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Being loved and accepted, that’s what we all want, right? But depending on other people to prop up our self-worth seems like a sure way to live a miserable life, always chasing someone’s elusive “stamp of approval” and never quite certain where you stand. And those of us who’ve been through trauma, especially relationship trauma, we often find it’s difficult to love ourselves and also hard to trust that we’re worthy of receiving love from others. (Oh, but we are!)
But what if you didn’t have to depend on others for love? What if you could give yourself all the love and approval your heart desires?
“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”Robert Morely
Real Love vs. Fake Love
What I want to exclude from our conversation is fake love. If you’re going to be giving love to yourself, it sure as heck better be the real thing!
Here are some of the key differences that I have noticed: Fake love focuses on the external, the temporary, and wants immediate gratification. It’s based on what people think about you rather than on honest thoughts, emotions and desires.
Real love, on the other hand, focuses on truth, on authenticity. It cuts straight through to the heart of the matter with courage yet also tenderness. It cultivates and celebrates innate, inherent beauty rather than judging based on outward appearances.
3 Things Loving Yourself DOESN’T Mean:
Excuses are only a way around the truth. Denying yourself the chance to face the truth and make amends for any mistakes you’ve made isn’t loving. You don’t have to carry a ton of guilt around, just own up to your mistakes and move on.
Avoiding a problem isn’t being loving towards yourself at all. Problems tend to follow you around until you deal with them anyway. Just take it one step at a time. You’ve got this! Every time we face something hard and deal with it rather than run away, it builds our self-confidence and self-worth.
Pride & Arrogance
Loving yourself is NOT a reason to turn into a prideful, intolerable ass. In fact, quite the opposite, the love you hold for yourself will radiate out onto others. You’ll end up focusing less and less on you and more tuned in to world around you. Warning: this could turn you a truly delightful person to be around.
Have you ever dealt with a pompous, overly-confident, never-wrong type of person? You likely met someone who secretly hates themselves and feel they have to hold up this toxic, fake illusion of extreme self-love out of fear everyone will see their truth and hate them too. But it’s only an illusion, don’t be fooled. They don’t love themselves at all.
6 Ways to Start Giving Yourself Real Love:
1. Believe in Yourself
Set big goals for yourself for things you’ve always wanted to accomplish while also being realistic with your expectations. Remember that it’s okay to try and fail. Repeatedly. It’s okay to be imperfect. We might fail quite a few times before succeeding at something but please don’t give up on yourself!
Visualize your highest self and start showing up as him/her.Ali Owens
2. Make Promises and Keep Them
Try making one small promise to yourself per day and keeping it. Even something as simple as “Today I will breathe with my eyes closed for five minutes,” or “I will go on a 10 minute walk.” Watch how quickly this practice changes your life.
3. Have Endless Compassion
Why is compassion so much easier to give to others? Well, it’s time to turn that understanding and kindness around onto yourself.
Think of when you were a small baby, so young and innocent. How much compassion would you be able to give to that little babe? Now ask yourself whether you can you give your “now” self a little bit of that same quality of love as well.
Look in the mirror. Look into your own eyes and say “I love you” to your reflection.
Do this a minimum of three times every day until you actually start believing your words.
Then don’t stop, keep on saying nice things to yourself, do it at least two or three times every day.
A mantra to repeat daily:
I am worthy of receiving love and abundance. I have inherent value. I am free to live a joyful, interesting, creative life of my own choosing.
4. Hold Firm Boundaries
Another way to love yourself is to get crystal clear on what you will and won’t accept and how others can and cannot treat you. Shifting your own boundaries around to please others is a recipe for trouble and unhappiness. Ultimately you won’t end up more liked, respected or appreciated by anyone–least of all yourself.
5. Advocate for Yourself
You can be your own best advocate, your own best friend. Stand in your power. Use your voice and announce to the world what you really want. Speak it out loud. Magical things tend to happen when we simply ask with pure intentions from our true heart.
6. Date yourself
Yes, actually go on a date…with yourself. Enjoy all the nice places and things you’d hoped someone else would give you. It may feel weird at first, but try it out!
What have you always longed to do? What would be your most perfect date? Now take yourself there, whether it’s hot springs or a festival, art galleries or coffee shops. Live the life of your dreams, don’t wait for someone else to think of it and “gift” it to you.
Take luxurious bubble baths with scented oils and candles while reading a book, or listening to your favorite music, or a good podcast. Bring in dessert and champagne, heck add in a vibrator if you want. Let go of judging and get down with your freaky, beautiful self!
These are just 6 ways to start giving yourself love today. There are so, so many ways. I might need to post a follow up blog: 6 More Ways to Love Yourself, or something along those lines. Perhaps there are endless ways…
In any case, I grant you permission to go out and love yourself with wild abandon today. Freely love yourself the way you’ve always wanted to be loved.
With all my heart,
Photos from Pexels