1) Know your self worth: With over 7 billion people in the world, it can be easy to feel insignificant. I visited Venice Beach recently, and I felt like just one grain of sand on the beach. I reminded myself that each person, including myself is uniquely special, and able to accomplish great things. Each person on this earth has immeasurable worth. Know that since you are alive, you can accomplish anything.
Tip: Journal 3 things you are proud of yourself for each evening.
2) Don’t want: Anything that haunts you will make you unhappy. What are you wanting right now? More money, a specific person you cannot have, a better job, a better relationship, material things…? You will never be happy if you are always wanting. If you are not happy, then you will not be able to love yourself. Anxiety takes over our minds and consumes us. Until the mind doesn’t want anything, until the mind is clear, then that is when you will be happy. Then you will be able to tap into your own self love.
Tip: Ask yourself what you are wanting, and work on clearing it from your mind. Let it go.
3) Adjust your experience of the world: Many of us go through life just taking the world and our experiences as it comes to us. This is not a good way to look at our life and experiences. It is better to think of the world we live in as a projection of our own thoughts. We have the power to change how we see the world, our actions, our experiences, how we feel, and how we see ourselves.
Tip: When you are feeling anxious, sad, depressed, overwhelmed make a personal mantra to remind yourself over and over that you have control of how you experience the world. You have the ability to view your life in a more positive way.
4) How you view yourself is all in your mind: All your thoughts, emotions and feelings come from the brain. Your mind is the most powerful organ in the body. How you view yourself comes from your own brain. Have you ever looked back at a picture of yourself and thought, “wow I looked really good that day!” But that specific day you might have been feeling insecure, and thought at that you looked terrible. We are our own worst critics.
Tip: tell yourself one positive thing about yourself each morning before you start your day, and before you go to bed.
5) Don’t determine how you feel based off of how others make you feel: It can be detrimental to base how we feel based on both happy and sad emotions that others project on us. If someone is making you happy this may make us feel amazing. However, if you can only get positive feelings when others are making you feel good or when someone else feels good, then when someone is feeling bad, you will also feel bad. You have to have the power yourself to feel good from within regardless of how others around us are feeling.
Tip: Do something for yourself that you love at least once a week that makes you feel fabulous!
6) Kindness, compassion and love: When you project kindness without the expectation of reciprocation or reward, you will begin to love yourself more. Helping others is the true path to happiness. When you respect the emotions and feelings of other people and other beings, you will begin to find fulfillment. When you feel love for yourself and others, you will feel completely at ease.
Tip: Perform a random act of kindness at least once a day with no thought of reward.
8) Face your fears: If it is both terrifying and amazing then you should pursue it! Do you live in a bubble where you wake up, go to work, come home, watch tv, eat dinner, then go to bed? Or something to this effect? If so, you are not facing fears or pursing anything worthwhile. This can lead to a mundane, boring lifestyle. It can lead to wanting more. It can lead to just letting the world come to us. Be brave, be bold. Don’t let the world come at you, come at the world!
Tip: Do something that scares you at least once a week.
9) Face your emotions: Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle. If we can tap into our deepest emotions and actually feel them, we will free ourselves from emptiness. Feel your emotions fully. There is darkness so there can be light. Remember, emotions are not meant to stay static. Just like there is night, there will be sadness, and just like there is day, there will be happiness. Just like there are many weather patterns, there will be many other different types of emotions that we experience. We must understand that we were not meant to feel happy 100% of the time. This understanding will lead to an overall better quality of life, to loving ourselves more, and helps us be more gentle with ourselves.
Tip: To tap into your emotions better, tell someone close to you how you are feeling when strong emotions flare up inside you.
10) Meditation: The BEST way to learn how to love yourself is through meditation. New research on the human brain shows us the power of mindfulness. Although many people for thousands of years who have practiced meditation could have already told us the benefits. If you can find 10 min a day to check your facebook, you have 10 minutes to meditate.
Tip: Each morning before you start your day sit in a quiet room and find a 10 min guided meditation on youtube or another website. Check out headspace.com for some amazing stuff!
I leave you with the poem:
Love After Love By Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Love, Colleen Poling, RD