Loving yourself is central to everything that matters in life. It may seem narcissistic, but I believe it is the exact opposite. How can you love somebody, without needing some validation from them, if you don’t love yourself? You can’t. And then, when they are unable to meet your needs, you will feel hurt, angry and rejected.
Loving yourself affects every aspect of your life. When you love yourself, you take care of yourself. You work to follow your dreams, because you care about you and recognise that you have untapped potential. You recognise your failures as experience, and use them as fuel.
When you love yourself it affects your relationships. When you recognise your value, you set the standard for how people will treat you. It doesn’t have to be voiced or argued about, but there are certain actions that align with your worth, and when somebody treats you out of turn, you shrug it off. You know you are worth more. It may sting, but it doesn’t devastate.
When you love yourself, you don’t need anybody else to make you happy, because you are already happy.
When you love yourself, it buffers rejection.
Women, in particular, are notorious for focusing on their flaws. I had a friend once who was absolutely stunning. She was the type of beautiful that would cause people to stop what they were doing. But she didn’t recognise how beautiful she was. She would spend hours in the morning applying makeup, washing it off and starting over – because she never felt pretty. I’ve seen other friends pine over guys who are a fraction of the person that they are – but because they were not whole in an of themselves they needed outside validation – and didn’t set the bar as high as they deserved.
Neediness is a turnoff. It doesn’t matter if the person is a GQ or Victoria Secret Model, if they are not secure in and of themselves, they will suck the life out of anybody they date.
Nobody else can fill that void. So you may as well fill it yourself.
Learning to love yourself is a process. But it is attainable.
Follow your Dreams
I believe the first step is following your interests and dreams. Regardless of how big or how small, you have dreams and desires and interests. We all do. Take time to explore. You may find a passion for some, and others may not meet the target. That is the beauty of life. The freedom to write your own story. To play with life. To follow your interests and dreams. Doing this validates yourself and increases your passion, as fire ignites fire. As you master skills or visit places you have wanted to go or meet milestones, your confidence grows. As does your hunger for more.
Be the love you need. Become the type of person you would like to meet.
Play the part
As you are re-writing the story of you, step into the role of the person you want to be. Take time to envision the person you would like to become. How does she dress? What does she read? How does she spend her free time? What are her interests? Where does she work? Who are her friends? What does she love? What does she hate? And then step into that person. Start dressing the way the ‘finished you’ would dress. Start reading the books your ideal persona would read. Adapt the characteristics. Start now.
Have you ever noticed how your body aligns with your mood? Confident people walk tall, shoulders squared. Insecure people fidget, don’t make eye contact, look down when they walk. Recognise the physical traits and adopt the aspects that align with who you want to be. You want to be confident? Act confident. You want to be happy? Smile. Your mind and heart will follow. Soon, what now feels like an act will become your reality.
There was a time in my life, a long while ago, where I was shy. People who know me wouldn’t believe it, as now I genuinely love people and make friends easily. The turning point for me was mindset. When I met a new person, instead of focusing on what they thought of me, I focused on making sure they felt happy and welcome and engaged. By focusing on the other person, somehow the fact that I was shy dissolved and no longer was part of my identity.
You need people, but not one person
We are social creatures. Even the introverts amongst us. We all need people. Friends and loved ones bring comfort, happiness, laughter and strength. It is important to understand this, and spend time with quality people. The danger is in believing your happiness depends on one certain person. We all face heartache. Each of us has been hurt. But when we feel our identity is wrapped up in the acceptance of the person who rejects us, we are devastated. If we understand people come in and out of our lives for different seasons and purposes, then we can be thankful for the good times we have had and move forward to new and exciting people to meet. Being rejected never feels good. But it doesn’t have to be devastating.
It comes down to recognizing your value. If you have a diamond worth a million dollars, yet you don’t know it’s worth, you may not care for it the way you should. But when you understand it’s value, you treat it differently. This is the way you need to see yourself.
It may sound extreme, but go extreme. If a guy breaks up with you, envision yourself as a Victoria Secret Model, or a successful, beautiful icon such as Ivanka Trump and think objectively how they should act if your hearts affection didn’t value them. This isn’t to belittle anybody else, but to recognize your own worth. You are worth the best. Recognise it and you will attract it.
Meditation. I read about meditation for years before I ever tried it. There are a myriad of books that outline how meditation physically changes your brain. This fascinates me.
There are so many benefits to meditation, beyond the physical transformation of your grey matter. When you meditate, you reach a state of calm, you forget the stresses of life – it’s rather inexplicable, really. Better to be experienced than talked about. But I have found when I meditate regularly, I feel happy. I have more patience. I feel confident. It flows into my daily activities.
If you are new to meditation, there are many guided meditations on YouTube. Some are spiritually focused, and others are not. I started with the body scan meditations, where a voice instructs you to relax each part of your body, and ventured from there.
Reframe your thoughts
Really, there are no words to describe the power of your thoughts. The way you think, the way you view the world, shapes your world. It may sound hairy-fairy, but it is true. If you look for good in people, you will find it. If you are suspicious and look for bad in people, you will find it. I am re-reading The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. In the first chapter, he tells a story of a traffic jam. A reporter taps on one window and the man is irate, furious that he is late for work. The reporter taps on a second window, and the man is happy. He laughs off the situation “I’m sure under the circumstances my boss will understand why I’m late”, and he has his language-learning cd’s, a book, and coffee, so the delay doesn’t affect him. The situation is exactly the same, but the way it is framed in each person’s mind is drastically different.
There is incredible power in the way you think. Believe in yourself. Believe in other people. Look for the best in people and view strangers as potential friends. Believe other people have good motives. Most do. You may get burnt a time or two, but you will also encounter opportunities you never would if you were skeptical and critical. When life gets hard, look for the positive. See it as a temporary stepping stone. Keep moving forward towards your dreams.
Be the best version of you.