Over the last 13 years I’ve worked with hundreds of women who had various challenges around confidence and self-worth. One thing I’ve realised is that being able to love yourself is really difficult for a lot of women.
A lot of the conditioning through our childhood is about showing love to others, pleasing others and putting others first. Rarely are we taught how to give ourselves love, and what does that mean anyway?
For me, being able to love yourself is all about treating yourself as an equal to other people. Recognising that your needs, wants and opinions are as valid as anyone else’s and that your mistakes and mess ups are equally as forgivable as those of the people you love.
How can you start to love yourself?
- Your Value Doesn’t Lie In How Your Body Looks –
This is fundamental! So many things in the world want to distract you from this powerful truth. Sometimes even your own internalized conditioning affirms your thoughts of inadequacy. You are valuable because you are you, not because of your body.
So, wear what makes you feel good. If it’s a lot or if it’s a little, wear what makes you feel confident, comfortable, and happy.
2. Be Curious About Your Fears –
Like erring, feeling afraid is natural and human. Don’t reject your fears — understand them. Interrogating and evaluating your fears helps you to gain clarity and unmask issues in your life that were causing you anxiety. That, in turn, can help alleviate some — if not all — of your anxiety.
3. Trust Yourself To Make The Right Decisions For You –
We so often doubt ourselves and our ability to do what’s right, when most of the time we do know in our hearts what’s best. Remember that your feelings are valid. You’re not losing touch with reality. You know yourself better than anyone else, so be your best advocate.
4. Put Yourself First –
Don’t feel bad about doing this. Women, especially, can grow accustomed to putting others first. Although there’s a time and a place for this, it shouldn’t’ be a habit that costs you your mental or emotional well-being or stops you from being able to love yourself.
Find the time to decompress. Without decompressing and recharging you can put a serious strain on yourself. Whether it’s spending the day in bed or outdoors in nature, find what helps you decompress and dedicate time to this.
5. Feel Both Pain And Joy –
Allow yourself to feel things fully. Lean into pain, revel in your joy, and don’t put limitations on your feelings. Like fear, pain and joy are emotions that will help you understand yourself and ultimately realize that you are not your feelings.
6. Be Kind To Yourself –
The world is full of harsh words and critique — don’t add yours to the mix. Speak kindly to yourself, and don’t call yourself mean things. Celebrate yourself. You’ve come so far and grown so much. Don’t forget to celebrate yourself, and not only on your birthday!
7. Allow Yourself To Make Mistakes –
We’re told again and again from a young age “nobody’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes.” But the older you get, the more pressure you feel never to fail. Cut yourself some slack! Make mistakes so you can learn and grow from them. Embrace your past. You’re constantly changing and growing from who you once were into who you are today and who you will be one day.
So, forget about that voice in your head that says you need to be perfect. Make mistakes — lots of them! The lessons you’ll gain are priceless.
Self-love can take time to build, so be patient with yourself and check in when you’re feeling down, how can I be kind to myself?