YOU are lovable and valuable. How do you love yourself? How do we give yourself love without being selfish?
WHAT IS SELF-LOVE? Self-love is not the same as selfishness. Self-love is not vain. Self-love is important for our preservation and existence. If we do not love and care for ourselves, then we are not taking responsibility for ourselves.
We cannot expect others to care for us when we can care for ourselves. If we do this, we can be guaranteed to be disappointed, because another Soul cannot love us the way that we can love ourselves. Of course, sometimes we need help from others, but we must do what we can to love and care for ourselves, even if it is just inwardly being responsible for not allowing negative thinking to dominate our lives.
Studies show that those who have not learned how to love themselves, are more prone to disease, and even death. Self-love is how we keep the mind, body, and spirit, free from disease and charged up with positive healing energies.
20 WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF
- Make a list of all of your talents and positive qualities and post it up on the wall or refrigerator where you can see it, or for those more modest, put it on the inside of closet door, or a place where only you will see it everyday. If you are having trouble making a list, ask a trusted friend to help you. Try to use a variety of words, not just “nice.” Do a word search for “positive characteristics.” Try some other words like, “determined,” “easy-going,” “imaginative,” “trusting,” etc.
- Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment (for example, “You are a good listener,” or “You’re reliable and dependable,” “You have very good complexion,” or “You are very talented at drawing.” Truly mean it and be grateful for the positive traits you have.
- Make a list of things that you love to do (for example, listening to French music, watching old movies, playing cards, going for a walk in the park, sitting with the dogs, etc.) and plan time on your calendar or daily planner to schedule at least one or two hours every day, doing something that uplifting or fun that brings joy to your heart.
- Learn to say, “I’ll get back to you,” or “let me give that some thought.” Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly. Learn to trust your own judgment and inner direction, by giving yourself some time alone to make your own decisions. This might mean going against a decision made by a group of friends. Know that this is an important step in loving yourself. Take time to make decisions and know that it is perfectly fine to not know what to do.
- Make a list of your favorite foods that are healthy for every part of you – body, mind and spirit, (not just a long list of junk food that might be good for the emotions but bad for the stomach and heart). Put some thought into this “healthy food” list. Make some effort to throw out foods that are not nourishing to you and replace them with healthy and fun foods that you enjoy such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, organic foods and juices, etc.
- Hug yourself. Give it a try. Nobody is looking and it feels really good. Hug yourself every day.
- Shift gears and lead a balanced life. Make sure that you are getting enough exercise and enough rest so that you lead a balanced life. If you stay inside and work on a computer all day, get out of the house and get some exercise. If you do physical work all day, stay inside, relax, put your feet up and snuggle with a loved one or the cat in front of a cozy fire. Take care of your body by eating healthy foods, exercising, and relaxing.
- Imagine that someone is telling you something negative about yourself and you are strong and unaffected. Practice being detached and saying. “O.K. fine,” and not caring about what others think. Practice seeing yourself in a good light, even when others see you in a negative way. Keep practicing until you honestly are not bothered by these kind of statements. You can do it!
- Make a list of people whom you admire or who inspire you. Now that you have a few names, think of the character traits that they have that you like. Write the character or personality traits next to the person’s name such as confident, relaxed, wise, affectionate, humorous, honest, trustworthy, fun, talented, etc. Then take this list and compare it with a list of your traits. Which traits do you have? Which traits do you need to work on? Next spend time each day in quiet contemplation imagining that you are this trait. If it is “friendly,” then close your eyes and go on a little journey, imagining a little “drama” or “play” in which you are a very friendly person. Do this every day.
- Use a journal every day before going to sleep. Write down in the journal what you choose to accomplish or how you wish to be. This is your true self. For example, write: “I am kind. I am patient. I am loved. I bring joy and happiness to others.” Write these statements several times in the morning, throughout the day, and before falling asleep.
- Spend some time alone with yourself every day. Turn off the TV, cell phone, computer and just listen. Get a pen and paper and write down your hopes and dreams. What is it that you’ve always wanted to do? Close your eyes and imagine it so. Now start breaking it down into goals. Write down five, ten or more steps to achieving your goal. What is standing in your way? Start taking action by writing each goal step on your calendar. Forgive yourself if you have to reschedule, but be persistent and don’t give up.
- Learn how be yourself. Who are you? What do you like? Find out what your favorite music is, your favorite clothes, your favorite foods, etc. Spend time alone and sort this out so that when you are with others you are not just copying what they do. Then when you are certain who you are and what makes you uniquely YOU, be true to yourself. Find friends, or groups of people (classes, clubs, organizations) who enjoy being with you just the way you are, and who enjoy the same things you do. Join groups. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and hold the same values.
- Pretend that you are your best friend. When you are planning what to do for the day and you start to contact your best friend, stop yourself and ask, “Is there anything that I am choosing to give my best friend, that I’m not giving to myself?” Do you treat your best friend with kindness, trust, respect, flattery, time, patience, understanding, forgiveness and tolerance? It’s great to give to your friends and make time for them, but be sure to balance it out with time, forgiveness, love, and gifts for yourself.
- Don’t compare. If you find that you are comparing yourself to another person or a group of people, stop yourself and say, “I don’t make comparisons.” Remember that each person is unique. Each person is lovable and valuable. The trick is to find your uniqueness, your sparkle, and not to focus on differences. This holds true for others also. Hold onto the image of each person’s value and uniqueness in life. Stop looking at how people (yourself included) don’t measure up to certain standards or expectations. Throw out expectations. When you compare, you hurt others and yourself. and separate yourself from the world. Remember that love doesn’t put itself on a scale to be measured out by comparisons.
- See a doctor or trusted practitioner regularly. Schedule basic health exams, blood work, and other tests and screenings to make sure you are in tip top shape.
- Treat yourself. Get a massage, sauna, facial, pedicure, manicure, new haircut, paint your room, buy new curtains, buy new clothes, etc. Do something loving for your body and/or your home. Treat yourself and have fun.
- Explore aromatherapy. So maybe you cleaned up the house, bought nice clothes, went to the doctor and you are feeling fine…did you think about fragrances? What does your place smell like and what do you smell like? Find out which fragrances make you happy and relaxed. Buy shaving lotions, aftershave, men’s cologne, women’s perfume, deodorant, incense, fresh flowers, air fresheners, or essential oils to bring amazing fragrances into your life that bring out the best in you.
- Forgive yourself and others for past mistakes. Close your eyes, listen to your heart and discover any past regrets, disappointments, shame, fear, guilt, anger, that is still gripping your heart and preventing you from moving forward. Imagine surrendering this over to a higher power and letting go. Practice tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, faith and trust in higher wisdom and a higher plan. Know that more will be revealed to you. You or those you love, may not have all the skills needed at the moment, but accept that you and others are learning and evolving spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. Write and say out loud, “I forgive myself. I forgive others.” Let it go.
- Thank your negativity. Every time you hear yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself or others, such as “I am ugly,” talk to your emotions or your mind and say, “Thank you for providing me with this information.” Be grateful for the negative thought. Then let it go, saying to yourself. “I’m grateful and I’ve heard you, and I don’t need to think of this anymore. Thank you.” Send it away and replace it with a positive thought, such as “I am radiant.”
- Give to others. Do something good, kind, loving and/or charitable each day for someone else without them knowing that you have done something, or without any expectation of recognition or reward.
This article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.
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