can on them.
Live in the moment: While it's not always easy to live in the moment, it's important that we do so. Why? Because to live in the moment is to accept what is, and to accept what is is the best way I've found for truly loving ourselves. If we focus on the past or present, you're not loving yourself now. Love yourself by being present.
Sing your own praises: I know some people don't like to toot their own horns - especially women! But the hell with that. Say how awesome you are every once and awhile. It's okay to admit that, wow, you did an amazing job on something or accomplished something you never thought you could. Celebrate yourself and your achievements. And trust me, if you're alive you've achieved quite a lot! Love your awesomeness because, seriously, you are awesome.
Listen to your own idea:. Do you ever find yourself ignoring your instincts or avoiding your gut reaction? Well don't do that anymore. If you want to love yourself, you have to believe yourself. You have to trust yourself. It's not always easy to listen to yourself, but recognize that your thoughts and ideas are always valid no matter how ridiculous they might seem. You don't always have to act on your ideas, but always listen to them. Truly listening to yourself with attention, care and respect is a huge act of self-love.
Appreciate your life: I get it! There are some things you want to change about yourself; about your body, about your relationships, about your life. Who doesn't? We all want to change things. But what if you stopped focusing on the things you want to change and by definition don't like, and instead focused on the things you wanted to stay the same because you actually like them a lot. Appreciating all that you have in your life is one of the very best ways to love yourself and your life, and to remember that you're very lucky to be YOU.
I recognize that loving ourselves can be really hard work. It's something I work on every day and feel challenged by. But every time I do something or think something that aligns with the idea that I do, in fact, love myself, I find that I am a much more positive, more present person. The more we turn our attention towards ourselves, towards the act of loving ourselves, the more likely we will be to ask for more from life and for ever, ever settle for less than we deserve. Don't settle. Don't wait. Start loving yourself right now!