How To Start Loving Yourself

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If you know me in person, you know there's two things I talk about AD NAUSEUM: Dating and self love. 

I'm obsessed with both, not surprisingly, because they're essentially the same thing. 

I know it seems silly, but it's important to love yourself. Really important. Based on my experiences through research, coaching, and self work, I'm a firm believer that you'll never be able to hit your goals (or maintain them) without developing an authentic relationship with yourself. 

I only know it because I've been working on the relationship with myself for a few years now and, I'm not gonna lie, it was really weird to start.

Most of the time, it felt uncomfortable and awkward. Kinda similar to my actual dating life, really, and I struggled HARD to accept it - even from myself!

But the moment I opened the door for a serious relationship with myself, one based on commitment, trust, and appreciation, I started to receive an incredible natural high.

I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Let's bring it back to dating... 

It's similar to the high you get from starting a new relationship with someone. That giddy feeling. I couldn't believe that it was possible to have those same feelings by developing a relationship with yourself.  

Here I was, giving myself the love, attention, and care that I seek in a partner and I still got butterflies in my stomach, felt that excited/nervous feeling, and an all around happy attitude for life. It's that powerful high that develops into deep rewarding love and commitment. 

It works the same way when you're making the connection with yourself.

When I started flirting with myself (I kid you not, actual FLIRTING), I realized how awkward I felt. As I pushed myself through self sweet talk, I started wondering WHY it was so uncomfortable. Shouldn't I be comfortable enough at this age to act weird without judgement while I'm home alone? 

You'd think... but instead, I judged myself hard. My mind was racing. I made fun of myself for looking stupid and I pointed out every single "flaw" I would have picked myself apart for had I been out flirting with men. 

Once I realized that the judgement I was feeling was all in my head, I forced myself to ignore it and persevere. 

I wanted to be confident and comfortable with myself. I wanted to enjoy my own company. And damn it, I wanted to think I was as sexy, cool, and dateable as I hoped any man would think I was. 

But as I pushed myself through the awkwardness, I started wondering where these negative thoughts about myself came from. Who said I wasn't good enough, cool enough, or sexy enough? Who said I was these awful things that I told myself in my head? 

Then, it hit me.

We're taught to hate ourselves from a very young age. Everywhere around us, we're bombarded by media, telling us that we aren't good enough (and here's a product to help change you into becoming a "better version" of yourself). We listen to other people complain about what they don't like about themselves, what they don't like about others, but we rarely hear people talking themselves up in a positive light. It's absolutely absurd!

As a society, we've set up social norms on what's attractive or worthwhile and if we don't fit into those standards (surprise, no one does!), we get upset and beat ourselves up. 

Once I realized that, I made the decision to counter those thoughts. I don't care what society has designed to be beautiful because that isn't my idea of beautiful. That's taking someone else's opinion and giving it such a high personal regard that it becomes a fact. A fact that works directly against me!

I knew I deserved better than what I'd been giving myself so I made a commitment to change in my best interest. I was finally going to be an advocate for myself because if I wasn't going to love myself, how could I ever expect anyone else to?

So, I turned away from the negativity and the hate and I poured all my energy into love. These are the steps I took and I highly suggest 

How To Start Loving Yourself in Three Easy Steps

  • Stop being so judgmental. The very first law of Deepak Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws of Success promotes practicing non judgement. Now, that doesn't just mean judging yourself (although it's a good place to start!), but it applies to all people/situations. If you're in a place of judgment, it's hard to see things with love, and you have to break the cycle of judgment in all respects. Being judgmental is just perpetuating society's standards and we've already touched on how those standards are simply opinions. Make it a challenge to point out one nice thing about everyone you see each day, even if you don't like them. Make sure to include yourself in that daily challenge when you look in the mirror in the morning. By focusing on the things you like, you'll retrain your brain to start automatically looking for those things (and stop looking for things to judge!)

 

  • Take yourself on dates. YUP. I told you it was weird, but part of cultivating a relationship with yourself is through actually dating yourself. Get dolled up for yourself, pick something fun that you've been wanting to do, and then go enjoy it. Whether that's people watching at a cute cafe, checking out a museum, or taking yourself out to dinner - it's important to spend some time alone with yourself so you can get to know who you really are! 

 

  • Be mindful of your self talk. Obviously, I'll want you to tell yourself that you love yourself, but I know that can feel like a lot all at the beginning. There's no shame in moving slow (in fact, its encouraged!) and your self love can develop as you progress.... again, similar to a partnership. That being said, you're never going to like yourself (or love yourself) if you talk shit about yourself, whether that's in your head or out loud. Notice when you say things about yourself that aren't nice and then call yourself out for it. Point out the parts of you that you like and put your focus on that. Make it your mission to point out your positive characteristics as often as possible instead of harping on the negatives. 

This is self care. This is self love. This is the art of healing. 

And if you're struggling to say it to yourself, please know, I love you, sweet soul. 

Love & light,

Carolyn Rachel