It all starts with loving yourself.
Did you wince? Does self love make you uncomfortable? Does it feel vain and self- absorbed? Does the thought of looking into your own eyes in the mirror and saying “I love you” make you want to hurl?
I get it, and I felt like this for a long time. I thought self deprecation and constantly criticizing myself made me humble. I thought it made me normal.
The truth is, self hatred is like carrying dead weight around all the time. It slows you down, makes you tired, and gives you unnecessary aches and pains. Self hatred causes you unnecessary pain, and keeps you stuck.
You won’t find self love in someone else loving you. You won’t find it in a bigger paycheck, in changing your appearance, you won’t find self love externally at all. It’s always inside. It’s always about acceptance. It’s
Self love allows you to enjoy your life, reach your goals, and offers you infinitely more peace. You’re stuck with you literally forever, so which scenario sounds better? Going through your entire life with someone you love, or someone you hate?
Are you more likely to do something nice for someone you love, or someone you hate?
You get the picture.
It can feel excruciating to love yourself when you’ve spent years hating what you see in the mirror and criticizing yourself day in and day out.
We aren’t born like this. Babies and children often walk around, completely uninhibited. They will shamelessly dance in public, express their emotions, share their creations, thoughts, and ideas, and they love with an open heart. They accept love and doting from others with ease because that’s our nature. Be like a baby.
As adults, we accumulate baggage. Maybe our parents were raised in a tough environment, and so they were very critical of us and we learned to take on that inner critic. Maybe one of our caregivers struggled with addiction or mental health issues, and couldn’t be there for us when we needed them, and so we learned that we didn’t deserve to have our needs met, or perhaps that we were unlovable.
Don’t let someone else’s old baggage a control your life. Of course, this is easier said than done, I am not a mental health professional, and I would always advise everyone to seek the professional opinion of a licensed therapist or mental health practitioner.
With that said, most, or at least many of us, heard these critical voices growing up, and learned to take them on. So many of us were victims and at one point, internalized what happened to us and believed it made us unlovable.
That doesn’t mean it’s true.
You’re going to accept what you think you deserve in life. If you hate yourself, you’re more likely to accept toxic relationships, work environments, and let your dreams slip away.
If you learn to love yourself, you will treat your body with care and feed it what feels good. You will spend time in nature, or meditating, and reading books to feed your mind. You will accept love and healthy relationships from others because you will feel worthy of it. You will go after your dreams for the same reason. You will allow for better financial opportunities because you will know for certain that you deserve them.
Break up with the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough, you’re unworthy, you’re unlovable. That voice is old news, its breath stinks, and it’s dragging you down. You don’t have to listen to that voice. It’s not telling the truth.
I haven’t found a way to banish the voice forever, but as I work on loving myself more and more, the voice doesn’t get as much air time. Find the “mute” button in your mind and use that shit.
When you pass a mirror, look into your own eyes and say “I love you.” Find something you like about yourself instead of criticizing. Maybe it’s your sense of style, or your health, or your hair, or your eyes. Get in the habit of saying something nice about yourself.
Banish criticizing yourself. You’re allowed to make mistakes. You’re allowed to apologize. You’re allowed to improve yourself, change yourself, and grow even as you love yourself, and accept yourself exactly as you are.
Just because you love yourself doesn’t mean you won’t make positive changes. If anything, you’ll make more and more because you will want a better life for yourself.
You are a one of a kind creation made from star stuff and a super rare combination of circumstances that led you here. We are all miracles. Love yourself the way you love your dearest friend, or a child. Love yourself the way you want to be loved by another. We can all better support each other and our world when we love ourselves first.
Love yourself into the life you want. It’s the only way.