Do you think to love yourself is a good thing? Well I can tell you it is and there’s no need to feel guilty about it. Most of us think it’s a bad thing but it really isn’t. Let’s find out why, and then look at 6 steps to loving yourself.
Calling it self-love might be a better way of saying it because it doesn’t sound so egotistical that way. Think about it, why should you put others first and yourself last, because that’s what many people do?
An article in the New Scientist reported on University of Canterbury, Christchurch psychologist Andy Martens’ study into self-esteem and how it affects our health. He concluded that by thinking positively about ourselves, we may help to protect both our heart and immune system.
It’s important to look after yourself first, otherwise how can you help others if you’re not OK? There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s practical, while you’re fit and healthy, you’re in a position to help others but wouldn’t be able to if you weren’t.
What Does Loving Yourself mean?
Loving yourself doesn’t mean you’re conceited or arrogant and it doesn’t mean that you think you’re better than others. What it does mean, is having respect for yourself and accepting the way you are.
Now, that might be quite difficult for some of us, in fact probably for most of us, but it’s important. If there’s something about yourself you don’t like, for example if you’re overweight, you can do something about it.
I know someone who’s overweight and unfortunately uses it as an excuse to not do things. The thing is, if he were to exercise and lose a few pounds, he would then have to face up to the person he really is, and I don’t think he has the confidence to do that.
The reason he doesn’t have that confidence it’s because he’s overweight. You see, it becomes a vicious circle, you get in a comfort zone which isn’t really comfortable at all. It’s a hiding place.
There’s no need to be in a hiding place, you have a duty to yourself, to be the best you can be, because you deserve it. Once you’re able to get beyond your fears and insecurities you begin to realise how important you are.
You begin to understand that you have a place in this world and in this universe to be the person you want to be and have chosen to be.
You are a crucial part of the universe, no one is more, or less important than you are, that is why you should understand that loving yourself is a part of loving everyone and everything around you.
Think of yourself as a small cog in the workings of the universe. There are many cogs that make it function and each is as important as the other. If you, as a cog, are not functioning correctly, then the others won’t be able to either.
How Can you Begin to Love Yourself?
Once you understand how important you are to the functioning of the universe and how much it relies on you, it should become easier to feel good about yourself. When feel good about yourself, beginning to like yourself or even loving yourself becomes a realistic possibility.
There’s a big difference between knowing you should love yourself and actually doing it, and the difference is believing it’s possible. Changing your belief about yourself might take some doing because it will probably involve thinking about yourself in a completely different way.
Here are 6 steps you can begin to take on the path to loving yourself:
1. Take Time to Consider Your Good Points
It’s easy to find plenty of things we don’t like about ourselves or find ‘what’s wrong with us’, but how often do you consider the good things about yourself?
If you put your mind to it, you’ll find plenty. Even little things like getting on well with people, being helpful or helping others, they’re all good points worth noting.
Spend a little time each day thinking about your good points, allowing yourself to feel positive about them. Rather than coming up with a long list all in one go, you might want to think about identifying one good point or maybe two each day.
Doing this exercise regularly will get you into a mindset of thinking positively about yourself. When you do this and repeat it, you’re sending a clear message of positive thoughts to your subconscious and this will help to change your beliefs about yourself.
2. Celebrate Your Achievements
Big or small, it doesn’t matter, we all achieve some things in our lives. It’s similar to looking at your good points, but achievements are things you’ve worked hard for, or have made a difference to you or others.
Passing an exam, earning a promotion or gaining some kind of recognition are among the things you should think about. It may be something mundane or run of the mill, but if it’s an achievement, see it as a positive about yourself.
Everyone has failures or make mistakes, it’s normal, so don’t concentrate on them, they are a part of learning. Instead, by focusing on what you have achieved, you’re training your mind to see you in a positive way. Love what you’ve achieved, and it will be easier to have some love for yourself!
3. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Your outer world influences your inner world, what goes on around you, impacts on you. If you constantly hear from negative people you will probably begin to think in a negative way yourself. As difficult as it may be, you should try not to have those type of people in your life.
Now I know that’s another thing easier said than done, but when a negative outer world makes your inner world negative, your subconscious will begin to attract more negativity on the outside. Yes, another vicious circle which can end up with you believing only bad things happen to you, making it difficult to love yourself.
It makes sense to surround yourself with positive people if you can, those who enjoy life, who look for the good in people, who see the glass as half full rather than half empty and who are complimentary about you.
When someone pays you a compliment, it makes you feel good about yourself and why shouldn’t you? Try to be around positive people as often as you can because it will rub off onto you.
4. Meditation, Visualisation and Affirmation
It’s amazing what spending some time alone with your own thoughts can do. There are many forms of meditation, but it’s just relaxing and allowing yourself to sink deep into your thoughts. The way you are feeling, is created by the way you are thinking, so being aware of your thoughts will enable you to take steps to change your mood.
Visualisations and affirmations work best when they’re done together. To visualise is a bit like creating an alternative world in your mind, in this case, where you and other people love you.
Remember, thoughts create feelings, so if you visualise pleasant situations, they will create positive thoughts, and therefore positive feelings. These feelings send positive messages to your subconscious.
If you add affirmations to visualisations, together they become very powerful. Affirmations work by repeating them over and over. It’s like creating a new habit – if you do something continually, eventually it becomes a habit. It’s the same with affirmations repeated over and over, they sink into the subconscious and eventually become a habit. Add to this the positive feelings of being loved created from visualisations and you’re on to a winner!
5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
OK, stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy but once you make the first move it begins to become less difficult as you continue. You don’t need to do anything drastic, just push yourself a little into a place where you may feel a little uncomfortable to begin with.
Taking this kind of action won’t directly make you love yourself, but it will show you and your subconscious that you are capable of doing things you didn’t believe you could. It will help you to feel good about yourself, having taken a risk and it being OK.
I remember being terrified of going to visit the dentist and just over 10 years ago, decided to do something about it. Booking an appointment wasn’t easy but I did and since then have gone for a check-up every 6 months.
I feel really good that I was able to get out of my comfort zone and do something good for myself. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself, no matter how big or small, it’ll help you to like yourself a little more.
6. Know Your Life is Under Your Control
Although you may not believe it, you are the one who controls your life. Unfortunately, most of us don’t take that control, we give it away. If you say, for example, that you are not very good at talking to people, you won’t be.
When you say negative things about yourself out loud, or even think them, you’re reinforcing your belief that you aren’t good. When you believe you aren’t good enough, how can you like or even love yourself?
Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control what it thinks. Your thoughts, the thoughts that you place in your mind, are so important to how you see and feel about yourself.
It might feel strange when you first begin to think or say out loud, nice things about yourself, but it’s important to do if you want to begin loving yourself. You’ll soon get used to it and it will come to feel normal.
This is an exercise in controlling your thoughts, rather than allowing your conscious mind to decide which thoughts flow in. It takes a lot of practice and willpower to keep a check on what you’re thinking, but it’s the only way to really be in control.
Last Thoughts on Steps to Loving Yourself
You know how you feel when someone pays you a compliment or tells you that you’re doing a great job, so why shouldn’t you do it to yourself? Yes, you might find it odd, embarrassing or even stupid at first, but that will pass.
There’s no need to tell anyone what you’re doing, so if you want to keep it to yourself, do so. The important thing is to get started, take action and focus on you.
Remember that every cog needs to work properly for the machine to run smoothly. Each cog must look after itself first, so it can give support to others in order to keep the machine running. Taking the steps to loving yourself described above, is nurturing yourself for the good of all.