There is nothing shameful about loving yourself. The shame is in NOT loving the unique and brilliant individual that you are!
What Do You Love About Yourself?
“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.” –Robert Morely.
…In our society, there seems to be a negative connotation surrounding the concept of self-love, to the extent that the term “he/she loves herself” is even utilised as a derogatory remark to describe a person who is over-confident, self-conceited and obnoxious. However, contrary to the common misconception that loving yourself equates to being self-absorbed and lacking empathy or consideration for others, the true meaning of self-love is about caring, respecting and knowing yourself, taking responsibility for your life, and ultimately, your happiness.
German-born U.S. social philosopher and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in his 1956 book ‘The Art of Loving’, wrote that loving yourself has nothing to do with being arrogant or narcissistic, and everything to do with self-care, self-awareness, self-respect and responsibility. Fromm believed that in order to truly be able to love another person, first, you must be able to love yourself in this way.
Self-love is about respecting and appreciating every single part of who you are, and being proud to be you. It is about valuing yourself for the positive qualities you have and the wonderful things you do, and accepting yourself for your flaws and mistakes.
1. Make a list of all of the positive qualities you appreciate and love about who you are (at least 20 things!) and then share it back to yourself aloud, as many times as you want. Each point on your list should begin with “I love……”. If you get stuck, try starting your list by writing: “I love that I am a ……” or “I love the way I….” or “I love my……”. Then place the list somewhere you can see it all of the time, as a constant reminder to yourself. (Maybe in your bedroom, at your desk or on your phone). Read that list back to yourself every single day.
2. Identify any negative core beliefs you have about loving yourself and reflect upon how these beliefs have shaped your life. What memories come up for you when you think of the idea of “loving yourself”? What are you afraid will happen if you do start practicing self-love? Pinpoint any underlying fears and challenge them.
3. Make a vow to yourself today that from now on you will treat yourself with the same love, attention, affection, understanding, compassion and forgiveness that you so readily give to others.
4. Start a daily routine of looking at yourself in the mirror through a lens of unconditional love, appreciation, admiration and respect. Gently touch your face in the mirror while smiling at your reflection and tell yourself out loud how much you love you. Actually verbalise the words, “I love you” as you lovingly connect with the soul behind the image of you in the mirror. Look upon yourself with complete adoration, acceptance and non-judgement.
5. Be as loving, gentle and tender with your own self, as you are with your children or your beloved. ….Remember, you are your own soul mate, so love and treat yourself in the same way you would your life partner or your family.
To help you kick-start your new practice of self-love, I have added another five simple steps below to make things even easier for you!
5 STEPS TO START LOVING YOURSELF TODAY!
1. Spend time by yourself, with yourself! (That’s not “time alone”, that’s time with your Self!)
2. Recognise and acknowledge your strengths and positive qualities and validate yourself for the wonderful person you are! (Give yourself positive feedback for something you achieved or a challenge you overcame! )
3. Do something nice for yourself that makes you happy.
4. Focus on the things that make you smile and feel good about yourself and the world.
5. Do something for someone else without wanting or expecting anything in return.