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How to love-yourself in a shame-based culture.

We get bombarded with cultural messages about how we should look, feel, and be. Having to live up to these images of perfection is bound to make us feel bad about ourselves. When we feel bad about ourselves, we spend more money to replace the feeling of emptiness inside. So, capitalism is laughing. The more […]

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We get bombarded with cultural messages about how we should look, feel, and be.

Having to live up to these images of perfection is bound to make us feel bad about ourselves.

When we feel bad about ourselves, we spend more money to replace the feeling of emptiness inside. So, capitalism is laughing.

The more satisfied we feel about ourselves, the less we need to spend money.

We don’t need the newest fashion, or makeup, or cosmetic surgery.

We don’t need to post on social media every day to show how great our lives are so we can hopefully get that validation we need to feel loved.

Our replaceable dating culture, where rejection and multiple dating makes us fearful and guarded.

Is this how love flourish?

No, is the short answer.

So, how can we make love flourish?

First, we need to find an inherent love for ourselves.

It’s involved some new habits on our part but also the involvement of others.

The just love your-self does not cut it.

We are social creatures, and so we learn from external input.

A lack of self-love can make us become people pleasers and compromise our own needs to accommodate others.

Here are my 5 top tips for developing that self-love.

Journal

I start every morning with journaling.

Journaling is so powerful because our mind is a storytelling organ, so all sensory inputs get interpreted through this storytelling network to make meaning out of things.

But these stories are often based on old events and tend to have a negative bias, so I challenge them and usually end up creating new stories out of my experiences.

 The stories we tell ourselves impacts how we feel about ourselves and, eventually, how we act and show up in the world and the outcome of our lives.

So, paying attention to our stories and ensuring they are compassionate and supportive of us is a worthwhile endeavor.

They often run on autopilot in the background cinema of our mind, and we have no idea how they impact our day to day lives.

Write them down. Challenge them and write new stories that are more empowering and kinder towards yourself.

Self-compassion and self-talk

When I started to notice how I spoke to myself, I was shocked.

As my friend said, “would you ever speak to your son or best friend that way.”

No, of course, I wouldn’t.

So, I realized how I had been speaking to myself in such a judgmental and unkind way throughout my life.

If I made a mistake, I would be the first to knock myself down.

If my friend or children did that, I would encourage them and remind them that we all make mistakes and its part of learning.

We learn to be harsh on ourselves, but does it serve us?

The saying if I just accept myself,” I would not get anything done, is untrue.

We don’t lose motivation by giving ourselves compassion, kindness, and acceptance.

We learn more and become more productive.

So, notice how you speak to yourself and stop yourself when you are harsh on yourself.

You deserve compassion, kindness, and acceptance, just as much as your best friend or children.

Supportive people

I know the saying, “just love yourself,” but humans don’t work that way.

We learn to love through our relationships and by people showing us what love is.

If we are lucky, this is a secure attachment with our caregivers, and they are responsive to our needs.

Others impact us, and if you doubt this and think it’s all about looking in the mirror and saying you love yourself 100 times daily, then do that and get your friends and family to tell you that you are shit and see how that works out for you.

I can guarantee you that as a social being, you will feel much more loved if all your friends and family tell you how amazing you are daily for a month and you skip talking to the mirror.

It’s how we are wired.

So, to get to the point, surround yourself with people that show you appreciation, support, and value you both verbally and in their action.

If they don’t show you support and kindness, then face them out and find new friends because the people we surround ourselves with impact who we become and the outcome of our lives, and how we feel about ourselves.

They become part of your nervous system, so choose wisely.

Treat yourself with kindness by only being around people who treat you with compassion and appreciate who you are.

Exercise & meditation

While we daily get bombarded with messages around our bodies to make us feel inadequate and not good enough.

I want to remind you that exercise is great not because of how it makes you look but because it’s been shown to be a better anti-depressant than anti-depressants.

So, exercise makes you feel good about yourself and your body as it is now.

No surgery or new clothing is needed, just a good old-fashioned run, dance, or whatever gets your heartbeat up.

Exercise is also great stress relief and gives us a little natural “high,” and who does not want some of that.

After my run, I meditate and focus on my breathing.

It helps me get better at being with my uncomfortable emotions.  

It also helps me be present and not keep being in the past or future, and our fears and worries are the past projected onto the present or about the future, so by being here in the moment, I can notice that I am safe and loved.

Acceptance

At the core of self-love and love is our need to feel seen and accepted.

There are two ways to get this: one is more powerful, and the other is more reliable.

Let’s start with Mr. reliable.

You can give it to yourself when you journal in the morning.

Write down your vulnerabilities and insecurities and give yourself acceptance.

Remember, you are worthy of love, kindness, and pleasure.

Let’s look at Miss powerful.

Sharing vulnerabilities with someone else and getting their accepted can be one of the most healing and connecting things we can do, and it’s the basis of feeling loved.

Find someone you can trust and feel how it is to be entirely accepted.

Now go practice.

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