Someone I love very much asked me this recently. It’s a damn good question. I know I’ve struggled over the years with a lack of self-love. And self-care. And I know that I’ve worked hard to change that. I also know that, or at least think that, perhaps everyone struggles with loving and appreciating themselves enough. Whether or not they acknowledge or even recognize it. Or at least most people. So in the hopes of making a difference and increasing the amount and kind of self-love we all offer ourselves, I’m going to step away from my usual blog approach and simply start a list of things I’ve learned to do to love myself more. This is some of what I shared with the person I love who asked me the question, so this is what I share with you.
Maybe, hopefully, some of this will resonate. And maybe you have more and better ideas – so please share them here and let’s get something started!
- Make a list of things you love about yourself. Or at least like. There must be at least a few things. If you have problems thinking of things, ask a friend or loved one for their view on you.
- Ask others what they love about you. Listen and own what they say.
- Treat yourself lovingly. Love is a verb. Treat yourself well. Be kind to yourself. Act as if you love yourself.
- Try affirmations. They really do work. You might feel stupid, or at least silly, telling yourself that you love yourself, or that you’re wonderful (or spectacular if you’re me), but it really helps to hear it, even if you hear it from yourself.
- Catch yourself doing the things that you love about yourself. Maybe you’re really kind to strangers or friends. Maybe you’re great at making people smile, especially if they’re upset. Notice when you do these things.
- Remember that everyone is lovable. Even you. Even if you don’t do anything great. Just being here we are deserving of love and lovable.
- Give yourself a hug. Or some other form of physical reassurance and contact – whatever works for you. Maybe a hand on your heart. Maybe a caress on your face. Physical contact helps, even if it’s from yourself.
- Treat your body well. Feed it well. Give it rest and exercise. Give yourself the things you need to physically feel okay, and you’ll be surprised at how much more self-loving you can be.
- Leave yourself a voicemail. Tell yourself everything wonderful you want to hear. I only did this once, over twenty years ago. My bad. It really feels good.
- Don’t compare yourself. Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides. I heard this ages ago in Al-Anon. It makes sense and works. Remember that everyone has struggles and demons of a sort.
- Treat yourself as you’d treat your best friend. You would probably never talk to your friends the way you talk to yourself. So don’t.
- Call out the lies. I’ve come to believe that the negative things I say to myself, especially the really negative things, are lies. Outright lies. I am lovable. I do deserve to be loved. I am wonderful (again, spectacular) just as I am.
- Use “oops.” Still my favorite word. I’m all for doing the best we can and trying to be our best and most loving to the world. But we all make mistakes. “Oops” is the way through the mistakes.
- Give up perfection. Or at least redefine it. I was talking today with a friend about helping our kids (and ourselves) realize that there is no “perfect” to strive for. And at the same time, that everything is “perfect” just as it is, flaws and all. Myself included.
- Appreciate. Appreciate. Appreciate. It’s one of the things I love to do the most. When I stop and notice the beauty of the day or the joy I’m feeling with the people around me, I have no time to not love myself. And I feel better about everything, myself included.
- Make it a practice. We build habits by repeating actions. We change thought processes and patterns by changing them over and over until we have new ones. Set aside time every day (or at least every week) to practice some of these suggestions until loving yourself becomes more second nature.
These are just a few. Just a beginning. We all deserve to love ourselves more.
What do you do? How did you learn to love yourself?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!