How to love yourself

Loving yourself is so important for many reasons.

For starters if you can’t love yourself, how on earth can you expect anyone else to love you?

I recall a few years back now, when I was depressed I really didn’t like myself at all – life sucked actually.

I was heavily pregnant, and the dad was not living with me – he was living interstate and the relationship was shabby at best. But what do you do?

He hadn’t been present for my pregnancy, I was working full time (my own business), raising a two year old and a 5 year old with no family around. I was crying every day and felt very guilty that I was bringing a baby into the world with no father. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

I was (am) an intelligent women, have a lot going for me and had this dilemma unfolding in my very home over which I felt I had no control.

Depression, guilt and self hate filled my body and soul.

I didn’t love what I had done at all. I thought everyone around me must surely think I was a slut (which couldn’t be further from the truth) but I couldn’t rationalise any other thoughts.

That was 6 years ago.

Since then I have learned that self love is a critical part to healing (on any level). Healing physically from pain, injury or disease. Healing from relationship hurts, damage and destruction and healing from self loathing, self hate and self flagellation.

So how does one start to love oneself (especially if it’s been a while)?

These are the critical steps:

1. Become your best coach!

Imagine if your personal trainer kept telling you that you were a fat slob and that you will never amount to much and you may aswell give up today? Well clearly that isn’t going to be as motivating as if they say “you can do this, I believe in you, step by step, we are getting there” etc…

Listen to your inner voice. Is it positive and encouraging you or is it negative and nasty. Sack it if its the latter. You need a positive coach and inner chatter!

2. Give your time to fun activities

At the beginning of the day (and the end of the day) you only have time. I see life as a big game of converting that time into fun and happiness. In fact I asked 2 patients not to continuing using my services last week as I felt the relationship wasn’t fun. You see, whilst I am in business and need income, I don’t do what I do for money. I do it for fun and inspiration and to see people have the same fun I have. I value my time!

My time is the most precious commodity I have.

I don’t wish to spend it on rubbish or junk. And rubbish and junk are not just food, they are relationships, negative thoughts, crappy tv. Work out what feels good and allocate more time to it.

3. Increase FUN activities

Step number 2 is only possible when you know what makes you feel good. I call these green light activities. And many people forget what fun feels like. If you are going through financial hardship (and don’t believe you are the only person in the world going through it – we all do so we can value money when it comes back and sticks in our bank accounts) find free fun activities.

Write a list of things that you find FUN!

Extend it to include simple doable low energy things. Here are some things that I find fun: drawings, taking pictures on my iphone, watching comedy shows, art galleries, watching kids play, skipping on the beach, watching animals play etc.

Now start doing these fun things. Try one a week and increase it to one a day.

For example: If you like animals (and many do) volunteer to work at your local RSPCA centre and get involved with puppies, kittens etc… These fun things don’t need to cost lots of money. In fact I reckon a key step to long term happiness is finding FREE , trivial things fun.

4. What makes you smile?

Sometimes we can find things fun but we forget to express it in our body. We must allow the experience to consume us!  Sounds obvious but how many times have you heard something funny but reserved your giggle – stifled it? Crazy but true.

Children laugh 200 times a day and by the time we are adults it is down to 15 times a day.

Smiling is amazing. One reason I love Asia and the South Pacific is the fact the locals are always laughing and smiling. Just because….

Imagine yourself infected with the smile bug today and smile at everyone.

5. Rediscover yourself and soul.

One saying I have coined is ” If only we saw ourselves through other people’s eyes” . Our greatest critic is ourselves. Go easy on yourself. See yourself as a vulnerable little girl/boy. Would you highlight all their negative features or would you applaud and expand their good features. Of course you would highlight their great attributes.

Find 1-2 things that you like about yourself or think you are good at and expand them (just as you would do for others).

Example: In the past people have said I have a great smile. So I want people to see my smile so I smile more.

6. Fake it til you make it

I know a few weeks ago I wrote about being authentic and now I am saying to fake it. But sometimes when we feel so bad about ourselves, we have to fake it. You have to adopt a feeling that may feel foreign and then it will become real.

This is something I wrote and stuck on my car dash board.

I am loved, I am loving and I am loveable

I am happy and health

I am safe and secure.

I truly did NOT believe the first line at all when I wrote it (nor the second for that matter) but I was determined to feel that way. I said it every day for about three months and then I started to feel it again. I started to feel all those things and now I truly believe it with every cell in my body. But it was a struggle at first and I did have to fake it.

7. When all else fails I think we need to have a “hormone health check”.

This isn’t meant to be an up sell for finding out if you have a hormone imbalance but I can tell you a few hormones will make you NOT LOVE YOURSELF. These hormones are like enemies on friendly territory.

The common offenders are:

– high oestrogen (this will make you feel like Bridget Jones) up and down, happy and sad, moody and depressed. It can flip like a light switch without rhyme nor reason. Infact if there is no reason and your moods change, chances are (especially if you are a female) that your oestrogen is too high).

– high testosterone (for women) or low testosterone (for men). This hormone is important in balance for feeling good about ourselves. It’s our mojo hormone. Too much in women makes them masculine and too dominating (and self critical and self driving) and in guys low levels makes them depressed and self doubt.

– high cortisol or low cortisol. Either can happen depending where you are on the stress front. If you are highly reactive, you could have high levels which lead to anxiety, muddled reactive thoughts and guilt, while low levels will make you feel exhausted, shabby and also full of self ambivalence.

If you are worried about your hormones (I think everyone can do with a hormone check over) then check out my clinic site and FAQ.

It took me about six months to learn the lesson of self love but honestly about 2 years to fully grasp and practice the concept day in day out. I urge you to try it. Once you can say I love myself others can say it too.

Please share with others who are struggling to do the “self love thing”. It could change their lives. Now have a fabulous day and show yourself how much you love yourself!