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How to love yourself: 15 steps to believing in yourself again
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Tags: #love

1) What you need to understand first

If there is only one lesson you learn this entire year, itís this: You are absolutely the most important person in your entire universe.

Your entire life is lived through your eyes. Your interactions with the world and those around you, your thoughts and how you interpret events, relationships, actions, and words.

You might just be another person when it comes to the grand scheme of things, but when it comes to your understanding of reality, you are the only thing that matters.

And because of that, your reality depends on how much you love and take care of you.

Your relationship with yourself is the most defining factor in shaping the kind of life you live.

The less you love yourself, listen to yourself, and understand yourself, the more confused, angry, and frustrating your reality will be.

But when you begin and continue to love yourself more, the more everything you see, everything you do, and everyone you interact with, starts to become a little bit better in every way possible.

But self-love isnít easy. As they say: you are your own biggest critic.

Weíre programmed to have bouts of self-loathing, and for many of us, these phases of self-hatred can turn into our entire lives.

Itís when we spend more time hating ourselves than we do loving ourselves that we adopt a more negative disposition of the world.

So begin to love yourself first. It might not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but itís definitely the most important.

2) Your Daily You

Think of the people in your life that you love and respect. How do you treat them?

You are kind to them, patient with their thoughts and ideas, and you forgive them when they make a mistake.

You give them space, time, and opportunity; you make sure they have the room to grow because you love them enough to believe in the potential of their growth.

Now think of how you treat yourself.

Do you give yourself the love and respect that you might give your closest friends or significant other?

Do you take care of your body, your mind, and your needs?

Here are all the ways that you could be showing your body and mind self-love in your everyday life:

  • Sleeping properly
  • Eating healthy
  • Giving yourself time and space to understand your spirituality
  • Exercising regularly
  • Thanking yourself and those around you
  • Playing when you need it
  • Avoiding vices and toxic influences
  • Reflecting and meditating

How many of these daily activities do you allow yourself? And if not, then how can you say you truly love yourself?

Loving yourself is more than just a state of mindóitís also a series of actions and habits that you embed into your everyday life.

You have to show yourself that you love you, from the beginning of your day to the end.

I understand that this is easier said than done. But the number one strategy I recommend is giving yourself time and space to practice meditation techniques.

I used to be deeply unhappy, but I changed my life by getting stuck into Buddhist philosophy and adopting some fantastic meditation techniques.

This is an active and practical way you can learn to love yourself.

Not only that, but through meditation, youíll improve your focus, reduce your stress and get to know yourself on an intimate level.

Through meditation and mindfulness techniques that I use every day, Iíve learned to accept myself and who I am, which is a crucial element of loving yourself.

Itís not easy and it will take effort, but if you stick at it every day, youíll eventually experience the benefits that so many people talk about with meditation.

If you want to learn meditation and mindfulness techniques, Iíve compiled many of them in my book: The Nonsense-Guide to Adopting Buddhist Philosophy for a Better Life.

3) Accepting the Pain

No one is perfect. Some of us confuse self-love with endless positivity and endless optimism.

There are those who go about their day singing the praises of God no matter how bad they might be feeling or how horrible their predicament might be.

And we think this is the right thing to do; after all, shouldnít positive vibes simply attract more positive vibes?

But the truth is that your endless optimism is a giant lie. Youíre lying to a part of yourself, ignoring the needs of half of who you are.

Because we all have a dark side; we all hold anguish, hatred, and pain. Ignoring these realities eats us up, and forces us to cave-in spiritually and mentally.

Allow yourself to be honest with who you are. Forgive yourself for your past deeds, those things you are ashamed of.

Accept that you are sometimes a carrier of negative emotions, like disgust, rage, and jealousy. And learn to embrace the silence when you need it.

4) Find and Open Your Heart

While step 3 is about acknowledging and accepting the pain, step 4 is about reconciling with a cold and unopened heart.

Ask yourself this one question: do you fully love yourself?

Accepting your flaws and your faults is one thing, but loving a person who can have your thoughts, your emotions, your vices, and your mistakes? Thatís a completely higher level of self-love.

Discover your life story. Trace your path from childhood to the person you are now.

Understand yourself in the most intimate way possible, and find the reason for every negative emotion, every shameful act, every word and deed that you now regret.

Take the skeletons out of your closet and try to remember why they are there in the first place.

Perhaps the most important thing you will discover is that most parts of our personality have a cause, and those that donít can be learned away.

Maybe you have false understandings of reality, or trauma, or feelings of victimhood.

Maybe you see the world differently than it actually is, and because of that, you did things you now know to be wrong.

Find the causes and trace your past. Learn to love yourself in a way that only you can. Stop being ashamed of your past and start understanding it.

When you hide away past emotions, you essentially put yourself in a cage of your own making.

The only way out is to push through the uncomfortable truths youíve been repressing. If you go near the edge of the cage, you feel extreme discomfort. In that place of discomfort, you can finally deal with past trauma and pain.

Mindfulness is the key to escape from your emotional cage.

The more you deal with past emotions through mindfulness the less emotional disturbance can occur.

Emotional disturbance is based on something that happened to you long ago, something you havenít let go of.

Through mindfulness, you can let go and then you can be free.

If mindfulness has so many obvious benefits, why doesnít everyone do it?

Hereís what I think.

A lot of information about mindfulness is esoteric and difficult to understand.

For instance, advice about showing gratitude to the universe or experiencing joy simply isnít applicable to most peopleís lives.

And I believe mindfulness Ė a practical, down-to-earth technique that everyone can practice Ė has been unfairly lumped with new-age nonsense like ďthe law of attractionĒ, ďenergyĒ and ďvibrationsĒ.

These phrases may sound nice but they donít work in reality.

Thatís why I decided to write a book about mindfulness that distills this valuable strategy in a clear, easy-to-follow way, with practical techniques and tips.

Hereís my book: The Art of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Living in the Moment.

In this eBook, youíll get simple, actionable tips that you can put into practice straight away.

Iíll walk you through your first meditation, and give you some straightforward but powerful exercises to help you be more mindful every day.

5) Share Yourself

On this path of self-discovery, you will discover truths about you that will terrify and shock you.

But the goal is to work your way through them and begin to love yourself more through understanding and acceptance.

And only after you have worked out your own personal bumps can you begin to see the diamonds in the rough: your gifts.

These are the qualities about you that survive the journey. The empathy, the spirituality, the humor, the love: everything you have cleaned off after wiping away all the rest. And when you love yourself and the things about you, only then can you properly share yourself to the world.

Give your true self to the world and those around you. Now that you love yourself, itís time to begin helping others find the highest form of self-love of their own.

6) Your thoughts are just thoughts Ė nothing more

The first thing you need to realize is that most of us are inherently negative.

We have about thousands of thoughts every day, and shockingly, 70 percent of them may be negative.

Why?

Because fears and worries are necessary for us to protect ourselves.

But this survival mechanism can work against us, which is why youíre experiencing self-doubt and self-criticism right now.

So, what can you do?

Well, what you need to realize is that while your thoughts canít necessarily be changed, you can you stop believing them.

Thoughts are just thoughts Ė nothing more. Hereís an inspiring quote from Allan Lokos:

ďDonít believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that Ė thoughts.Ē

7) What do you really want to do with your life?

Do you have a purpose?

Understanding what you want and where you want to go is crucial to being happy and finding meaning in life.

However, you probably already know that.

So if you donít know what to with your life, how in the hell can you figure it out?

There is a way.

According to Ideapod, these thought-provoking, weird questions may help you unlock the purpose that has been hidden from you until now.

Check them out:

  1. What were you passionate about as a child?
  2. If you didnít have a job, how would you choose to fill your hours?
  3. What makes you forget about the world around you?
  4. What issues do you hold close to your heart?
  5. Who do you spend time with and what do you talk about?
  6. What is on your bucket list?
  7. If you had a dream, could you make it happen?

Remember, if you want to learn how to love yourself, then you need to have a purpose that unlocks that love.

Donít get me wrong:

You donít need a life coach or anything fancy.

You just need to know your purpose, your goals and the action steps you need to take to get your life focused and working towards a goal. From there, itís up to you to take action every single day.

If you need a kick-start, check out Jeanette Clareís guide on how to be your own life coach.

She draws on her experience as a life-coach and shows 10 steps for you to take (or reclaim) control of your life.

She supports these steps with essential background information, practical activities, and techniques to keep things both interesting and interactive.

Check it out here.

8) What are you appreciative for?

Being grateful is a powerful attitude that can shape your mindset for the better.

According to Psychology Today, mentally strong people choose to exchange self-pity for gratitude.

In fact, a†white paper†by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkely says that people who consciously count what theyíre grateful may have better physical and mental health:

But Iím sure wondering:

How do you develop gratitude in the first place?

According to Unstuck, one of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal.

Every morning you could write down a few things that youíre grateful for in your life. Get in the routine and youíll be more appreciative by the day.

(If youíre struggling to think of things you can be grateful for, check out our list of 16 things to be thankful for here).

Hereís a great quote from Roy T. Bennett:

ďBe grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you arenít grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.Ē

9) Itís time to get out of your comfort zone, step-by-stepÖ

Iím sure youíve heard that progress canít be made in your comfort zone.

And as annoying as it is, itís true.

If youíre struggling to love yourself, then Iím also going to guess that youíre staying in your comfort zone as well.

But you donít have to do something immensely scary to get out of your comfort zone. You can take little steps to expand it and make progress.

So, how can you break through that comfort zone? First, write down activities that make you feel slightly nervous.

Remember, it doesnít have to be something big. It can be small, just as long as itís something relatively new and it makes you nervous.

Then go about knocking those tasks off. Once you get through them, youíll start to believe in yourself and everything that you can achieve.

10) As you make progress, people will try to pull you down

You know what happens when you start to improve?

Your friends, colleagues and maybe even family members may start to put you down.

Why?

Because itís the natural order of things. Theyíve put you in a box and it messes with their mind when you start to change.

So youíre going to have summon up some courage and ignore criticism from others.

If youíre becoming more confident and happy, then thatís all that should really matterÖ

11) Get out there and exercise

You might not like to hear this one, but it could be one of the most powerful things you can do.

Not only will you start to be healthier, but youíll feel better about yourself as well.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), thereís usually an instant mood-enhancing effect about five minutes after you start a workout.

And when done consistently, exercise could help reduce long-term feelings of depression and anxiety, and in turn, can help you maintain a healthy sense of self-confidence.

ďThereís good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people. And people who were active and stopped tend to be more depressed than those who maintain or initiate an exercise program,Ē says James Blumenthal, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke University.

So whether itís aerobic exercise or weight lifting, get out there and get it done! Youíll start to feel better about yourself in no time.

12) Who are you surrounding yourself with?

This is an important cog that often goes unnoticed.

Weíre all influenced by who we spend most of our time with. Consider this quote from Tim Ferriss:

ďYou are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.Ē

True, isnít it?

So if you think that some of your friends are toxic and have a habit of putting you down, you might want to find some new ones. You know, people you actually like and admire.

If your friends are positive and uplifting, youíll begin to feel better about yourself as well.

13) Accept your emotions without judging them

Whenever we experience an uncomfortable feeling, such as sadness, fear or anger, our first instinct is to ignore it, reject it or push it away. And this fair enough, we donít really want to walk around feeling emotional pain all the time.

However, when we reject our emotions, we may actually make things worse off. Emotions give us useful information about our lives.

A much better tactic that may help your emotional health is to practice acceptance. This means allowing your emotions to just be without negatively judging them or trying to change them.

Itís understanding that you donít need to ďcontrolĒ your emotions. They cannot do any damage to you.

In fact, the things you do to get rid of negative emotions, like alcohol or eating cake, can do more damage to you.

Learning to accept your emotions may lead to stable emotional resilience.

However, it is important to not confuse acceptance with self-imposed suffering. When you are treated unfairly by a superior, that doesnít mean you should accept it.

Acceptance is about balance. Western society encourages us to be positive all the time, but thatís not realistic. Instead, we must live our lives with both the negative and the positive, which helps us live a life of contentment.

In the end, if youíre able to accept yourself and all of your emotions, youíll be more easily able to love yourself.

(If youíre suffering from self-doubt and lack of self-belief, I highly recommend you check out Marisa Peerís free transformational hypnotherapy class. This class is designed to reveal your limiting thought patterns so you can work on letting them go. Marisa Peer, named the ďBest British TherapistĒ by Menís Health, demonstrates the instant transformation thatís possible with her unique, highly personal approach to hypnotherapy. Check it out here).

14) Get rid of these 5 toxic beliefs

Your beliefs shape your perspective on life. But if your beliefs arenít accurate, they could be negatively affecting you.

Here are some common toxic beliefs that may sabotage our life:

1. The present is indicative of the future

When life isnít going well, itís common to believe that your life will always be like this. And when things are going great, we think it wonít last long.

This is a self-fulfilling prophecy and itís bad judgment. The truth is, change is the only constant in the universe. Nothing remains fixed. So when things are going bad, realize that eventually, it has to change.

2. Being vulnerable is dangerous

No one enjoys feeling uncomfortable. But the truth is, progress can only occur when you step out of your comfort zone.

And the only way youíll be able to do that is by embracing imperfection and accepting that youíre going to feel uncomfortable.

Embrace who you are and what youíre feeling. You might find that it leads to insights that you never thought were possible.

3. Being alone is a problem

If you canít be comfortable spending time with yourself, how can you love yourself?

This is a dangerous belief because in life, the only person we can rely on is ourselves. As Buddhism says, happiness can only come from within yourself, so stop seeking external factors to make you happy.

4. Fitting in is a good thing

Weíre taught to believe that we need to fit in if we want to be happy. But the problem with this is that you donít embrace the idea that youíre unique.

Instead, you try to fit inside a limiting box society has created for you to be Ďnormalí.

Embrace who you are. The happiest people are authentic people.

5. What everyone does to you is personal

Some of us tend to think that anything happening to us is a direct assault on us. But when we start seeing the world this way, it can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The truth is, the world isnít out to get you and neither are other people. What people think about you says more about them than it does about you.

We all have a lens with which we see the world, so choose yours to be optimistic and hopeful. Your mind will thank you for it.

15) Do what youíll say youíll do

If you want to be proud of yourself and who you are, take action when you say youíll take action.

How do you feel when someone says theyíll do something and then they donít? They lose credibility.

So build your own credibility with yourself. Live with integrity.

Every time you take action and achieve something, you build confidence in yourself.

After all, life is about taking action, engaging in new experiences and achieving goals. And these goals donít have to be big. The smaller ones are perhaps more important. If you say youíre going to clean the house, do it! Itíll make you happy.

In fact, according to Psychology Today, by setting small goals and achieving them, your bran may receive a spike in dopamine Ė a neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. This is why people benefit from to-do lists.

In Conclusion

Loving yourself is crucial for your own emotional health and ability to reach your potential.

The good news is, weíre all capable of believing in ourselves and living the best life we possibly can.

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