Every day, we all give everything of ourselves to love those around us unconditionally that sometimes we forget how much we deserve to love ourselves, too. When we fail to do all the things we try to do – which happens so much of the day – we become disappointed for not living up to our expectations. The negative self-talk about not being good enough, the things we should have done, how much we haven’t done enough of, and what we don’t have enough of keep playing in our heads. When that voice of the false self starts becoming louder with self-criticism, these 5 steps will help you center yourself back to a place of positive self-love.
1. Love the Whole Package
We all follow the saying, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” but so often we forget that this is also saying that loving “yourself” is as important as loving “your neighbor.” If your friend said that she wasn’t good enough, you would probably know it’s not true because you are familiar with all of her wonderful aspects. You’ll also know that it’s not coming from a place of love and understanding to judge herself so. We ourselves are always worthy of this same compassion that we give others, no matter our flaws and weaknesses. That’s because everyone, including ourselves, possesses a beautiful soul inside that is good, beautiful, and full of Truth. This is our true selves that are an endless source of all the love we give. So by loving ourselves, we’re loving the part of us that gives to others.
It’s not the result of what we give that gives us happiness, but the act of giving. So no matter how often we fail to live up to our standards, there’s no reason to be disappointed. It’s alright if we can’t manifest all of our true selves all the time. It’s inevitable that we’ll make mistakes, and we should take the courage to accept them with compassion as part of who we are. We weren’t made to be perfect; instead, we were meant to keep aspiring toward a higher self.
2. Let Go of the Past and the Future
It takes courage to forgive ourselves of the past and what we fear of our future. So much effort and dedication is put into living up to our values that it’s hard to let that go and be compassionate. We’re also afraid that loving the whole package can make us selfish.
But the mistakes we made five years ago, the unknowns of the future, and the pressure to be better are not actually real because they aren’t happening this moment. Sometimes we keep living in memories that have already passed, and a future that may never even happen. By this habit we’re making the choice to make them a “reality” by letting it to occupy our minds. The magic is that if we let go of these anxieties they will cease to exist. Completely.
So cherish each day as if it were your last. Every day is a new day, a fresh start, a miracle of life that’s happening right now. Being present and being grateful for each moment brings far more love and happiness than shaming yourself of your past. Every disappointment was a gift to learn from and grow. So let it nurture you, give it appreciation, and then let go. Let go of worrying about the future. The future is created by the thoughts and visions you have now. So let go of the negative ones and envision a positive path opening up.
3. Practice Self-Compassion, Not Comparison
Are the expectations that you’re devoted to fulfilling, a part of your values? Or are they ideals that you adopted from elsewhere over the years? Oftentimes we fail to see ourselves objectively and compassionately because we are perpetually comparing ourselves to others, other people’s values, judgements, and unrealistic ideals. What’s happiness for them may not be happiness for our true selves. The seed of a rose is meant to bloom into a beautiful rose, not a daisy. And a daisy shouldn’t feel ashamed that it couldn’t grow as tall as the rose. Seeing our strengths, weaknesses, and all through objective eyes will empower us to use everything as an opportunity for a better self.
We don’t need to look at other people’s strengths and compare ourselves to them. To love ourselves, we need to know who we are, and that’s about knowing what makes us special and unique. What is the beautiful gift inside of us that is most special that we can share with the world? What is the uniquely powerful truth inside of us that will add a drop of happiness to the world when it’s manifested?
4. Let the Peace and Love Wash Over You
Creating a calm mind is an important part of loving yourself. Choose a quiet place where you feel safe to open your heart, be with your thoughts, and are free of all disruptions. Then, take slow and deep breaths until you feel your heart rate drop and your thoughts slow down. Let your thoughts and feelings come up, and accept them all. No matter how negative and how embarrassing, this is a critical step toward creating peace of mind. If you hold back your thoughts and push them down, you’ll be denying yourself of who you are.
Then, step outside of yourself, and look at each emotion and thought from the eyes of someone who has known you all your life and is supportive and loving. Ask yourself what he or she would say about each one. You will feel more lovable and loving with every step forward you take. You’ll know that you are deepening your love because you will feel a warm peace wash over you as if you were returning home to a profound love that was beside you all along.