One of the hardest things to do is to truly love yourself. There are those in the world who are graced with confidence from day one, who never question their potential or their significance in the world. For most of us, learning to love ourselves is an ongoing battle. However, it’s a battle that we must fight if we ever want to have a good life.
Before anything else, you need to keep in mind that loving yourself doesn’t mean being conceited. Narcissism is not what you’re going for. Loving yourself is all about being happy with who you are, as you are. You need to feel confident that you are the best YOU that you can be.
In our lives, there will be countless people that will try to tell you that you’re too thin or too fat, too smart or too stupid, too weird or too boring. There’s always going to be someone who thinks you’re just not good enough. One of the first secrets to a better life is learning not to listen to everything people tell you. Well, that’s not quite correct. You can listen, but you need to learn not to take it all to heart. If you believe every negative thing that people tell you, you’re going to be miserable and hating yourself for your entire life.
When people insult you, you need to remember that they’re only showing how flawed they are. Do you think a good-hearted and confident person is going to go around tearing other people down? Of course not. We all have our days when someone gets on our nerves and we say something disparaging about them, but most people know that it shows a severe lack of character when they insult and degrade others.
People who make a point of talking down to and insulting others are showing their insecurities in true form. It’s unfortunately quite common for people to insult others out of jealousy, and out of a mean-spirited desire to bring others down so that they can appear to be better. What’s truly sad, is the fact that this often works. People will allow themselves to be degraded, and will believe the things that are said about them. Then, because that person is so down on themselves, other people will see them as the insulting party wants them to be seen.
In your efforts to attain a better life and be a better person, you need to learn that these people are faulty and false, and that they do not deserve to have any power over you. You need to take your personal power back! This is absolutely key in moving forward with your life.
Another part of loving yourself is to know that you are or can become exactly who and what you were meant to be. Granted, you may not have the job you really want, and you may not look like a supermodel, but at the core of your being, you are or can become who you are meant to be.
Whether you’re gay, a geek, a jock, or what-have-you, it’s fine. Never let anyone tell you that who you are is wrong. It is up to YOU to decide who you want to be, and be that with all your being.
It’s a sad truth that society has come to a point where many try to mold those around them. Media tells us that we need to have certain body shapes, we need to make a certain amount of money, and we have to engage in certain activities. If we don’t meet these standards, we feel bad about ourselves, and we catch flack from the people around us. We need to break free of this to become our true selves.
So, are you who you want to be? Remove from your mind any thoughts of money and appearance for now. Think about yourself, your core person. Are you a good person? Are you kind to others? Do you give generously and accept graciously? These are the kinds of things that you need to think about.
Look in the mirror. Think about who you are and how you treat others. If you’re not happy with what you see and what you think about yourself as a human being, then you need to change something. If you feel that you are good to yourself, and good to others, then you are already well on your way.
One way that you can start to see what parts of yourself you need to work on is to ask yourself “Would I want people to treat me the way I treat others?” Think about that for a while. The “Golden Rule” is a good one to live by. Treat others the way you would want them to treat you. If you were to switch places with someone you know, would you like yourself from their point of view? When you see how you are in the eyes of others, it can really make a difference.
You also want to avoid the traits that you dislike in others. If you complain about Joe because he lies, and then you tell lies yourself, you are no better than he is. It’s easy for any person to become the thing they hate. It’s a rather sobering event when you realize that it’s happened. It happened to me, and I was disgusted when I realized what I’d become. Don’t emulate the actions of others without thought. Think for yourself, and do what is right. If you’ve already picked up the bad habits of others, now is a good time to start changing that.
It can be very difficult, but sometimes when you can’t find your own flaws, it can help to ask someone else. Now, obviously, you’re not going to ask the people that treat you poorly or have obvious character flaws. Find someone that you trust, someone whom you know will be honest, and have your best interests at heart, and ask them to help you.
Let me warn you… You’re not going to like it. Nothing is harder than looking someone in the eye while they tell you what’s wrong with your personality and your actions. When I started taking my personal transformation very seriously, I asked my husband to point out my flaws. He was as gentle as he could be, but honest. I didn’t like a lot of what I heard, but it helped me to see myself from another point of view, and I really grew from it. We both do this for each other now, and it helps us to be better people.
More than anything, you need to focus on being happy with your core self, and not take to heart the things that others say. Are you living your life for others, or for yourself? You should be living to please yourself, to achieve a being and a life that you can be proud of, not living to make everyone else like you and think you’re worthy. You are only as good as you believe yourself to be, so you need to work on yourself, for yourself, until you can look in the mirror and love the person looking back at you.
The biggest lesson I learned when it came to loving myself was when it hit me that if I don’t love myself, no one else will. That sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. When you love who you are and you feel confident, people will see it and you’re more likely to attract people that love that about you. When you hate yourself, you’re more likely to attract manipulators and abusers.
It really came to me because I was around someone who totally hated themselves. They were miserable, constantly whining about how bad their life was, how ugly they were, how bad their marriage was… After a while, I just couldn’t stand being around them. I tried to give them more confidence and help them with their problems, but they wanted no part of it. They were, in a sick way, content to be a victim.
That’s when it really hit me. What sucked more than anything was the realization that I had been exhibiting a lot of the same traits. I hated everything about my life, I was always blaming people, and I didn’t think that there was anything I could do to change it. I had convinced myself that I was ugly, useless and worthless, and I had no power over anything in my life. When I looked in the mirror, I literally hated the person I saw.
I realized that I had become everything that people said I was. I was weak, selfish, manipulative, self-pitying… I was a mess and no one wanted to be around me, I didn’t even want to be around me. It was at that point that I knew I had to make a change or my life was going to turn into a truly steaming pile of sh!t.
I started to focus on what there was in me that I could love. I knew that I was smart, loving (sometimes to a fault), always willing to help others and creative. I latched onto those things as if my life depended on it. The truth is, my life did depend on it. I was spiraling into a self-hating depression and suicide was starting to sound good. I needed to make a change, and I needed to make it fast.
Once I found some things to like about myself, it got easier to find more. Now, I’m not saying that I love everything about myself now. I’m still flawed and I can accept it, and I keep working on it. The thing is, I found things about myself that were worth loving. Once I did, people’s perceptions of me started to change for the better.
Another thing I did was to start paying close attention to the way I felt around other people. Whenever I noticed that there was something I didn’t like about someone, I made a mental not of it. Why? I did it so that I could do everything in my power to not be those things that I didn’t like. If I hated seeing it in others, they’d hate seeing it in me.
After years of practice, it’s a lot easier to catch myself if I’m falling back into any of those bad habits. It’s also easier for me to spot people that have serious issues, and stay away from them. As hard as it may be and as evil as it may seem, it’s better to stay away from people who exhibit behaviors you don’t want to emulate than it is to change them or resist the urge to become like them.