Loving yourself?!

No kidding. I was thinking if I should put a question mark or exclamation mark on this expression. And in the end, I added both.

I’ll guess most people will have questions:

  1. Why do you need to love yourself?
  2. How do you love yourself?
  3. How much do you love yourself?
  4. How is self love different from loving other people?
  5. What do I love myself for?

Most will be even surprised at the broach of such a subject. Indeed, loving yourself or self love is a topic that is often neglected.

We all know of people who loves other people, like their family members, friends or even their pets. You probably have seen how some people have showered expensive gifts on their loved ones on special occasions like birthdays and anniversary, while stinging on themselves.

You probably have met people who seems to be doing more things for others then for themselves. I visited a children home,  mission trip to House of Shalom recently. Throughout the whole day, all that the person who’s running the home talks about was about the children welfare, how she can improve on the environment, what plans she had for the children and the forward plans for the home. Saved for the questions that I asked her about herself, everything she spoke about was not about her, but the home and the children.

Personally, I think it is very important to love yourself. Loving yourself is a way of recognizing and acknowledging yourself. If the one thing that you love about your Mum is because she always cooks your favorite dishes, you were recognizing her efforts and acknowledging the act that she cooks for you? So why not yourself? Are you in fact being too critical of yourself that you think you are not love worthy?

Stop judging yourself. The best gift you can give of yourself is to love yourself a little more today. When you feel loved, by yourself or from others, it will helps you to open up, feel happy and you will become better at loving other people.

Here are Some Ways to Love Yourself Everyday:

1. Don’t Blame Yourself for Every Mistake You Make

I used to fall into this trap in the past. When I made a mistake, I would reprimand myself harshly. I would think I am really bad for that to happen. Stop blaming yourself! Recognize the fact that you will feel more heartache when you blame yourself than when you blame someone. There is no perfect person in this world. You are bound to make mistakes here and then.

Here’s a trick. The next time you make a mistake, apologize. If you had to to be accountable to someone, apologize to that person. Otherwise, apologize to yourself. Reflect on the mistake, learn from it and write down a list of remedies or action to avoid that mistake again.

2. Don’t Take The Blame for Other People’s Mistakes

In my opinion, this is worst that blaming yourself. There is simply no justification for you to blame yourself for other people’s mistakes even if you are or perceived to be directly or indirectly the cause of it. The ownership of the mistake must be carried by the person who made it.

However, the lesson here is you have a learning experience out of it. If it makes you feel better, you can offer your help to the other person to help him relieve the damage. Do remember to draw the line though and not get too involved yourself.

3. Respect Yourself

At any point in time, do not degrade yourself. I’ve seen people who belittle themselves when they are with people they perceive as richer, more successful, of higher ranking, well known people or even government officials. They start comparing themselves and think how they pale in comparison in terms of their own achievement and success in life.

love yourself_respectphoto credit of Omar Reyes

There are many measurements for success, and everyone has a different yardstick. There is nothing intimidating about these people and their successes. Treat them as you would any other people. Speak with confidence and do not at any time regard yourself as lower in status than these people. Respecting self or other people is a basic humanity practice.

When you do not respect yourself, your self esteem drops and you would not be able to carry yourself confidently.

4. Dressed Neatly, Groom Yourself

We all know first that impression do counts. It is your first encounter and first 3-5 seconds for people to form an image of you. When you are happy with the way you dressed and look, you feel happy and positive. Automatically, you would exude confidence in the way you walk, speaks and in your behavior. Note that your external do have an important shift on your overall mindset. I would say dressed appropriately for the occasion, project yourself as being neat and sharp.

5. Change Your Language

Your speech and choice of words has a critical impact on your mind. Don’t undermine the power of what you say. Try putting on your biggest smile while saying “I am so sad”. Or, recount something sad with a smile. It is simply not possible. But you do have a choice over what you say.

Start by changing your language. Switch to using positive words to replace the negatives. The next time you are tempted to say “I can’t…”, why not say “how can I?”. Instead of saying “I don’t know…”, say “I will do it”. When you are positive, your mind begins to open up to all available options, instead of shutting down when you said No.

6. Love Yourself As You Would Love Somebody

It is not difficult to love yourself at all. Think about the things that you have done to express your love for other people. If you could bake a birthday cake for your best friend, would you not bake a cake for yourself on your birthday? Similarly, if you could give a colleague a treat on his/her promotion, you could also reward yourself in any way that makes you happy.

7. Praise Yourself

Yes and that’s important. There are times when you felt you have done something good, or have performed exceptionally well at work, but nobody seems to notice. Why not give yourself a pat on the shoulder, or hug yourself or say a word of praise for yourself, “thank you”, “well done” will do. It means a lot to lift your spirit even if nobody does.

8. Celebrate Success

There are a few reasons why I think it is important to celebrate success.

love yourself_celebratephoto credit Michelle Lee

#1. Create Milestone. You want to be able to look back in future and remember your successes. Without celebration, any success will be forgotten in due time.

#2. Recognition. It means you have done something right and you want to acknowledge and be recognized for that.

#3. Leave footprints. Success can be duplicated. Properly documented, the process can be turned into a formula that can be reused for any similar or tweaked for a different situation.

Success doesn’t always have to be a big bang item like clinching a multi-million dollar deal, or a big promotion. It can be as simple as learning how to roller blade or finally baking a cake. Celebrating can also be a simple affair as treating yourself to coffee and chocolate cake  in Starbucks.

9. Shut your “small voice” Up

If you have the habit of “scolding” yourself over everything that went wrong, it is important to recognize that it is actually your “small voice” at work. It is also capable of sabotaging your decision. One simple and way to shut it up is by putting your left hand out, and using your right hand, slapped it hard over your left. While this is one way of shutting your small voice out, it does take a lot more effort and a variety of strategies and techniques to overcome it for the long term.

10. Accept Yourself As Who You Are

I am sadden to see a lot of people not living their life embracing their passions. Many made the choice of chasing after fame and financial gains, others aspire to climb the corporate ladder in search for power and money. There are yet others who live their lives to fulfill other people’s dreams and aspirations.

Look at your life now. Are you accepting yourself as being the person that you are? Are you doing something because you love to, want to or because somebody expects you to? Life is too short! I particularly like and agree with this quote by Steve Jobs, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Don’t you agree?

11. Giving

There are many ways and opportunities to give. You can donate money or in kinds to a charitable organization of your choice. You can give of your time by visiting homes, caring for sick or even teaching a skill that you are gifted with. When you are in a position to give, you give with a joyful heart, and that makes you happy and your life more fulfilled. At the same time, you are blessing other people with your giving.

There is abundance in this world. Giving attracts giving. The more you give, the more you will received. You will never be shortchanged.

12. Have A Me Day

Although I don’t have a regular Me Day, I’ve ad-hoc ones and I will recommend everyone to have a Me Day once in a while. There are multi purposes and lots you can do on a Me Day. Treat yourself to a good meal, buy a present for yourself. I know of some friends who pamper themselves with spas and massages. It doesn’t have to be a whole day, it can be for a few hours. The idea is for you to spend time with only yourselves doing anything you fancy.

My personal Me Day is usually spent in a fast food restaurant where I would sit for hours thinking, reading a good book, doing lots of writing, and of course drinking coffee and people watching. It can be quite fun watching people go about their daily lives. Me Day is also a good time to sort out your thoughts, brainstorm with yourself or seek clarity on a pending decision. I’ve found Me Day to be really beneficial and will encourage everyone to try it once in a while.

have a me day

13. Be Acceptance of Criticism

I know criticism do gets you down at times. When you get upset over baseless criticism, you started to feel unhappy. When that happens, you may doubt yourself or even self criticize. Why not learn to accept and embrace criticism. Instead of rubbing them off and sulk, think through them and look at the angle where the critics made them.

If you feel eventually that the criticism are not a true reflection of you, get over it. If indeed they are, it is a good point for you to understand yourself and make changes. Perhaps you should even be thankful to the critics.

14. Don’t Be a Perfectionist

There is no perfect person in this world, so nothing will ever be perfect. This simply means that everybody’s measurement of perfection is different. I think it is difficult to use results as a comparison for perfection, because one person’s strength and abilities is different from another. The rule of thumb is knowing that you will always put in the most efforts to do anything with your best abilities.

15. Believe in yourself

It is not just about self confidence. More often than not, your have the strengths and abilities to resolve any problems or make changes within yourself. Have faith and believe in yourself and do what your heart desires to do. Do not let others’ opinions affects your beliefs and decision.

16. Stay Healthy

You owe it to yourself to take care of your health. A healthy body has a long term effect on your overall well being. It not only brings about a healthy mind but also gives you more energy to cope with the daily grind of your  life.  Staying healthy is simply a choice of  eating a balanced meal combining nutrition , getting enough sleep daily and exercise at least 3 times a week.

stay healthy

17. Forgive

Forgiveness is a big gift that you can give to yourself and to others. When you harbor hatreds and unhappiness in your heart, you will always feel a lack in your life. If there are some past events that are constantly weighing you down, it may also be preventing you from living your best life. Seek forgiveness and let go. First forgive yourself and relieve yourself of the guilt feelings. If you felt you had done someone wrong, seek the other person’s forgiveness. If you are unable to personally tell that person yet, at least ask for forgiveness in your heart. Tell the universe and let it communicate your feelings until you are ready to face it yourself.

18. Reconcile With Yourself

If you believe that you have never love yourself much, it’s time to change. I once attended a course on self mastery, one of the exercise was to reconcile the love for yourself. It’s called the mirror exercise. You are o stand in front of a full-size mirror and look at own image in the mirror with direct eye contact. At this point, the trainer will step in, looked at the image of you in the mirror and and encourage you speak words of love to yourself. It can go like. “<your name>, you deserved to be loved”, “I love myself, I am kind and caring”, “people loves me for who I am”.

I’ve found that you have to first learn to love yourself, then you will begin to feel other people’s love for you.

 

This list is not exhaustive, there are a lot more ways to love yourself. I strongly believed that a person who embrace love for people will in turn be loved by others. That will make you happy and completes your total well being.

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