How to love yourself more
Self Love isn’t a concept I grasped until I was almost into my thirties, and when I did finally get with the programme and learned how to love myself more, it changed my life. So many of the people I come into contact with through my work as a coach don’t love themselves anywhere near enough. No matter what goal you have, or in what way you’d like to get healthier, part of it must start with self love and more of it.
As a woman growing up I had pretty much zero confidence. I didn’t particularly like myself that much and I struggled to recognise what I was good at. I would seek others’ approval to a ridiculous level, ‘fishing for compliments’ as a way of trying to make myself feel better and get some kind of external validation. Add to that the especially British trait of self deprecation and you’ll understand why self love wasn’t on my radar. At my worst my inner self talk was utterly horrid, literally like having a bully in my head 24/7.
Like with many things in life, I didn’t realise quite how bad it was until I got to the other side.
So what changed for me? Well it wasn’t a big overnight epiphany, it was more a gradual journey with a series of little realisations along the way. Even now, I’m still far from perfect. Like all aspects of personal development it’s an ongoing journey, although I can hand on heart say I think I’m pretty awesome! Even though a small part of me inside still cringes and shrinks when I say that, 99% of my being truly believes it.
Here’s some top tips for getting started on that journey to love yourself more…
Start with kindness
The simplest way to begin a journey of self love is to start with kindness. I know a lot of you, like me in the past, will be holding so much contempt for yourself and even dislike yourself. When you feel like that and don’t believe you deserve any love, an easy way in is to just start and show some kindness as you would to another person. I would just say to myself as often as possible, ‘Am I being kind to myself here?’ Using that as a guide helped me to start going easier on myself.
Do the mindset work
A huge realisation for me was understanding how some of the things that had happened in my life had contributed to me feeling the way I felt about myself. By being able to recognise them, understand them and finally forgive and release them, I was able to stop them having an influence in my life now. This is one of the central processes we go through in the Mindset Makeover Course and it’s utterly life changing.
Decide whose opinion matters
This is such a juicy one! Think very hard right now about whose opinion really matters to you. You have two choices in this life, to hold the opinions of others in higher regard than your own, or, to put your opinions and desires first. I’m not saying that you have to do what you want and fuck everyone else, you can still be self led and listen to the opinions of those that matter. What you want to get away from is being completely reliant on what others think of you and your choices. I used to be so hung up about what other people thought of me. When I stopped caring so much, and got really specific about whose opinions actually mattered, then I became SO much happier and self assured.
Know the difference between good confidence and ‘bad’ confidence
Growing up, many of us are told that confidence, cockiness and ‘blowing your own trumpet’ are unattractive qualities, especially for women. Unfortunately that translates to us not celebrating our special qualities and achievements. I’m not going to say that this is an easy one to figure out as some people still react very negatively to others sharing their achievements or success, but a good place to start is remembering that when others are negative towards us, it’s a reflection of their issues and doesn’t really have anything to do with you. Being proud of yourself and your achievements isn’t a negative quality, celebrate yourself just as you celebrate others!
Don’t compare yourself to others
This goes without saying, stop comparing yourself to others!
Show yourself (and others) that you matter
A lot of this self love malarky is internal work, but a really strong way to develop your self love muscle is through the physical action of self care. Buy yourself flowers, take a day off just to spend time with yourself, get yourself a new dress, go on that retreat, treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated, like someone that matters! This also has a powerful knock on effect in showing others in your life that you know how much you matter.
Create a daily practice
One of the practices I try and do daily is to list off the things I’m grateful for and the things I like about myself. I do this just as I’m lying in bed before going to sleep at night and I try and come up with three things including personality traits, things I like about my body and things I’ve achieved. I’ll remind myself that I’m a good mama, that I love my shoulders and that I did really well writing that article. Try it!
Understand that it’s unconditional
If you have kids you might understand what I’m saying here. I love Finley more than I love anything else in this Universe. I love every single bit of him, every smile, every laugh, every cuddle, despite the fact that he basically doesn’t sleep, whinges and has tantrums. I love his whole self. I love my whole self in the same way that I love him as a whole, complete being.
Get comfortable with your faults and imperfections
That unconditional love becomes easier when you get really comfortable and accepting of yourself as a whole being. I understand that I’m not perfect and that no one else is. I know I can be snappy, bossy, stressed, anxious and belittling sometimes. But I also know I can be loyal, loving, kind, accepting and hardworking too. I’m working on those faults, but I don’t hate myself or think that I’m a bad person because of them.
It’s strange but for me now, loving my whole self is like second nature. I still have some negative self talk I need to quit, and I can still beat myself up when I make a mistake, but the difference is that I actually recognise and can see that I’m doing it and that I have the desire to change it.
What’s your relationship with yourself like? Can you say that you love yourself? Or do you struggle?