We’ve all heard the phrase - in order to love others, you first of all need to love yourself. And, it’s actually true. It’s so important to show unconditional love to yourself, without that you can’t allow others to truly love you back.
The problem - these days our lifestyles are so focused on achievement and comparing ourselves to others and a motivation to push ourselves constantly to do more. The result of this is that we’re so critical of ourselves these days, and we focus on the things we’ve done wrong or haven’t done rather than our successes and achievements.
So how on earth are we supposed to love ourselves and move from self-criticism to unconditional love? It’s incredibly hard to make this change, and it’s important to not expect a drastic change overnight. Relationships with yourself are the exact same as your relationship with others - it will take time, attention and effort to start to show yourself some love. So take it step by step.
If loving yourself sounds too scary, try just accepting yourself. Acceptance is easy. When you notice times where you’d usually critisise or be mean to yourself, start to accept yourself and say ‘its okay!’. This will start to change your thought patterns, not all the way from negative to positive, but to neutral, which is a great first step.
Realize what you’re doing is enough
We always push ourselves to do more, to earn more, to look better or achieve more, and it’s hard to believe that we have value just as we are sometimes. But try to remember that you don’t need to be anything else than you are right now. Every person is enough, and valued, and this doesn’t change throughout our lives.
Comparison can be the antithesis of self-love. We’re taught from hearty day one to compare ourselves to others, and it’s easy to get sucked into conforming and feeling like you’re not as good as other people. The truth is that you and your own value has nothing to do with other people’s or how you perceive their value!
Judging is just another form of comparison and when we judge others we’re subconsciously judging ourselves. So when you notice yourself start to judge others, try and show some care and compassion instead. When you do this for others, it will be easier for your to do this for yourself also.
Set boundaries with others
All relationships need healthy boundaries. So make sure you’re sticking up for yourself and letting the people around you know what is and isnt okay with you. Saying ‘no’ isn’t a scary thing - it’s how you start to set boundaries.
In order to build a relationship with anymore - even yourself! You need to appreciate them. So take the time to list some qualities that you admire in yourself and show yourself some gratitude for these things.
Make time for yourself
Quality time is really important, even with yourself. Try to think of things that feel good to do and make sure you put the time aside to do them. This could be going to watch a film, exercise, cooking a great meal, practicing yoga, or even reading a book. Whatever it is, make time for yourself.
It’s important to trust yourself so you look after your best interests. Don’t sacrifice any of your needs for the needs of other people around you. Prioritse yourself, and if needed, enforce your boundaries so you step in and look after yourself when needed.
Be great at communication
Good communication is everything, even with yourself! It’s important to take time to check in with yourself, and be sure to listen to yourself and pay attention to what you want and need. Try to speak to yourself in a loving way, or the way that you would speak to other people.
When we love other people, we forgive their mistakes, and we’re compassionate and supportive when they face challenges, so try to be this way with yourself. Give yourself more understanding and care while you learn to love yourself. Kindness is a great way to show love, so be kind to yourself everyday.
Ultimately, loving yourself takes a lot of time and effort, just like learning to love others in your life. But when you achieve it, there’s a great feeling of unconditional love you’ll never find anywhere else.
By Amy Cavil
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