One of my favourite sayings is from ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ – ‘We accept the love we think we deserve!’ When you love yourself you will know you deserve healthy love.
If you want to have an amazing happy partner then you will need to be happy with yourself. You attract a partner at the level you are at. So if you want to be loved unconditionally you need to start with loving yourself this way.
Looking to be validated, to feel good or to feel love it a recipe for disaster.
That is why it is essential to look at your relationship with yourself.
Do you love YOU?
Do you only like yourself when you look a certain way, act a certain way or do a really good job?
Is your love for yourself conditional?
Do you love yourself – because……..?
If those conditions aren’t met then you don’t like or love yourself?
What you need to be able to do is to love the parts of you that you don’t like. These don’t go away and are often the things that will bring you down.
It is time to take responsibility of your happiness – you are in the driver’s seat of your live. You are the person who has been present in your life and your circumstances. It is time to take control and not show up as a victim in your own life. What do I mean by a victim? A victim will always put the problem outside of themselves – I can’t be happy because I had a bad childhood, I don’t have the job I want, I don’t have enough money, it is their fault my life didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, etc. Blaming yourself or others doesn’t get you the life you want.
Here are some of the benefits of loving yourself:
- You will value yourself and not put up with someone who doesn’t equally value you.
- You will be confident and believe that you are worthwhile. This will ensure you aren’t needy.
- You won’t be prone to take rejection personally, as you know it is NOT because you aren’t good enough.
- You will look for someone who compliments your life. You will not be looking for someone to make you feel okay about yourself, to help you fill up your blank spaces or to validate you.
Love is amazing, exciting, fun and will fill you with pure joy and happiness. Love is not about someone else giving you your self-value and is never a replacement for loving yourself. However, it does act a mirror to give you a new healthy perspective on yourself as everyone we meet gives us the opportunity to see ourselves with fresh clarity.
OK so we have established the benefits of good self-esteem but how do you do it?
Unfortunately there is no magic solution to gaining self-esteem but here are some simple steps you can take to improve yours:
- Change the Way you Think
Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Become aware of what you say to yourself and start being positive! If you monitor your thoughts you would be surprised how negative and unkind you are to yourself. You seriously wouldn’t say some of the things you say to yourself to anyone– friend or foe! By changing your thoughts you can definitely increase your self-confidence. Kill Negative Thoughts
When you say things like – ‘I can’t do this, I always fail’ imagine a huge cancelled sign stamping the thought and cancelling it out. Then replace the negative one with a positive thought such as ‘I can do this, I will succeed.’ This sounds simple but it works. Recognise the way you talk to yourself and turn it around; this may take some practice but actually works.
- Know Yourself
When you start trying to change your negative self-image your number one obstacle is yourself! So get to know how you think – use a journal and record your thoughts. Look at how logical they are – often they are based on a distorted view of the world and yourself not fact! By getting to know yourself you can see how you limit yourself and that you don’t need to. By taking this step you will start to increase your self-esteem.
- Don’t take things personally
Examine how you react to things. We can all be guilty of taking things personally when it was not meant that way. A good way to test how you think is keep a journal of situations, how they make you feel and your reactions. For example you may have been ignored by an acquaintance while walking down the street – you feel rejected and that they don’t like you. But if you can look at this another way and think that the person didn’t see you and was busy. Taking the personal reaction of things definitely changes the way you feel.
- Don’t Compare yourself to others
Personally I love the song ‘Everyone is Free to Wear Sunscreen’ where he says ‘Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.’ Spending too much time comparing ourselves with others will only make you feel inadequate and that things are not fair. But focus on the fact there will only ever be one you, you are unique and amazing – definitely one of a kind. This instantly will make you feel better. So remember be the best you can be and don’t compare yourself to anyone else!
- Accept the Bad as well!
It is common to work with affirmations about what we love about ourselves which is a necessary But you also need to be able to love the parts of you that you don’t like. These parts don’t go away and are the things that will continually bring you down and damage your self-esteem.It may sound weird but love yourself for the good and the bad. You need to go past reason and love yourself for the way you are – ALL of it the good, the bad and the ugly! Why you are busy hating yourself for the thing you don’t love, you are ensuring you don’t love yourself. We often seek unconditional love yet can’t give it to ourselves. A big mistake we make is thinking we have to change before we can love ourselves. So this week notice how you are feeling – it could be angry, happy, bored, scared, mean. Then love yourself for what you are experiencing. It doesn’t matter if you do not know how to love yourself. At first just say the words–say I love myself for (being angry, being happy, being bored, being scared, etc). It sounds weird but you are accepting all of yourself and this is effective.
- Look Your BestThis one sounds simple but it works. Have you ever noticed how you feel when you look your worst and go out in something you don’t feel good in? It is impossible to feel confident. But when you are wearing your favourite outfit and looking your best you feel so much better. Therefore, simply by looking your best you can instantly increase your confidence.
Stand tall – it is hard to feel confident when you are hunched over and looking at the floor. Look the world in the eye and also fake it til you make it (research suggests this works).
Did you know that if you smile, even it is not a genuine one, it tricks your self-conscious into feeling happier. So smile – you will instantly feel better.
Exercise decreases stress hormones and increase the body’s natural feel good hormones in as little as 30 minutes. So exercise instantly can make you feel better.
- Bite Size Pieces
Make bite sizes changes. Too often we start by trying to make huge changes and when we don’t achieve them we get discouraged and give up. Whereas if you start on something small and achieve it – it instantly makes you feel better and encourages you to keep going. The same principle applies to changing habits – making small changes helps you feel successful and eventually helps you tackle the big stuff. Trying to change too much too soon is a recipe for disaster but by taking on bite size pieces you increase your self-confidence and sense of achievement.
- Act Positive
This one is not just about positive thinking it is about acting on your positive thoughts. When you think positive and act on that thought you really start to change. Remember actions speak louder than thoughts!
- Do Something that Scares You!
Try a scary ride or go sky diving – anything to get you out of your comfort zone. By trying something big and scary it makes the daily scary things pale in insignificance making them easier to achieve and increasing your confidence!
- Get Better at What you Do
Challenge yourself, learn new skills, study and then practice them. Don’t get too hung up on what you want to do – study/learn, challenge yourself, and have fun. Be the best version of yourself you can be.
- Focus on Solutions
If you are continually looking at what can go wrong, looking at how bad things are or looking at the problem you need to change your focus. Look at the solution and not the problem. For example if you are saying ‘I am fat’ look at how you can change that by saying ‘I can do what I need to lose weight’. Then ask yourself how you can do that, etc.