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“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” ~ Robert Morley
I grew up in the 80s, a time we understood little about self-love.
In fact, it was a time where if you showed any confidence at all, you were deemed “a luvvo.”
The insecure and jealous enjoyed belittling those who they thought were prettier or more popular, with derogatory phrases like, “You’re up yourself.”
Little did we know back then that those who behaved in this way were simply trying to make themselves feel better. Self-belief was not encouraged enough.
Most of us had parents who loved us and wanted the best for us; however, they had their own limiting beliefs and issues they needed to work through. Most of us were not taught about self-love. Many of us were not educated on the importance of boundaries.
The reality is most of us lacked self-love. Most of us were completely clueless about our belief systems and the impact they had on us. And the truth is most of us have suffered because of it.
We are all a product of our inherited family systems. Our environment and conditioning. We have all struggled with conflicts and trauma, and it’s our belief system, that core unconscious system, that makes meaning of our experiences and how we perceive life and indeed ourselves.
It’s not until I was faced with significant pain and grief that I knew something had to change. It was the catalyst of many things, but most of all, it was the catalyst of my self-love.
This is my warmly wrapped learnings of how to find your self-love:
1. Small promises
Building trust in yourself is so important. When you repeatedly let yourself down, you are disappointed in yourself. Small promises like cutting your social media use down, for example, can help build trust. Or perhaps you look at an ex-love on Instagram. Make a promise to yourself that you will no longer do that. Write it down. Each day you stick to that promise or commitment you made to yourself, you will grow confidence and self-esteem. You will feel proud of yourself. You will build self-respect.
2. Replace a habit that no longer serves you
Similar to the above. There’s always something in our lives we wish we didn’t do or get annoyed at ourselves after doing. Perhaps we feel the need to respond to posts on Facebook that we don’t agree with—when we know that it’s usually pointless. Have a backup plan such as: before I respond, I’ll go for a walk, or I’ll meditate. This is usually enough to stop you from doing it. The thing is some of our habits radiate bad energy. Abusing someone on Facebook may feel temporarily good, but really, what do you gain? Does it serve who you are and the energy you want in your life?
Not everyone enjoys meditation, but there are many forms of mindfulness, and it’s important to find a daily practise. Bringing yourself back to the present and where you are at this very moment is incredibly necessary.
What are we feeling? Where are we feeling it? What do we need to give ourselves at this very moment? It’s crucial for our well-being to sit with ourselves and check in so we can address anything that comes up.
We need to establish where our lines are. What is acceptable to us and what is not. This is for all aspects of our life. When we lack boundaries, we give permission for others to do as they please. Some of us find this hard, and if that’s the case, work on it.
If we don’t establish boundaries, we are saying our feelings and what makes us feel safe and comfortable is not important. Boundaries show we value ourselves.
5. Challenge your beliefs
This is more difficult as we run on the subconscious most of the time. We often don’t know that our beliefs are limiting and affecting who we are and our relationships. I’m a huge believer in seeking therapy, whether that be counselling, hypnotherapy, mentoring/coaching, kinesiology, meditation, somatic treatment, or any other wonderful modality out there.
We need to challenge the belief that therapy is for the “mentally ill” because the reality is that is just a label. If we want to change, grow, transform, open ourselves up to new possibilities, and understand more about ourselves, then we need support. This has been the most important part for me. Invest in yourself.
6. Learn something new every day
Why? Because learning something increases our confidence and our self-esteem. It opens our mind and provokes new ideas and thoughts. It makes us feel accomplished and good about ourselves. For me, my learnings have taken me to seek education and achieve my Masters in Counselling and Coaching, and I’m now studying Emotional Mind Integration. This has been a profound journey of healing and understanding so much about myself and others. Whatever you choose, let it inspire you, and always stay curious.
7. Rituals and routines
Most of us have no doubt heard about morning routines. Some of them are good and some not so good. Create your own. A routine is a beautiful way to start and perhaps end your day. It gives you control over deeming what’s important to you and to prioritise that. Essentially this should be time for yourself creating a space of self-care. We live hectic and stressful lives; therefore it’s important to have a little allocated time for ourselves, fulfilling our daily ritual or routine.
8. Our physical health
This one is no secret, but it often gets neglected when we feel like sh*t. Everyone’s health and abilities will differ, but for me, I like to be active and eat well most of the time (I love chocolate and wine), but yes it’s all about moderation. When I’m exercising and eating well, I feel good about me. Sometimes I have a fitness goal, but whatever our goals are in relation to our physical health, they should be about us! Not to impress others. Sometimes we don’t know where to start; start with small steps—a little each day. As the days go by, you will become more confident in your ability and yourself.
9. Spend time alone
Many people don’t like this, but for me it’s been an amazing time. You learn a lot when you’re alone, and it’s renewed my independence, which in turn has made me feel good. Doing things myself, fixing stuff, and relying on myself has reminded me that I’m whole and that I’m more than capable.
10. Try new things
Step out of that comfort zone. Yes it can be scary, but it can also be so invigorating. Seeing things from a new perspective and building faith in yourself and your abilities has a way of filling you.
11. Give back
Volunteering or offering support to others is a great way to feel you are contributing. When you are able to give to another and support someone without any expectations, your self-worth multiplies. Even a kind word to a stranger will have you feeling great within yourself.
Whether it be romantic relationships, family, or friends, we all need connection. Giving and sharing with others is a gift. We also need to ensure we have a connection with ourselves because without that connection, it’s hard for us to have authentic connections with others. An important note is that the connections we build will be far healthier if we love ourselves.
13. Know your truth and speak your truth
Following our soul’s truth is knowing who we are and what we want. It will lead us to happiness and love as we are living the truth of who we are. Authenticity is loving who you are. Be brutally honest with yourself.
14. Understand it’s not someone else’s job to make us happy
Many of us have grown up believing we need someone else to make us whole and happy. We look for this other person, and our energy attracts these people—not always healthy. When we think it’s someone else’s job to make us happy, we believe we cannot be happy alone or within ourselves. This belief has us feeling miserable when we are alone, and therefore we think something is wrong with us. Those in our lives should add to us, not be the sole focus of love and happiness.
Sometimes it may seem difficult to be grateful, but there is always something to be grateful for. Feeling grateful reminds us of the good things in our life, which raises our energy and attracts good things to us. A little gratitude every day goes a long way.
16. You are enough
Sometimes we forget this and it can leave us feeling lacking. Tell yourself every day, “You are enough, you have always been enough, and you will always be enough.”
Sometimes we really do just need to adjust our crowns and remember the Queen (or King) that we are.
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ~ Amy Bloom.