Hard as it can be to realize sometimes, no matter what you think, you are good enough. With the onslaught of picture perfect images in the media and culturally defined ideas of what we “should” look like, sometimes it’s so hard to just do one of the most basic things — love ourselves. To me, loving yourself is the very first step to living a positive and present life. If you can’t love yourself, you’re going to have a hard time truly loving the world around you and enjoying the life you’re living. However, loving yourself is no easy task sometimes. It actually takes a lot of hard work, which is why I’ve come up with the top five ways you can start loving yourself right now.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
The entire world encourages us to compare, to want what others have, to want to be like others. In the post I wrote back in 2009, Stop Judging: 4 Reasons, 5 Things, 6 Ways, I talked about how much we lose when we waste time judging others and ourselves. If you truly want to love yourself, you must stop your comparisons. Focus on you and what’s great about who you are, what you have, and what you do. Don’t waste any more time comparing yourself to those around you. This is the first — and most important — step to loving yourself now.
2. Focus on your achievements — big and small.
To often, we focus on the things that went wrong (or could go wrong) and not on the things we did right. We’ll dwell forever on a conversation that went poorly, but hardly think at all about a wonderful interaction with had with someone. Likewise, people are often more likely to focus on their failures than their achievements (probably as some sort of self-protection in order to avoid future failures). It’s okay to acknowledge the things that didn’t go swimmingly, but if you really want to love yourself, you have to spend most of your time thinking about what you did/said right. And, remember, even the little things deserve a pat on the back.
3. Look past the mirror to your true self.
It’s all too common for people to define themselves by the way they look. Remember: you are more than what you look like. Yes, it cannot be denied that appearance is important and has some merit, but it is not everything. The way culture is set up, it’s hard to remember that sometimes. Next time you look in the mirror and find yourself filled with negative thoughts, remind yourself that you are more than what you see in that reflection. Your worth is more than the way you look. Once you convince yourself of the truth in those words, it will become much easier to love your true self.
4. View yourself from another perspective.
We all have the tendency from time to time to get wrapped up in our own minds. Our thoughts and ideas take over and we tend to forget that there are millions and millions of other opinions and ideas out there in the world. The next time you find that you’re giving yourself a hard time, take a step back and try to look at the situation — and yourself — objectively. You may soon realize that the way you were looking at yourself or the situation is not the way that others would. Taking a step back and looking at yourself with fresh eyes will help you to realize that you are worth more than you realize — and you are certainly deserving of your own love.
5. Make a list of all your awesome traits.
Feeling like you’re not quite up to par? Stop. Drop what you’re doing. Grab paper and a pen. And get to work. The activity might seem like a silly one, but, seriously, taking some time to write about how great you are will help you to realize that, no matter how you might feel about yourself sometimes, you really are pretty awesome. And if you find yourself struggling with this exercise, enlist the help of friends and family. Hearing their input about your awesomeness will make you realize that, hey, if all of those people can love you, you can certainly love yourself!
As I said, loving yourself isn’t easy. It seems like the kind of thing that should come naturally, but I think most people are filled with reasonable amount of self-doubt and, as a result, their minds fill with self-deprecating thoughts from time to time. It’s okay to struggle with self-love, but it’s not okay not to give it a really solid try. You deserve to love yourself because, no matter who you are, you are awesome. So start embracing your awesomeness and use the five tips above to start loving yourself now. There’s no time like the present to learn to love yourself!