There is an ancient saying that goes something along the lines of- ‘being beautiful means being you’. Often we do not care for ourselves and start being pessimistic. For some of us, self-love is often relegated to certain activities- shopping or pampering self with a warm bath.
Most of us struggle with the simple act of loving yourself. Most people view self-love as wrong- our culture programs us to be respectful to our parents, as devoted partners, and dutiful parents. There is no ME in the mix so we often end up neglecting our self.
Don’t feel guilty
We must remember that loving ourselves is not a selfish act. Rather it is an act of kindness. Loving yourself will help your relationships with others to blossom and help in breaking off the negative ones. If life is a journey, then you are the only constant in it. Loving yourself means accepting yourself- the first part of love is when you discover your shortcomings and love yourself not despite them but with them. Embrace who you are- break down the cage you have built around yourself! And this will enable communication and build intimacy with those you love, for even they can see you for who you are.
Start by telling yourself daily about one thing that you did, about one task you managed to do, or that one gesture you displayed that you loved. Stop trying to be perfect- be you. You will see the difference. Don’t feel obliged to do something because of what society expects of you- do it for you.
Know how to love yourself
Only when you truly know yourself will you be able to love yourself. So the first step to self-love is understanding how you are a unique wonderful individual. There is no greater joy than understanding the mysteries within you and unfolding them. Your worth is your nature.
We are more kind to others than we are to ourselves. Stop being so judgemental. It is a sign of extreme strength and courage to recognize how you are feeling and letting yourself be. After all, it is only human to feel anger, sadness, and contempt. But don’t let these emotions cloud your judgment. And don’t suppress them or keep them bottled up. Acknowledge them. Loving yourself means experiencing your feelings just as they are.
Don’t look for external saviors
You can’t base your self-worth on someone else’s opinion of you. You need to learn that there is no knight in shining armor or a damsel in distress who needs your love or who can magically make you learn to love. It is only when YOU love yourself that you can love others. You don’t need or want someone else’s love. You are capable of that on your own. You don’t need anyone else’s approval. All you need is your own!
Again, remember that by displaying your emotions you won’t be seen as weak. It takes immense courage to face up to your fears and sense your sadness. Sometimes our emotions are fuzzy- fear often comes as a trickle of sweat at the nape of your neck, fear feels like your feet are rooted to the ground, and anxiety makes your stomach take a flip-flop. Only when you know yourself will you be able to attribute your experiences to how you are feeling.
You are unique
There is only one person with your smile, your laugh. Self-love means finding peace- that too from within. We might get a temporary sense of comfort by indulging ourselves with spa treatments or online shopping. The real love comes from within.
Forgive your past self
Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes- this is one of the hardest steps but it is when you are able to forget and forgive your past that you can begin working towards your future. I know this one is as cliched as they come but then there’s a reason they become cliches- making mistakes is human. And that is absolutely normal as long as you learn from them!
We have the power of unconditional love- don’t waste it in self-loathing. Martin Luther King Jr rightly said, “Hate is too strong a burden to carry.”