1) What you need to understand first
If there is only one lesson you learn this entire year, it’s this: You are absolutely the most important person in your entire universe.
Your entire life is lived through your eyes. Your interactions with the world and those around you, your thoughts and how you interpret events, relationships, actions, and words.
You might just be another person when it comes to the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to your understanding of reality, you are the only thing that matters.
And because of that, your reality depends on how much you love and take care of you.
Your relationship with yourself is the most defining factor in shaping the kind of life you live.
The less you love yourself, listen to yourself, and understand yourself, the more confused, angry, and frustrating your reality will be.
But when you begin and continue to love yourself more, the more everything you see, everything you do, and everyone you interact with, starts to become a little bit better in every way possible.
But self-love isn’t easy. As they say: you are your own biggest critic.
We’re programmed to have bouts of self-loathing, and for many of us, these phases of self-hatred can turn into our entire lives.
It’s when we spend more time hating ourselves than we do loving ourselves that we adopt a more negative disposition of the world.
So begin to love yourself first. It might not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it’s definitely the most important.
2) Your Daily You
Think of the people in your life that you love and respect. How do you treat them?
You are kind to them, patient with their thoughts and ideas, and you forgive them when they make a mistake.
You give them space, time, and opportunity; you make sure they have the room to grow because you love them enough to believe in the potential of their growth.
Now think of how you treat yourself.
Do you give yourself the love and respect that you might give your closest friends or significant other?
Do you take care of your body, your mind, and your needs?
Here are all the ways that you could be showing your body and mind self-love in your everyday life:
Giving yourself time and space to understand your spirituality
Thanking yourself and those around you
Playing when you need it
Avoiding vices and toxic influences
Reflecting and meditating
How many of these daily activities do you allow yourself? And if not, then how can you say you truly love yourself?
Loving yourself is more than just a state of mind—it’s also a series of actions and habits that you embed into your everyday life.
You have to show yourself that you love you, from the beginning of your day to the end.
I understand that this is easier said than done. But the number one strategy I recommend is giving yourself time and space to practice meditation techniques.
I used to be deeply unhappy, but I changed my life by getting stuck into Buddhist philosophy and adopting some fantastic meditation techniques.
This is an active and practical way you can learn to love yourself.
Not only that, but through meditation, you’ll improve your focus, reduce your stress and get to know yourself on an intimate level.
Through meditation and mindfulness techniques that I use every day, I’ve learned to accept myself and who I am, which is a crucial element of loving yourself.
4) Accepting the Pain
No one is perfect. Some of us confuse self-love with endless positivity and endless optimism.
There are those who go about their day singing the praises of God no matter how bad they might be feeling or how horrible their predicament might be.
And we think this is the right thing to do; after all, shouldn’t positive vibes simply attract more positive vibes?
But the truth is that your endless optimism is a giant lie. You’re lying to a part of yourself, ignoring the needs of half of who you are.
Because we all have a dark side; we all hold anguish, hatred, and pain. Ignoring these realities eats us up, and forces us to cave-in spiritually and mentally.
Allow yourself to be honest with who you are. Forgive yourself for your past deeds, those things you are ashamed of.
Accept that you are sometimes a carrier of negative emotions, like disgust, rage, and jealousy. And learn to embrace the silence when you need it.
5) Find and Open Your Heart
While step 4 is about acknowledging and accepting the pain, step 5 is about reconciling with a cold and unopened heart.
Ask yourself this one question: do you fully love yourself?
Accepting your flaws and your faults is one thing, but loving a person who can have your thoughts, your emotions, your vices, and your mistakes? That’s a completely higher level of self-love.
Discover your life story. Trace your path from childhood to the person you are now.
Understand yourself in the most intimate way possible, and find the reason for every negative emotion, every shameful act, every word and deed that you now regret.
Take the skeletons out of your closet and try to remember why they are there in the first place.
Perhaps the most important thing you will discover is that most parts of our personality have a cause, and those that don’t can be learned away.
Maybe you have false understandings of reality, or trauma, or feelings of victimhood.
Maybe you see the world differently than it actually is, and because of that, you did things you now know to be wrong.
Find the causes and trace your past. Learn to love yourself in a way that only you can. Stop being ashamed of your past and start understanding it.
When you hide away past emotions, you essentially put yourself in a cage of your own making.
The only way out is to push through the uncomfortable truths you’ve been repressing. If you go near the edge of the cage, you feel extreme discomfort. In that place of discomfort, you can finally deal with past trauma and pain.
Mindfulness is the key to escape from your emotional cage.
The more you deal with past emotions through mindfulness the less emotional disturbance can occur.
Emotional disturbance is based on something that happened to you long ago, something you haven’t let go of.
Through mindfulness, you can let go and then you can be free.
6) Share Yourself
On this path of self-discovery, you will discover truths about you that will terrify and shock you.
But the goal is to work your way through them and begin to love yourself more through understanding and acceptance.
And only after you have worked out your own personal bumps can you begin to see the diamonds in the rough: your gifts.
These are the qualities about you that survive the journey. The empathy, the spirituality, the humor, the love: everything you have cleaned off after wiping away all the rest. And when you love yourself and the things about you, only then can you properly share yourself to the world.
Give your true self to the world and those around you. Now that you love yourself, it’s time to begin helping others find the highest form of self-love of their own.
7) What do you really want to do with your life?
Do you have a purpose?
Understanding what you want and where you want to go is crucial to being happy and finding meaning in life.
However, you probably already know that.
So if you don’t know what to with your life, how in the hell can you figure it out?
start to feel better about yourself in no time.
<span;>8<span;>) Who are you surrounding yourself with?
This is an important cog that often goes unnoticed.
We’re all influenced by who we spend most of our time with. Consider this quote from Tim Ferriss:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
True, isn’t it?
So if you think that some of your friends are toxic and have a habit of putting you down, you might want to find some new ones. You know, people you actually like and admire.
If your friends are positive and uplifting, you’ll begin to feel better about yourself as well.
<span;>9<span;>) Accept your emotions without judging them
Whenever we experience an uncomfortable feeling, such as sadness, fear or anger, our first instinct is to ignore it, reject it or push it away. And this fair enough, we don’t really want to walk around feeling emotional pain all the time.
However, when we reject our emotions, we may actually make things worse off. Emotions give us useful information about our lives.
A much better tactic that may help your emotional health is to practice acceptance. This means allowing your emotions to just be without negatively judging them or trying to change them.
It’s understanding that you don’t need to “control” your emotions. They cannot do any damage to you.
In fact, the things you do to get rid of negative emotions, like alcohol or eating cake, can do more damage to you.
Learning to accept your emotions may lead to stable emotional resilience.
However, it is important to not confuse acceptance with self-imposed suffering. When you are treated unfairly by a superior, that doesn’t mean you should accept it.
Acceptance is about balance. Western society encourages us to be positive all the time, but that’s not realistic. Instead, we must live our lives with both the negative and the positive, which helps us live a life of contentment.
In the end, if you’re able to accept yourself and all of your emotions, you’ll be more easily able to love yourself.