(How To) Love Yourself

Without granting permission to love ourselves, we can not afford to love others. Our congenital kaleidoscope of emotions and relationships will forever be fogged, as long as we remain resentful to the closest thing to us; ourselves.

To be kind to one’s self is the biggest acknowledgment of acceptance, but the hardest goal to obtain. In the wrong hands, the voice in our heads can be near detrimental. It works like a tornado, ripping apart your self-worth and tearing down a reflection in the mirror. But if we take the time to heal, and understand that it can take time, we can mold the voice into a familiar sympathizer. 

We have to learn to plant the seed of forgiveness. We have to first grow sturdy roots of self-esteem and self-care, which will, in turn, blossom into self-love. A common approach is to treat yourself like a best friend. 

We unconsciously treat our friends with kindness, compassion, and value because we care about their well being. We naturally know how to receive and reciprocate these feelings of empathy, therefore you already can do the hard part. It’s taking the steps to perform these rituals upon yourself that, to an outsider, may seem unconventional or unique.

  1. Forgive yourself. We tend to overthink our failure, focusing on the loss and not on the second chance to improve. We see ourselves as inadequate because of a mistake when mistakes are one of the most common elements of life shared among the human race. 

If we see a friend make a mistake, we guide them in a new direction. We help them see the good in the situation and build them back up. We need to try and keep this same perspective with ourselves. We have to help ourselves overcome our obstacles and celebrate when we do. 

       2. Don’t apologize for your authenticness. Societal norms are imaginative, yet quite harmful. We must learn to break away from these constructs and allow ourselves to move forward. Society’s expectations should no longer reflect what is considered “normal.” Our insecurities are rooted in this “normal.” It is hard to love ourselves when we see ourselves as different. But what makes us different, makes us special. We cannot waste time living for other people, we can not live to satisfy the needs of others. We must take hold of our beliefs, styles, and looks and ignore those who wish to injure us. 

Our best friends love us for our uniqueness and individuality. We should not shy away from the qualities that make us stand out, for they are the ones that draw people in.

  1. Speak Positively. It sounds simple but it is one of the hardest vows to keep afloat. 

Feelings of sorrow, resentment, and loathing are just as natural as emotions of happiness, satisfaction, and sympathy. It’s the strength of an emotion that can catch us off guard, and how we deal with it that affects us. 

The self-dialogue can blow these feelings or experiences out of proportion. Negative Bias is a term used by psychologists to describe this internal challenge. Emily Swaim defines it as, “our tendency not only to register negative stimuli more readily but also to dwell on these events.” Our brain is wired to point out the negative in our surroundings, and in ourselves. 

We have to avoid this damaging self-talk. By shifting our vernacular, we can focus on the important, uplifting, rewarding dialect. We have to speak to ourselves the way we speak to loved ones. We do not call them names, make fun of their appearance, or ideas. Scolding ourselves makes us feel incapable whereas appreciating ourselves makes us feel trusted, protected, and supported.

Each day, try and compliment yourself. Even if it is for the way your hair looks that day or a nice action you did for someone else. Write down what you are grateful for or what you enjoyed that day. The smallest celebratory thoughts can regulate the mentality that surrounds positive thinking. 

These three tips are guides, not steps. There is not a recipe to self-love, but instead, a balance of self-discovery and acceptance that is learned over time. We change our perspective, reflection, and voice to seek the true beauty hidden by our misconfigured perception of ourselves. But we need to know it is possible. If you can learn to treat yourself as a friend, you can learn to love yourself.