Kovie Biakolo writes
“Falling in love with yourself is as beautiful as any experience of love is. It’s learning to laugh at your awkward tendencies and smile at all your quirky habits. It’s learning to be grateful for the many sides you have – confident, crazy, shy, sexy, nerdy, angry, weird, and all the rest of them. It is realizing that you’re one of a kind and that you deserve to give the world the best person you can be. Falling in love with yourself is being happy in your life and knowing that in this one moment in time, you’re beautiful simply because you are you.”
Since birth, we learn a lot of things, how to look presentable, obedience, difference languages, cultures, and education but we fail to learn one of the most important aspects of our life – Self-Love. Maybe, because it’s expected that everyone naturally possesses self-love for themselves.
But what we have to understand is, because of the everyday struggle, our unconscious self-forgets about this important factor and needs a constant reminder. This makes it necessary, just like everything else, that you must learn to love yourself again.
We have compiled a list of ways that will help you learn to love yourself and boost your self-esteem.
Learn to love yourself
1. Respect and Appreciate Yourself
Unfortunately, it’s in human nature not to appreciate the things we already have, maybe because we often don’t realize their worth. However, appreciation of oneself is the first step towards self-love.
Try to compliment yourself more often for everything, small daily life achievements, physical beauty, acts of kindness, etc. You don’t have to do that all the time, but once a day, look in the mirror and tell yourself how good you are.
2. Forgive Yourself
We’re all humans and we make mistakes but this doesn’t mean we’re bad people. Stop blaming yourself for past mistakes and try to forgive yourself and focus on things that you can do right now. What can you forgive yourself for? Forgive yourself for things you said to someone you didn’t mean.
Forgive yourself for not being there for someone you loved when they needed you. Forgiveness is the initial step to learn to love yourself. The second step is committing not to do these things again in life again.
3. Stop Self-criticism
Despite the need of self-evaluation, according to research on psychopathology, self-criticism causes a range of psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, stress and eating disorders. On the contrary, self-reassurance can help you get rid of these disabilities.
We’re naturally prone to criticizing ourselves for small failures more often than we actually appreciate ourselves for small successes. But you can change this–start appreciating yourself more and criticizing less. Even if you fail, try to reassure yourself that you will do even better next time.
4. Accept the Nature of Things
Even if you’re not a religious person, you would agree that the words of Reinhold Niebuhr in serenity prayer, “Change the things that I can and accept the things that I can’t change” are amazingly powerful. There are things in life that we can change, and things that we can’t, even if we want to. Accepting the nature of things as they are can give a whole new meaning to your life.
5. Get Rid of Fake Friends
Having friends is a blessing but not all the time. If you have a so-called ‘friend’ that criticizes you for everything you do and you feel like you are losing your self-esteem and confidence because of this constant criticism, it’s probably time to distance yourself from them.
Real friends motivate and encourage you instead of criticizing. Try to be a part of a social circle that is supportive and one that accepts you for who you are.
6. Standout Instead of Fitting in
In order to learn to love yourself, you must constantly evaluate what type of people surround you. When you try to fit in a social circle of friends, colleagues, neighbors etc., you expose yourself to their expectations and transform yourself, completely putting aside who you actually are, into something according to their expectations.
This whole process is toxic in nature. You must find a social circle that accepts you as you are and helps you stand out instead of transforming you into something you aren’t.
As Mandy Hale, the author of “The Single Woman” writes, “So you’re a little weird? Work it! A little different? OWN it! Better to be a nerd than one of the herd!”
7. Spend Time with Family or your Framily
Family is one gift of many the universe has allotted you. Yes, they can be critical sometimes, but believe me, in the end, they’re the only people who care about you. Try to call your mom, dad, siblings, framily more often and if you can, arrange a family dinner just to revisit the “happy” memories of the past. These little experiences have a positive impact on your personality.
One of the things that we often do when we feel down, anxious or sick of the daily routine is we criticize ourselves and this criticism eventually causes our psychological problems and we lose our confidence.
Traveling, during these anxious times, not only frees your mind from the worries and anxieties of daily life but also helps you develop a new perspective through which you can look at the world. Traveling to different places, meeting people with different cultures, ideologies and even different problems and how they live their lives can help you figure out your own.
Every single place on the earth has a different story. Even if you cannot afford to travel to different countries, you can always go someplace nice in your own country and spend some time by yourself. The whole idea of traveling is to experience the serenity of the environment and getting rid of worries and anxieties.
9. Learn to Love Yourself and Others
The more you learn to love yourself, the more you will realize that it’s not just about yourself but everyone around you. The whole idea about self-love is to transform oneself into such a positive energy that does not only enlighten your internal world but also the external world.
Try to help others as much as you can, forgive people, be generous and kind to others. These small acts of kindness reflect a positive energy back into you, making it much easier to love yourself.
10. Enjoy Life: Smile, Dance, and Laugh
Life is too short to worry about everything around you. Try to put aside all your worries and enjoy it. Smile at a stranger while walking back from work, go out with friends, dance and laugh even more. These little things can make a huge difference in your life and in your nature.
11. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
To love yourself is to love your body and soul alike. Adopting a healthy lifestyle won’t just have a positive impact on your body and increase your lifespan, but it actually helps you become mentally strong and positive.
Changing your whole lifestyle could be challenging, but out of love for yourself, you must do that. Here are some tips to get you started on living a healthy lifestyle.
12. Stop Dating for a while
If you’re not in a good relationship already and are still trying to meet “the one,” I would advise you to give take a break and focus on yourself. Although dating is fun, this neverending struggle of finding someone worthy of a relationship can have detrimental effects. Furthermore, constant rejections can grow self-doubt and destroy your self-esteem.
Brandon Montgomery in his article “I’m A Guy Who Stopped Dating Because I Found the Next Best Thing” writes:
When I was in the dating field, I saw it as adventure filled with limitless opportunities. I was enticed by the possibility of finding ‘the one.’ Ultimately, I saw myself as a dog trying to chase a speeding Ferrari. I had a few dates that were wonderful experiences with women who truly impressed me and still do. Yet, for multiple reasons, most of which are unknown, relationships never developed.”
Take a break for a while and do something else, make friends or travel to someplace nice by yourself. Try to figure out what you really want in your better-half and if you find that “someone,” how far you are willing to go in order to keep them in your life.
13. Do Something That Makes You Happy.
One of the most interesting things that I did a few months ago was following an online challenge of doing one random act of kindness every day for a month. In the end, when I used to write about the act in my diary or tweet about it to get more people to start taking part in the challenge, I felt this amazing energy and happiness that I can’t even describe.
There are a lot of online organizations such as 40acts that arrange these kinds of challenges which you can follow. Don’t want to follow a challenge? Even better, do it on your own. The acts could be anything from giving food to a homeless person to feeding birds in your backyard.
The bottom line is that you come first–before people, events or work. You must constantly try and learn to love yourself. Starting today, make a list of things you’ll do every day just for yourself.
What are you doing to learn to love yourself? Which of these ways are you still trying to incorporate in your life? We would love to know if you have any other thoughts on ways to love yourself.