Let’s get real.
You can’t love anybody else until you love yourself.
To be human is to love, to be love. Some of us spend our whole lives searching outside of ourselves for this love.
If you don’t love yourself, how can you love someone else? How can you feel love if you believe you do not deserve love? That you’re not worthy?
Cultivating self-love increases your overall well-being, not to mention strengthening your resolving and coping mechanisms. It increases your happiness, longevity, and compassion for others.
Deep down, we all want to be loved, but have you ever considered whether you love yourself? Are you seeking love and approval from others because you believe we don’t deserve it otherwise?
The following three ways will help you cultivate self-love and attract the type of relationship you are so desperately seeking:
1. Talk to yourself in the mirror.
Yep, looking yourself in the eye and telling yourself you love yourself is the first way to break down the belief you aren’t worthy of love. I learned this from Louise Hay, who spoke about healing your own life with positive affirmations.
For me, this went beyond mindlessly repeating phrases over and over in my head. When I first looked at myself in the mirror, I did not like who I saw. Saying out loud the words, “I love you, Tara,” was frightening, heart-wrenching, and utterly torturous. I could barely look myself in the eye, and when I could, I would cry and get all choked up.
But the more I did it, the more I softened, and the more I could confidently tell myself how much I loved myself and not look away. I did this every morning for a year—each time I got in the car to go to work. I would flip down the visor and say, “I love you, Tara. I truly love you.”
2. Send yourself a text.
Again, giving yourself messages of love helps break down the stories that you are unloveable. I found I would constantly seek love from someone who was not reciprocating every time I told him I loved him. I would be hurt and rejected if I didn’t hear the words back. I realized I was only saying the words to this individual for the validation of hearing it in return.
What I did instead?
Every morning after meditation, I would ask Siri to send a text message to me, which said, “I love you, Tara. Have a beautiful day.” I would put my phone away before the message popped up, and when I would see it later in the day, I would smile. The more I did this, the less dependent I became on hearing others tell me how much they love me. I was already giving myself that love I deserved.
3. Write yourself a permission letter.
This I got from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Masterclass on Calm, called Creative Living Beyond Fear. You write yourself the ultimate permission letter, detailing everything small and large that you will give yourself permission to do and feel.
In my letter, I gave myself permission to listen to myself, to put myself first, and to say no to what I didn’t want. I gave myself permission to be just as I was, to love and to be loved.