It is okay to love yourself. I love myself, finally. It's been a long journey to learn self-love. I'm only now embarking on the journey of self-actualization and leaning fully what loving myself means. After thirty plus years of people pleasing and so many repeat occurences of hurt and disappointment, I knew it was time to make a new choice.
I've known for a long time that I needed to learn to be true to myself. My mentor, Rhonda Shasteen, has been teaching me how to be true to myself in baby steps over the years of our mentoring relationship. It didn't really come to a head until earlier this year when I learned The Secret.
The basis of The Secret is love and gratitude. The power of love for self and others and the powerful practice of gratitude have the power to move people, places, and circumstances to change your life. While I knew this was true and had experienced the effects of this practice in tangential areas of my life, it took much longer for self-love to place a firm root into my heart.
I grew up learning to be a people pleaser and serve others. Acts of service is a love language, after all, and there is something romantic in sacrificing yourself for another person. In the end practicing sacrifice projects a feeling of lack and comes back to haunt you.
As all the lessons, memories, pieces of wisdom, and hurt from the past surfaced, I starting to understand what it would take to achieve true love of self. This is a love of self that fosters kindness, compassion and respect, not vanity.
Here are 5 steps I learned to accomplish self-love.
1) Be aware. Tune in and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Accept who you are and what you are feeling. Understand that there is nothing wrong with what you like and what you desire. That's what makes you who you are. Some people will like it and others will not. That's ok.
2) Accept yourself as you are. Take care of yourself and give yourself time and space to work though emotions. Accepting things about yourself you've always told yourself you needed to change will not happen in one fell swoop. It is a process. We have managed to conditions ourselves to believe the lies we tell ourselves about who we should be in order to be happy rather than just being happy with who we are.
3) Grow who you are. Allow yourself to be who you are. Tap into your child and teenage selves to reconnect with early joy or hurt. Process it and start making decisions to be who you are. If you love community, be in community. If you prefer to be alone, then be alone. If you need intellectual stimulation, pursue what will bring that into your life. I love to write, and I write from my heart because I have so much love to give, and this provides me with a beautiful creative outlet to be exactly who I am.
4) Establishing boundaries. If you have spent a lot of your life trying to be someone you think others will approve of, then start setting boundaries to make space in the world to be yourself. This can be hard and emotional, especially if you've never made yourself a priority in life. I can tell you from personal experience, the first time I stood up for myself and established boundaries, I cried. I let it out and then felt empowered. The second time I did it, I was more certain I was doing the right thing, but I still cried. I balled and balled, but at the end of it I knew that making a new choice to love myself was the best thing to do. Each time I make that choice, I know it will be easier and less emotionally draining, but the end result will be beautiful. I know we must choose our battles, so choose them wisely. Just have the courage to choose them when you need to.
5) Practice and stay positive. Be happy and love yourself now because it is the fastest way to accomplish change and manifest the happiness you desire in your life. Changing your attitude and choosing to love yourself is the first step to changing your life. Choosing a positive attitude beyond that will be a powerful force in your life.
Love yourself now because you can!