A few days ago I was talking to some of my clients during a workshop and discussing possible ways to understand how to love ourselves better. There was so much interest that I decided to share with you the hints I gave them. They’ve an accumulative effect but may also be used one at a time. Enjoy loving yourself better from now on.
Grab a sheet of paper and for once, make the effort of defining what you LIKE in yourself, instead of finding whatever it is that you think needs changing/improving. Identify 3 things you like in each of the following areas:
Bodily – define 3 things you enjoy on your body, including your face: your hair, your walking style, your height, your posture… anything.
Psychological – define 3 traits in you that you enjoy: generous, hard-working, sentimental… anything.
Abilities – define 3 skills you have that you like: good handwriting, well organized, quick learner… anything.
Each morning after breakfast and every evening before going to bed, look at yourself in the mirror, look deeply into your eyes, and remind one of those 9 things you like in yourself. Praise them. Praise yourself for them. Do not forget that there are AT LEAST 9 items in you that you like.
It might be hard, especially at the beginning, because we are so used to doing just the opposite and searching for flaws, mistakes and so on. But do try. Give yourself a break and be honest; stop JUST trying to find the bad in you and start searching for, and praising, the GOOD.
Identify and improve your model
To begin with, ask yourself who your teacher was. Who taught you how to enjoy yourself as a human being? Did you learn it from your parents? From a friend? The majority of us learn by imitating our role models, even subconsciously. As soon as you identify who you heard it from, ask yourself if you really like the way that individual loved him or herself. Is that the type of love that you want to give yourself? If it is, can you improve it? If it isn’t, can not you find a better role model to imitate? The role model doesn’t have to be a person you know but could also be a character in a book or film. Yes, I know they might not be”real” but what they are portraying is the type of love that you want to give yourself. Concentrate on this and find out what they do to transmit that love. At the end of the day, you just need to learn how to do it better.
If you’re like many others, each time somebody praises you, your mind immediately looks for some kind of fault in you to counteract the positive remark you may receive. For example, someone says something nice about your hair or clothing now; your mind instantly reminds you of the…”yes, but even if that looks OK these days, it’s usually horrible,” or”yes, but look at my nose, even the best haircut can not hide that ugly thing in my face,” or something of this kind. Sounds familiar?
I challenge you to turn your”yes buts” the opposite way around. Every time you hear OR THINK something negative about yourself, I would like you to make the effort to consciously say, think or replicate a”yes but” in a positive sense. Case in point: you think,”gosh, my hair looks awful today!” (which would normally make you feel bad for some more time following the thought happened). This time I want you to”yes and” it in a positive way…”yes, which means I want to try that new hat on,” or”yes, and that’s why I can do it in a different fashion today” or anything that ends the thinking process on a positive note.
Our brains follow established paths. Let’s create some new ones for ourselves.
Value your actions
If you started applying the first recommendation, you should already be valuing 9 positive things in you. Now I want you to feel grateful also. Every evening, before going to sleep, think of 3 things you did . Value your job or your contribution. Celebrate having done those great deeds and congratulate yourself for them. Feel grateful for everything that led you to being able to do what you did. Feel grateful for the people who made it possible; feel thankful for your skills, knowledge or skills; feel grateful for having been there when you needed to; feel thankful for having decided to do whatever it’s you did… Feel thankful for being you. Gratitude is a very powerful feeling which makes our brains release dopamine, which reduces anxiety, improves our mood and our levels of energy and motivation.
Give yourself hope
Another little but powerful tool to love oneself better is giving ourselves the gift of hope. At night, after feeling thankful for what you did, give yourself permission to dream. And I don’t mean sleeping. Before you go to sleep but as soon as you’re already in bed, I would like you to daydream. The only rule is that the dreams are favorable. If a negative thought tries to enter your head, make the conscious effort to replace it and go back to your happy reverie. Imagine the good things that will happen to you tomorrow or this week. Imagine them in great detail and have the fun of an artist creating a wonderland. Let yourself enjoy the joyful feeling; after all, it is only in your imagination. But… your brain doesn’t know it! When we make the conscious effort to envision and try and experience happy feelings, our brain believes the”fantasy” and begins releasing chemical products that make us feel great: endorphines, oxytocin and such. As a result, our bodies relax and not only can we actually sleep better, which is a significant gift in itself, but once again, our brain discovers new paths into happier feelings. Consider this time a gift to yourself. We are not daydreaming to create a new reality; this isn’t the power we’re trying to use. The objective is to get a pleasant, hopeful time to allow our bodies and minds unwind and make us feel good about life.
These five simple exercises will gradually help you love yourself better. By loving yourself better, you may start having better feelings about yourself and, as a result, around the globe. You’ll soon begin feeling better in general. After all, we can’t change the world unless we change ourselves first.
Choose the type of life you want to live. Choose to love yourself and others will see the love in you.
Enjoy life, ALL of it,