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What Does it Mean to Love Yourself?
What Does it Mean to Love Yourself?
“Magically, when there is no enemy within, there are far fewer without.” -Dr.Jacobsen
It’s February, the month of love and the celebration of Valentine’s Day is approaching, so I thought I would write about self-love. I am a hopeless romantic and I love when my husband tells me how great I look and whispers he loves me in my ear, but the question I am challenging you with right now is how much love do you give yourself? I grew up with the message that I should love myself. I was told that I can’t love another person until I loved myself and I was only able to love others as much as I loved myself. This sounded all well and good, but quite frankly, when I was young, I really had no idea what it all meant.
Now as an adult, who has studied the field of self-esteem and peak performance for the past 20 years, and who has spent her entire career in learning and development and coaching, I know without a doubt what it means to love yourself. I know that everything in your life comes from your self-esteem and your ability to love yourself exactly as you are. I know that truly successful people are genuine and have come to a oneness with who they are regardless of what others think of them.
I also know that this topic makes some people uncomfortable. After all, who wants to admit they don’t love themselves? I am here to offer suggestions that no matter where you fall on the love continuum, there is always room for improvement. I believe if more people would work on themselves, accept who they are and practice self-love, this world would be a much more peaceful place.
Here are my tips of Being Your Own True Love:
ACCEPT YOURSELF – What eyes were you born with? How tall are you? What color is your skin? I am here to tell you that you are exactly who you are supposed to be and that you have been born into this time in history because the world needs the gift only you can give. I know you are perfect and complete, but you need to know it. In a media driven world, where advertisers bombard us with images from everything on how we should look, what kind of clothes we should wear to how much we should spend on an engagement ring, you have to be smarter than the advertisers and know their goal is to sell you something. Your goal is to accept that this is the vehicle you were given and your job is to take care of it and love it. Your love for yourself grows when you behave in positive ways to yourself.
ACCEPT YOUR PAST – You are not your past, your mistakes or your upbringing. Trust that the background you were given is exactly what you need to fulfill your purpose. The parents you were given, the circumstances of your childhood and the challenges you face were given to you, to strengthen you, teach you and nudge you into being all that you can be. If your childhood was less than appealing, if you didn’t get the love and attention you thought you deserved, if you got too much growing up and were spoiled, it is all part of the master plan. You can’t change it, so trust that it all happened for a reason, accept it and move forward with the lessons it brought you.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS – Life isn’t a race and no one is keeping score. You are here to run your own race, do the best that you can do every day and strive toward being a better you tomorrow than you were today. If you want the world to give you it’s best, you have to give the best of yourself and no one is better at being you than you.
THINK HIGHLY OF YOURSELF – I once read a quote that said that you should think highly of yourself because the world will take you at your own estimate. I loved that. Do you know your top strengths? What is your special talent? What is the one thing that comes easy to you and requires little effort? That is your gift. Be confident about who you are and what you bring to the table. Notice I didn’t say arrogant. Confidence tells the world you are the best you that you can be. Arrogance tells the world you think you are better than everyone else. Be confident and don’t be afraid to think highly of yourself.
ALLOW PEOPLE TO LOVE YOU – We live in a society that expects people to be self-sufficient and to able to stand on their own two feet. I’m all for that, but so often I see people who are good at giving but not good at receiving. In order to be truly loved, you have to allow people to give you love. You have to let people in and let them see you with all your perfect imperfections. You have to have the courage to show up and be seen. Letting love in and being vulnerable is one of the bravest things you can do. It is not a weakness, it is a strength.
There are so many other ways to love yourself, but let’s all start here. If you’ve got all this down, help someone else. If you could use some practice, grab a piece of paper right now and write down 10 things you love, respect and admire about yourself. Make at least one of them, something that makes you blush. If you can’t think of 10 things, you’ve got work to do. Don’t judge yourself, work on yourself. Successful, happy and loving people have the courage to bet on themselves. A step in the wrong direction is better than no step al all. Keep moving, keep improving and build on your strengths. When you love yourself your life won’t be perfect but it will shine.