“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.”―Steve Maraboli
It’s important for your personal evolution that you learn to love yourself. If you do not love yourself, it is hard to expect others to love you. Agreed, whilst humans may have many faults and shortcomings, learning to embrace all your faults is central to your position of accepting yourself as you are.
Loving yourself should become your highest priority if you wish to create a remarkable future. I don’t mean loving yourself in a self-centred, egotistical way. To love yourself means to embrace your uniqueness and the gifts that show up in your daily life.
Low self-esteem puts the brake on your personal growth by restricting your concept of self. You may never reach your full potential if you entertain recurring thoughts of low self-esteem.
Consider the following thoughts as a guide for reconnecting with your purposeful self and developing a stronger relationship with self.
1. Know Yourself
If your desire is for personal growth, it is vital that you come to understand yourself, and know what makes you bloom. You may be aware of a number of flaws, yet embracing them and moving forward becomes your source of courage.
Nobody is perfect — you may spend your entire life trying to fill an empty shoe that does not exist if you follow this line of thinking. Yes, even his Holiness the Dalai Lama is subject to the conditions of human frailty.
Stand before a mirror and simply admire your reflection — do you like what you see?
Some people are loath to stand before a mirror and appreciate their body. I’ve written in earlier articles of the flawed cow hide used as leather. What is considered flawed and damaged is in fact a highly desired quality for some. Whilst you may not consider yourself as important as other people, in your life story you are the hero in your own life’s journey.
2. Stop Criticising Yourself
Do you belittle yourself over small things? Whenever you make a small mistake, are you aware of the small voice inside your head reminding you of your imperfections?
Criticising yourself will get you nowhere really fast. People who practice self-compassion have been shown to be more successful and have a healthier outlook. It is vital that you begin to associate with your positive traits instead of focusing on the negative ones.
Be aware that you are not reliving a childhood phase of your life by reconnecting with a critical parent. Let go of your need to judge yourself and move towards a state of empathy.
3. Embrace Your Positive Nature
When you entertain positive thoughts, you become kinder towards yourself and your self-love and self-esteem increases. Kindness towards others becomes an expression of your self-love.
You can only give out what you hold in your heart. Therefore, if you believe you are undeserving of attention and kindness, you will likely withhold sharing these virtues with others.
Every person is born positive, it’s simply their environment which shapes the person into a bitter individual. Even at this stage, you still have a choice to embrace your positive nature. Nothing is carved in stone unless you give it power and permission.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”– Rumi
4. Acknowledge Your Success
You might not have succeeded according to your terms and definition, yet the definition of success is arbitrary.
What does success look like to you? There are many people who never make any effort to step out of their comfort zone and yet insist that success pave a path to their front door.
If you made a direct effort toward pursuing something you desired, but were unable to succeed due to any number of reasons, do not let that impair your definition of success.
Failure is part of the process toward reaching your goals. In fact those who succeed in life will have you know that they failed miserably on many occasions prior to reaching success. Your success is determined by how you bounce back from your failures and lessons acquired along the way. Making an effort is a big thing. It is not always about winning, sometimes it’s the effort that counts.
5. Release Your Worries
Worrying is a futile emotion that can be better spent by taking appropriate action. Worrying uses up vital emotional energy which instead can be channelled into developing emotional resiliency and fortitude.
The more you entertain worrying thoughts, the more you establish a place in your mind that becomes habituated to the worrying thoughts. There is a term used in neuropsychology known as the Hebbian theory, which states, nerves that fire together, wire together.
To entertain worrying thoughts, you establish stronger neural connections in the brain for the worrying to exist. Set your worries aside since they may be holding you back from prospering at greater levels.
Surely you want to taste success and transform your worries into empowering emotional energies, which can serve your greatest potential.
6. Forgive Yourself
We all make mistakes at some point in our life — some people make more than others, yet that does not qualify you or them to think less of oneself. Holding on to your mistakes by thinking negatively about yourself inhibits vital neural pathways in the brain from learning.
Your brain is engineered for growth and learning within the context of a fun environment. We are all subject to making mistakes — no one is immune to it.
Learn to forgive yourself by practicing detachment of the outcomes. Trust that whatever happened in the past was done so with the level of awareness that was apparent to you at the time.
In other words, you were doing the best you could given the resources available to you at the time — thus forgiveness opens the door to moving forward. Appreciate the lessons gained from your experience by seeing it as an opportunity to gain the emotional resiliency to fight other battles in life, of which many will surely be presented to you.
“You have been criticising yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay
7. Be Grateful
There’s a good chance if you’re reading this on a smartphone or physical book, you have every reason to be grateful. If you have access to a computer you are privileged enough to have electricity, which means you live an industrialised country with suitable resources.
Almost three billion people on the planet right now are living below the poverty line and it is expected that this figure will rise over the coming years. At the time of writing, the world’s population is 7.6 billion people.
Less than half of the world’s population gets by on less than $2.50 a day. Without turning this into a sermon on why you should be grateful, it is worth appreciating how much we have to be grateful for when we consider those numbers.
Gratitude entails being thankful for what you have right NOW. It does not mean being grateful in the future when you acquire something of value or have someone in your life who will compliment you and become the source of your happiness.
It means recognising what you have in your life at this moment is a result of the thoughts, beliefs and energy you created to allow you to be who you are. You create your reality through the sum of your thoughts, habits and actions over time.
Being grateful does not mean comparing oneself to others who are less fortunate; for we are all navigating our own journey in life.
People often ask me “How can I be grateful when people are homeless and dying in third world countries?” My reply is simply this; it is your obligation to be grateful NOT for what is happening in the world, but what is happening in YOUR world.
Consider for a moment if every person in the world raised their personal vibration and thought energy to one of gratitude? The collective consciousness of humanity would expand, thus ending poverty, homelessness and other diseases and illnesses.
Whilst I present a Utopian society in my example, it is nonetheless conceivable that we can make slow strides toward this possibility if we all play our part in the evolution of humanity through gratitude.
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Originally published at medium.com