10 ways to start loving yourself the way you deserve to be loved
Did you struggle with the title of this blog? The concept of loving yourself? More than that, the concept of loving yourself in the way you deserve to be loved? I did for a long time too. Then I woke up to the reality of this concept. If I didn't love myself, how could I possibly expect - or accept, anyone else doing so?
Where to begin - steps to self-love
I know, it's easier said than done, with most of us finding it much easier to list what we don't love about ourselves - I've been there. I don't expect you to change everything overnight, but with a few, simple steps, you can definitely make your way there and boy is there a lot more of life to enjoy once you do.
So let's start with something that might feel counterintuitive to the task at hand. Write a list of 5 things you don't love about yourself. I'll share mine: my weight, my accent/voice, my introverted nature, my fertility struggles, my failures.
Now for the exciting part. Let's change that script and the story we tell ourselves. Grab that list and read on.
Ten steps to start loving yourself
Step 1. With your list of five, we're going to start digging a little deeper, where did that come from? For my weight and accent/voice for example, I know it's linked to being told by a dietician at 5 years old that 'a fat girl is an ugly girl Victoria, and you don't want to be one of those, do you?'. As for my accent/voice, it's something I was judged on for a long time, looked down on for, had held against me.
Now let's look closer. What weight (pun intended) is there to any of those things? My answer is none. I control my size and shape through diet and exercise, I have a husband who loves me and friends who also seem quite keen on being around me.
My voice actually disarms people, I am easy to relate to and my multi-region accent (South East London meets Yorkshire meets Australian friends) is a conversation starter.
Can you see how you can reframe those beliefs you have?
Step 2. This comes by the way of affirmations. We can write down our reframed thoughts, but until we start saying them out loud, telling ourselves our new perspective, how can we really buy into it? We need to BELIEVE these things, not simply say them out loud.
Start by trying this exercise for a fortnight. Each morning, choose one sentence to tell yourself about yourself. An example I have used is 'you are deserving of love and it will come to you in abundance' - did I mention that amazing husband?
Step 3. Count how many times you say sorry in a day. This was something I was terrible for. I'd literally apologise for breathing if someone was struggling to do the same. Do this for a couple of days and ask your family or colleagues to help if you feel comfortable. Now, let's change the sentence. Late for a meeting? Thank the attendees for waiting for you. Missed a birthday? Use it as an excuse to call or visit in-person or send a handwritten note and card to extend their celebrations beyond one day.
Step 4. Start treating yourself with a little love. From washing your face every morning to choosing a nice outfit over easy leggings, you will feel better almost immediately.
Step 5. Make time for you. We schedule so much into our lives, especially for others, but when do you take an hour for you? From a yoga class to a walk outside and gorgeous coffee, make you a priority.
Step 6. Nourish your body. Diet does not mean something we do to lose weight, it is simply the foods we choose to fuel our body with. Nobody is saying you have to live on lettuce, but by consciously choosing to eat food that makes us feel good inside and out - think nutritious porridge, lean meats and hearty stews, you will show your body you love it too.
Step 7. Be kind to yourself. Rather than automatically calling yourself stupid, idiot or any of the myriad of options when something goes wrong, pause. Accidents and mistakes happen. I've spilt many a drink on our cream carpet, but the stains always come out. I and you are human, accidents happen.
Step 8. Be vulnerable. You are not a superhero who has all the answers and is able to fix every problem. We all need help from time to time. And it's absolutely ok to ask for it.
Step 9. Practice gratitude. This doesn't have to mean writing down 'x' number of things every night, but instead simply think at some point in the day of one or more things that you are grateful for that day. It can be as simple as being well, a cuddle with your child/pet/significant other, a green traffic light! or that tomorrow is a fresh day. You will start to see that there is lots in your life to love.
Step 10. Tell yourself how much you love you. It sounds strange at first, but we can all do with hearing that every day, and why shouldn't you love yourself? It does not make you arrogant or narcissistic. You are an amazing human being with so much to give and so very deserving of love.
Now get started on this project of self love you go-getter you. I believe in you. I see you and I love that you are here with me taking this Journey To You.
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