When self-love is missing, all life areas get to suffer: couple and interpersonal relationships, professional life, health and physical appearance etc. We can’t live a life where we are fulfilled and happy if we don’t have a positive relationship with ourselves.
I often hear from people that they don’t love themselves, that they don’t like their own person or that they are in conflict with the critical voices in their mind.
What can we do to love ourselves more?
First of all, be aware that the critical voices in your mind have been taken, during time, from others. You have internalized all the devaluations, criticism, dissatisfactions that others have expressed toward you, and they became part of your inner dialogue. But if they aren’t yours, you can easily get rid of them.
Second of all, maybe you have made certain “mistakes” in your past and because of them your level of self-esteem and self-confidence has dropped. Maybe you feel guilty or ashamed because of those mistakes and that’s why you can’t forgive yourself. It has no sense to continue to do that, but it’s best to accept that you have acted then in accordance with what you felt and thought that moment. Learn from that mistake, don’t repeat it, fix whatever you can fix and move on. We are humans and sometimes we make mistakes - it’s important to learn from our mistakes and to evolve.
Third, stop spending your time with people who make you feel bad about yourself. If there are around you people who devalue you, who don’t accept you as you are, who manipulate you or emotionally blackmail you, just step away from them. You didn’t come into this world to fulfill the selfish needs and desires of others. If they like you as you are, they support you and they encourage you to be yourself, they deserve to be part of your life, if not... release yourself from their toxic influence.
Forth, focus your attention on your qualities and live in accordance with them. You can’t be good at everything, any person has certain qualities and lacks other. Every person is unique and has his talents. Instead of reproaching yourself that you lack certain qualities, you would better focus on those you already have and try to improve them. Thus, you can find your vocation and fulfillment regarding the professional aspect.
Fifth, stop doing things you don’t want to do. Stop compromising yourself or your life. If you have a job that you hate, quit and look for another one, in accordance with your passions, talents and abilities. It’s normal not to like yourself if you spend one third of your life doing what you don’t like. If you have people around you that you don’t like, distance yourself from them without any explanation or justification. If you are in a couple relationship that makes you suffer, get out of that relationship and give yourself a new chance. I know so many people who, once they had the courage to shut the door to compromises and suffering, they started to live their dream life.
Sixth, don’t seek the approval of others but live in accordance with your inner voice. Every person you meet and who expresses his opinion concerning you has a deeply subjective perception, a vision that is limited by his own beliefs and his life experience. What is true or valid for a person, can be totally wrong for someone else. You don’t have to answer anyone for what you are or for the way you choose to live your life. Are you happy and pleased with yourself? That’s all that matters.
Seventh, seek to make yourself happy every day. Pamper yourself, treat yourself as if you are the most important person in your life... because you are! Spend quality time with yourself, take care of your hobbies and passions.
Eighth, make the changes you want to make. Whether it's your physical body, changing your job, personal development etc., make a more concrete and detailed plan, short-term (up to 6 months), medium-term (6 months - 2 years) and long-term (over 2 years) and start to follow it. Surely you have certain priorities you choose to focus on, so start now. Write on your agenda when you’ll do those things, which day of the week, what time and do it. Don’t allow anything or anybody to stop you from accomplishing your plans. Remember that self-confidence and self-esteem can only be gained by acting, so stop postponing and act!
Ninth, be the writer, the director and the leading actor of your life. Engage actively, build the life that you want and stop accepting to live by the rules or scenarios of others. You hold the power on your existence, but it’s mandatory to assume it. If you choose to live depending on others or on what they want from you, you’ll not find fulfillment, happiness and the joy to live.
Tenth, look to reinvent yourself all the time. Get out of your comfort zone, give up on boredom, routine and spleen. Life is in constant change and so are you. Look for challenges, evolve constantly and become more and more in love with yourself and your life.
Use your strength!
Dr. Ursula Sandner