“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~Rumi
My divorce was final two years ago. After living with someone for more than 18 years, it took me some time to get to know myself again. For so long I made decisions based on other people’s wants, needs, and preferences.
I took that first year to get to know myself again. I asked myself, “what do I like to eat? What activities am I interested in. What time do I really want to go to bed? What music do I find enjoyable?” And then I took it a step further and learned how to love myself again, or maybe, for the first time in my life.
In her powerful book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes, “how much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something even more essential to living a wholehearted life: loving ourselves.” She goes on to say that “love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.”
Real self-love is about embracing who you truly are, flaws and all. It’s having the courage to show your authentic self to the world without worrying what people will think. It’s giving yourself permission to create the life that feels right to you, rather than living your life the way other people expect you to live. Real self love is about loving yourself first. If you don’t know where to start, I’ve come up with a list of suggestions.
6 Ideas to Love Yourself First
1. Know yourself
"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom." Sacrates
What are you made of? What are your strengths, accomplishments, and weaknesses? What do you like? What is it that you don’t like?
Sometimes it’s as simple as deciding what your favorite flavor of ice cream is. Other times, it’s about more important things like what kind of job to take and who to marry. Taking time to really know yourself is vital to your true success as well as loving yourself. Take time to explore deep within yourself because,“the only journey is the journey within.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
2. Accept yourself
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” Maya Angelou
Now that you know yourself, flaws and all, it’s important that you accept yourself right where you are at. It doesn’t mean you can’t make some improvements, but it all starts with accepting yourself first.
3. Forgive yourself
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” Brene Brown
Acknowledge your mistakes or failures. Make peace with your emotions and accept what happened. What did you learn from the situation?
So many times it’s our mistakes that catapult us forward in life, as long as we don’t get stuck feeling like a failure because of the mistake itself. Accept what happened, embrace the lesson and move forward with your life.
4. Believe in Yourself
“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” —Paulo Coelho
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people isn't intelligence, opportunity, or resources. The difference is that successful people believe in themselves and that they can make their dreams and goals happen. Don’t be afraid to take action. There is no failure, only lessons. You can do it!
5. Appreciate Yourself
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
Who are you, where have you been, and where are you going? You are important. You matter.
If you take a look at your life, I’m sure there are many instances where you were amazing. Amazingly honest, amazingly brave, amazingly beautiful. Amazingly you. Take note of these times and be proud of yourself.
6. Be kind to yourself
“What we think, we become.” – Buddha
Become your own best friend. Replace negative self talk with encouraging thoughts and words. Practice radical self care. Rest when you need to. Say no more often and yes more fully. Say yes to yourself first! Enjoy the bubble bath. Walk alone when you need time to think. Buy yourself something nice that reminds you that you are important and you are loved, by you.
Loving yourself is essential to wholehearted living and the bravest thing you’ll ever do. You’ll also be happier, feel more peace, and experience more joy if you choose to love yourself first. If you want support in this area please let me know. We can come up with a specialized plan just for you. That’s what I’m here for. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” ― Max Ehrmann, Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
Love Yourself, Heal Your Life Workbook by Louise Hay