We’re born knowing how to trust our instincts, how to breathe deeply, how to eat only when we’re hungry, how to not care about what anyone thinks of our singing voices…
Few of us know how to appreciate the gifts that we enter this world with. Babies have incredible intuition about how to do the tasks that we take for granted, to knowing what amount of food they need to eat, to how much and how often they need to sleep, to what and who they want (or don’t want) to play with… to just not giving a damn about what other people think.
But as we get older, we all begin to lose touch with that innate intuition and start to doubt ourselves and what we know. It’s almost as if we spend a good portion of our lives undoing all the self-love and natural abilities we were born with. The more we do and don’t do, the more we think we’re learning what to do and what not to do—even if it hurts us; even if it robs us of the self-love we were born with.
But it doesn’t have to be that way—there are plenty of proven ways in which you can restore some of your self love. Today I’m going to share with you nine things that have helped me learn how to love myself, hopefully they’ll help you do the same.
1. Appreciate your greatness.
Since the day you were born, you’ve been destined for greatness. The fact that you were even born in the first place is an act of greatness. This is something to be appreciated. But you were not born with a special skill that could catapult you into greatness in a specific field or area of interest—that kind of greatness is something you need to work for and cultivate. Figure out what special skills and talents you want to spend your time cultivating and figure out what unique ways in which you can serve people with them. You have greatness within you—no doubt about it. But whether you grow that greatness into a big, burning flame—or whether you allow it to extinguish itself and disappear into obscurity—is something that’s totally up to you. The more you cultivate and appreciate your greatness, the more you will learn to love yourself.
2. Drown yourself in affirmations.
Figure out what you love about yourself, what makes you happy to be alive, what sets you apart from those around you, and what you want to become—and then affirm these things to yourself all day long. Affirm to yourself what you’re already great at and what you already love about yourself. Also affirm to yourself what you want to be great at as if you were already great at it—and do this with emotional intensity. Constantly affirm to yourself that you love yourself—even if you don’t. Affirm your own love and greatness to yourself all day long and all the negative self talk will slowly go away.
3. Do more of the things you love.
Life is busy. We all know that. But that’s no excuse for not making the things you love a priority. I’m not saying you need to do work you love—although that’s ideal, it’s just not a plausible possibility for a lot of folks—I’m saying you need to do more of the things you love. If you’re in a situation where you can’t do work you love, or if you’re having a hard time figuring out how to actually love the work you do, then what are some things that you can do outside of work that bring you joy?
4. Find replacements for your negative inner chatter.
Negative self talk is far too normal for most of us. Find ways to change these phrases into positive talk instead. Become aware of what runs through your head every day and find ways to change the narrative towards self love.
5. Ditch the self-deprecating humor.
Self-deprecating humor may be funny, but it comes at too high of a cost for you to subject yourself to it. What you tell yourself on a daily basis is more powerful than you realize, and a habit of seemingly harmless jokes at your own expense will soon turn to destructive beliefs.
6. Let the love in.
Don’t turn away well-meaning compliments by dismissing them. Instead give a simple expression of gratitude and move on. You may be surprised how much a simple compliment can transform your day when you allow it to.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparison is one of the fastest ways to take all kinds of enjoyment out of your life. Don’t let it become debilitating by allowing yourself to take pride in your accomplishments, no matter how they compare to those around you.
8. Forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes. Making big ones doesn’t make you special or unique, which is why learning to forgive yourself for your faults is incredibly important.
9. Love yourself first.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life is this: if I don’t know how to love myself, I’ll never know how to love anyone (or any-thing) else. Expecting to find love outside of yourself before you’ve found it first from within is like expecting someone who doesn’t know how to read to teach a literature class—it’s just not possible. Love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself.