For many of us the concept of loving ourselves can be an uncomfortable one. Connotations such as arrogance, vanity or new-age spiritualism can tarnish the true meaning of self-love; that of having a genuine appreciation for who we are – even the parts we don’t necessarily like. Yet loving ourselves completely may just be the key to unlocking the joyous and exciting life we yearn for.
From a young age many of us are taught to criticise ourselves. Parents, siblings or friends may have made us feel insecure for whatever reason and, although this may not have even been deliberate, once insecurity takes hold it tends to stick around.
Spiritualist teacher Louise Hay is an expert on how to treat ourselves with love and compassion and you’ll find many more inspirational teachers who champion the idea of self-love. With so many speakers, coaches and motivational teachers emphasising just how important it is to create a healthy relationship with yourself, why not use the steps below to add a little more self-love to your life?!
Step 1: Become aware of what you are thinking.
Make it your mission to become conscious of your thoughts and notice the inner dialogue that you have with yourself as without conscious awareness of what’s going through your mind, you’ll struggle to deliberately fill it with thoughts of genuine love. Although this may take some practise, the more you try the easier it will become. Make it your mission in the morning to be more aware of what you are thinking whilst you are getting ready for work. If you can, keep a journal handy to make some notes. You might be surprised at how many negative thoughts you have even before you leave the house!
Step 2: Change your inner dialogue.
If you discover that you have more negative thoughts than positive ones, make a conscious effort to change these. Being more aware of your thoughts will enable you to identify the reoccurring negative beliefs that you just can’t shake. As soon as you notice a negative thought, stop yourself and change it to something positive. Developing this as a habit will train your brain to focus on the positive thoughts over negative ones and, in time, you’ll notice a shift in your natural level of happiness.
Step 3: Praise yourself.
Many of us who take the time to become consciously aware of our thoughts discover many unpleasant ones creeping more than we thought. We become so use to thinking them that we are almost numb to their presence. One way to change this is by appreciating who you are and the things you do every day. Make it your habit to praise yourself for everything no matter how big or small. When you land a promotion, praise yourself. When you pay your bills on time, praise yourself (do this especially if you pay them late – it will help to break that habit). When you make the perfect cup of coffee, you got it – praise yourself! Louise Hay teaches that our lives work when we break the habit of constant criticism and praising ourselves is the way to do just that.
Self-love can certainly be beneficial for all of us, after all, only good can happen if we change our inner dialogue to one of self-appreciation. But the impact goes wider than the individual. By loving ourselves we make it acceptable for other people to do the same. As Nelson Mandela once said, “be the change you wish to see” and adopting self-love as a way of life is certainly a worthwhile change to make. Change won’t happen overnight, but it will pay dividends the more you chip away at it. In the meantime, enjoy discovering all the wonderful things about yourself that have been hidden under criticism and insecurity for so many years.
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