“Life is kinder to those who love themselves, because love attracts love and light, and repels and dissolves darkness.” – Shaun Roundy
Admit it – if you really, really loved yourself, you’d be happier. You’d have more abundance of all kinds in your life: friends, fun, wealth, health, and overall satisfaction. You’d even grow less attached to material things and all external circumstances, because your primary stability and satisfaction would happen on the inside where outside factors can’t touch it. This is the way life is meant to be lived.
But wanting to love yourself thoroughly doesn’t automatically make it happen does it? The fact is: life is hard and our society teaches self-loathing far more effectively than self love. Let’s take a quick look at why.
Learning to Relate to Ourselves
The easy way to love yourself thoroughly is to learn it from the very beginning; but if you had parents and siblings and friends as a young child who rained such unconditional love on you that your foundation of self worth can never be shaken, then you’re darn lucky and the exception, and don’t you forget it.
Yes, children – your first peers – are often credited with being very loving, but as they grow and discover themselves, they also often feel awkward and inadequate and pass that same experience along by judging and treating others harshly. Children can be cruel, and most children have no defenses against internalizing such messages. If other kids labeled you, the label probably stuck deep in your self image.
Misconceptions about Self Love
Even when we grow up, cultural norms “protect” us from loving ourselves too much. They often mistake self love for negatives like vanity and pride, which in reality grow out of fear and lack of self love (or the extremely rare case of actual narcissistic personality disorder).
We also observe self-absorbed braggarts and mistakenly believe that that is what self love looks like, when in truth we’re only seeing behavior trying to compensate for insecurity!
We further show our lack of critical thinking when we believe that self love is selfish, the opposite of generosity, and that they can’t coexist. Nothing could be further from the truth! The fact is that you can love others far, far better after you first love yourself.
Until you do, you can love others (to a limited degree), but you can’t teach them to love themselves, which is – as Whitney Houston sings – “the greatest love of all,” because without it, we can never fully live.
The unwitting anti-love movement has grown so powerful and widespread that many of us actively support it by joining the ranks of the Ego Police. This fear-based organization worries that if anyone feels too good about themselves, it could be “bad,” so we quickly cut them down to size.
Have you ever mocked someone who was feeling too happy or pleased with him/herself? You probably didn’t realize it, but in that moment, you were part of the problem. But don’t worry, it’s never too late to change sides and Support Love instead!
Once we’ve failed to learn to love ourselves as young children, it’s extremely difficult to change our perspective, because our subconscious brains (the part that’s really in charge of our lives) hates to be wrong, and thus hates to change its mind. It would rather defend whatever it happens to already believe.
Furthermore, it backs up its perceptions (which may have nothing to do with reality) with feelings, and feelings (which may have nothing to do with reality) make perceptions feel so very, very real. Different parts of the brain process positive and negative stimuli, and the negatives affect us much more powerfully (especially when we’re tired).
The end result of this (and other thinking distortions) is depression and a wasted life, or at least a less-fulfilled life than we otherwise would have enjoyed.
The good news is that our brain will eventually accept whatever thoughts we put into it (check out this entire article about how to do that).
Now comes the list of how to learn to love yourself, and the first one is to
1. LOVE OTHERS. Do at least one thing every day to show that you do – pay a sincere compliment, be an attentive, non-judgemental listener, buy someone lunch, anything you want.
Not only will you help create a more loving world (which will come back to bless you), but practicing on others will help train you how to perceive and treat (a.k.a. love) yourself.
People say that doing service makes you happy, but that’s not exactly accurate. What really makes you happy is the way you see yourself when you bless others, so be sure to give yourself credit and give the Universe the best possible return on your investment.
2. BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. That includes:
A. Stand up for yourself (most importantly, to yourself!). Unapologetically think & say positive truths about your worth. Make a list of your best traits and commit it to memory.
B. Take care of your physical, mental, emotional & spiritual well being. Even a few minutes per day in each of these areas can make a significant difference. Take the stairs and eat something healthy. Read! Laugh. Pray or meditate during your lunch break or commute (if you’re not driving, that is, in which case please watch where you’re going and get home safely).
C. Surround yourself with encouraging elements, and say goodbye to damaging ones that bring you down.
D. Unquestioningly accept yourself 100% – both the good and the bad – it doesn’t matter! We’re all just works in progress and we don’t have to be perfect to be worth loving. While you’re at it, also accept any past mistakes and events – do yourself a huge favor and choose to see the good in them such as strengths gained or lessons learned.
E. Celebrate yourself – get excited about who you are and what you accomplish! Acknowledge yourself for every good thing you do; and when life gets hard, thank yourself for enduring as well as you do.
F. Believe in yourself! You can do it! Make all your self-interactions positive.
G. Get out and have some fun!
3. GET HELP. Life is tough enough without trying to do it all on your own. Tell your trusted friends what you’re trying to accomplish, share this article with them, and ask them to support and treat you the way any real friend should.
Ask your friends to explain what makes you great, and don’t be shy about hearing their compliments. This is important! Do it right and let the truth of their words sink deeply into your brain and heart. Let them become part of your own self image.
If you want to discover an even more effective way to see and appreciate each other, check out How to See Yourself and Others, a 99 cent download you can read on any device.
If you REALLY want to accelerate your growth, then find a skilled intuitive core healer who can sense everything you feel and help shift it for you, releasing the deep emotional blocks that obstruct understanding and prevent change.
The Measure of Success
Once you start down the path of learning to love yourself more thoroughly, simply keep it up until your new habits and thoughts sink in, replace the old thoughts and feelings, and grow comfortable and automatic.
You’ll know you have completely won the battle when you transcend the entire question – when you utterly, effortlessly take for granted that you’re a fantastic, fun, interesting, attractive, worthwhile person. That is success, and that is exactly what this world needs more of.
THANK YOU for deciding to take this journey! I can imagine no better world than one in which all children learn self love and grow up to be on everybody’s side as a result.
Q: What else helps you love yourself better? How have you dealt with love-stiffling aspects of our culture? Please share your insights in the comment section below. Thanks!