“There is a saying in the Buddhist tradition: ‘You can explore the universe looking for somebody who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and you will not find that person anywhere.'”
Loving yourself and knowing how to do so is at the very core of well-being, joy and self-acceptance and is essential for creating a rich and wholehearted life. You cannot enjoy happiness if you are not at peace with yourself and with who you are. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you’ll ever have. In addition, every relationship you experience with someone else mirrors, in many ways, aspects of the relationship you have with yourself.
Not knowing how to love yourself can be crippling. Indecision and self-doubt will destroy your energy and sabotage your efforts to move toward happiness. Most of us would be shocked if we could hear a recording of our inner dialogue. We would undoubtedly see how many times a day we judge or criticize ourselves. And, most likely, we would see a void in healthy self-talk and self-acceptance. In looking further, we may discover a life that is not in balance…one that is lacking in several ways.
The following are 10 tips for learning to love yourself. Apply each tip one step at a time and know that you are on a path that creates self-love and a healthy self-esteem.
- Nourish and nurture your body wisely: eat wholesomely and do at least one activity each day that is exclusively for your own self-nurturing.
- Participate in exercise, dance or yoga daily: being active on a regular basis brings health and well-being.
- Enhance connection with friends, family and community: loneliness can lead to sadness and sometimes depression. Engage with a neighbor, a family member or volunteer in your community.
- Create balance and tranquility in your life: learn to say “no” to demands or requests that rob you of rest, sleep or relaxation. Value and create a peaceful life.
- Live mindfully: be in acceptance rather than in judgment. Mindfulness is moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. Become an impartial “witness” to your thoughts and feelings.
- Create a calm and orderly environment: take a look at your surroundings and decide what to keep, what to give away and what to toss. Create spaces that are free of clutter and that are inviting to you.
- Make a creative contribution everyday: no matter how small, do one thing a day that makes life better for someone…perhaps yourself. Make it a habit and see what rewards come your way.
- Speak your truth and laugh often: can you share your thoughts, emotions and experiences without blame or judgment? Speak from the heart and you will know what to say. And don’t forget to laugh!
- Be grateful and live a gracious life: each morning and evening find three things that you are grateful for. Welcome life with its many gifts. Cultivate a grateful heart.
- Live a purposeful, intentional and joyful life – in service to humanity: true happiness comes from giving freely and being in service to others. Determine your purpose in life; define your intentions for living this way and welcome joy.
As you take steps in learning how to love yourself, inner conflicts will diminish and your well-being will expand. You will begin to trust yourself more as your self-appreciation increases, and doubt yourself less. You will feel more self-empowered and grounded. You’ll feel more confident and competent. Life itself will hold more joy and happiness.
Take a moment right now and decide on a first step toward self-love. What can you do today to begin to build self-esteem and appreciation of who you are? Feel free to comment and share: we can all learn from one another. What will your first step be?