“Loving yourself isn’t vanity. It’s sanity.” – Andre Gide
On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you love yourself? Loving yourself as you are is a struggle, when we as a society are so obsessed with the idea of beauty and even perfection.
Perhaps we all are narcissists, constantly seeking validation from others; we have been so conditioned to the idea of flawlessness when it comes to our appearances that we can’t stop falling into the comparison game.
If not appearances we struggle with our self-worth and constantly seek out for resources, like a better car, better clothes, bigger house etc. to help us in our quest to be good enough.
But have you ever considered how wonderful and liberating life would be if you just start to love yourself?
Loving yourself, appreciating your awesomeness and your individuality is something you should celebrate and remind yourself each day.
I understand the process to love yourself is a challenge before advising you I will admit I do struggle to accept myself as I am and there are days when I feel utterly worthless.
But since the last two years or so such days are fading more and more as I have began to understand myself better.
12 Ways to Love and Respect Yourself
I have to share here a personal story of how I struggled with my body image.
I have been always on the plus side of weight scale. I was fat and chubby, still am.
The first time I become conscious of my body image was when a kindergarten teacher called me “pumpkin”.
It was not some cutesy name, I was called “pumpkin” because I was fat. Imagine being fat-shamed when you are hardly 5 or 6 years of age.
It dipped my confidence, affected my self-esteem and since then there has been so many instances where I have felt inadequate.
Thankfully, I am in a much better mental space now after realizing that all change I need in my life starts with me and respecting myself.
Stop listening to too many opinions
You know the thing about opinions is that there are too many of them floating around. It just hampers your ability to think for yourself.
As humans we are easily affected by what others think of us and that’s normal.
But if you really want to love yourself don’t dwell too much on opinions, especially negative ones.
Negativity just contributes to self-loathing and affects you mentally the end result are self-doubt and low self-esteem.
Don’t let negativity overshadow your capability, here’s how you can deal with negative thinking.
- You have to learn to detach yourself from what people say. It’s easier said than done but it’s possible.
- Seeking approval and validation from others is not as important as you may think. I have only experienced an added pressure because I really care what others thought of me.
- With my weight loss I have been through countless diet programs, yoga, and gym until I realized that I was stressing myself out to get to size zero, and for what because it really mattered to me what others thought.
Please don’t get me wrong, if you have to lose weight, lose it but please don’t get obsessed with it like I did and certainly don’t lose it because someone said “Oh you’ll look hot if you lose that weight!”.
You are so much more than that.
Hone your individuality
Science says all of us have certain individual traits that are unique to us, in other words there is no one quite like you in this entire world.
Now imagine you are one of your kind, how amazing is that. Falling in love with yourself requires understanding your own unique traits that sets you apart from others.
Most of us don’t get the scope to hone our individuality, mainly because we don’t realize how capable we are.
So take time to work on yourself; observe and understand your strengths as well as your weakness.
I find journal prompts an amazing way of self-discovery, since it involves a lot of self-questioning, prompts help you to realize your abilities and where you lack.
I have accumulated a list of 121 journal prompts for self-discovery; you can use all or any questions in the list and get to know yourself better.
Before others see it, it’s important you see how fabulous you are.
Once you begin to see your potential you will see yourself in a whole new light.
Put yourself first
To put yourself first means to realize what is important to you and for that you may have to say ‘no’ more often.
For example, you have a late-night party invitation but you know attending that will give a bad hangover the next day, here you have to decide if you want that.
Like self-care, looking after your self-interest is not selfishness, you will have to take action that will benefit you in the long term.
By putting yourself first you are
- Taking care of you mental and physical well-being.
- Finding your purpose in life.
- Developing a routine where you are growing more responsible.
- Connecting more with inner self and being more observant.
This is your life and you don’t need permission from anyone to shape it up as best as you can.
Get Away from Herd Mentality
Most of us at some point or another have followed the herd mentality, where we have blindly followed something or somebody in a bid to fit in.
Ok here’s a confession. I don’t like wearing denims; since I live in India logically I don’t think it the ideal clothing for tropical weather.
But despite being uncomfortable in denims, I always bought them whenever there was a new denim trend – capris, dungarees, tight-fitted ones; I got those only to fit in with everyone else.
There are several such examples when I have done something only because someone else was doing it. Most of you may have a similar story to share.
But herd mentality overshadows your individuality and loving yourself means daring to be different than others.
Just like herd mentality, the comparison trap also affects your confidence and the ability to love yourself.
Comparing ourselves to others is pretty normal and we all have been there, but it often leads to discontentment and self-doubt.
So the next time you look at someone else and say, ”I wish I was as pretty as her,” remember you are lowering yourself in your eyes.
There is a saying, “treat yourself how you want to be treated by others.” Show yourself some kindness and self-love and trust me your confidence will soar.
Appreciate others but value yourself as well.
Ditch the idea of perfection
Our idea of happiness is heavily dependent on the image of perfection. We see happiness as an end product of our achievements.
For example so many of us think our life would be perfect if we have a big house, that promotion, a better car, lose some weight.
If you look closely you are running after the myth of a perfect life. I don’t mean to say don’t aspire to be better, but don’t lose precious everyday moments running after your aspirations.
Perfection can’t bring you happiness. Believe in your abilities, be patient and enjoy the ride.
Appreciate your journey
Call it your path, destiny or journey each of us has to tread it on our own. Be proud of whatever little you have accomplished so far.
Reflect on how far you have come, what situations you encountered, give yourself some credit and kindness.
It is inevitable you will compare yourself with others, but I would urge you here if you have to at all fall into the comparison trap use it as positive stimulation to inspire you.
Here’s how to appreciate yourself once in a while:
- Celebrate small wins
- Write your achievements and read them whenever you feel down
- Be your biggest cheerleader
Start your day with a positive thought
It is said the energy you give out is the energy you receive.
Start your day on a positive note and it begins with a generous dose of self-love.
The best way to do that is through affirmations. I love positive affirmations and have noticed a marked difference in my life with regards to my career and relationships.
Here are some of my favourite affirmations, please feel free to use these!
- I‘ll make the most of this beautiful day.
- I am smart, strong, beautiful and unstoppable.
- I am surrounded by love and kindness.
- I am capable of achieving anything I want.
I have read somewhere “get bored with your past it’s over!” isn’t that a smart quote. A big step to loving yourself is self-acceptance.
I would say embrace yourself for all your mistakes and just think of those as stepping stones to a more matured and wiser you.
It’s not easy to confront the past, for some it may be painful even. But learn to forgive yourself for past mistakes, they don’t define you. Your mistakes make you human so appreciate your flawed self.
We all have done things we are sorry for, but at some point in time we have to move and look past our mistakes.
As they say, “To err is human.”
Being thankful and grateful for what you have is an important part of loving yourself.
I have heard my elders often tell us when we were kids to be “thankful and deeply grateful for what you have.”
I now understand why it’s important. When you appreciate your life, you will be more positive in your outlook.
Even in adverse situations you will find hope.
It’s easy to complain about life and to be fair life is difficult but seeing the beauty in it makes all the difference.
When you radiate a positive outlook and warmth, you will attract positive things in your life.
Do something you love
Doing something you love doesn’t mean you have to turn it into a full time career; it can be also a way let off some steam and get more connected with yourself.
I love to draw, paint, create doodle, but for years I just neglected my hobby. An extremely busy life allowed no time for creativity, though it allowed ample time for binge watching television.
But I have recently started to draw again and it has improved my mood so much. I love the process of creating something new each day and the experience has made me more mindful! You can check out some of my doodles in my new Insta art account.
Also I love to write and writing for this blog or composing something each day has given me a sense of purpose.
As the readership of my blog grows, thanks to you kind readers, I am filled with joy and gratefulness.
The purpose of doing something you love is to make you happy and boost your mental well-being.
Like me if you have a hobby you have neglected for years, maybe it’s time to just start it!
Say no to self-pity
Wallowing in self-pity is so common. If you want love yourself stop the pitying.
We all have felt sorry for ourselves but at some point we have to move on. It’s your life and you know how to fix it, no one else can do it for you.
You know exactly what steps you have to take to improve your life. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself instead take some concrete action.
Lastly, laugh a lot! Laughing at yourself, your goof-ups and mistakes is an endearing quality. It makes you humble and rooted. So loosen up a bit and have a good hearty laugh.
Our life is sum total of our actions. The decisions we take today are turning points and decide the course of our journey. You want your life to be a good story, not for others but yourself, so when you look back you say to yourself, “that’s a life well-lived.”
That process begins today with loving yourself dearly , unconditionally and fiercely.
I really hope you liked this post. Do you struggle with loving yourself? Do want to fall in love with yourself? Please do share your thoughts below always happy to know your thoughts.