You can not be happy without loving yourself. I tell you this in a clear and forceful way because that is the reality. If you do not love yourself, you do not treat yourself well, you do not respect yourself, how are you going to pretend that others do? And even more, how are you going to accept the love that others give you if you do not love yourself? That’s why I tell you and I assure you that loving yourself is the way to happiness. Because it is.
How would we define loving yourself? I am going to give you a definition of your own: to love yourself is to truly accept who you are with your lights and your shadows. It is not just about loving yourself when you are fantastic and luminous but above all doing it also when you make mistakes and fail. Because it is not a matter of being perfect or being the best version of yourself, but of being who you really are. Who are you really connected to your vision and your mission? It is also to be willing to develop all your potential, not to settle for being less than what you are worth.
Steps to love yourself:
1. Know yourself. I always insist on this point, but it is that a person who does not know himself cannot love himself fully because he does not really know who he is. You have to do an honest job of introspection. You have to know what your script of life is, that is, what is the plan that others prepared for you and that you perhaps still follow unconsciously. And know your lights and your shadows. What is the best way to meet you? The best ways to get to know you are therapy and coaching because, as I have mentioned on other occasions, you get an objective view of the professional who helps you see those aspects that would go unnoticed to you.
2. Recognize your strengths. Recognize your qualities. You can make a list of positive aspects of yourself (at least 10) and review it once a day. Or use it at times when you feel invalid for whatever reason.
3. Accept your weak points. If you have done a good job with your self-knowledge, you will also know what your weakest points are. The first thing is that you know that everyone has them. There is no one perfect. And many times the qualities of some are the weaknesses of others. Know them, respect them and improve what you want and can be improved. The rest accept it and use it in your favor. Because in many cases what makes someone special are their weak points, although it sounds paradoxical.
4. Heal emotional wounds. It is very difficult for you to love yourself if you feel emotional pain. Surely at some point in your life, some people have treated you badly. That happens to everyone. The difference between people is that some people get to heal those wounds and others still suffer for it. If you still have suffering you should heal that part. You can do it with therapy if the wounds are deep or you have been dragging them for a long time. If they are lighter you can treat them with Mindfulness of self-pity. What you can not do is leave them open because they will continue to ooze.
5. Change the internal dialogue. The first thing you should stop doing is talk to yourself in a negative way. It is possible that you have internalized the voice or the voices of people who did not treat you well in your life, even that they belittled you in some way. And every time you speak badly self-esteem or insult, you’re loving yourself a little less and you’re perpetuating that negative voice. You have to learn to cut that negative internal dialogue with yourself because it does not help you at all. Just to suffer, feel bad and reinforce it. So every time you detect that critical voice, stop, take a moment and let go of that self-criticism. If you see yourself capable, replace that criticism with a positive message.
6. Treat yourself with kindness. The premise that you have to leave is to treat you with kindness on all occasions. It is not necessary for you to criticize yourself when you make mistakes or do something wrong. You can obviously recognize the mistake, and even amend it if possible, but without destructive criticism. Love yourself more when you need it most.
7. Do not share your time with people who do not value you. Find people that enjoy with you, be your family or friends. And if someone, however much you want, does not want to be with you, do not stay there. Being with people who neither enjoy nor value your presence, is like not wanting yourself. Learn to feel that you deserve something more, than the “tolerance” of other people.
8. Make gifts. They can have economic value or simply be quality time. Moments when you take care of yourself, do things that you like and make you enjoy. Pamper yourself as you would with a very dear person.
9. Flee from perfectionism. You were not born to be perfect, you were born to be real. The perfect people are not real and also those who claim it tends to be quite fussy and often arrogant. This desire to reach an ideal can lead you to a continuous effort to reach the unattainable. And to constant criticism for not reaching that high standard that you have marked yourself. You know what they say that the best is the enemy of the good.
10. Do not compare yourself. It is almost inevitable to compare ourselves with others, but you know that comparisons are odious. You can look at others as a source of inspiration, even with admiration. But do not use that to feel inferior, or to devalue yourself. There will always be someone better than you in something. And if today there is not, there will be tomorrow. But also worse. The comparison is a zero gain game. Do not practice it.
The benefits of loving yourself are all that you can imagine. I am not talking about a blind and narcissistic love, but about an authentic and true acceptance. That is when you will get the benefit of that wonderful feeling that arises when you feel good inside your own skin. To start to stop suffering for things that really do not matter and maybe are not even real. And when you really connect with that unconditional love towards yourself, something wonderful happens: you can connect with others in that way. And the magic happens. So keep loving yourself and be happy.