Loving yourself seems like an easy task, but for some it is the hardest thing you can ever do. You were born perfect, but somewhere between birth and earth something changed. You learned what is right and wrong, and were introduced to rules and beliefs of other well-meaning adults and guardians. You began to learn what it means to fit in and do everything in your power to be what you thought others wanted you to be, only to feel lost, alone or unfulfilled. A time comes when you look back asking yourself, how did this happen? It wasn’t one situation that shaped your destiny, but a series of repeated experiences that made you believe you had to be something other than who you are in order to be loved. Trying to please everyone, to feel loved, to no avail, and leaving the most important persons’ considerations out of it completely: YOU!
It is an interesting concept to think we need to learn how to love ourselves, but note that our ancestors before us weren’t taught, and hence we never learned. Cultures, religions and institutions dictated who you needed to be to fit in and when you didn’t measure up, you learned you weren’t enough.
I can speak from personal experience that I needed to learn how to love myself for who I was, perfectly imperfect. The cost of being something you are not and trying to fit into everyone else’s mold comes at a cost to your self-worth and self-esteem.
Here are 7 Tips for Loving Yourself:
1. Be yourself
One of the greatest difficulties in being yourself is living in a world where everyone is trying to be like everyone else. The truth is, someone will always be prettier, smarter or younger, but they will never be you. It is not about changing so that people will like you. Be yourself so that the right people will love you. You were born to be outstanding, so stand out. You are an original, so be the best you that you can be.
2. Be happy with you first
If you are not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else. You have to create stability within yourself before you can expect it from others. Many people look to others to make themselves feel better. You need to be happy with you first before you can really help others.
3. Learn to F.L.Y. - First Love Yourself!
Start by loving everything about you; the gifts you already possess, your sense of humor, your caring heart, your smile, your intelligence, your ability to care for others. Then learn to love your bumps and lumps and all that make up who you are today, a beautiful person. Let go of your judgement of who you are supposed to be and instead focus on the amazing person that you are now, perfectly imperfect, one of a kind being. Not for who loves you or other external validation, but for your own love and acceptance. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it needs to start with you loving yourself for who you are, not who you are not.
4. Put your needs first
Losing yourself in the process of loving someone more than you love yourself, and forgetting that you too are special, is very painful and lonely. Yes, help others; but help yourself first. If you are not whole, there is nothing to offer anyone else, so “take care of your mothers’ daughter/son first.”
5. Be everything to you, not everything to everybody
Trying to please everyone is impossible and will only leave you in despair. Being all you can be for you will be enough for that lucky person who graces your presence. So narrow your focus. Be the best version of you and those who deserve your friendship will find you.
“You alone are ENOUGH. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
6.Laugh more and worry less
Worrying will not strip tomorrow of its troubles; it will strip today of its wonder. Most of the things we worry about never happen, and they certainly do not happen the way we thought they would. So, laugh more and worry less. It will add years to your life.
7. Be grateful
Maintain an attitude of gratitude. No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life. Someone else is desperately fighting for theirs, and there is always someone else who has it worse than you. Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, appreciate what you have. Remember that every day above ground is a good day. Every day you wake up, you can be grateful.
Loving yourself can be easy, just treat yourself with the same love and respect you have for the others you care about and see how amazing it can be. Imagine what your days will be like when you are nicer, kinder, more loving to yourself. How will that change the way you do things? How will it affect the way you see the world? What will be different about your gate, as you walk in a room? What possibilities will open for you when you show up as the best possible version of you?
You are a gift! Remember that daily and treat yourself like the present you already are and share that gift with others.
Lisa Lieberman-Wang is a Relationship Expert, Licensed Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner and creator of Neuro Associative Programming (NAP). You can find more helpful tips to loving yourself and improving your life at her website, FineToFab.com, or by calling 1-844-FINEtoFAB. Pick up a copy of her book, Fine to Fab, Here!