Loving yourself can be a challenge – especially if you´re struggling with low self-esteem and confidence.
It´s time you stopped believing the negative mental chatter going on inside your head and begin to understand that everyone is loveable – YOU, too. That´s why I´m writing this today, to help you start to see some of the ways you can really appreciate just how much there is to love about the unique and amazing person you are.
Loving yourself first starts with building your confidence and boosting your self-esteem. When you give yourself the love you deserve, love will naturally flow to you from other directions as well.
The three steps I´m sharing with you here are designed to help bolster your self-confidence and self-esteem. It´s said that awareness is the greatest agent for change, so let´s begin with that.
Step 1: Amp Up Your Awareness
Prize What´s On The Outside
Find a mirror and look into it. How do you feel about what you see? Do you find yourself automatically find yourself criticizing what you don´t like? Do you secretly compare yourself to others…and find yourself lacking?
It´s time to turn that around and look for the things you like. Each of us is beautiful in our own way.
If you´re happy with your looks, then good for you!! On the other hand, if you are already making a list of all the things you´d like to change…STOP that!
Instead, look closely and find the features you like the best. Perhaps you have amazingly blue eyes or a warm, friendly smile that draws people in. Focus on what´s special about you. Embrace it. Love it and use it to your best advantage.
Remember that your features are the first thing others see when they look at you. Loving yourself starts with feeling comfortable in your own skin.
Value What´s On The Inside
If you´re like a lot of people, you may undervalue “attitude” when it comes to loving yourself more.
Do you smile a lot? Or do you worry a lot? Do you shrug off mishaps or do you beat yourself up when something goes “wrong”? Are you angry a lot of the time?
What triggers make you think and act one way over another?
Your state of mind doesn´t just happen. Whether you realize it or not, you are in full control of what you think and how you feel. It´s up to you how you choose to react to any situation.
When someone comments on something you say or do, on how you look or how you behave, they aren´t judging you. They may just be making conversation.
Avoid thinking there´s an underlying meaning to everything others say. Instead, take what they have to say at face value. If it´s negative, let it go. If it´s a compliment, say “thank you”.
It´s so much easier to stay upbeat and positive when you aren´t always looking for innuendos.
With a positive attitude, loving yourself comes naturally. So, focus your energy on being open, helpful and friendly – others will notice, too, I assure you.
Go Deeper Still
Spiritual awareness is what makes us human. No other creature can reason, dream or plan like we can. Your spiritual make-up is often the very part of you that others sense first…and love the most.
When you meditate, pray or daydream, where does your spirit take you? Do you have a place you go in your mind; a place where your thoughts are free to drift?
Try visualizing a perfect space; a space filled with your favorite colors, fragrances, melody, fabrics and flavors. When you give that space a comfortable structure, park your physical self while your mind wanders around in your ideal world. You may be shocked at how much you can solve, create, develop and invent situations that will enhance your conscious self.
How does this exercise help you love yourself more?
By also helping you build confidence and self-esteem.
Here´s an example:
Let´s say you’ve been asked to speak to a local woman´s club. You know giving the speech would be a great boost for your business but just thinking about it has your stomach twisted in knots. You dread the thought of public speaking even though you love talking about what you do.
How can you overcome that nervousness and share your passion with others in a way that can help them become as enthusiastic about it as you are?
Take a few moments and go to your perfect spiritual space. In your mind´s eye, see yourself giving the presentation. Break down that vision into segments. Think about what you will say, how you will dress, the gestures you´ll use and “feel” how the women who are listening respond with enthusiasm and excitement.
Now take that clear vision and use it to support you in organizing your entire presentation – outline, notes, verbal details, media…right down to what you´re going to wear!
The next step then is practice. Practice your presentation from start to finish. Tweak it. Fine tune it. And then, practice it some more.
Ask your family, a trusted friend – even your dog! – to listen while you run through your presentation. Before you get started, go back to your spiritual space and play the entire event out in exactly the way you want it to go.
Preparedness is an excellent confidence booster. The more you practice, the more easily things will flow. You´ll know what you want to say, how you want to say it and the order you want to say it in.
Embracing these 3 levels of awareness – external, mental & spiritual – will not only help you feel better about who you are and what you´re capable of, it´ll also add to your confidence.
Now, let´s move on to step two to loving yourself more where we look at the triggers that often sabotage self-esteem and what you can do to disarm them.
Step 2: Identify Your Self-Esteem Saboteurs
Self-esteem can be a fragile thing – dashed in an instant by harsh words, probing questions, a casual remark or a scowl.
People have varying levels of sensitivity. And, while sensitivity can be a good thing – allowing you to express empathy and understanding when others need it most
…you know what they say about too much of a good thing.
That´s where becoming aware of your own emotional triggers comes in. Loving yourself starts with learning to recognize what I like to call self-esteem saboteurs.
We all have them – the mental motion pictures from childhood, stuck on replay at the back of our minds.
Take a few minutes to think about the rules you live by – all the shoulds, coulds, woulds that were drilled into you from an early age. The rules that say to be:
- pretty, you have to look a certain way,
- good, you have to act a certain way,
- loved, you have to be a certain way.
You get the idea…
Now it´s time to really think about these questions.
- Are you still living your life based on somebody else´s rules?
- Do those rules still apply?
- Have you ever asked yourself where those rules came from to begin with?
Loving yourself starts with letting go of other people´s ideas of what pretty, good and lovable look like. It means putting yourself first for a change, coming up with your own rules and choosing to live by them.
Is that something you can do? I hope so.
But it´s not just what happens on the inside. There are things going on around you that can sabotage your self-esteem as well. In many ways, these external triggers are even worse because they take so many different forms:
- Someone honks at you when you´re stuck in traffic
- Your spouse flips out over their bosses´ comments on his presentation.
- The choice you made from the menu wasn´t what you thought it would be
- Your friend goes on a tirade about irresponsible dog owners (forgetting your dog sleeping quietly underneath the table!)
- The checker at the grocery store snaps at you when you ask about last week´s specials
The list goes on and on. And, depending on your frame of mind at the time, every one of these things presents you with an opportunity to put yourself down and feel insecure. It doesn´t matter whether the external trigger was your fault or not; negative emotion takes the reins and you get pulled along in its wake.
This is what you need to do when that happens…
Silence Those Nasty Self-Esteem Saboteurs
When it comes to internal triggers, start by identifying what causes a trigger to go off in the first place. If you react negatively to a particular situation on a regular basis, then chances are there is a relationship between that situation and another event from your past.
For example, perhaps your sister used to criticize your looks whenever you got ready to go out together.
Try replaying the past experience with a logical reaction in the present.
Looking back on a situation and seeing it through the eyes of the worldly, experienced adult you are now can help diffuse the negative feelings and erase the old trigger.
The nice thing about external triggers is that they are relatively easy to control…
- Block out that honking horn by turning up the radio and singing along to your favorite song.
- Schedule a day to re-organize your closet.
- Turn the burnt roast into a casserole.
- Give the dog a bath.
- Instead of grumbling about a poor menu choice, eat what you like and give yourself a pat on the back for not overeating!
You can put a positive spin on anything, if you´re willing to make the effort. As I like to say:
You create your reality. And reality is a question of perspective.
So, give yourself permission to shift your perspective and change the way you deal with the personal triggers in your life. And remember…
This isn´t a once-in-a-while thing. Loving yourself is a daily desire to create your life in the way you want it to be.
Step 3: Believe You´re Worth It
What do you believe? Do you believe there are no limits to what you can do in this world…or do you feel the pull of a hundred restraints clawing, dragging and holding you back?
Let me ask you another question.
How do you define “self-worth”? Simply put, self-worth is how we measure our own worthiness. How much we feel we deserve to live, do, have in our lifetime.
Self-worth and self-esteem go hand-in-hand. And while self-worth stems from what we accomplish, self-esteem has much more to do with who we are rather than what we do.
Think about this for a moment.
Is there any logical reason you should deny yourself a healthy dose of self-esteem? Is there any logical reason you shouldn´t love yourself with all your heart?
…except, perhaps, that logic rarely has anything to do with it.
With nearly 6 decades on this earth, I´ve come to believe that everyone realizes their own personal truth at some point. The problem is that point is often later, rather than sooner.
And, we wind up losing so much time, energy and life in the process!
The truly sad things is…
when you finally recognize the truth, there´s no possible way you can go back and relive the time you´ve lost. That´s why you need to make a change, and you need to make it now.
The decision is yours…
It´s nobody else´s. You alone decide what you believe – whether or not you´re worthy of more time to do the things you love, a happier relationship with your kids, more money, a more balanced life. And it is those beliefs that determine your self-worth.
And yet, if you struggle with a feeling of low self-worth, at some point along the way, you´ve decided you don´t deserve happiness, success or ease…and that´s become your reality.
It doesn´t matter how badly you want those things. They are going to remain beyond your reach because you have already subconsciously decided you are unworthy of having them.
What few people realize is that decision that you are unworthy of having, doing or being usually happens in an instant. It doesn´t take years of study and analysis. In fact, negativity needs very little help to take root…and grow.
There is a silver lining though…
Just as easy as it is to fall prey to negative beliefs, you can reverse the process and decide you are worthy of happiness, success, and inner balance…whatever it is you want most.
Because the power of decision lies within you.
You decide what you choose to believe.
Let me help you get started:
Step 1: Decide that you are worthy of love. You don´t need to prove it first. You just are.
Step 2: Work on believing it.
(While this may seem overly simple, you won´t know unless you try, right?)
Thoughts are powerful things – they can drag you down or build you up. Doesn´t it make sense to pay more attention to the positive ones?
Let me leave you with a simple exercise to help you before I go:
Take a minute to write down one thought dealing with self-worth that keeps replaying in your mind…it might be I shouldn´t want that, I don´t deserve it, or There´s nothing about me to love.
Now take that thought and turn it around. You don´t have to do any more than that. Put a positive spin on the thought and set it up as an endless loop inside your mind:
Yes, I definitely DO want that!
Yes, I most definitely do deserve it!
Yes, I am definitely worthy of love!
The first step towards loving yourself is to strengthen your self-esteem. And the first step towards strengthening your self-esteem is to flip your feelings of self-worth from the negative to the positive. And the best time to do that is now.
So, go ahead. Use the exercise I just shared with you. It´s easy to do and it really does work!
Loving yourself starts with belief. A belief that you´re worthy and a belief in yourself. It´s hard to manage one without the other.