“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
The way you feel about yourself will always have an impact on the quality of your relationships with others. Most people who constantly feel the need to put others down usually have a deep sense of self-loathing. If you find that you constantly need people to prove their love to you or reassure you all the time that you are loved, it could mean that you have not yet found your way to loving yourself.
A popular Oscar Wilde quote says, “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance,” and this is because there is only one person you will spend the longest time with; YOU.
That said, most of us struggle with loving ourselves. There are so many things and people and circumstances that have slowly rubbed away our sense of love for who we are. To get to the point where you can finally begin to love who you are, mistakes, flaws, successes and all, there are certain things and realisations you need to make about yourself.
4 Tips to really loving yourself
1. Face your fears
We are not born with an innate lack of self love. That happens over time. If you want to know why you don’t love yourself, a good place to start is to acknowledge your fears because they are usually the starting point of your true feelings.
A person who has a hatred of her body might have had experiences in the past where her body or weight was mocked by people she loved. As a result, there is always that fear of looking in the mirror or of hearing people’s thoughts.
Not too long ago, I met someone I had not seen in a while and I expressed my surprise in how long had passed since we’d met. Before I could fully express myself, she went on the defensive and cut me short saying, “Yes, I know I’ve added weight, just say it.” I was taken aback by how defensive she sounded. Sure she had added weight, but it was not so noticeable, besides I had not seen her in close to 7 years.
I understood how she felt though because I felt the same way after the birth of my children. I had added over 30kg and nothing I did seemed to work. I hated my body. It was not until I got to a place where I began to love myself (love-handles included) that I finally began to shed the excess weight. I had stopped obsessing.
2. Trace the Source of your worth
Where you get your self-worth from will greatly affect the way you love yourself. If your self-worth comes from what you have or how you look or where you traveled to last vacation, then you have a real problem because what happens when those things are no longer there?
Your self-worth should come from your knowledge of who you are as a person. You are someone created by God and he loves you. If you truly have that knowledge, you will not tie your self-worth (and self-love) to external things.
Remember, how you feel about yourself should not be as a result of how people feel, or talk about you.
3. Change your self-perception
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see a person who is strong and a survivor? Someone who has been battered by life and circumstances and is still standing? Or do you see a victim? The minute you see yourself as a victim and accept victim status, you will lose your love for yourself.
Change the way you see yourself and begin to see the person God sees – someone worthy of love.
4. Change your words
Change the way you talk about yourself. You are not a failure simply because you failed several times in the past. Remember that Albert Einstein failed several times and was written off as a failure. What made him stand out was that while others considered him a failure, he never saw himself that way.
So change the way you talk about yourself. Stop using negative words to refer to you. Loving yourself means being kind to yourself even in your words.