Learning to love yourself is important for our overall functioning, life satisfaction, personal well-being and self-image. But how can we achieve it?
I know that it may not be so simple and quick process: We often say that we love ourselves, but our actions, reactions and way of life speak otherwise. To love yourself is critical for your personal development, fulfilling your dreams, developing healthy, fulfilling relationships.
How to learn to love yourself more?
Instead of saying that you love yourself, try to be more compassionate to yourself through these practical steps:
Take care of yourself as you care for others
It sounds pretty simple, but many of us do not do this because they believe that this way we are selfish or that our needs are not important. They are important! It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Compassion means showing concern for your feelings as well as for other people. Treat yourself the way you would treat your children or best friend – with tenderness, attention and care.
Keep to your limits
Make a list of things you need emotionally, things that are important to you, that disturb you or hurt your feelings. This may include to be heard; to get support when you are hurt; to celebrate when you succeed at something; to get love and tenderness without request; to know that you can rely on someone. All that’s important to you, it is important! And when someone ignores the things that are important to you or crosses your boundaries, you know – because you are harmed. Do not ignore it. Your feelings are telling you what is right and what is wrong.
Show what your limits are to the people around you and what you will tolerate or not. If they apologize to you, you can forgive them. If they do not do that, or continue to ignore your limits and needs, you should set consequences for that. For example, if you tell your partner that you need to be listened when you talk about something, but he/she constantly ignores you or tells you to go through it, you can respond with appropriate measures, such as to find another person that you trust. Also, you can examine the relationship.You should receive love, acceptance and respect in your relationship as much as you give to the other person. By doing activities that meet your needs and being assertive, you are boosting your confidence because you strengthen your beliefs for yourself and others, that you deserve to be loved and treated well.
Do what you need to be yourself
First, find out what it is that makes you feel good. No matter what it is, become aware of how you feel when you do those things. Do you feel exhausted at work, but relaxed when you work in the garden? Do you feel joyful when you read to your children? Are you satisfied when you are writing poetry or do voluntary work? Discover what it is that makes you feel good and do it as often as possible. Do what you want and do not let anyone to blame you for it.
All these things will help you develop a sense of self actualization, self-esteem and self-evaluation, that you are talented, capable individual who deserves love. The person who is most important to believe in is you!