“Love yourself.” We hear it all the time. “You can’t expect someone to love you unless you love yourself first.” How can we love if we don’t even like ourselves? How can we spare love that should be going to our children, partner, friends, family, even strangers who need help? How can I love that woman who frowns back at me in the mirror every morning? Give me a break, I’ve got work to do.
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The truth is, to be happy, properly happy, you must love yourself. It’s not vanity or selfishness or self-aggrandizing. It’s necessary to your well-being. Sooner or later, mainstream science will discover that a human being requires self-love to remain healthy and whole.
If you’ve always put yourself last, if you are in the habit of giving to everyone else first, if you just tolerate being you, then it’s time to make some changes.
First Steps to Loving Yourself
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That’s right, you must forgive yourself for all the guilt that you carry in the deepest recesses of your mind. It might be trivial, or it might be huge; whatever it is, it’s time to let it go. When these negative emotions arise, simply drop your shoulders, breathe out fully and let them go. Tell yourself that they have gone, there’s nothing to be done now, and release them. Visualize the space in your heart that they occupied and fill it with light. Let the feeling of peace suffuse your whole being.
Those baddies will probably try to come back, but if you cut them down like unwanted weeds each time, their strength will diminish.
2. Clear up after yourself.
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Not just literally, but also figuratively. This is part of loving who you are. If you feel there’s a karmic debt outstanding, then deal with it. Get rid of it. If you owe anyone an apology, then make it. If you can’t bring yourself to do it in person, then write them an email. If you can’t do that, then write it down. Tell the person you are sorry. Tell them you are receptive to their forgiveness. Tell them you love them. Destroy the paper afterward. Then forgive yourself. Fill the space with light. It’s done.
You might find that the person contacts you as if nothing had happened. As if your previous disagreement never took place. In truth, once you neutralize it in the present, it never did happen. Time is a funny thing; it can bend and fold, and we have no idea how it works. Of course, you might never hear from that person again — and that may b because you are so filled with light and love you are now vibrating at a higher frequency. In a way, they can’t even see you.
3. Say, “I love you.”
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Every day, as often as possible.
Kamal Ravikant in his best-selling book, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” says, “(Loving yourself) is the secret of life.” Finding himself in a rut, living a life that bored and depressed him, in desperation he wrote in a notebook that he would begin to love himself. He writes that “It was the simplest thing I could think of.” He repeated over and over “I love myself.” He made it a habit to keep repeating in his mind, “I love myself. I love myself.”
Life began to improve almost immediately. He felt fitter, lighter and more confident in himself. Surprisingly, unexpected opportunities began to show up. People who could help him came into his life almost magically. He admits that in the beginning, it felt a little forced, a bit artificial, but as the days, weeks and months passed, it became the pivotal focus of his life – and he’d never felt better.
4. Change your thinking
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We tend to think the same thoughts every day, over and over with little variation. We may believe that they are new thoughts, but chances are they aren’t. We tend to be stuck in a groove of old memories, attitudes and patterns. When it keeps you from better things, it’s time to break free.
Give yourself ten minutes on your own, away from family or colleagues. Find a peaceful hideaway. Close your eyes, put your right hand on your heart, relax and say, “I love you.” Repeat for the whole ten minutes. Say it silently if you have to. Do this every single day. Don’t forget to repeat, “I love you.” Or “I love myself.” during your daily activities.
You may not be aware of it at first, but pretty soon your thoughts begin to change. You are happier, more observant of the good things in life, and more creative. You’ve broken out of the old groove and are settling into a new one. A better one.
5. Fall in Love
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With you. Notice the good bits of your physical self. Hair, eyes, feet, skin, whole self. Mentally bathe yourself in the love light. Appreciate your kind deeds to others. Not in a self-congratulatory way, but in gentle acknowledgment of the innate goodness of you.
Feel the benevolence of the Universe; allow it to wash over you. Release all that negativity; the fear, the hate, the dis-ease. They are nothing; they are gone. Fill their place with love-light.
Accept yourself without doubt or question. You are who you are with your flaws and your blessings. They are all worthy of your love. You are worthy of your love.
Loving Yourself Through Difficulties
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This is all very well, but what about when life gets tough? How do you love yourself when you are worried about money or your floundering marriage? Challenges are the absolute best times to love yourself. Keep up with the program. Continue to tell yourself, “I love you.” Don’t let it go because the external situation is too demanding. This is when you need it most.
You will very likely discover that challenges that would have knocked you down previously no longer have that power over you. You have the answers. You know what to do by instinct and intuition. Your trust in your capabilities has grown so much that big problems are never big problems; they are merely obstacles to be dealt with and even opportunities to strengthen your self-regard.
Keep doing it. Love yourself. Start right now.